What fun to read the story of former UND President Tom Clifford in the May 11 Herald.
I certainly agree with his attributes. As my dean and teacher in accounting years ago, I was proud when he moved up to president. As the article said, he cared about students, put others at ease, and had wit and humor in dealing with others.
He was also a fighter for what was right for the university. No one was afraid to talk to him and he listened and often helped.
Clifford was a real cheerleader for everything North Dakota. And one of my grandsons benefitted from his persistence to start the aviation program.
In reading the Herald’s description of Clifford, it’s obvious it fits someone else. No surprise, it’s Heidi Heitkamp. If asked and she accepted the position, we’d have our second full-time cheerleader. And she wouldn’t need the new staff North Dakota tour to see and understand the people. She’s homegrown.
Regarding the Fighting Sioux logo, I think Heidi would have had a better chance at saving it or at least pushed for a North Dakota artist to work on the new logo instead of a stranger with no connection. That might have alleviated some of the hard feelings that alums still feel. And like Clifford, she would honor the connection between donors and UND.
Although I am a Minnesota resident, as an alum, I feel the university belongs to me, too, and I hope the search for the next president of the university is from North Dakota, if one is found perfect for the job. It’s obvious that you already have one, if Heidi would accept the challenge.
Yes, I know, sometimes it’s good to get a president from elsewhere to come in with new experiences and ideas, but this is not the time. We need some mending and collaboration as UND moves into the future.