Three finalists named for UND President

Three finalists named for UND President

Learn more about the finalists’ recent visits to campus in today’s edition of UND Today

From left to right are David Rosowsky, Andrew Armacost and Laurie Stenberg Nichols, the three finalists for the position of UND President.

Now there are three.

And if readers were not able to attend the forums on campus where the three made their appearances, this edition of UND Today will help.

The UND Presidential Search Committee named three finalists for UND’s next president at the committee’s meeting on Friday, Nov. 22.

The three finalists, Andrew Armacost, Laurie Stenberg Nichols, and David Rosowsky, will return to campus Tuesday, Dec. 3, for interviews with the State Board of Higher Education. The Board will name UND’s new president that day.

The search committee invited six candidates to campus to interview for the position between Nov. 12 and 21. Each candidate spent two days on campus and in public forums, meetings with students, faculty and staff, and in interviews with committee members. A total of 61 applications were received for the position.

For today’s edition of UND Today, internal communications editor Jan Orvik – who attended the public forums of all six of the candidates – prepared reports on the finalists’ recent appearances on campus. Orvik paid special attention to the finalists’ answers to questions at the public forums.

Readers can click the following links to read Orvik’s reports on the finalists: Andrew Armacost, Laurie Stenberg Nichols, David Rosowsky.

The new president will replace Mark Kennedy, who left to become president of the University of Colorado. Dr. Joshua Wynne, Dean of the School of Medicine & Health Sciences and Vice President for Health Sciences, is serving as interim president.

Co-chairing the UND Presidential Search Committee were Dr. Casey Ryan, SBHE member, and Dr. Dennis Elbert, UND alumnus.

“I want to thank co-chair Dr. Elbert and the committee for selecting an excellent group of candidates to be interviewed by the State Board of Higher Education. UND will get an excellent president selected from this group,” said Ryan following the selection of finalists.

Elbert added, “I want to thank the entire committee and especially Dr. Ryan for their dedication and hard work. I’m very excited to see these three great candidates advance.”

For more information, including background and videos of the community forums, visit

The UND Presidential Search Committee posed for a photo on Nov. 22. Front: Gracie Lian, UND Student Body President; Dr. Casey Ryan, Co-Chair, State Board of Higher Education Vice Chair, and past President of Altru Health System; Dennis Elbert, Co-Chair and former Dean of the College of Business & Public Administration; Joshua DeMorrett, alum and Director of Stakeholder Relations with ConocoPhillips; Whitney Maine, Study Abroad Advisor and UND Staff Senate President. Standing: Jim McCormick and Janice Fitzgerald from AGB Search; Paul Todhunter, Professor of Geography and UND University Senate President; Terry Meyer, Chief of Staff, North Dakota University System; DeAnna Carlson Zink, CEO, UND Alumni Association & Foundation; Kellie Hall, alum and President, Turtle Mountain Community College; Daphne Pedersen, Professor of Sociology; Mark Hagerott, Chancellor, North Dakota University System. Not pictured: Brian Van Horn, President, Mayville State University; Howard Dahl, alum and President/CEO of Amity Technology, LLC. Photo by Kari Suedel/UND EERC.

About Andrew Armacost

Andrew Armacost

Andrew Armacost

Andrew Armacost recently completed his service as the Dean of the Faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy. With more than 30 years on active duty and 20 years at the Academy, Armacost served in the rank of Brigadier General as the Chief Academic Officer for this nationally ranked institution. As a member of the Academy’s senior leadership council, he was part of the team that guided an annual operating budget of more than $500 million and a capital improvement portfolio of nearly $1 billion.

As the Dean of the Faculty and Chief Academic Officer, he had direct responsibility for an annual operating budget of more than $350 million, a faculty of 550, an academic program with 31 majors, and a student body of 4,300. He has been a champion of shared governance, academic freedom, inclusion, student growth, and applied learning and research. The Academy’s sponsored research program of more than $50 million annually makes it the nation’s top-funded research program among undergraduate schools.

Prior to this role, Armacost served as the head of the Academy’s AACSB-accredited business management program, leading 40 faculty members and the Academy’s largest academic major. As a faculty member, he attained the academic rank of Professor while sustaining a particular focus on developing and delivering applied learning opportunities for his students. His additional service to the Air Force has included assignments as the Chief Analyst at Air Force Space Command and as a program manager for systems supporting the intelligence community and the White House.

He has been widely recognized for his disciplinary expertise, academic leadership, and commitment to interdisciplinary learning. His lifetime of work as both scholar and leader earned him recent recognition as a Fellow of his discipline’s flagship professional society and lifetime achievement awards from both the Air Force and the Military Operations Research Society. In addition, he has received numerous teaching, research, and curriculum design awards at the institutional, national, and international levels.

Armacost has been an active member of the Colorado Springs community and in the state of Colorado. He has served on local non-profit boards, as an inaugural member of the governor’s Colorado Innovation Network (COIN), and as founding advisor to the QUAD Initiative, a collaboration between local colleges to craft innovative solutions for Colorado Springs organizations. He has been similarly active in support of academic bodies, including service on the Board of Directors of the Military Operations Research Society and key editorial roles for professional journals.

As a former student-athlete and campus leader at Northwestern University, Armacost is a strong proponent of providing curricular and extra-curricular opportunities that promote growth and development in all students and the opportunity to leverage education for a better society. His degrees include a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern, and a Master of Science and PhD in Operations Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His wife, Kathy, has been a great partner in supporting the Air Force Academy and the city of Colorado Springs. They have two daughters:  Ava, a 2018 graduate of Northwestern, and Audrey, who will graduate from the University of Oklahoma in 2020.

