Editor's Note: This is the first of a monthly column The Press will be running from the president of Dickinson State University.

This is the first of what I propose to be a monthly column in The Dickinson Press. The purpose of the column is to provide the Dickinson community an update on issues, activities, directions and philosophies of education at Dickinson State University and the North Dakota University System.

First off, we do have a new president, Thomas Mitzel, who will assume responsibility in January. Mitzel is a native of Aberdeen, S.D., and currently serves as dean and provost at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

Tom, and his wife Rhonda, will be moving to Dickinson in December and will move into the president’s home on campus. Mitzel supports the development of this column and intends to continue it when he arrives. I am personally excited about this development, as I believe that he will do a great job for DSU and I can return to retirement.

I consider my role as interim president to be one of preparing the campus for a new leader. To accomplish this objective, I identified four issues I felt needed attention. These were image, enrollment, the DSU Foundation and the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library. Although we are making progress on all four of these issues, I will focus on the new DSU Heritage Foundation and briefly on the Roosevelt Presidential Library for this column.

As for the foundation issue, the former DSU Foundation was placed into receivership under Sean Smith, an attorney from Bismarck. This occurred because the foundation could not pay off its debt and, at this time, it is not clear how the various assets of the foundation will be handled. To a large extent, the receiver and the courts will decide.

The attorney general has recommended DSU establish a new foundation and we have accomplished this goal. The new foundation will be the DSU Heritage Foundation consisting of an 18-member board made up of leaders from the community. Dr. Thomas Arnold will serve as president of the board with Bruce Dolezal as vice president, and George Nodland as secretary/treasurer.

The board has developed bylaws, articles of incorporation, nonprofit status and a bank account. A search is underway for an executive director for the Foundation. This person will be hired by and report to the university president.

The board has established an immediate funding priority for annual scholarships and operating funds. The website www.dsuheritagefoundation.org has been established and the phone number for the DSU Heritage Foundation is 701-483-2486.

My personal effort relative to the TR Presidential Library was to insure that the facility be located on DSU’s campus. The TR Presidential Library Foundation Board, under the leadership of Dr. Bruce Pitts, has voted to place the library on the DSU campus. This will be a tremendous asset for DSU, Dickinson and North Dakota.

Now, the work begins to make sure the facility is reflective of a presidential library and one of the United States’ greatest presidents.

Preliminary funding will be provided by the state Legislature and the city of Dickinson, but much more is needed if we are to have a facility of which all can be proud.

Until next time, happy holidays!

Ozbun is the interim president

of Dickinson State University.