UM Presidential Finalist: Seth Bodnar - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

UM Presidential Finalist: Seth Bodnar

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The four finalists for president of UM are in the middle of their on-campus interviews.

We are profiling each one for you.

This profile is on an unconventional candidate.

These are the four finalists,

Mirta Martin, an advisor to former Mexican president Vicente Fox.

Charles Ambrose, president of University of Central Missouri.

Andrew Feinstein, the provost at San Jose State.

And Seth Bodnar, who is the subject of this profile.

Mr. Bodnar is currently the chief digital officer at general electric transportation,

He oversees 10,000 employees and five-billion dollars in revenue.

Bodnar graduated at the top of his class at Westpoint, was a Rhodes and Truman Scholar at Oxford, where he received two masters degrees.

He served in the 101st Airborne, commanded a Special Forces detachment as a Green Beret, and was special assistant to General Petreas in Iraq.

Early in his career he was an assistant professor of economics at Westpoint, before GE scooped him up.

One interesting little fact, Bodnar’s wife, Chelsea Elander, is a Missoula native whose mother used to work right here at ABC-FOX.

Mr. Bodnar says while he doesn't have prior university leadership experience, he doesn't lack in leadership skills:

"The skills to set and implement an integrated strategy, collaboratively do that.  To manage effectively a budget.  To foster entrepreneurship and new ideas.  And advocate tirelessly and passionately for the importance of what this institution does," says Bodnar.

Questions came on this evening from students and the community in an open forum, like building enrollment.  He said he would tap into alumni and current students as ambassadors.

"Let’s get students from those towns to go back and tell their peers, 'This place is great! Come here! We love it,'" Says Bodnar.

And questions about quelling concerns of sexual assaults on campus.

"We ought to be out there talking about our goal to make this the safest campus in the country,” says Bodnar.  “That is first and foremost.  So, as the president, safety of students is my number one priority.  You can't learn if you're not safe."

And while Bodnar admitted he would be taking a substantial pay cut to come to UM, he says the calling is worth the cut.

"How do we build lifelong learners?” says Bodnar. “How do we enable cutting edge research? How do we protect and advocate for academic inquiry and free and respectful exchange of ideas? A university is an incredibly important, I would say vital institution for not just this city, not this state, but for the entire country."

We’ll profile the final candidate, Chuck Ambrose, on Monday.

You can see all these profiles on this website, www.ABCFOXMontana.com.

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