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Bemidji State and NTC president-elect John Hoffman meets with campus communities

Over 100 attendees from Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College had a chance to meet John Hoffman, the recently-named incoming president for Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College, at two meet-and-greet events on Thursday.

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Incoming Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College President John Hoffman speaks on Thursday, March 17, 2022, during a meet-and-greet event in the Beaux Arts Ballroom.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer
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BEMIDJI — Faculty, staff and community members alike gathered on Thursday to welcome John Hoffman, the incoming president for Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College .

Following a morning meet-and-greet event at NTC, more than 100 attendees convened in BSU's Beaux Arts Ballroom on March 17 for the second event of the day.

“As we look forward to some bold, exciting work in the years to come, I’m excited to be here with you,” Hoffman said while addressing attendees. “I am honored that you would choose me and I thank you for this opportunity.”

Hoffman will succeed Faith Hensrud who has served as president since 2016 and announced her retirement in August 2021.

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Outgoing President Faith Hensrud visits with attendees on Thursday, March 17, 2022, during a meet-and-greet event for incoming Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College President John Hoffman in the Beaux Arts Ballroom.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

Prompting a presidential search, an advisory committee composed of students, faculty, staff and community leaders, and chaired by Metropolitan State University president Ginny Arthur, yielded 53 applications for the BSU/NTC presidential role.

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A total of 13 candidates were selected for preliminary interviews, after which four finalists — Hoffman, Allen Bedford, Darrell Kruger and Karla Leeper — visited both campuses between Feb. 14 and Feb. 17.

The Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State System of Colleges and Universities confirmed Hoffman’s appointment during a March 16 meeting, effectively naming him the next president starting July 1, 2022.

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Incoming Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College President John Hoffman visits with attendees on Thursday, March 17, 2022, during a meet-and-greet event in the Beaux Arts Ballroom.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

Accepting the job

“Dr. Hoffman is an accomplished and strategic leader who understands that building an empowering ethos for faculty and staff is critical to take both institutions to the next level,” Chancellor Devinder Malhotra said while making his recommendation to the board.

Upon accepting the offer, Hoffman reflected on the 20th anniversary of his proposal to his wife, Joy Hoffman, which landed on the same day as his presidential appointment.

“I recalled the nervousness and excitement, but most of all the sense of humility and awe of Joy saying ‘yes’ to me,” Hoffman detailed. “In a somewhat similar way, that’s what I’m feeling right now (being named president-elect). Excited, nervous, but with a sense of awe and wonder that you — the students, faculty, staff, alumni and community — would choose me to work for you for years to come.”

Hoffman said his choice was easy to make when he applied for the position, noting BSU and NTC’s equity and inclusion efforts.

“I’ve tried to craft, over the past 25 to 30 years of my career, efforts to advance holistic student success grounded in equity and inclusion. (BSU and NTC) embody that so well,” Hoffman added.

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Malhotra expanded on Hoffman’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion along with his complete understanding of Minnesota State’s Equity 2030 , an initiative to eliminate educational equity gaps at every Minnesota college and university.

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Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra speaks during a meet-and-greet event for incoming Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College President John Hoffman on Thursday, March 17, 2022, in the Beaux Arts Ballroom.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

“(Hoffman) fully understands Equity 2030 as a unifying framework and organizing principle of student success,” Malhotra continued. “He exhibits through his work great leadership traits and has prepared himself well through both experience and expertise to assume the presidency of Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College.”

Hoffman looks forward to his future leadership as it relates to living the values of Equity 2030.

“This is an aspirational, powerful goal that puts Minnesota on the map as a leader in education across the nation,” Hoffman said. “It’s about transforming the lives of students and ensuring that transformation is grounded in equity and inclusion.”

Previous work

Hoffman has served as the vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at the University of Minnesota Crookston since 2018, and he also assumed duties as acting senior vice chancellor in 2021. His responsibilities have spanned all of academics, student affairs and enrollment management.

Hoffman’s signature accomplishments include implementing multifaceted student success programs credited with increasing student success and retention rates, reducing the first-year retention rate disparities between Black and Indigenous students, and students of color and their white counterparts, and increasing performance on two-thirds of core learning outcomes for all students during their first year of college.

Other accomplishments include overhauling enrollment management functions. This past year, he co-authored the University of Minnesota system-wide strategic enrollment management plan. He also led UMN Crookston aspects of system-wide plans addressing COVID-19 response and related educational initiatives.

Previously, he held a variety of faculty and administrative positions within the California State University System between 2004 and 2018 including being the chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and director of the Doctor of Educational Leadership Program.

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Over the span of 10 years at California State Fullerton, he earned tenure and advancement to full professor, and his leadership contributed to significant diversification of the faculty, enrollment growth including increases in the racial and ethnic diversity of students, and enhanced graduation rates with no measurable achievement gaps by race or gender.

Prior appointments include service as dean of students at Concordia University Irvine from 1998 to 2004, multiple student affairs roles at Concordia University in St. Paul from 1995 to 1998, and a year of service as a major gifts officer at Concordia University Nebraska from 1994 to 1995.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Concordia University in Nebraska and a master’s and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

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Attendees give a round of applause to welcome incoming Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College President John Hoffman on Thursday, March 17, 2022, during a meet-and-greet event in the Beaux Arts Ballroom.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

“Hoffman is an accomplished peer coming with impeccable academic credentials, experience and expertise,” Malhotra said. “He has made significant differences throughout his career, and he fully understands the importance of being collaborative, transparent, empathetic, committed, focused and strategic.”

With a little over three months until his appointment begins, Hoffman thanked his mentors for their years of support.

“I have a host of mentors, folks who have invested in me over the years. I’m truly fortunate to stand on the shoulders of a rich, diverse community of mentors,” Hoffman said. “It’s truly an honor and I’m excited to get started.”

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Outgoing President Faith Hensrud gives opening remarks on Thursday, March 17, 2022, during a meet-and-greet event for incoming Bemidji State and Northwest Technical College President John Hoffman in the Beaux Arts Ballroom.
Annalise Braught / Bemidji Pioneer

Daltyn Lofstrom is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer focusing on education and community stories.
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