New NMU trustees bring much to the table

The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees has three new members, all of whom Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appointed to their posts last week: Brigitte LaPointe-Dunham of Baraga, Steve Lindberg of Marquette and Greg Toutant of Negaunee.

The terms of Tami Seavoy and Robert Mahaney have expired, while Jason Morgan resigned, after which he was elected state representative for the 23rd House District.

It’s notable that all three trustees are from the Upper Peninsula, which undoubtedly means they have a strong knowledge of and connection to the region.

LaPointe-Dunham is CEO of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community while Lindberg, a former teacher and guidance counselor for Marquette Area Public Schools, served three terms as Michigan state representative for the 109th House District.

Toutant is CEO of the Great Lakes Recovery Centers, a role, combined with his active community involvement, that earned him NMU’s 2020 Alumni Service Award.

NMU’s eight-person governing board, whose members are appointed by the Michigan governor, supervises the university as well as the control and direction of funds, among other duties.

It’s an important gig.

Some duties, such as recognizing achievements of faculty and students, probably are easier than other duties, such as deciding the fate of a particular curriculum or even whether a high-ranking official continues to serve, as was the case with Fritz Erickson, whose tenture was cut short when the board terminated him in September 2021.

No doubt the NMU Board of Trustees will face new challenges, as will Brock Tessman, who recently started his official tenure as the new Northern president. These challenges could include enrollment, the budget, new infrastructure and a host of other possible projects.

Universities aren’t static. Neither are their boards, nor should they be. It’s good to bring in new blood every once in a while for a fresh outlook and ideas.

The resumes of LaPointe-Dunham, Lindberg and Toutant are impressive, and we believe the three will bring a wealth of experience to the board and serve it well.


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