MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- University of Minnesota regents were poised Friday to replace the high-profile style of former President Mark Yudof with an intense, affable insider in Robert Bruininks, Yudof's old lieutenant.
On Thursday, the regents identified Bruininks as the lone finalist for the president's job, which he's held on an interim basis since Yudof's departure in July. They were to vote on the appointment Friday.
"Bob was the person who oversaw most of the implementation of the things I only dreamed about," Yudof told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis on Thursday. "I always found him to be very creative and to have a strategic, long-term outlook that was ingenious and very sound.
"What's less apparent is that Bob is very tenacious. When we needed to get something done, he would just wear down the other folks and do it. He does not roll over."
The decision to name Bruininks came after regents spent three days interviewing a handful of other candidates from outside the university. Though Bruininks declined to be a candidate when the process began, he never said he wouldn't take the job.
Nonetheless, he was surprised when the call came Wednesday. "I totally expected to finish my tour of duty and hand over the keys to a new president and return to academic life at the university," Bruininks said.
Maureen Reed, chair of the Board of Regents, said, "We determined the person with the best skills was right here."
Following the announcement, Bruininks attended a public meeting with regents where the prospect of a new football stadium was discussed. After that session, faculty and administrators crowded the room to take their first chance to congratulate him.
Bruininks, 60, joined the university as an education professor in 1968 and became a specialist in educational psychology and special education. He was dean of its College of Education and Human Development from 1991 to 1997.
In May 1997, Yudof announced a new administrative structure and asked Bruininks to take the No. 2 job, vice president and provost.
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