This living document shares a sampling of the tributes to our former president. Share your comments below.
Student Government: Mikaela Johnson, president, and Randall Olson, vice president
Like many in our campus community, we find ourselves wide awake early this Tuesday morning mourning the death of our President Earl H. Potter III. Our hearts ache knowing the university has lost such a caring and wise leader that has provided each of us 9 years of service to our campus.
It is no secret to many student leaders on our campus that President Potter cared deeply for his students, the St. Cloud community, and most importantly, his family.
On behalf of all the students at St. Cloud State University, we wish to extend our condolences, our love, and our support to the entire Potter family at this time. We hope to walk with you each step of the way as President Potter has done for us.
Liz Sehyun Hwang, student, Seoul, Korea
Thank you President Potter. You were an amazing leader. Thank you again for your hard work and you will be missed. Rest in peace.
Emily Tonn, student, Morris
Prayers to the family and friends during this difficult time. RIP.
Shannon Brunner, student, Osseo
Such sad news. He will surely be missed. May he rest in peace.
Gov. Mark Dayton (full statement)
It is with deep sorrow that I learned late last night of the tragic death of St. Cloud State University President Earl Potter. President Potter accompanied me on all four of my international trade missions, as he sought to find new students for the university and to expand educational opportunities for St. Cloud State’s present students.
“We worked together on several other projects benefiting the University. He loved St. Cloud State University, and he loved the students, faculty, and staff with whom he worked. I extend my deepest condolences to all of them and to his family for their terrible loss.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar
I am saddened to hear about the passing of Earl H. Potter III. He devoted his life to education and to the St. Cloud community. His dedication to service and improving the lives of others was evident throughout his career. From serving our country in the Coast Guard to his commitment to strengthening higher education in Minnesota, President Potter’s leadership and thoughtfulness made a difference in the lives of so many. I send my condolences to his family, friends, and the St. Cloud community.
Rep. Tom Emmer, from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives (video)
Earl was one of Minnesota’s best and brightest educators and he dedicated his entire life to this nation’s students, most recently serving Minnesota’s Sixth District at St. Cloud State University. Earl brought innovation and positive change to St. Cloud State over the past decade, preparing his students for life after college. Not only was Earl Potter committed to students within the St. Cloud community, but he dedicated his time and energy to serving the greater St. Cloud community and Minnesota as a whole.
He was passionate about the universities he represented, the students he served and the communities in which he lived. We have suffered a huge loss in the St. Cloud community, and my deepest condolences go out to Earl’s wife Christine, their children and grandchildren and their loved ones across the country. The work that Earl has done for our community will be his living legacy.
MnSCU presidents (full statement)
Earl was the President of Presidents. He was a statesman.
He embodied Lao Tzu’s famous quote: “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
We will miss our dear friend and colleague. His death is a tremendous loss for St. Cloud State University, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, and the Minnesota and national higher education communities.
Walid Issa ’13 ’15
He always helped students based on individual needs. In 2013, when I finished graduate school at St. Cloud State, I needed my diploma to start a new chapter in my life. Because as a broke student, I owed the school big chunk of money, the business office could not give me my diploma. I asked President Potter for help. I asked if the business office could release my diploma and work with me to arrange a payment plan. Instead, a week later I received my diploma and a receipt informing me that my tuition has been paid fully by personal check from President Potter.
Kirsten Croone ’89 ’94 ’02
I’ll miss him at SCSU and I’ll miss the red shoes he wore to events! My thoughts and prayers to the SCSU community and his family.
Brianne Perreten ’11
I started at SCSU in the fall of 2007, just after he had been appointed president. On move-in day, as my dad and I were waiting in line in our truck to move my stuff into my dorm, Earl Potter came walking through the cars to introduce himself to new students and their families. He gave my dad a newspaper, which in true dad fashion, my dad thought was “pretty neat.” Earl H. Potter III will be greatly missed. May he rest in peace.
Paul Cotton ’92
I live on the South Side near St. Cloud State State. This neighborhood has improved dramatically since Earl Potter became president. We will miss him. I hope his successor takes notice and continues President Potter’s great example.
