University Archives

Presidents of St. Cloud State University Since 1869

Hail to the Chief! An easy guide to the men and women who have served St. Cloud State since 1869.

Since 1869, many individuals have served St. Cloud State as its president. These have included alumni, ministers, educators, and women. Those on campus probably are familiar with many of the names, but not with the people behind the name.

Created by University Archives with material held at Archives, this gallery is a simple introduction to past board-appointed St. Cloud State presidents, celebrating each in a small way.

Ira Moore, 1869 - 1875

Ira Moore

  • Was the first person to lead the new St. Cloud State
  • Before coming to St. Cloud, taught at the Illinois State Normal University, as well as the University of Minnesota
  • Served as captain during the Civil War, commanding Company G of the 33rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry
  • During his tenure, "Old Main" (1874), which stood near Stewart Hall, was completed
  • Resigned in 1875 and moved west, later teaching at the California State Normal School in San Jose, California
  • In 1883, named the first principal at the California State Normal School in Los Angeles, serving until 1893 - the school would later become UCLA

David Kiehle, 1875 - 1881

David Kiehle

  • Educated at the New York State Normal School in Albany, New York, and the Union Theological Seminary in New York City
  • Was an ordained Presbyterian minister
  • Before coming to St. Cloud, Kiehle was county superintendent of schools in Fillmore County, Minnesota, as well as a member of the Minnesota State Normal Board
  • In 1881, Kiehle resigned as president at St. Cloud State to become the Minnesota state superintendent of public instruction, a post he held until 1903
  • Kiehle was a faculty member at the University of Minnesota from 1891 to 1902
  • Kiehle's service at the University of Minnesota was honored when Kiehle Building, the University of Minnesota - Crookston campus library, was named for him in 1912, two years after it opened
  • Kiehle Visual Arts Center (1952), the former Kiehle Library, is named in his honor

Jerome Allen, 1881 - 1884

Jerome Allen

  • Educated at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and the Hartford Theological Seminary in Hartford, Connecticut
  • Was an ordained Presbyterian minister
  • Was president of the Lennox Collegiate Institute in Hopkinton, Iowa
  • Taught at the Iowa State Normal School in Monticello, Iowa, and the New York State Normal School in Geneseo, New York
  • Upon resigning as president at the St. Cloud State, Allen returned to New York state, accepting an academic position at the City University of New York

Thomas Gray, 1884 - 1890

Thomas Gray

  • First alum to serve as president of St. Cloud State, graduating in 1872
  • In 1873, was appointed to teach mathematics and natural science at St. Cloud State
  • From September to October 1881, served as acting president at St. Cloud State
  • In 1881, appointed the first president of the St. Cloud Alumni Association
  • After leaving St. Cloud, moved to Greeley, Colorado and served as the first president of the Greeley Normal School, now the University of Northern Colorado
  • The Thomas J. Gray Campus Laboratory School (1958), now the Engineering and Computing Center, was named in his honor

Joseph Carhart, 1890 - 1895

Joseph Carhart

  • Before coming to St. Cloud, taught at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, as well as the Indiana State Teachers College in Terre Haute, Indiana
  • Oversaw the construction of the south wing of "Old Main" (1874), completed in 1893
  • In 1892, the first St. Cloud State student newspaper, Normalia, was published
  • At St. Cloud State, taught courses in psychology and the science of education
  • After leaving St. Cloud in 1895, became president at the State Normal School in Mayville, North Dakota, a post he held until 1907

George Kleeberger, 1895 - 1902

George Kleeberger

  • Educated at the Wisconsin State Normal School in Plattville, Wisconsin, as well as the Sheffield Scientific School, Yale College, in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Before his appointment as St. Cloud State president, served at California State Normal School in San Jose, California, from 1882 to 1888
  • In 1897, oversaw the construction of the north wing of "Old Main" (1874)
  • At St. Cloud State, taught courses in psychology and the science of education
  • Athletics flourished at the school, including the introduction of college baseball and hockey teams

Waite Shoemaker, 1902 - 1916

Waite Shoemaker

  • Second alum to serve as president of St. Cloud State, graduating in 1881
  • Right after graduation from St. Cloud State, was appointed to its faculty where he would teach mathematics
  • In 1897, was granted a leave of absence to attend New York University, where he earned the degree of doctor
  • Oversaw the construction of Lawrence Hall (1905), the now demolished Model School (1906), and Riverview (1913)
  • The dormitory Shoemaker Hall (1915) was named in his honor, dedicated shortly after his death in 1916

Isabel Lawrence (acting), 1914 - 1916

Isabel Lawrence

  • First woman to serve as president, acting or permanent, at St. Cloud State
  • Named acting president while Waite Shoemaker was on leave due to illness
  • Educated at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, and the Oswego Normal School in Oswego, New York
  • Before coming to St. Cloud in 1879, was the director of the Oswego Normal School training school, assistant superintendent of schools in Yonkers, New York, and director of the training school at the Whitewater Normal School, Whitewater, Wisconsin
  • The first Lawrence Hall (1885) and the second Lawrence Hall (1905), both women's dormitories, were named in her honor
  • Retired in 1921, after serving St. Cloud State as director of the training school for over 40 years

