Williston State College hires Bernell Hirning as its next president

Local News

The State Board of Higher Education has named Bernell Hirning as the next president of Williston State College.

Hirning was chosen from a field of 29 applicants and four finalists.

“Dr. Hirning embodies the talents and experience that Williston State College has come to expect from its leadership,” said WSC Presidential Search Committee Co-chair Kathleen Neset. “We are confident that Dr. Hirning is the right person for this role, and his experience exemplifies the mission and vision of this campus and community.”

Hirning will assume office following the retirement of John Miller in June 2021.

Hirning has spent over 30 years in education. He began his career in North Dakota as a business teacher and basketball coach at Turtle Lake-Mercer High School in Turtle Lake.

After receiving his Master’s degree from Minot State University, he was hired as an Assistant Professor of Business at Mayville State University.

In 2002, Hirning moved to California where he served as Associate Regional Dean and Regional Associate Vice President for National University, the second largest private, non-profit university in California.

He also developed extensive experience in education-community-business outreach programs during his time in California.

Hirning holds a Ph.D. from Capella University, a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree from Minot State University and an Associate degree from Williston State College (formerly UND-Williston).

He was born, raised, and educated in southwestern North Dakota, graduating from Mott Lincoln High School.

He has two daughters and six grandsons.

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