Julia (Allen) Brolin ’10
A note to President Potter: Not many students at a state university get the opportunity to actually know the president of their school. I was one of the lucky ones who did. Working in the admissions office Earl would walk down the stairs from his office and naturally pop in to see how his tour guides were doing and thank us for doing our job. He would tell us our words and personalities are what bring people into this university and keep it going strong. It was always a treat to see him on campus while giving a tour because he would take the extra 2 minutes out of his day and allow me to introduce him to the potential students in my group. Seeing the president on your tour doesn’t happen every day, and he knew the importance of stopping to say hello.
Then there was the year we shared on the ice, rooting for the 2013 Husky Hockey team on the road to the Frozen Four. Nobody thought it was possible for a team so young to make it all the way to Pittsburgh, but he did. I’ll never forget the exciting moments interviewing him after a huge win, and sharing the ice with him as he lifted the McNaughton cup over his head – the team and the entire rink cheering him on.
When we finally got to Pittsburgh, it was my job to introduce President Potter during the pep rally. I remember the joy on his face seeing me on stage, after being told I had a heck of a time getting there thanks to delayed flights and a snow storm, and I may not make it in time. Always keeping his cool and professionalism, nobody could contain their excitement that day when SCSU made their first and only Frozen Four appearance. I introduced him as the man who only takes out his red shoes on special occasions, and this was one of them. He smiled, walked across stage, gave me a hug, and we went on with our program.
There was not a man or woman on this earth that loved St. Cloud State University as much as President Potter. His passion for students and school spirit fueled an entire university to be proud of where they came from and to push through adversity and reach their goals. Thank you President Potter for and amazing four years and leading the school we know and love to success. Your legacy will live on for years to come. Rest easy.
Goutham Ramdas ’09
I met Earl Potter when he first took over at St. Cloud State as the new president. At that time I had just become the student president for the St. Cloud State Ambassadors. Being at the helm of a group that was looking to build depth, presence and growth, it wasn’t easy. But I’ll never forget how encouraging, helpful and comforting it was to talk to Earl and learn how to navigate those waters, face adversity and grow as a leader. @stcloudstate lost a leader today; fearless and wise. I lost a friend who taught me that life was all about looking at adversity right in the eye. RIP President Earl Potter. You’ll be missed more than you know.
Lindsey (Gunnerson) Gutsch ’15
This morning at 12:45 a.m., I received the kind of phone call that makes your heart drop. I received news that someone who I spent countless hours with these past five years, someone who always had my back, someone who was my confidant, and someone who I always have and always will look up to has passed away. President Earl Potter III was the definition of selfless and caring, he was the epitome of leadership in the field of higher education. St. Cloud State University was lucky to have had him in our lives, I know I feel truly honored to have had him in mine. I will miss him checking in with me and bumping into him on campus. I will miss his advice and the confidence he had in me as a student and a leader. I will miss him dearly.
Alfredo Oliveira ’14 ’16
President Potter was a friend, mentor, and great leader. He was engaged and loved St. Cloud State. I’ll miss you, EP3. Thanks for always being thoughtful and caring. My deepest sympathies to his wife, Christine, his family, and the entire St. Cloud family.
Limin (George) Gu ’99, Distinguished Alumni Award recipient
What a shocking news! Our deepest condolences to Christine and family. President Potter was a great leader and a dear friend. He is deeply missed by all of his friends and colleagues in China. We will pray for him.
Clint Forseth ’11
I know words won’t do justice, but I wanted to reach out to a few of you and send my condolences to everyone in the President’s Office, Provost’s Office, leadership team, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and campus community. In a very difficult time, I hope you are all finding at least some comfort in the incredibly positive impact Dr. Potter had on so many people.
The most impacting story for me I have of Dr. Potter was late one summer day after business hours. Brent Donnay and I were walking out of OSPE just as Dr. Potter engaged in the empty lobby of AS with a frustrated student or parent who had come some distance (Brent may remember details better than me). She was unable to turn in something as offices were closed and was afraid she would miss a deadline. Without any hesitation, Dr. Potter took the item and ran it back up to his office after telling her he would personally ensure it was turned in the next day and would not be late. Brent and I stayed to watch his things even though he insisted that we not waste our time doing so. When he returned I playfully remarked to him on the high level of service. With that sly grin he quipped back something along the lines of aiming to please at SCSU.
As much as it matters what Dr. Potter archived, and of that it was certainly great, what matters more is the type of person he was.
I’m sure others have said this, but Dr. Potter embodied service. That is the legacy for me.
