What’s ahead for one of South Dakota’s public universities — and where the six have been

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — Members of the South Dakota Board of Regents plan to meet later this week with the three finalists for president of Northern State University on the Aberdeen campus.

David P. Jones | Alan D. LaFave | Neal H. Schnoor
Courtesy Northern State University

They are:

— David P. Jones, Mankato, Minn., vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, Minnesota State University, Mankato;

— Alan D. LaFave, Valley City, N.D., president, Valley City State University; and

— Neal H. Schnoor, Long Beach, Calif., chief of staff to the president, California State University Long Beach.

LaFave worked 27 years at Northern State and received his undergraduate degree in instrumental and vocal music from Northern.

The regents, who govern the six traditional campuses and are appointed by the governor, announced April 16, 2021, that Tim Downs would depart as president of Northern State University in June.

The statement didn’t say where he planned to go next.


Here’s a look at the past decade of leadership changes at South Dakota’s six public universities:

2020

Brian Maher was chosen as regents’ executive director / CEO June 18, 2020. He remains in the position.

Paul Beran announced his resignation as regents’ executive director / CEO March 16, 2020, effective June 30, 2020.

2019

Laurie Stenberg Nichols was announced as interim president for Black Hills State University June 3, 2019, effective July 1, 2019. She was announced as BHSU president December 20, 2019. She remains president.

Tom Jackson announced May 22, 2019, he would resign as president at Black Hills State University after he had been selected as president of Humboldt State University in California.

2018

Paul Beran was announced July 27, 2018, as the regents’ executive director / CEO.

Sheila Gestring was promoted to president at the University of South Dakota from a four-finalist field May 1, 2018. She remains president.

Mike Rush announced his resignation as regents’ executive director / CEO April 11, 2018, effective May 29, 2018.

2017

Jim Rankin was announced as president of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology November 7, 2017, from a four-finalist field. He remains president.

Jim Abbott announced September 27, 2017, he planned to retire in June 2018 as president for the University of South Dakota. He was appointed president in July 1997.

The regents announced January 23, 2017, that Heather Wilson intended to resign as president of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology to accept a federal appointment as U.S. Air Force secretary. Jan A. Puszynski, vice president for research at the university, was named interim president May 10, 2017, to serve in a temporary capacity.

2016

James Smith stepped down as president of Northern State University to become president of Eastern Michigan University July 1, 2016. He was hired in 2009.

Tim Downs was announced May 26, 2016, as president of Northern State University from a three-finalists field.

David Chicoine retired May 22, 2016, as president of South Dakota State University. He was hired in 2006 and had announced December 15, 2015, that he planned to step down.

Barry Dunn was promoted April 25, 2016, to president of South Dakota State University from a four-finalists field. He remains president.

2015

The regents announced May 18, 2015, that Mike Rush was their new executive director / CEO.

Jose-Marie Griffiths was announced April 27, 2015, as president of Dakota State University from a four-finalist field. She remains president.

Jack Warner announced March 16, 2015, he would retire in June as regents’ executive director / CEO. He was hired in 2009.

2014

The regents announced August 13, 2014, the immediate resignation of David Borofsky as president at Dakota State University and the promotion of Marysz Rames to interim president.

Tom Jackson Jr. was announced April 30, 2014, as president of Black Hills State University from a four-finalist field.

2013

Kay Schallenkamp announced October 11, 2013, she would retire as president of Black Hills State University in June 2014. She was hired in 2006.

Heather Wilson was announced April 25, 2013, as president of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology from a four-finalist field. She succeeded Robert Wharton, who died September 19, 2012.

2012

The regents announced October 22, 2012, that David Borofsky was president of Dakota State University. He had been serving as interim president since February 2012.

2011

The regents December 20, 2011, announced a search process for president of Dakota State University, after Douglas Knowlton accepted a post in Minnesota.

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