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Former Minnesota Congressman is new president of University of North Dakota

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Mark Kennedy, who was wrapping up his third term as a Congressman from Minnesota a decade ago, is about to become the new president of the University of North Dakota.

North Dakota's State Board of Higher Education chose Kennedy over two other finalists Tuesday.

In the statement that announced his hiring, Kennedy said: "As a leader, I will be collaborative, accessible and seek input from all constituents to connect and have a shared vision for UND. We are focused on the future."

The Grand Forks Herald reports Kennedy emphasized his readiness to collaborate during his public interview with the Board, saying "You'll be sick and tired of seeing me because I will be spending very little time in my office, and I won't just be on my campus, I'll be around the state."

Kennedy currently works for George Washington University, directing their Graduate School of Political Management. His bio page there notes that Kennedy, a Republican, gained a reputation for bipartisanship while serving in Congress.

According to, the bills Kennedy sponsored most often involved government operations, economics, and education.

The Democratic candidates he defeated included Patty Wetterling in 2004. Kennedy was succeeded in the House by fellow Republican Michele Bachmann.

The search for a new president at UND began last summer when Robert Kelley announced his retirement, which took effect on January 14. Under interim president Ed Schafer's agreement with the university, he will not serve beyond June 30, meaning Kennedy will take over no later than July 1.

MPR News says with state revenue lagging amid the oil price slump, one of Kennedy's first tasks as president will be to cut $9.5 million from the university's budget.

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