David Aase ’09 ’11
I had the pleasure of serving the St. Cloud State Alumni Association Board of Directors as the student board member from 2009-2011. President Potter made a big impact on me when I hosted a small gathering of past Alnwick Study Abroad students and faculty at the White Horse Pub in St. Cloud. There were rumors at that time that the University was thinking about ending the program. I had invited him knowing he had many other important things he could be doing, he made it a point to attend, thanked me personally for arranging the gathering and presented on the importance of Study Abroad in higher education. He concluded that the Alnwick program would continue on.
Thank you President for all you’ve done.
Clint Hilsgen ’10
How many college presidents would take a group of college hockey fans into their personal suite to watch a game on a Saturday night? RIP Earl Potter. Thanks for the memories.
Emmanuel Oppong ’13
Today the global community mourns, we have lost a GREAT leader, you were a visionary, empathetic to the plight of immigrants and refugees, exuberant in your efforts to advocate for minorities and international students, diligent in outlining your thoughtful vision for the campus and community at large. We have lost a friend, mentor, leader, visionary, uncle, brother, father and one of the most compassionate, amiable, and philosophical intellect. It was an honor and privilege to learn from your pool of wisdom, and to call you a friend and a mentor.
Rest in Peace, President Earl Potter III. Your memories will linger on in our hearts forever.
Charles Graham, St. Cloud State president (1971-1981 )
It will be difficult for St. Cloud State to recover and renew itself after such a devastating loss of its leader. We are confident that all of you will work together to move forward, a confidence based on our own experience with a community we loved and still cherish.
Bill Ruud, president, University of Northern Iowa
I was saddened to learn that my good friend and mentor, Earl Potter was taken from us last Monday. Earl was a great colleague, friend, fellow veteran — I was Army he was Coast Guard (and he let me know it every time!!), a great leader, and a great visionary in higher education. We in AASCU and the profession of higher education will miss him a lot. Know that he had a great impact not only on St. Cloud State, his community, his region, the State of Minnesota, but also a long and lasting legacy of service , caring and great leadership throughout the USA and the world.
Yes, steady as she goes my friend — steady as she goes!
Jinghai Yang, president, Jilin Normal University, China (full statement)
I can still remember his smile and handshake when we exchanged the memorandum of understanding between SCSU and JLNU. Through his great supports and efforts we had lots of programs designed and carried out between the two universities.
I know Dr. Potter was deeply respected on the campus. It is a tragedy and great loss to his faculty and students, his friends, especially his wife and his families. If my hug was strong enough to take away their pain, I would start now and never stop.
Fanta Aw and Marlene M. Johnson, NAFSA: Association of International Educators (full statement)
We were heartbroken to learn of the tragic car accident which took the life of St. Cloud State University President and NAFSA Board Member, Earl H. Potter III, PhD. Earl’s passing is a terrible loss to international education and to the world.
Under Earl’s leadership, St. Cloud State University received national recognition for its action plan on internationalization. Earl ensured the university’s mission focused on preparing students for life, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century; focusing on key learning commitments to students including imparting global and cultural understanding, active and applied learning, community engagement, and sustainability; and creating a curricular design and delivery system that recognizes the rapidly increasing globalized nature of our society and economy.
Earl was deeply respected throughout higher education. Our condolences and heartfelt wishes go out to his family, the St. Cloud State University community, and everyone who knew him.
Molly Corbett Broad, president, American Council on Education (full statement)
I am deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Earl H. Potter III, president of St. Cloud State University (SCSU). His passing represents an enormous loss to SCSU and all of higher education.
Earl was a source of wise counsel and a beloved member of the ACE family. He served as an ACE Fellow in 1990-91 at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Earl has since spent countless hours giving back to the Fellows Program, as both a mentor in 2005-06 and the nominator of two other Fellows. He also served as chair of the ACE Council of Fellows for two consecutive cycles from 2013-15, and led the Council through the Program’s 50th anniversary celebrations. For the past eight years, Earl has been an interviewer for incoming classes of Fellows, further demonstrating his dedication to strengthening the next generation of higher education leaders.
My thoughts and prayers, along with those of all of my colleagues at ACE and the Council of Fellows, are with Earl’s family and friends and the entire St. Cloud State community during this difficult time.
