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Grand Forks leaders respond to Kennedy's selection to UND president

Mark Kennedy has been selected to serve as UND's next president, and local leaders are abuzz at the prospect of welcoming the former U.S. Congressman to the position.

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Mark Kennedy shares a story with the State Board of Higher Education before they interview him Tuesday morning at UND Gorecki Alumni Center. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald

Mark Kennedy has been selected to serve as UND's next president , and local leaders are abuzz at the prospect of welcoming the former U.S. Congressman to the position.

The director of the George Washington University Graduate School of Political Management was tapped for the position by the State Board of Higher Education on Tuesday and will replace interim President Ed Schafer when he steps down June 30.

Here's a look at what Grand Forks leaders are saying about the board's selection:

Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown

"I was excited to see we'd made a choice," Brown said, adding he looks forward to working on a list of projects with Kennedy, chief of which is student retention in Grand Forks after graduation. "Change is exciting, it's opportunity. I'm really looking forward to working with him."

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State Rep. Kylie Oversen, D-Grand Forks

"He's a good choice," she added, noting though he does not have a terminal degree, he brings "a different set of experiences, and the university, in a changing political and global environment, we might need someone with a different set of experiences."

State Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks

"All three were impressive, but I sense that this is what UND needs right now," Holmberg said. "Someone with a broad range of experiences, who is comfortable visiting someone in a cafe in New Rockford or walking into the capitol in Washington D.C."

Barry Wilfahrt, president and CEO of The Chamber:

"From a Chamber of Commerce perspective and a business (communications) perspective, we're excited to work with Mark," Wilfahrt said, noting that his background in business and as a U.S. representative are both strong, positive qualities. "I think those two things in particular ... will transfer well and serve him well."

UND Student Body President Matt Kopp

"I think he's going to be a great president for the University of North Dakota, and we're happy to have him," he said.

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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