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Published May 09, 2011, 08:45 AM

GF Attorney Shaft Elected ND Board of Higher Ed President; Espegard VP

North Dakota's Board of Higher Education has two new top officers, and they're both from Grand Forks.

By: Associated Press,

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Board of Higher Education has two new top officers, and they're both from Grand Forks.

Board members on Monday elected Grand Forks attorney Grant Shaft as their new president. Duaine Espegard (doo-WAYN' ES'-puh-gard) was elected vice president.

Shaft is now the board's vice president, and he will succeed Jon Backes (BAH'-kus) of Minot as president on July 1. Backes is leaving the board at the end of June.

Shaft served in the North Dakota House during the 1980s. Espegard is a retired Grand Forks banker and former Republican state senator.

Shaft says his first priority is to repair the board's contentious relationship with the Republican-controlled Legislature.

The board has eight voting members. It oversees North Dakota's system of 11 public colleges.

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