Elisabeth Zinser, former president, Southern Oregon University
Deep sympathy to Christine and family and the St. Cloud community. In my shock and sadness, I send heartfelt respect for the masterful leadership Earl gave to Southern Oregon University in his years as Provost and his magnificent leadership as President of St. Cloud. His influence on campuses, in his states, in our Nation and beyond leave a composite legacy only accomplished by the greatest leaders. He was a man of integrity and loving husband and father. I am one of scores who are better people for his influence, carrying wisdom in leadership inspired by Earl. We shall miss you, Earl. Thank you for being my colleague and friend.
Minnesota State University Mankato
Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family, friends, students and colleagues of President Dr. Earl Potter, and to the entire St. Cloud State community. Your contributions to SCSU and to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system will not be forgotten.
Junji Miura and Shizuko Miura, former visiting professors
President Potter visited Akita, Japan, several years ago on his way back from a China visit. He said,”I have long wanted to see you in person because I often walk past the World Commons Garden dedicated to you in 1997.” He brought two beautiful pictures of the garden in frames which he had carried all through his China trip.
He kindly invited us to come and see him in St. Cloud. We wish so much we had seen him in his office.
We miss him.
John E. Christensen, chancellor, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Our thoughts and prayers are with your entire campus and community, as your mourn the loss of this great leader, colleague and friend. May the coming weeks and days bring you and all those who knew and loved him, comfort as you remember and celebrate the time you shared.
Phil Keith, retired professor
During my 32 years at SCSU, and my 40 years in higher education, President Potter was the solidest administrator I saw in action. It is easy to think that a president’s leadership is too constrained by the complexity of the university. Earl Potter has been for me the clearest illustration of how false that fatalism is. His vision, understanding, commitment, and lack of narcissism provided a strong tiller-hand that has allowed SCSU to navigate well its own course. His untimely death is a sad blow, but the university is clearly stronger thanks to his service term.
Sergio Lavanchy Merino, rector, Universidad de Concepcion (full statement)
We are deeply saddened by the death of President Earl Potter III. He certainly was a great friend of the University of Concepcion.
One of the great achievements of [our] partnership was the Andrew Heiskell Award for International Education in New York (IIE) in March 2013. His work and effort in the endeavor of building up this partnership shall not be forgotten.
Minnesota Campus Compact (full statement)
A past board member, vice-chair, and chair of the Minnesota Campus Compact (MNCC) board of directors, Earl H. Potter III 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.
Anne Blackhurst, president, Minnesota State University Moorhead
I am shocked and deeply saddened by the death of my colleague and fellow president, Dr. Earl Potter. His death is a tremendous loss for St. Cloud State University, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System, and the Minnesota and national higher education communities. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and colleagues. I join them in mourning his loss.
Andrew J. Leavitt, chancellor, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
The strength of every campus community — and all academic communities — resides in the people who lead and the sense of shared commitment of all who follow. In this regard, we are deeply saddened by the leadership loss of our esteemed colleague.
KVSC 88.1 FM
Our hearts and minds are heavy with the loss of our leader, Dr. Earl Potter III, President of St. Cloud State University. President Potter joined KVSC frequently for live, candid updates on university news, priorities and his vision for a stronger, inclusive and community connected school.
He supported KVSC in many quiet but effective ways. We are in mourning and offer our condolences to his wife Christine, children and extended family. We also offer our support to the staff, university leadership, students, faculty and community leaders who connected with Dr. Potter in meaningful ways and are grieving this tremendous loss.
Kris Larson, employee
My last interaction with him was him asking me how I was doing in light of my duties surrounding staff reductions and an error I made on something else. I was apologetic to him and said, “If I make an error, it’s is not only a reflection on me but on you and the University.” His response was this: He took my hand in his two hands and said, “I’m behind you, Kris.” I hope he truly knew how much that has stuck with me and was so deeply appreciated.
Kristian Twombly, employee
To his family, thank you for sharing him with us. His compassion for all those who crossed paths with him was unparalleled, and our university and community are better because of him.
MSUAASF bargaining unit
Our University community is shocked and saddened by the tragic passing of Dr. Earl H. Potter III on June 13. We join our colleagues across campus and around the state in expressing our deepest condolences to his wife Christine and their family. Throughout the years and despite differences of opinion, we found President Potter to be a fair, strong, and honest leader for St. Cloud State and the entire MnSCU system. His passing is a great loss for all of us. We can think of no better way to honor Dr. Potter’s legacy than joining with Chancellor Rosenstone, Acting President Vaidya, and the rest of the SCSU Community in reaffirming our shared commitment to access, opportunity, and student success.