Joseph Brown, 1916 - 1927

Joseph Brown

  • Before coming to St. Cloud State in 1916, worked in education in Indiana and Illinois, including as a high school teacher and superintendent of schools, as well as a stint in the mathematics department at University of Illinois
  • In 1901, received an undergraduate degree from Hanover College in Hanover, Indiana
  • The Chronicle newspaper and Talahi yearbook were established during his tenure as president.
  • In 1921, the name of the school changed from the State Normal School at St. Cloud to St. Cloud State Teachers College
  • The J. C. Brown Athletic Field (1927) and J. C. Brown Science and Mathematics Building (1960) were named in his honor

George Selke, 1927 - 1946

George Selke

  • Third alum to serve as president of St. Cloud State, graduating in 1913
  • Before returning as president at St. Cloud State, worked in education in the states of Minnesota and North Dakota as a teacher, superintendent of schools, and as a faculty member at the University of Minnesota
  • For the first time, St. Cloud State offered a four year program to train teachers
  • During his tenure as president, Eastman Hall (1930) was built, and the Beaver Islands (1933) on the Mississippi and Carol Hall (1936) were purchased
  • Selke Field (1937) was named in his honor
  • In 1943, went on leave to serve country during World War II, and returned in 1946, serving less than a month as president

Dudley Brainard (acting), 1943 - 1947

Dudley Brainard

  • Came to St. Cloud State in 1925, teaching history and school administration
  • Before his faculty appointment in 1925, served as superintendent of schools in the towns of Slayton, Redwood Falls, and Fairmont, Minnesota
  • After President Selke's resignation in 1946, continued to serve as president until 1947
  • Brainard Hall (1947), a men's dormitory located near Selke Field, was named in his honor
  • Retired in 1953, after serving 28 years at St. Cloud State

John Headley, 1947 - 1951

John Headley

  • Before becoming president at St. Cloud State, taught in South Dakota public schools, as well as president of the State Teachers College in Mayville, North Dakota, from 1945 to 1947
  • Joseph Carhart, SCSU president from 1890-1895, also served as president at the State Teachers College in Mayville, North Dakota
  • When construction was completed on Stewart Hall (1950), "Old Main" (1874), which was demolished soon after
  • Planning for the new library, Kiehle Library (1952), now the Kiehle Visual Arts Center, began during Headley's tenure
  • Headley Hall (1963) was named in his honor
  • Left St. Cloud State to become president of South Dakota State University, where he served until 1957 when he died from an accidental gunshot wound while hunting.

George Budd, 1952 - 1965

George Budd

  • Educated at Buffalo Teachers College and Columbia University, worked as a teacher in New York state and director of guidance at Cortland State Teachers College in Cortland, New York, as well as coordinator of field services at Oneonta State Teachers College in Oneonta, New York
  • Thanks to the GI Bill after World War II, witnessed a 500% increase in enrollment from 1952 to 1965
  • During his tenure, oversaw a major expansion of campus, including Kiehle Library (1952), Whitney House (1956), Mitchell Hall (1958), Brown Hall (1960), Thomas J. Gray Campus Laboratory School (1958), Hill Hall (1962), Headley Hall (1963), Garvey Commons (1963), and Case Hall (1964)
  • Graduate program formalized in 1953, offering master's degree in education and later expanded to include other disciplines, such as Master of Business Administration
  • In 1957, the name of the school changed from St. Cloud State Teachers College to St. Cloud State College

Robert Wick, 1965 - 1971

Robert Wick

  • Served as acting president from August 1965 to April 1966, when he was appointed president of St. Cloud State
  • Arrived in 1948 at St. Cloud State as a faculty member in the department of Speech
  • Just before becoming acting president, appointed as the Vice President of Academic Affairs
  • In 1967, KVSC began broadcasting at St. Cloud State
  • The building boom, which started under Budd, continued under Wick: Halenbeck Hall (1965), Holes Hall (1965), Atwood Center (1966), Stearns Hall (1966), Benton Hall (1967), Business Building (1968), Performing Arts Center (1968), and Sherburne Hall (1969)
  • In 2005, the Math-Science Building (1973) was renamed the Robert H. Wick Science Building

Charles Graham, 1971 - 1981

Charles Graham

  • Educated at the University of Illinois, was a professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater when appointed president of St. Cloud State
  • In 1975, the school name was changed from St. Cloud State College to St. Cloud State University
  • Campus continued to grow, including Centennial Hall (1971), Education Building (1971), Alumni House (1973), Math-Science Building (1973), and Administrative Services (1975)
  • In the 1976/77 academic year, St. Cloud State students participated for the first time in the study abroad program began at Alnwick Castle in northern England
  • Served as president of Hamline University from 1981 to 1987 and as acting president of Metropolitan State in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the 1988/89 academic year.

