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Bemidji State, Northwest Tech President Faith Hensrud announces plans to retire

With her final year upcoming, Hensrud reflected on the past five years that she has led BSU and NTC with all the accomplishments and challenges alike.

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Bemidji State President Faith Hensrud gives her speech at the Centennial Commencement in 2019 at the Sanford Center. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI -- Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College will have a new president starting fall 2022 as President Faith Hensrud announced her retirement on Friday.

“As of June 30, 2022, I will be retiring as president at BSU,” Hensrud said during a press conference on Friday, Aug. 13. “Serving the past five years have provided the most fulfilling moments of my professional career as we worked to help the state, students and community.”

Hensrud was announced as the BSU and NTC president on April 20, 2016, and assumed the role July 1 of that year.

With her final year upcoming, Hensrud reflected on the past five years that she has led BSU and NTC with all the accomplishments and challenges alike.

“The past five years have shown that BSU and NTC are extremely strong institutions and have emerged stronger as a result of the efforts put in place this past year,” Hensrud said.

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Although she has enjoyed her time in Bemidji, Hensrud said she will be moving following the school year to be closer to family, specifically her newest granddaughter.

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Bemidji State President Faith Hensrud tosses candy in the Homecoming Parade in 2019 along Birchmont Drive Northeast. (Jillian Gandsey / Bemidji Pioneer)

Hensrud shared a number of initiatives that she is most proud of during her time as president. These included the development of a land acknowledgement recognizing the land that BSU resides on belonging to Ojibwe and Dakota peoples.

Another initiative included developing several strategic priorities to make BSU a destination college for American Indian students and expanding their relationship with local tribal colleges through dual admission agreements, which is now used as a model for other Minnesota State institutions.

Hensrud said she also has worked tirelessly alongside the Neilson Foundation to develop a commercial refrigeration program at NTC and enforce significant renovations including the construction of a new nursing simulation lab.

She also noted working through issues of environmental sustainability, food insecurity, and other social justice initiatives as being nothing short of a massive part of her responsibilities.

Hensrud oversaw BSU celebrating its 100th anniversary, the celebration of 50 years of women’s athletics and the construction of the new Hagg-Sauer building that was revealed to the public in November 2020.

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“In collaboration with a truly excellent faculty and staff at both institutions, we have achieved many remarkable things together,” Hensrud said. “I look forward to all we will accomplish in my final year.”

In a news release, Dr. Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities, applauded Hensrud’s leadership.

“President Hensrud has been an exemplary leader, and Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College has grown and thrived under her leadership over the past five years,” Malhotra said. “President Hensrud has led both institutions with a strong focus on the success of all students and has expanded the educational opportunities for all students."

Malhotra will visit Bemidji on Sept. 16 to meet with faculty, staff and students, the release said. A current president at one of the system’s colleges or universities will be named to chair a search advisory committee, with the goal of naming a new president in the spring semester.

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