Posted: April 7, 2008

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

The names of three semifinalists for president of Minnesota State University Moorhead have been submitted to James H. McCormick, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. The finalists are Stephen Jones, Jerry Samples and Edna Szymanski.

The semifinalists were recommended by a search committee chaired by Jon Quistgaard, president of Bemidji State University.

Stephen Jones is chancellor of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, a position he has held since 2004. Previously, he served as vice chancellor for extension and engagement at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System at Auburn University in Alabama, assistant director of the School of Forest Resources at The Pennsylvania State University in State College, and director of Northeast Petroleum-Forest Resources Cooperative at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse. He holds a doctorate and bachelor's degree from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at State University of New York in Syracuse and an associate degree from Allegany College of Maryland at Cumberland.

Jerry Samples is vice president for academic affairs at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where he has served in administrative leadership positions since 2002. He also has served as director of the Engineering Technology Division at the university since 1996. Previously, he was director of the Mechanical Engineering Division of the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Before that, he was commander of the 10th Combat Engineer Battalion in Kitzingen, Germany. He has a doctorate and master's degree in mechanical engineering from Oklahoma State University and a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Clarkson College of Technology.

Edna Szymanski is senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Maine, Orono, a position she has held since 2006. Previously, she was dean and professor in the College of Education at University of Maryland, College Park. Before that, she held several positions at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, including chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education and associate dean of the College of Education. She has a doctorate in special education from the University of Texas, Austin; a master's degree in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania; and a bachelor's degree in biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

The new president will replace Roland Barden, who is retiring. The chancellor, along with one to three members of the Board of Trustees and others, will conduct interviews with the semifinalists. McCormick will make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees, which could act on the recommendation at a special meeting April 16.

Minnesota State University Moorhead serves more than 9,000 students in credit courses annually and provides a wide array of undergraduate and graduate programs.