Baker accepts presidency at UND

By Sabryna Cornish

The NIU administration chain is losing another link.

NIU Provost Kendall Baker accepted the presidency at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks Friday afternoon.

He will begin his new job July 1.

Baker said he went for a final interview on Friday morning with the board of directors at UND and was told he had to accept or reject the offer by that afternoon.

“I feel as though I have been preparing for this position for a long time,” he said. “All the preparation at NIU should enable me to meet the challenge (of being a president).”

Baker said one of the main reasons for leaving is because he would “like to serve as a president.”

“I thoroughly enjoy my current position,” he said. “But there are things that can only be done as president.”

Although UND has all the programs NIU has, he said the job will not be the same.

“It will be a different kind of job,” Baker said. “I’ll be very actively involved in the state.”

Baker said he does not see a problem with finding funds to replace him. “Resources will be available to recruit,” he said. “It will not be difficult getting a substantial pool (of applicants).”

Baker said NIU President John La Tourette has been “a good mentor.”

La Tourette said Baker will be missed. “It will be difficult to replace him.”

La Tourette said he thinks Baker is ready for the new position. “I think his performance at NIU has prepared him for the appointment of a flagship institution like the University of North Dakota.”

La Tourette said he will be looking at a number of people during the next week to replace Baker.

“Given the position we face in the state because of lack of support from the state, we’re hoping to find someone internally to temporarily replace (Baker),” he said.

La Tourette said he would like an easy transition when Baker leaves in early July. La Tourette said he is hoping to find a new provost soon to learn Baker’s job.

“It’s becoming more difficult to recruit good people to Illinois given the budget situation,” he said. “In addition, our salaries for faculty and administrators aren’t that


The enrollment of UND is about 13,000. There are two branch campuses associated with the university.

Baker has been at NIU since 1987.

Baker also was up for the presidency at Northern Michigan University at Marquette and Arkansas State University at Jonesboro.

Tom Montiegel, vice president of Development and University Relations, also will be leaving NIU on May 18. Associate Provost Lou Jean Moyer is retiring this year.