BEMIDJI-Joseph Ritter has been named dean of the new College of Individual and Community Health at BSU.

"Dr. Ritter brings exactly the breadth of experience and people skills necessary for leading a new college comprised of disparate departments, and he is also an uncommonly fine human being," Tony Peffer, BSU provost and vice president for academic and student affairs, said in a press release "I am so very pleased that he will be joining the BSU community."

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Ritter said he was drawn to BSU because of its student-centered focus.

Joseph Ritter
Joseph Ritter

"I love the location, I love the people, and I love the mission and values of the school," Ritter said in the release. "It's a great opportunity to be a part of all the things that Bemidji State brings to the regional community. The university and its students have amazing potential.

Ritter joins the BSU administration from Principia College in Elsah, Ill., where he is provost, dean of academics and the Edith and Lewis White Distinguished Professor. He has been at Principia for more than 20 years. He joined the college's faculty as a chemistry professor in 1995 and later served as chemistry department chair, director of the school's engineering science program and faculty adviser to the college's solar car project, the release said.

He moved into administration in 2008 as assistant dean of academics. From there, he progressed to associate dean of academics and dean of academics before being named provost in 2016.

Before coming to Principia, Ritter worked in artificial intelligence for Amoco Oil's research and development department and as a process control engineer and an operations engineer for Whiting Refinery.

Ritter has a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois and a master's degree in computer and information science and a doctorate in chemical engineering, both from the University of Delaware.

Ritter will start at BSU on July 1. He will be the first dean of BSU's College of Individual and Community Health, which is being created as part of an overall college restructuring effort which also takes effect on July 1.

The college will include eight departments currently found in the College of Health Sciences and Human Ecology and College of Arts & Sciences: the Center for Sustainability Studies-formerly the Center for Environmental, Economic, Earth & Space Studies-and the departments of criminal justice; human performance, sport & health; nursing; political science; psychology; sociology; and social work, the release said.