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Interim president stepping down early for health reasons

WILLMAR, Minn. — Joel Opatz, interim president of Ridgewater College, has notified the college staff that he will resign effective April 3.

In a letter addressed to colleagues this week, Opatz said he is leaving for health reasons. He was appointed a year ago to a contract that was to have lasted through June.

Betty Strehlow, the college's vice president of academic affairs and student services, will serve as interim president until a new president is chosen by the Minnesota State board of trustees.

Opaz was appointed after the former president, Doug Allen, left the college. Minnesota State has been searching for a new president for about a year.

Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra released a statement thanking Opatz for his leadership at Ridgewater and announcing Strehlow's appointment. Malhotra said he would be traveling to Ridgewater's Willmar and Hutchinson campuses in April to announce the new president and to meet with students, staff and the community.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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