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Hanson recommended for Bemidji State University/Northwest Technical College presidency

North Dakota State University interim president Richard A. Hanson awaits final confirmation next week on his appointment as the next president of Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College.

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor James H. McCormick announced Friday he will recommend that the Board of Trustees appoint Hanson as president of BSU and NTC.

Hanson, originally from Hillsboro, N.D., stepped down as the president of Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa, to become NDSU's interim president in December 2009. He is contracted at NDSU through the end of June.

The Board is expected to act on Hanson's recommendation at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, May 19. The new BSU-NTC president will not officially take office until July.

At a public forum held in April at BSU, Hanson said he found Bemidji an interesting place to work.

"It's not a fixer-upper," he said at the public forum. "It's ready to go. Besides, you have another college attached to it. It really looks like a fun challenge."

Hanson began his career in higher education at California State University in Chico in 1974, where he served as chair of the department of home economics. In 1980, he returned to his alma mater, NDSU. He was named chair of the child development and family science department in 1983, and from 1992-1995 served as associate vice president for academic affairs. After leaving NDSU in 1995, Hanson spent 10 years as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., before taking the presidency at Waldorf College in 2005, which he served until 2009.

"We are very pleased to recommend that (Hanson) join our leadership team," McCormick said in a press release. "His accomplishments and wide-ranging experience demonstrate that he has the leadership skills to continue building these two fine institutions - (BSU) and (NTC)."

NDSU is also in the process of appointing a new president, and it's unclear how the university's choice will affect the timing of Hanson's transition, Hanson said.

Hanson said his transition and that of the new NDSU president will be fairly similar, despite the differences in size and focus between the universities.

"There's a certain period of getting used to each other, there's a certain period of listening on the part of the president," Hanson said. "That's part of transition, you have to listen and pay attention."

Hanson said he felt up to the challenge of leading a new university as well as Bemidji's two-year technical school.

"(The schools) are aligned parallel with each other and under one president, so that's a whole new challenge," he said.

The North Dakota Board of Education will choose between the three NDSU presidential finalists Dean Bresciani, John Gardner and Gary Miller on May 24.

Heidi Schaffer, a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, contributed to this article.