Newswise — GRAND FORKS, N.D. – The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education has selected former U.S. Air Force brigadier general, Dr. Andrew Armacost, as the 13th president of the University of North Dakota. He will begin his position as soon as possible after contract negotiations are complete.
The Board interviewed three finalists at their meeting Tuesday, Dec. 3, on the UND campus. A total of 61 applications were received for the position. Last month, six candidates each spent two days visiting campus and in public forums, meeting with students, faculty and staff, and interviewing with the Presidential Search Committee. The Committee narrowed the field to three finalists on Nov. 22.
Board Chair Nick Hacker said, “I would like to thank the co-chairs of the presidential search committee and all the members who volunteered time; we owe the committee a debt of gratitude for the hundreds of hours you dedicated to the process. I have the utmost confidence in Dr. Armacost’s leadership skills and commitment to the future of University of North Dakota and the state.”
The Search Committee was co-chaired by Dr. Casey Ryan, SBHE member, and Dr. Dennis Elbert, former dean of the UND College of Business & Public Administration and UND alumnus.
Ryan said, “We had a dedicated group and we all knew that we were doing very important work for the future of the University of North Dakota. I appreciate everyone who provided input to the presidential search committee. Through the process, we realized that we wanted a president who has a philosophy that is consistent with North Dakota values. Dr. Armacost is that person.”
Elbert added, “We had a dedicated, hard-working team. We held 12 listening sessions to gain input from all facets of the community, both on campus and off, and attendees consistently focused on the importance of research. We are here to finds the right leader for UND, and today we have found the right leader, Dr. Armacost, to take UND into the future.”
During his interview, Armacost talked about his leadership philosophy. “We are here because of students. Universities exist to prepare members of society to be good citizens. I have a long track record of being a positive mentor, and I pride myself on being available for both small daily interactions and more formal interactions. I envision a campus that’s closely connected, with accessibility to the president and senior staff. My philosophy is to love your people. Take care of them, involve them, and offer an opportunity for growth.”
Armacost will replace Mark Kennedy, who was named president of the University of Colorado System last spring. Dr. Joshua Wynne is currently serving as interim president.
Armacost is a native of Glendale, Wis., near Milwaukee. He graduated from Glendale’s Nicolet High School in 1985.
Armacost attended Northwestern University, where he graduated in 1989, with honors, as a Reserve Officer Training Corps distinguished cadet with an industrial engineering degree. He would go on to earn a Master of Science in Operations Research from MIT, where he was a Draper Fellow, in 1995. Armacost’s master’s thesis centered on optimizing and scheduling of railroad years and other transportation networks. At MIT, Armacost was advised by Professor Cynthia Barnhart, who later became chancellor.
Armacost would later return to MIT in 2000 to conduct his Ph.D. work in Operations Research, with a focus on algorithmic approaches for aircraft and fleet routing. His Ph.D. efforts were sponsored by UPS.
About 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.
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