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Sturm leadership at Minot State University

Minot State University took its first steps towards putting into action Roger and Ann Looyenga’s $1 million gift for leadership with the welcoming of Jim Sturm as the director of the Looyenga Leadership Center.

Last November, the Looyengas presented their gift to expand the University’s leadership opportunities, beginning with a leadership certificate and concentration that include four new leadership classes available for all students.

This meant the University needed someone to head the new center. Vice President for Academic Affairs Laurie Geller was a member of the council who selected the candidate for the new position.

“The Looyenga Leadership Advisory Council sought someone who could work with a variety of people – students, faculty, staff, and community members,” she said. “We also wanted someone who models leadership and who will inspire students to consider learning more about leadership, whether that is in a course, workshop, co-curricular activity, or some other method.”

Sturm has a lengthy resume that aligned with the council’s criteria.

“Jim has worked in higher education for over 30 years in a number of roles in residence life, student activities, student leadership development, administration, grants, and teaching,” said Geller. “He is excited to use his knowledge and experiences to help others develop their leadership skills.”

After he accepted the position, Sturm moved to Minot from Buffalo, New York at the beginning of September. Having never been here before, he has quickly settled into the city and the University.

“Everyone I have spoken with from the University has been great and made me feel very comfortable. That is why I could make the decision to move out here,” he said. “I have always wanted to see this area of the country. The Badlands are one of my top bucket list locations.”

Throughout his 30 years of working in higher education, Sturm has taught leadership classes and served as a vice president, vice provost, and a dean at the university level.

“I have really enjoyed helping students discover their leadership styles and develop their skills,” he said. “I am excited to continue that here. For me, the students are what make it all worthwhile, and I look forward to meeting the students at Minot State and getting them started on their leadership journey.”

While he is well-versed in working in different leadership programs, the Looyenga Leadership Center offers a different opportunity than other programs Sturm has run.

“Minot State has an opportunity to build a leadership program from the ground up and to become a resource not only for students, faculty, and staff at MSU, but also for Minot and the entire region,” he said. “That is an opportunity that does not come along often, and I can’t wait to be a part of it. The Looyengas have given us a chance to really make a difference.”

Sturm plans to use his position to expand the center even more in the future to include the rest of the University and community of Minot.

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