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Minot State president to interview for UND presidency, tribal college president out of running

GRAND FORKS -- A 16th candidate will interview to become the next president of the University of North Dakota. The committee searching for Robert Kelley's long-term successor voted Thursday to invite Minot State University President Steven Shirle...

GRAND FORKS -- A 16th candidate will interview to become the next president of the University of North Dakota.

The committee searching for Robert Kelley's long-term successor voted Thursday to invite Minot State University President Steven Shirley to in-person interviews that start Monday in the Twin Cities, but it declined do the same for Cankdeska Cikana Community College President Cynthia Lindquist.

Committee members cited the size of Lindquist's institution, a tribal college in Fort Totten, N.D. on the Spirit Lake Reservation, and not her performance in that position. The college had 251 students enrolled in the fall semester of the 2013-14 school year, according to its website, which committee members said would make for a big jump to one of the state's two research institutions.

UND has roughly 15,000 students. Minot State has 3,320 students.

Shirley and Lindquist were the only two sitting institution presidents to apply for UND's top job and both are UND alumni. Their applications came in after the original Jan. 4 deadline, prompting the Thursday conference call.

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Hesham El-Rewini, the search committee's co-chairman, implemented an application cutoff date of noon Wednesday for "logistical reasons." Billie Jo Lorius, a North Dakota University System spokeswoman, said the committee wouldn't consider any additional applications.

Committee members cited Shirley's North Dakota roots, his relationship with the state Legislature and his master's degree in business administration as some of his qualities, with Jim Poolman calling him "a bit of a rockstar in our North Dakota University System."

Shirley took over as Minot State's president in July 2014. He previously served as president of Valley City University.

While the committee searches for Kelley's successor, former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer is leading the university as an interim president. He started earlier this month.

Asked how many candidates the committee would invite for on-campus interviews, El-Rewini said it could be between four and six, but they could be "a bit liberal on that part."

Related Topics: UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA
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