A Tribute to Earl H. Potter III

June 14, 2016

In an already heartbreaking week, the news of St. Cloud State University President Earl H. Potter’s death in a car accident is devastating. A past board member, vice-chair, and chair of the Minnesota Campus Compact (MNCC) board of directors, he steadfastly advocated and practiced thoughtful civic dialogue and action. He sought to integrate community engagement into every aspect of SCSU’s operations as essential to its communities and to education for “work, life, and citizenship.” He was a national leader too, serving on Campus Compact’s organizational development and strategic planning task force, while also contributing significantly to AASCU’s American Democracy Project and other networks. For the MNCC staff, Earl was a role model and guide who inspired us to strive for excellence, to continue learning from people in a wide range of fields, and to ground decisions in clear analysis, goals, and values.

Our current and past board chairs join the staff in mourning his loss:

Ron Anderson, vice chancellor for academic and student affairs with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities: “Earl’s deep commitment to higher education, civic engagement, and the work of the Campus Compact was unwavering and inspiring. He was a wise and thoughtful leader, who freely shared and mentored others, myself included. Higher education and Campus Compact are the better for his work, and he will be deeply missed.”

Paul Pribbenow, president of Augsburg College: “Earl was a friend, colleague, and partner in the public work of higher education. He cared deeply about preparing citizens for our democracy. He believed that colleges and universities needed to be forces for good in their communities. His service to Campus Compact in Minnesota and around the country was important and inspiring.”

Judith Ramaley, past president of several institutions including Winona State University: “Earl was a good friend and colleague. His commitment to the community he served and his wisdom and courage were an inspiration to all of us who knew him and learned from him. He has created a legacy that those who follow him will build upon.”

We will certainly do our best to build on his legacy. Meanwhile, our thoughts go out to his family and all who are grieving.