Two veteran educators are coming out of retirement to serve as interim presidents for St. Cloud State University and Northland Community & Technical College.

Larry Dietz, who retired in 2021 as president of Illinois State University, will take over as interim leader for St. Cloud State University on July 1. While he was at Illinois State University, he oversaw the implementation of a campus master plan and the creation of new programs. He also held leadership roles at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

"Why not finish the tour of duty here?" Dietz said Wednesday during a meeting of trustees for the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities. He added that he has long admired Minnesota's public university system and was "most grateful and humbled" to be chosen for the job.

St. Cloud State enrolls about 10,000 students. Dietz will take over at a time when the university is trying to navigate turbulence over budget cuts, faculty layoffs and a controversial partnership with a private company helping to run online programs. Current President Robbyn Wacker is stepping down when her contract ends.

Shari Olson, who worked at Northland Community & Technical College from 1995 to 2007, will step into the role of interim president this summer. She has worked at several higher education institutions and retired in 2022 from South Mountain Community College in Arizona after 11 years as its president.

"I failed retirement," Olson told trustees Wednesday. "I still have a lot of gas in my gas tank to give."

Northland Community & Technical College enrolls about 2,400 students at its campuses in East Grand Forks and Thief River Falls. Olson told trustees she was born and raised on a dairy farm about halfway between the two campuses and looks forward to returning. She will take over for Sandy Kiddoo, who has served as president since 2021.