Jeff Wood ’81 ’87 ’95, employee
My boss, my neighbor and the man who righted our ship, has passed.
In my final conversation with President Earl H. Potter III last week, he told me of commanding a tall ship across the Pacific and he spoke with pride of his son temporarily relinquishing command in the Coast Guard to attend the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
We will deeply miss our mariner, our president.
Kirsten Wagenius ’96, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, St. Cloud State chapter
Farewell, President Potter. Your leadership of our university was resolute with vision for the “whole person” whether faculty, staff, or student despite numerous challenges. Thank you for your warm welcome, and encouragement to contribute to renewing this university together. May you enjoy God’s gracious peace, and God’s deep comfort to your family.
Brian Stanley ’93, executive producer, Husky Productions
We only spoke a few times, the conversation was always natural, friendly and the most important thing he was doing at that moment. He was appreciative of what we do for the university and never failed to let us know how proud he was of HP and the product we produced.
We were on our way to a SCSU breakfast this morning when we heard the news. The event was understandably canceled, our thoughts and prayers are with the entire SCSU community and the family.
Thank you for your support over the years, you will be missed.
Gordon Schrubbe, Jr. ’07 ’16, employee
The last conversation I had with the President, he had to make sure that the people in his conference room knew I had just received my Master’s Degree. He was like a doting and proud father of my accomplishment. I will miss our chances to converse.
Today we mourn the sudden death of Earl Potter, president of SCSU. Dr. Potter cared about the students at SCSU, and he cared about the kind of community all of us, including students, can be. A community is created when we celebrate life — whether when one is born, when two join together, or when one is lost.
We celebrate Dr. Potter’s life, his commitment to SCSU, and his tireless efforts to make it a better place, especially for students.
Our hearts go out to his wife Christine and his children. And, Earl, may you rest in peace.
Kelly Larson ’98, employee
Sad.. SCSU lost a good guy yesterday. I always called him boss or Mr Potter, yes I know he was the President. We had several good talks and they were not about work. As he said to me during one of these talks, related to today, “Shitty is good word for this.” It sounds better with his voice.
RIP Mr. Potter.
CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ)
Dr. Potter was a blessing to our campus and his legacy will be a lasting one
Initiative Foundation, Little Falls (full statement)
Earl was quick to engage in the wider community. He helped launch the Greater St. Cloud Community Priorities initiative, which led to the creation of the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, and to champion diversity and inclusion by joining groups like St. Cloud’s Create CommUNITY steering committee. He played pivotal roles in a host of other local, regional and statewide initiatives, helping groups find a shared vision to make the area better for future generations.
A gifted associative thinker, you could count on Earl to listen closely, to synthesize and distill complex information, and to find relevant themes across diverse views that could be pulled together to help move a group to action. It was truly something to behold.
He was always positive. Always encouraging. Always respectful. Always focused on solutions.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Earl’s wife, Christine Marshall Potter, their children and their grandchildren. Earl was our friend, our partner, our guide and our adviser. He will be dearly missed.
Pete Lenes, commander (Ret.), United States Coast Guard
Earl and I served together as officers aboard the USCG Icebreaker Northwind when we were both young officers. He was a gentle and wise person then and instilled wisdom to the wardroom then and continued throughout his CG career and then expanded his genuineness to all he crossed paths with during his second career. He will be missed.
Julie Wood, St. Cloud
Today the SCSU community is grieving the loss of President Earl H. Potter III, a friend to many and an unwavering champion for the students…always!
I went to SCSU for a couple of years, all 4 of my kids attended for at least a semester, 2 of the kids graduated from SCSU and my husband has 3 degrees from SCSU. It is a wonderful school in a community that sometimes forgets the “strengths” it offers to those eager to learn. This is a time to remember the opportunities SCSU offers each of us, never forgetting the people that work tirelessly to make that happen. Remember President Potter, he was one of those people and his passion and commitment went with him locally and internationally when he so proudly represented St. Cloud State University over the past nine years.
My prayers go out to his family, his friends and the SCSU community saddened by his passing. Godspeed.
Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation
We are profoundly saddened by the news of Earl Potter’s passing in an automobile accident last evening. Dr. Earl Potter, III joined our community as president of St. Cloud State University in 2007 and brought with him an understanding of the powerful symbiotic relationship between the greater St. Cloud community and the SCSU campus community. He demonstrated this by immediately joining with community leaders in creating a vision that called on us all – public, non-profit, private and campus leaders, students and citizenry – to commit the very best in us to the well-being of our region.
Dr. Potter was a leader in the Greater St. Cloud Community Priorities project, out of which the GSDC was formed. He served as Vice Chair of our corporation since its inception and led our Downtown initiative through 2015.
Our debt of gratitude to Dr. Potter is great. He was an insightful, generous and courageous man and it has been our privilege to have been the beneficiary of his leadership and friendship. Our achievements have been made possible by his contribution.
We extend our deepest condolences to Dr. Potter’s wife Christine Marshall Potter, their children and grandchildren – and the entire SCSU campus community – for their loss.
Sisters of the Order of Saint Benedict, St. Joseph
Our prayers are with the family, friends, students and colleagues of Earl Potter, President of St. Cloud State University, who died in a car crash on Monday evening. Please join your prayers with ours.
United Way of Jackson County, Oregon
United Ways across this country have lost a champion. Earl Potter served on our board when he was in Southern Oregon. He also served in Connecticut, Michigan, and Minnesota as well as United Way Worldwide.
He understood community. He was a gift, brilliant, a mentor and wise. He always raised the bar and asked the most strategic questions. And I have lost a friend. Rest in peace, Earl Potter III.
Christopher Nguyen, Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities
Earl Potter once drove down to a group of student leaders and talked to us about tools used in negotiations. The most powerful tool I learned was in a quip from him during this talk. “Yes, if” has taken me further than I would have ever expected at the time he said it, and I remain grateful for this one address I received from him. I’m only sorry he’ll never know the impact he had on me from this. #Rip #YesIf
Big Brothers Big Sister of Central Minnesota, St. Cloud
Our community lost a great man, and we at BBBS lost a champion for our kids, Dr. Earl Potter was killed in an auto accident yesterday. Dr. Potter was never too busy to answer our requests for his help, he believed deeply in the power of mentorship and in Big Brothers Big Sisters.
In 2016 he made a Man Up video for us and very recently signed the agreement for Bigs on Campus (SCSU staff/faculty mentoring kids from St. Cloud Area School District 742. Executive Director, Jackie Johnson had the honor of serving with him on United Way’s Board of Directors. He was a thoughtful, sincere, and kind problem-solver. We are saddened by Dr. Potter’s passing and express our condolences to his family and the St. Cloud State University community.
Dee-Anne Everson, Ashland, Oregon
My heart is broken. I loved Earl Potter. He was heroic, brilliant, funny, and a great mentor to me. May he rest in peace.
The only person I’ve ever talked with about caritas, gravitas and veritas. Here’s to you, my friend! You will be missed.
St. Cloud Times (full version)
Potter was determined during his nine-year tenure to be a community connector. He wanted a seamless link between the university and the community.
He took time to meet with area employers to make sure the university was matching the economic opportunities with the economic needs of Minnesota companies. He was one of the founders of the Greater St. Cloud Development Corp., a vital engine for economic growth in the area. He also served on the Initiative Foundation board. He helped create the Community Priorities program, which later became Community Pillars. He helped to guide the group as it set an agenda to improve our community on needs ranging from air service to homelessness. In addition, he worked to make the resources of the university available to help these efforts to improve the community.
He also wanted to make the campus and the students good neighbors. He took on the problem of underage and binge drinking. He spent time developing relationships with south side neighbors. Examples of his outreach were his walking tours with St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis during “move-in weekend” at the start of school, encouraging students to be responsible.
Potter’s achievements at the university have created a legacy. But his community connecting will be a lasting tribute to his vision and leadership.
Star Tribune, Minneapolis (full version)
Potter was a tireless worker who believed wholeheartedly in the value of positive relationships between the academy and the community it serves. He was involved not only in campus life but also in the St. Cloud area’s economic development and in municipal improvement projects. Though reserved by nature, he was also an affable and approachable figure, well-known and admired both on and off campus.
The relationships Potter forged and the program and facilities enhancements he championed are already translating into an economic advantage for central Minnesota businesses, which look to St. Cloud State both for talent and solutions to business problems. That advantage will endure and is an important part of Potter’s legacy. It’s one of many reasons that his loss is keenly and widely felt.