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Published October 03 2010

Forum editorial: Good start for NDSU’s Bresciani

A good start is just that. North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani is off to a good start. He said he would hit the ground running when he took the helm at the north Fargo campus just months ago. He’s not slowed since then. His first state of the university address Thursday revealed an agenda and vision that will require the energy he’s brought to the job thus far.

Bresciani has his priorities in order. One of the first was to visit with legislators in their home districts all over the state. He met with as many as possible, not only to talk up NDSU but also – and primarily – to get their takes on the university. In a session last week with The Forum’s Editorial Board, he said the talks went well, even if some legislators were critical of the school.

Style is important. First impressions are important. The new president is confident of his abilities. He does not preach from the ivory tower. He’s a listener. He is candid when he can be, circumspect when he has to be.

Last week’s address also showed the new president to be a student of NDSU’s history and a believer in the school’s potential. He spoke about a “window of opportunity,” opened in part because North Dakota’s university system is not taking the financial battering other state systems are experiencing. He said NDSU can attract and hold world-class faculty and researchers who might otherwise not take a look at North Dakota.

Bresciani has not dwelled on problems of the previous administration. Rather, he’s making changes to avoid such problems in the future. He’s looking ahead to an even brighter era for NDSU than the extraordinary decade of growth and success just completed. He’s thinking ahead, not just 10 years but 100 years. He said:

“Imagine for a moment what NDSU might be on the forefront 100 years from now if we continue on the path we are on and continue to draw national attention, resources and benefits to the people of North Dakota we serve.”

The new president has a pragmatic immediate agenda and a thoughtful long-term vision. That’s the definition of enlightened leadership.


Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.