About Laurie Stenberg Nichols

Laurie Stenberg Nichols

Laurie Stenberg Nichols

Dr. Laurie Stenberg Nichols is a native of Colman, South Dakota, and received her B.S. in secondary education from South Dakota State University.  Advanced degrees include a M.Ed. in Vocational and Adult Education from Colorado State University and Ph.D. in Family & Consumer Sciences Education/Family Studies from Ohio State University.

Dr. Nichols has taught at the secondary and post-secondary levels in South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska, Ohio, Idaho and Iowa.  She has received numerous teaching and research awards for her innovative teaching, including her involvement in the creation of a 10-state, collaborative, on-line program called the Great Plains IDEA.  From 1994-2009, she served as Dean of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at South Dakota State University. In this capacity, Dr. Nichols provided campus leadership on several initiatives including diversity, particularly involving Native Americans, academic advising, and strategic planning. She has secured numerous grants to collaborate with South Dakota tribal colleges in the areas of articulation and curriculum development.

Dr. Nichols was an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow, class of 2006-2007, where she spent fall semester on the campus of California State University at Fresno under the mentorship of President John Welty.  From August 1, 2008 through mid-June 2009, Nichols served as Interim President at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota.  On June 22, 2009, she returned to her home campus at South Dakota State University as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, a position she held until 2016.  During her service as Provost, she led efforts to strengthen shared governance on campus, revised tenure and promotion standards and processes, developed a first-year experience with a goal of improving retention, developed a comprehensive classroom/learning environment plan, and secured first-time accreditation for several programs, among many other efforts.

On May 16, 2016 through June 30, 2019, Provost Nichols became the 26th President of the University of Wyoming, and the first woman to hold this post.  During her three-year leadership, Nichols led the implementation of a major budget reduction, developed a new five-year strategic plan for the university, supported the successful submission of 5-year EPSCoR grant for Wyoming, increased enrollment, created an Honors College and worked tirelessly to improve the University’s relationship with two tribes located on the Wind River reservation.  Significant campus facility improvements were completed, including a $100 million engineering building and a $45 million athletic performance facility, with planning underway for $300-400 million residential hall/parking/food service project.

Nichols is currently serving in a one-year interim position as President of Black Hills State University, a public, comprehensive, undergraduate institution located in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Dr. Nichols is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship. She is past-chair of South Dakota Voices for Children, a political advocacy group.  She was a founding member of the Board that created the Brookings Boys and Girls Club and has served on many other community and civic boards/councils.

Nichols is passionate about working with young people in solidifying educational and career goals and developing leadership skills.

About David Rosowsky

David Rosowsky

David Rosowsky

David V. Rosowsky, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, concluded six years of service as Provost and Senior Vice President at the University of Vermont in May 2019. Prior to joining UVM as provost, Dr. Rosowsky served as the 15th Dean of Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and before that as Head of the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, where he also held the A.P. and Florence Wiley Chair in Civil Engineering.

In addition to serving as chief academic officer, the provost served as the chief budget officer for the university.

Since 1990, Dr. Rosowsky has conducted research in the areas of structural reliability, performance of wood structural systems, design for natural hazards, stochastic modeling of structural and environmental loads, and probability-based codified design. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of two journals, and is a past editorial board member of three others.

Dr. Rosowsky has authored or co-authored nearly 300 papers. He has been invited to present his research work around the world, and is the recipient of the ASCE Walter L. Huber Research Prize, the T.K. Hseih Award from the Institution of Civil Engineers (UK), and the ASCE Norman Medal.

Dr. Rosowsky maintains an active research program. He is a member of numerous editorial boards, national technical committees, is a registered Professional Engineer, and holds the rank of Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Fellow of the Structural Engineering Institute.

Rosowsky is widely recognized for his breadth of knowledge about U.S. Higher Education, and is frequently invited to speak on the topic.

Rosowsky is described as data-informed, inclusive, and outcomes-driven. He has demonstrated a broad and deep understanding of complex organizations, as well as the ability to communicate complexity, challenge, opportunity, and risk to broad audiences. He is inclusive in formulating both strategy and decision, he takes responsibility for outcomes, and he makes timely and responsive changes in direction when needed. He is widely regarded as an effective communicator and has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to transparency.

In each of his progressively larger leadership roles, Rosowsky has successfully built mandates, changed cultures, articulated a strategic plan based on shared goals and shared commitment, excited and engaged constituencies, and achieved measurable progress and growth. In all cases, this has started with a period of active listening and learning. He reported regularly to faculty and staff, students, alumni, university leadership, and others on progress and plans. Highly visible on campus and in the community, and known for his passion and enthusiasm, he is frequently introduced as the “cheerleader in-chief” or the “chief optimism officer” at UVM. He maintains an active Twitter profile (@DavidRosowsky) to connect with students, alumni, faculty and staff, and community members.

With a record of leadership built on relationships, respect, and shared vision, Rosowsky loves to learn, loves to laugh, and loves what he does. He frequently reminds colleagues of the privilege they enjoy of working in the noblest of professions – the education of young people – and how fortunate they are to be doing what they love, in an intellectually stimulating and supportive environment. He often closes his remarks with these words: “Support one another and expect great things. You won’t be disappointed.”