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President Mark Kennedy all moved into his new office at UND

During a meeting with media Tuesday, UND President Mark Kennedy, shows the Wheaties box created for him when he won a Congressional race in Minnesota and is part of memorabilia in his Twamley Hall office. Kennedy worked for Pillsbury which is owned by General Mills. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald1 / 3
UND President Mark Kennedy, left, meets UND Police Chief Eric Plummer, right, while Officer Jose Solis holds the leash on K9 Officer Ben, a 4-year old yellow labrador. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald2 / 3
UND President Mark Kennedy is interviewed Tuesday in his Twamley Hall office. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald3 / 3

A glance around the office of new UND President Mark Kennedy allows visitors to trace the Minnesota native's trajectory through business, politics and higher education.

A photo from when Kennedy coached a fifth-grade basketball team sits next to a Wheaties box featuring a picture of his family celebrating his win for the U.S. Congress. An autographed picture of President George W. Bush with Kennedy is nestled near a mug from when the former Republican congressman was on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Kennedy's tenure as UND's 12th president began Friday, but Tuesday was his first day on campus. He comes to UND from George Washington University where since 2012 he was the director of the Graduate School of Political Management and a professor. Before that, he served three terms as a Minnesota congressman, as well as an executive with several large businesses, including Pillsbury and today's Macy's.

The memorabilia in his office all has meaning and tells the story of Kennedy's career so far, including two large pictures hanging from the wall that depict how Kennedy wants to lead UND.

There is a print of the famous John Trumball painting "Declaration of Independence." In it, Thomas Jefferson is stepping on the foot of John Adams. Though the two were political rivals, Adams and Jefferson came together for the betterment of all, something Kennedy said he hopes to do while at UND.

"They were at each other," Kennedy said of Adams and Jefferson. "One wanted a central government and one wanted state government. But they still got the Declaration passed and that's why I have this here. You can't take the politics out of politics. You still have to get it right at the end."

Next to that is a picture of Catherine of Siena, who convinced the pope he needed to move the church back from France to Italy. That story reminds him to communicate and bring people together, he said.

Kennedy's first chance to get together with the Grand Forks community is set for later this week. His first Coffee with Kennedy is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday in the Herald's Community Room. The event is free and open to the public.

Wade Rupard

Wade Rupard is a reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. Rupard is a 2014 graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and is originally from Normal, Ill. 

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