Former North Dakota higher education official dies at 78 – InForum

FARGO — A former leader of North Dakota’s university system has died.

Robert Potts died on Friday, October 28 at his home in Florence, Alabama, after being diagnosed with cancer, according to an obituary. He was 78 years old.

Potts served as chancellor of the University System of North Dakota from 2004 to 2006. The Forum reported that a majority of the State Board of Higher Education in 2006 wanted Potts to step down a year before his contract expired.

Potts chose to resign on July 31, 2006, citing philosophical differences with board members over how the system should operate and apply policies equally to all campuses, according to Forum records.

He also told the newspaper that Joseph Chapman, then president of North Dakota State University, refused to accept his authority and “basically thumbed his nose at me.” Chapman claimed he “tried to be professional in all of this”.

Potts was asked to continue as a consultant for the university system after leaving his position as chancellor. He became president of Arkansas State University in 2006. He retired as interim president of the Arkansas University System in 2011.

In a statement, the North Dakota University System called his career a “legacy of leadership in higher education.” The release says he has made many contributions to higher education.

“Potts never forgot North Dakota and made many lifelong friends here, often returning to the state to enjoy the outdoor activities the state has to offer,” the statement read.

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