A tribal college president and former director of North Dakota’s Indian Affairs Commission has been appointed to the committee that will recruit the University of North Dakota’s new president.
The Board of Higher Education voted on Tuesday to add Cynthia Lindquist to the search committee, giving it 17 members. It will look for a successor to UND President Charles Kupchella, who plans to retire next year.
The board’s president, John Q. Paulsen, earlier had resisted appeals to make the panel larger. During a telephone conference call meeting of the board on Tuesday, Paulsen said he had been mistaken. He noted that the committees that recruited UND’s previous three presidents Thomas Clifford, Kendall Baker and Kupchella had Indian members.
“The recommendation I am making today, I perhaps should have made at the outset,” Paulsen said. “I simply did not give adequate recognition to the … importance of the American Indian constituency to the University of North Dakota. It’s just as simple as that.”
Lindquist is president of Cankdeska Cikana Community College at Fort Totten, on the Spirit Lake reservation. She has held the position since October 2003.
Lindquist could not be reached immediately for comment on Tuesday. She was a finalist last year for a seat on the Board of Higher Education, but Gov. John Hoeven instead reappointed incumbent Sue Andrews, of Mapleton, to a second term in the position.
Lindquist served as director of the state Indian Affairs Commission from January 1998 until April 2001, when she resigned to attend graduate school. Lindquist holds a doctorate in educational leadership from UND.
She is a former associate director of the Center for Rural Health at UND’s medical school. As the Indian Affairs Commission’s director, Lindquist emphasized health care issues, said William Goetz, the chancellor of North Dakota’s university system.
“That was her drive at that time, her interest, and she did make a difference,” Goetz said. “She’s dedicated. She’s focused. She’s going to make a contribution on the search committee. She’s respected by the tribes … for what she brings to the table.”
Goetz served as chief of staff to Schafer and Hoeven during Lindquist’s time as commission director. The Indian Affairs Commission includes the chairmen of the five American Indian tribes with reservation land in North Dakota.
New Board of Higher Education member Duaine Espegard, a retired Grand Forks banker and former state senator, wondered during Tuesday’s meeting whether the search committee could grow still larger.
Espegard offered to resign his own position on the search committee to keep its membership at 16 once Lindquist was added. He withdrew his offer when Paulsen assured him he would not support adding other members to the search committee “under any circumstances.”
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