Posted: May 18, 2000

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Presidential Search Process Begins

Chancellor Morris J. Anderson and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees today named Dennis N. Nielsen interim president for Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota. Nielsen will replace President Douglas Sweetland, who will retire this summer.

"Dennis is a leader, a doer and a very quick study," said Anderson. "He will provide Southwest State with the stability, guidance and leadership it needs to build on its strengths and look to the future."

Anderson also announced the commencement of a national search, which will be directed by a committee headed Christine Fritsche, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustee whose term expires in June. Fritsche will be assisted by President Richard Rush of Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Nielsen has served as interim president for Metropolitan State University since 1998. Prior to this assignment, he served as vice president for academic affairs for Winona State University for three years and as dean of the College of Science and Engineering at Winona State from 1985 to 1995. Nielsen was a professor of geology at Winona State University from 1970 to 1985. Nielsen has a Ph.D. in geology and a master's degree in geology from the University of North Dakota. He has a bachelor's degree from Gustavus Adolphus College.

Southwest State University offers 43 undergraduate programs and two master's degree programs. The university was designated by U.S. News and World Report as the #1 regional public liberal arts college in 1999. The university serves about 4,000 students annually.