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UND President Mark Kennedy rumored to be leaving

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Mark Kennedy addresses people after being selected as the next president of the University of North Dakota March 15 at the Gorecki alumni center. Jesse Trelstad / Forum News Service3 / 5
UND President Mark Kennedy, left, and NDSU President Dean Bresciani speak to reporters about Senate Bill 2282 in Bismarck. Sydney Mook / Forum News Service4 / 5
North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani, left, and University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy meet with The Forum Editorial Board to make the case for more legislative funding for research Wednesday, Sept. 12, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / The Forum5 / 5

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Mark Kennedy’s tenure at the University of North Dakota could be nearing its end.

Multiple sources said Tuesday, April 9, that rumors about Kennedy’s departure are swirling at the Capitol in Bismarck. Meanwhile, higher-education officials in Bismarck and at UND declined to comment when asked to verify the rumors.

Kennedy, president of UND since 2016, is rumored to be in line for a higher education position in Colorado.

“It’s all over the Capitol,” North Dakota Rep. Bob Martinson, R-Bismarck, said.

State Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, also said he has heard the rumor in Bismarck.

Martinson said UND Provost Thomas DiLorenzo is rumored to become acting president if Kennedy leaves.

Meloney Linder, vice president for marketing and communications at UND, said the university has no comment when asked if the president will resign to take a position elsewhere.

North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott also refused to comment when asked about Kennedy’s future at UND.

State Board of Higher Education vice chairman Nick Hacker said he had heard about some conversations regarding the matter but deferred comment to the university.

“We’re unaware of any resignation at this time, but would defer to the University of North Dakota and Mark Kennedy,” he said. “We’re supportive of our president and their leadership and supportive of President Kennedy continuing to serve at UND as president.”

State Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, also said he has heard the rumor in Bismarck, but added he had not heard of any formal resignation yet.

The University of Colorado is in the process of hiring its next president, and its Board of Regents will hold a special meeting Wednesday in Denver to discuss their search.

Kennedy had been scheduled to meet Tuesday afternoon with the Grand Forks Herald editorial board, but that meeting was canceled by the university in the morning.

Last year, Kennedy was one of four finalists for the Central Florida president's job.

The former Minnesota congressman and businessman took over as UND's 12th president in July 2016, succeeding Interim President Ed Schafer and President Robert Kelley, who retired Jan. 14.

Kennedy came to UND from George Washington University, where he had been director of the Graduate School of Political Management and a professor since 2012.

Kennedy, a Republican who served three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, served on the financial services, transportation and agriculture committees during his tenure from 2001 to 2007 and was then appointed to the advisory committee on trade policy and negotiations, serving under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Before politics came business for Kennedy, who worked as the director of finance for Pillsbury and as a senior executive at Federated Department Stores, now known as Macy's.

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