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The 2004-2005 75th Anniversary Celebration

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Presidents & Chancellors

Dr. G.H. Vande Bogart served as the first President beginning his first term in the spring of 1929 before the college opened that fall. He served until 1950. He came to Havre from Hibbing, Minnesota with his wife and two daughters. His doctorate degree was in chemistry and he taught chemistry courses at the college in addition to his duties as President until the pressure of this office forced discontinuance of his teaching time. His was the task of establishing the college and carrying it through the difficult depression and war years. Mrs. Vande Bogart (Ruth) was instrumental in founding the Northern Branch of University Women and was active in church and community affairs.

Dr. E.A. Morgan, Professor of German at the college for 26 years, was elevated to the position of acting President following Dr. Vande Bogart's departure. He served in that capacity from July through December of 1950.

Dr. L.O. Brockmann assumed the Presidency of the college in January of 1951. He came to Northern from Montana State University where he was chairman of the Department of Psychology. He was a past district Governor of the Montana Kiwanis organization. He had taught at Northern during an earlier summer session and was both familiar with and interested in the NMC program. The expansion of the campus building program developed under Brockmann. He moved to a new position at Fullerton State College in Fullerton, California, in December of 1962. Of artistic bent, Mrs. Brockmann (Marion) designed the NMC symbol, established weaving classes and painted a mural in Cowan Hall. Dr. Brockmann died in California in 1993.

Dr. J.R. Crowley had been a professor of psychology at NMC for several years. He left for two years for a similar position in Idaho, but returned to his previous position at NMC in 1962. He was appointed acting President in January of 1963 following Dr. Brockmann's resignation, and became President in April of that year. He served until June of 1975, when he retired and moved to Missoula.

Dr. Duane M. Leach assumed the Presidency in August of 1975, but left two years later for a position at Tarleton State University in Stephensville, Texas. He and his wife, Laurie, and three children moved from the old President's home on Third Avenue to the newly acquired home on Park Road. Their hobby was raising Arabian horses.

Dr. H. Warren Gardner, who had served as administrative assistant and Academic Vice President under Dr. Leach, was appointed interim President and served in that capacity for one year.

Dr. James H.M. Erickson assumed the Presidency of NMC in August of 1978, moving from a deanship at Central Washington University at Ellensburg. He and his wife Mittie, had two grown children. A native of Duluth, Minnesota, Erickson also served for several years as a graduate dean in the University of Wisconsin system.

In 1985, Dr. William Merwin became the college's sixth president. Merwin came to Northern from the University of North Florida where he was Vice President for Academic Affairs. Merwin expanded the recognition of NMC as offering "middle technology" courses that include academic as well as technical training to meet the changing demands of the job market. He yielded to Regents' demands for operational cuts within the college and received commendations for doing so. He left NMC in early 1989 for the presidency at the State University of New York at Potsdam.

Dr. Frank Kerins, retired president of Carroll College in Helena, was named interim President in 1989 as the Board of Regents initiated a search for a new President amid some concern on campus that delays would indicate the Regents desire to downgrade the college.

May 17, 1990, Dr. Bill Daehling, the Academic Vice President at Lewis & Clark State College in Idaho, was selected as the new NMC President. Daehling had a strong background in technical fields as well as education and did much to improve and develop extension and outreach programs on campus. Under university system restructuring, the titles of Presidents of the four smaller campuses in the Montana University System where changed to Chancellors in July of 1994. Daehling retired from his position at Northern and moved to Clarkston, Washington in June of 1998.

Dr. Mike Rao, President of Mission College in the California Community College system, was named Chancellor of Northern in July of 1998 and moved to Havre with his new bride Monica in September. He arrived on a campus stressed by nearly a decade of budget cuts and enrollment declines, and set about rebuilding trust, expanding the governance structure and stabilizing enrollments. He left in July of 2000 for a position as President of Central Michigan University.

Dr. Alex Capdeville was named to a two-year appointment as Chancellor of MSU-Northern in September of 2000 and accepted a permanent appointment to the post in May of 2001. An alumnus of NMC, he served as dean of the Helena College of Technology for over 20 years and brought a wealth of experience in higher education administration and knowledge about the campus and university system to the position. He retired in December of 2007.

Dr. Rolf Groseth, Vice President of Inter-Campus Affairs at MSU-Bozeman was appointed interim Chancellor in December of 2007 by MSU-Bozeman President Geoff Gamble. President Gamble stated that Dr. Groseth would serve as interim Chancellor until "the Northern campus achieves stability with its budget and programs."

Dr. Frank Trocki was appointed MSU-Northern Chancellor in June 2009. Trocki replaced Alex Capdeville, who retired as chancellor in December 2007. Trocki came to Northern from West Orange, NJ where he served as vice president of business development for Lincoln Educational Services/Lincoln College of Technology. He has a doctorate of education from West Virginia University in Morgantown, W. Va., and a master's and bachelor's in industrial technology from Fitchburg State College in Fitchburg, Mass. During Dr. Trocki's tenure, planning and research on a number of new academic programs was initiated, the university's biofuels research expanded, relations with the university foundation and alumni association were renewed and the university successfully completed three major reaccreditations.

Dr. Joseph P. Callahan was named as Interim Chancellor by MSU President, Dr. Waded Cruzado in May 2011. Dr. Callahan is no stranger to MSUN, as he has served in a number of positions at NMC and MSUN, the most recent one as former MSU-Northern Provost from 2007-2010. He came out of retirement to serve as interim chancellor. Callahan has a doctorate in education from the University of Montana and his master's and bachelor's degrees from East Stroudsburg University, Penn. A national search will be conducted for a new chancellor.

Dr. James M. Limbaugh was selected as Chancellor of Montana State University-Northern by MSU President Waded Cruzado and approved by the Montana Board of Regents in December 2011. Dr. Limbaugh officially took the reins on January 1, 2012. He and his wife Patricia came to Northern from San Angelo, Texas where Jim served as Vice President for Strategy, Planning, and Policy at Angelo State University. Prior to that position, he was Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs. Dr. Limbaugh has also served in higher education with Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland and University of Nebraska – Kearney in Kearney, Nebraska. Dr. Limbaugh earned a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and a Master of Science from Texas A & M University-Commerce (formerly East Texas State University).

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