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UND presidential search committee adds Shirley to its interview list

The search committee for a new UND president has added a name to the list of candidates it will interview in Minneapolis next week.

The committee voted to add Minot State University president Steve Shirley to the list. Shirley has been at Minot State since 2014 – and before that, was the president at Valley City State University.

"I think that he is a bit of a rock star in our North Dakota University System," said committee member Jim Poolman. "He has displayed excellent leadership abilities, the ability to get along with the Legislature and foster those relationships. Those would be easily transferred to UND."

"We really found Dr. Shirley to be our easiest president to work with," said committee member Grant Shaft, who was on the Board of Higher Education when Shirley was hired at both VCSU and Minot State. "Dr. Shirley performed at a high level in every area that we could ask for."

Committee member Leon Osborne agreed – but did raise one concern.

"UND is one of the two research institutions in the state," said Osborne. "It's a big mission and a big responsibility to keep that enterprise moving forward."

The committee vote was unanimous.

The committee decided not to interview Little Hoop Community College president Cynthia Lindquist.  Little Hoop is on the Spirit Lake reservation. Committee members say they were impressed with her – but thought it might be too big of a jump at this time from a small community college to a research university with thousands of students.

Sixteen candidates will be interviewed. Those interviews will take place Monday and Tuesday in Minneapolis.

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