David Fuller (2004-present)
A Nebraska native, David Fuller attended Hastings College, where he majored in English literature. He later earned a master's degree from Kearney State College and a doctorate from the University of Iowa.
He taught English for 13 years at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S. D., and also served as English Department chair, director of the writing center and graduate dean.
In 1996, Fuller became vice president for academic affairs at Northland College in Ashland, Wis. In 2000, he assumed the same position at Wayne State College in Nebraska. Four years later, he became the eighth president of Minot State University.
In his inaugural address, he rejected the business model of higher education because its results can't be neatly quantified. Instead, it deals with the intangible, spiritual and even ineffable, he said. Borrowing from 19th-century transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau, he likened educators to horticulturalists who plant seeds and nurture growth.
"That is what we do in higher education nurture," he said. "If students are nurtured, they have the potential for growth. Then we should expect wonders."
To help students grow, MSU has added degree programs in energy economics and finance, early childhood education and athletic training. It has also created the Severson Entrepreneurship Academy in the College of Business.
To encourage global education, the university expanded its International Programs Office and developed partnerships with universities in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, China, South Korea, Turkey and Vietnam. It also has agreements with three tribal colleges in the state. A Multicultural Center for international students is located in the Student Center.
Minot State has also improved its support services for students. These include the POWER Center, Veterans Support Center and Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning. These programs have contributed to increases in retention and graduation rates.
In athletics, Minot State advanced to NCAA Division II status and joined the prestigious Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The department also added women's soccer and men's wrestling to its menu of sports. Herb Parker Stadium is undergoing an upgrade, featuring artificial turf, improved lighting, new seating, $4 million press box and video scoreboard.
Swain Hall, the physical education facility, underwent a $13 million overhaul. Attached to Swain Hall and the Dome, a new Wellness Center was built to contribute to the university's mind, body and spiritual wellness. Student fees funded the 60,000-square-foot facility. Total cost of the center was $13 million.
Fuller also spearheaded the transition from coal-fired boilers to geothermal heating and cooling on campus. Projected utility savings will be $500,000 annually.
The 2011 Mouse River flood tested the mettle of the MSU president. The flood destroyed or damaged 4,100 structures and forced 11,000 Minot residents out of their homes. Damage to Minot and the Mouse River Valley totaled $1.2 billion.
A total of 117 MSU faculty and staff lost homes or suffered damage. About 500 rental units near campus were devastated.
The university built a 12-foot-high dike on University Avenue to hold back seven feet of water on University Avenue. An American Red Cross shelter in the MSU Dome housed 300 evacuees. National Guardsmen and FEMA workers lived in campus residence halls.
Fuller announced his intentions to retire in June 2014.