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St. Cloud State President Remembered For Focus On Equity

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) –St. Cloud State University is remembering President Earl H. Potter III, who died Monday night in a car crash.

The State Patrol says his car veered into the guardrail along Interstate-94 around 5:30 p.m. in Brooklyn Center. He over corrected, causing his car to flip.

Potter, 69, served as the university's president since 2007. On Tuesday, his death was mourned by his colleagues, who praised him as a man who worked tirelessly to improve St. Cloud State as well as the city of St. Cloud.

"He never forgot to stop and thank everyone for their work and effort they put in to better the university, and that's all he ever really wanted was to make this a great experience for all students," said student government President Mikaela Johnson.

She greatly admired Potter. He would oversee her work on the campus of 15,000 students. On Tuesday, she was given the responsibility of reading a statement on behalf of Potter's wife, children and grandchildren at a press conference. She called it an honor.

During the press conference, university leaders vowed to pick up where Potter left off, by focusing on affordable quality education, increased military services and diversity.

Haji Yussuf, a 2009 alum and a friend of Potter, said he feels inclusivity has spread through campus and into the ever-evolving city of St. Cloud.

"He's made this space safe for everyone, regardless of religion, color, sexual orientation, where you come from," Yussuf said. "He was building a community, he was a bridge builder."

Potter also served in the U.S. Coast Guard for more than 20 years. He was a captain when he retired in the 90s.

Potter was to serve as president at St. Cloud State until 2019. University provost Asish Vaidya is stepping in as acting president for now.

The State Patrol is still investigating what caused Potter's car to veer into the guardrail.

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