St. Cloud State University President dies in car crash

Earl Potter III died on his way to the Twin Cities for a meeting on Monday.

Eliana Schreiber

St. Cloud State University President Earl Potter died Monday evening after he crashed into a guard rail on I-694 and flipped his car. 

Potter was on his way to the Twin Cities for a meeting with the SCSU Foundation Board Chair, according to a statement by Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor Steven Rosenstone.

 “[Potter]’s passing is a huge loss to SCSU, to the state of Minnesota, and to higher education,” he said in the statement.

SCSU Provost and Chief Academic Officer Ashish Vaidya will serve as acting President, Rosenberg said.

“Like every member of the SCSU community, my first and foremost concern is with the family. … Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to [them] at this time,” Vaidya said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Potter’s leadership closely connected the city of St. Cloud and the University, Mayor Dave Kleis said at the conference.

“He will truly be missed by so many, but his impact, his leadership will live on with this community and certainly with this university,” Kleis said.

Gov. Mark Dayton, who worked with Potter on four international trade missions, commemorated Potter’s memory in a statement Tuesday.

“He loved St. Cloud State University, and he loved the students, faculty, and staff with whom he worked,” Dayton said. “I extend my deepest condolences to all of them and to his family for their terrible loss.”