- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A committee searching for the University of North Dakota’s next president has narrowed the list of candidates to seven.

The committee had already pared the list from 41 candidates to 16 who were interviewed in Minneapolis on Monday and Tuesday.

Among the seven who made the cut are Minot State University President and UND alumnus Steven Shirley and former Minnesota U.S. Rep. Mark Kennedy, who’s currently director of George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management.

The remaining candidates will be brought to the Grand Forks campus between Feb. 11 and March 3. The search committee then will recommend finalists to the state Board of Higher Education, which will conduct final interviews on campus March 15 before selecting the school’s new leader. The board oversees North Dakota’s 11 public colleges and universities.

Robert Kelley retired as UND president last month after nearly seven years at the school. Former North Dakota Gov. and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer is serving as interim president.

The other five finalists are: Boise State vice president Mark Rudin; University of Illinois medical school associate dean Jay Noren; University of Toledo engineering school dean Nagi Naganathan; University of Missouri education school dean Daniel Clay; and Arizona State executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer Morgan Olsen.

“As we progress through the next phase of this search we are confident that we will discover who will be the best fit to serve the campus and community,” search committee co-chairman Grant Shaft said.

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