Six apply for vacant spot on North Dakota's higher ed board

Two from Grand Forks are among those interested in serving.

State Board of Higher Education members Nick Hacker and Casey Ryan listen during a meeting in this file photo. (Sydney Mook/Grand Forks Herald)

BISMARCK -- Six individuals have applied to fill the latest vacancy on North Dakota’s higher education governing board.

State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler said six North Dakotans have applied for an open seat on the State Board of Higher Education, which oversees the state’s 11 public colleges and universities.

The board, which has eight voting members, has had an opening since August, when Fargo attorney Joseph Wetch Jr. resigned from his spot on the board just weeks after joining.

Baesler is chair of a nominating committee that will recommend three potential successors to Gov. Doug Burgum. The committee will hold a virtual meeting at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 20, to make its choices.

The applicants include:


  • Matthew Dunlevy, of Grand Forks, chairman and CEO of SkyScopes, which offers drone services for inspections, videography and other tasks;

  • Bruce Gjovig, of Grand Forks, retired founder and CEO of the Center for Innovation at the University of North Dakota;

  • Perry Lubbers, of Casselton, a retired executive for Trail King Industries, a manufacturer of truck trailers, and member of the state Workforce Development Council;

  • Jeremy Neuharth, of Fargo, co-founder and CEO of Sycorr, a software provider for financial institutions;

  • Mark Nygard, of Hazen, a retired construction and project manager for Basin Electric Power Cooperative of Bismarck;

  • John Warford, of Bismarck, an orthodontist, former mayor of Bismarck and former dean of the Gary Tharaldson School of Business at Bismarck’s University of Mary.

The nominating committee also is seeking applications for two Board of Higher Education positions that will come open on July 1, 2021. The application deadline for those spots is 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31.
The seats are now held by Kathleen Neset and Dr. Casey Ryan. Ryan is eligible for a second four-year term on the board. Neset is finishing her second and final term.

The governor appoints the voting members of the Board of Higher Education. Voting members who are eligible for four-year terms are subject to confirmation by the North Dakota Senate.

Sydney Mook has been the news editor at the Post Bulletin since June 2023. In her role she edits and assigns stories and helps reporters develop their work for readers.

Mook was previously with the Grand Forks Herald from May 2018 to June 2023. She served as the Herald's managing editor, as well as the higher education reporter.

For story pitches contact her at or call her at 507-285-7771.
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