The head of UND’s aerospace school has announced that he’ll be stepping down from his position at the end of the year.

Paul Lindseth, dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, announced Friday, May 22, that he will be leaving the position on Dec. 31.

Lindseth has been dean of the aerospace school since 2016. A national search will be conducted to replace Lindseth. Upon the transition, Lindseth will return to his position as professor within the aviation department faculty.

Lindseth has been a faculty member since 1985 and has held various positions throughout his 32-year career at the university. He’s the third person to hold the position in the school’s 52-year history.

“It has been an incredible honor to serve as dean,” Lindseth said in a statement. “Our school is a truly remarkable organization, and its stature in the world of aerospace wouldn’t be possible without the contributions of our dedicated faculty, staff and students.”

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Lindseth told the Herald Friday afternoon that it was a "very difficult" decision to step down from his dean's position.

"When I looked at my career, I looked to see when would be a good time to step away from the dean's position and do a few things that I still want to do in my career as far as research and working a little bit more closely with students," he said. "It was difficult but I felt this would be the best time for myself and for the college."

Lindseth’s first position at UND was as a flight instructor in 1985. Lindseth also has served as assistant chair of the aviation department, assistant dean for academics, interim chair of space studies and associate dean for academics.

Lindseth said he looks forward to spending more time in the classroom and dedicating more time to research.

Throughout Lindseth’s tenure as dean, the John D. Odegard School has maintained an accident-free flight training environment at UND Flight Operations while logging record-setting flight training hours, the university said. The school has seen record enrollment during that time, with more than 1,900 aviation majors and more than 2,200 students overall.

“I would like to thank Paul for his good work as associate dean and most recently as dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences,” said Tom DiLorenzo, outgoing UND provost and vice president for academic affairs. “He has set a very positive foundation for the school’s future planning and greatness.”

Incoming UND President Andrew Armacost said in his “short time at UND, I have truly appreciated Paul’s far-reaching contributions to the university and how he has made the Odegard School a national leader in aerospace education.” Armacost is set to take over leadership of the university on June 1.

Interim UND President Joshua Wynne said it has been a “real pleasure to have worked with Paul during my 15 years here at UND.”

“As fellow pilots, University of Michigan graduates, faculty members, and deans, we have shared ideas and worked together productively on any number of projects and events.” Wynne said. “I was confident that Paul would turn out to be the outstanding dean that he has, as I chaired the national search process that resulted in his selection.”

Wynne thanked Lindseth for his “innumerable contributions” to the aerospace school.