Richard A. Hanson, the president of Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College, has announced plans to retire next summer.

Hanson, 65, will step down in June 2016, after six years as president of both the university and the nearby two-year college, the schools announced Tuesday.

Hanson, who has spent more than 40 years in higher education, described his dual roles as “the best job I’ve ever had at the best place I’ve ever been.”

He was previously interim president at North Dakota State University and former president of Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa. He also served as dean and vice president of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D.

Hanson joked that he’s looking forward to retiring to get a break from the frequent four-hour trips to the Twin Cities, where the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (MnSCU) is based.

“I’ve still got some gas in my tank, but I don’t want to use it driving to St. Paul,” he said.

A national search for his replacement will begin this fall, according to Steven Rosenstone, MnSCU’s chancellor.

Maura Lerner