Lowell (Ted) Gillett (acting), 1981 - 1982

Lowell Gillett

  • When appointed acting president in May 1981, was dean of Graduate Studies at St. Cloud State
  • Earned degrees from Gustavus Adolphus, the University of Minnesota, and the University of North Dakota
  • Arrived at St. Cloud State in 1963 as a faculty member in the department of Psychology
  • After Brendan McDonald was named president of St. Cloud State, left to become president of Bemidji State University, a post he held until 1990

Brendan McDonald, 1982 - 1992

Brendan McDonald

  • Fourth alum to serve as president of St. Cloud State, graduating in 1954
  • Before becoming president at St. Cloud State, headed Kearney State College in Kearney, Nebraska
  • Sung Won Son was selected to become the new St. Cloud State president over McDonald in 1982, but resigned before taking office
  • Saw St. Cloud State Husky hockey program move to Division I, adding credibility to the hockey program when Herb Brooks was hired for the 1986/87 season and oversaw construction of the National Hockey Center (1989)
  • Stewart Hall (1950) received a $8 million renovation, which provided for more offices and classrooms
  • Enrollment hit an all-time high in the fall of 1990 when 17,076 students were at St. Cloud State
  • In 1994, the ice rink at the National Hockey Center was named "The Brendan J. McDonald Ice Rink" in honor of his service to St. Cloud State

Robert Bess (interim), 1992 - 1995

Robert Bess

  • Educated at Tufts University, Columbia University and University of California, Los Angeles
  • In 1979-1980, was acting president at California State University, Fresno
  • Spent nearly entire academic career within the California State University system, retiring in 1991 as the Executive Vice President at California State University, Sacramento
  • Intended to serve for two years at St. Cloud State, but stayed an additional year to give more time to conduct a presidential search
  • The internationalization of St. Cloud State continued when, in 1994, nearly 400 international students from more than 50 countries were in attendance, more than double from two years earlier

Bruce Grube, 1995 - 1999

Bruce Grube

  • Received degrees from University of California-Berkeley, California State University-Los Angeles, and University of Texas-Austin
  • Before being appointed as president at St. Cloud State, was at the California State Polytechnic University from 1977 to 1992, and provost at University of Southern Colorado-Pueblo from 1992 to 1995
  • The newly remodeled Ritsche Auditorium in Stewart Hall (1950) opened in 1995, while construction on Miller Center (2000) began in 1998
  • During his tenure, St. Cloud State's first capital campaign was launched
  • St. Cloud State women's hockey began play in the fall of 1998

Suzanne Williams (interim), 1999 - 2000

Suzanne Williams

  • Before coming to St. Cloud in 1997 as the vice president for academic affairs, was dean of the graduate school and director of organized research at Arkansas State University, as well as interim vice president for academic affairs
  • Educated at Randolph-Macon Woman's College and Duke University
  • Named Interim President after Bruce Grube left to become president at Georgia Southern University
  • During her tenure as interim president, KVSC began streaming its broadcasts over the Internet
  • The College of Business was renamed the G. R. Herberger College of Business

Roy Saigo, 2000 - 2007

Roy Saigo

  • Before coming to St. Cloud State, was chancellor at Auburn University Montgomery and served in academia at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, University of Northern Iowa, and Southeastern Louisiana University
  • St. Cloud State's first capital campaign ended, drawing $27 million in donations
  • Miller Center (2000), Husky Stadium (2004), and the Student Recreation Center (2004) were completed, as well as renovations of Lawrence Hall (1905) and Atwood Center (1966)
  • In 2001, the men's hockey team won the Broadmoor Trophy, presented to the winner of the WCHA's Final Five playoff tournament
  • Continued the internationalization of St. Cloud State, when 959 international students from 93 countries attended in the 2006/07 academic year, a 40% increase from 1999/2000
  • Persons of color employed by St. Cloud State increased 36% during his tenure

Earl Potter, III , 2007 - 2016

Earl Potter, III

  • Became St. Cloud State president in July 2007
  • Before coming to St. Cloud State, was executive vice president and provost at Southern Oregon University
  • Educated at Williams College and University of Washington, served in academia at Eastern Michigan University, Lesley University, Cornell University, and the U.S. Coast Guard
  • Served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1969 to 1993, retiring with the rank of captain
  • The new ISELF building and Coborn Plaza were constructed, as well as a major renovation of Riverview and addition to the National Hockey Center
  • Strengthened relationships with the local community, state, and around the world
  • Died in a car accident in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on June 13, 2016

Ashish Vaidya (interim), 2016 -

Ashish Vaidya

  • Appointed to a two year term as interim president 10 days after the untimely death of St. Cloud State president Earl Potter
  • Arrived at St. Cloud State in the summer of 2015 as provost and vice-president of academic affairs
  • Before coming to St. Cloud State, was provost and vice president for academic affairs at California State University, Los Angeles, 2010-2015
  • Served as dean of the faculty and MBA advisor at California State University, Channel Islands, 2003-2010
  • Earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree from St. Xavier College in Mumbai, India
  • Earned a master's degree and doctorate from University of California, Davis