For Release March 10

Regents Announce NSU Presidential Candidates

Jim Hart, Chairman of the Regents Presidential Search Committee for Northern State University, today announced that the Search Committee working with the Campus Advisory Council has narrowed the field of candidates to six individuals. Regent Hart said, "These are outstanding finalist candidates. We look forward to their visits to the campus and Aberdeen next week." The six candidates will visit NSU from March 16-18 for scheduled meetings with different campus constituent groups. The post has been vacant since the resignation of Dr. John Hutchinson in August 1997.

The finalists are:

Dr. Daniel W. Ball, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia since 1993, has directed several nationally funded projects and numerous publications. From 1989 to 1993 he served as Dean of the College of Education at Idaho State University. Previously he held positions at Northeast Missouri State University, [now Truman State University], Ball State University, and Northern Colorado University. Dr. Ball holds an Ed.D in Science Education from the University of Northern Colorado, an M.A.T. from Duke, and an undergraduate degree from Northeast Missouri State University.

Dr. Kenneth W. Dobbins has been the Executive Vice President at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau since 1993. Joining that university’s administration in 1991, he previously served as Vice President for Finance and Administration and Treasurer. He has also held leadership positions with the Southeast Missouri State University Foundation since 1991. Dr. Dobbins was on the administrative staff at Kent State University from 1981 to 1991. In 1980, he was one of only four civilians selected for the Armed Forces Staff College. Dr. Dobbins has made numerous presentations at professional meetings. He holds a Ph.D. from Kent State University in Higher Education Administration, a MBA from Old Dominion University, and a BS from the University of Akron.

Dr. Eugene Gilchrist has been Vice President for Administration at St. Cloud State University since 1992. From 1979 to 1992 he held numerous positions in administration with the State University of New York system, including Assistant to the Senior Vice Chancellor. Earlier he was the staff director for the New York State Senate Committee on Higher Education. An active participant in business officers associations, he has also served as a consultant to South Africa. He holds an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from State University of New York at Albany and a BS degree from State University of New York at Plattsburgh.

Dr. John Hilpert, the Interim President at Northern State University since August 1997, has been an administrator at the University of South Dakota since 1990, serving as Acting President, Acting Executive Vice President and Vice President for University Relations. Prior to coming to South Dakota Dr. Hilpert served as Vice President for College Advancement at Thiel College and Executive Assistant to the President at Suomi College. He holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Higher Education. He also holds an M.Div. from Concordia Seminary (Mo.) and a BA from Concordia Senior College (In.). A successful proposal writer with private foundations, corporations, and federal and state agencies, Dr. Hilpert is the author of several reports and articles and has been invited to present at numerous meetings.

Dr. Gerald Lafferty is a graduate of the University of Utah where he received his Ph.D. in Health Science in 1973. Earlier he completed a Masters degree at the University of South Dakota and an undergraduate degree at the University of Iowa. Currently, Dr. Lafferty is the Dean of the College of Education at Florida Atlantic University, a position he has held since 1991. Five years prior to this, he was Dean of the College of Health and Professional Studies at Georgia Southern University. Following graduate school he held teaching and department administrative positions at the University of Florida, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Wisconsin at Lacrosse. Dr. Lafferty has an extensive publication record including several books. On a number of occasions throughout his career, he has been recognized as an outstanding mentor or teacher.

Dr. Michael Rao is currently the President of Mission College in Santa Clara, California, a position he has held since 1994. He became Dean of the School of Fine and Applied Arts at Mission in 1992. He has worked as a consultant on higher education management. From 1987 to 1989, he was Assistant to the President at the University of Florida. Dr. Rao earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida with a major in Higher Education. His undergraduate degree is from the University of South Florida. He has been an active participant on several community boards.

Resumes for each of the candidates are on reserve at the Northern State University Library.

Regent Hart complimented the members of the Campus Advisory Council for their outstanding contributions. "They worked very hard and were dedicated partners with the Search Committee throughout the selection process that began last September. The Advisory Council included Paula Carlson, Tim Kessler, Heidi Ruch, Paul Everson, Dr. Lysbeth Benkert-Rasmussen, Lonn Sweet, Deb Walker, Keith Gerving and students Adam Coleman and Barbara Winzenburg. Regents Harvey Jewett and Curt Jones also served on the Search Committee with Regent President David Gienapp.

The Regents expect to announce their selection in the next several weeks. The next Regents meeting is scheduled for March 26-27 in Aberdeen.


To protect the integrity of the personnel selection process, the candidates will not be available for public comment or interviews until after a decision on filling the post of president of Northern State University is made by the Board of Regents. Media will be given advanced notice and advised of the time of the Board meeting for the appointment. At that time media will be invited to interview the president-elect and members of the Board of Regents.

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