Warford Brings Leadership, Connections and Years of Local, National and International Business Savvy to Mary
Dr. John Warford describes his academic vision after being introduced as the new dean of the Gary Tharaldson School of Business
The University of Mary announced at a press conference today that Bismarck's long-serving mayor, Dr. John Warford, has been appointed as its new dean of the Gary Tharaldson School of Business.
Warford is retiring from public service this year.
"I am deeply humbled and excited that President Monsignor James Shea and the University of Mary community would have confidence in me for this important post," commented Warford.
As Warford finishes his third mayoral term and assumes his new position in June, he brings a lifetime of experience, leadership and public service to the post.
Bismarck has earned national recognition throughout 12 years of growth and prosperity under Warford. In 2008, Bismarck was the only small metropolitan city in the U.S. to not go into recession. Forbes magazine ranked Bismarck in the nation's top five for business and careers and just days ago the same national publication listed the capital city with the country's lowest unemployment rate at 2.3 percent. The Milken Institute placed Bismarck in the top five the past five years for job creation and salary growth.
Key enterprise departments within the city such as the Civic Center, the Bismarck Airport and Public Works Department are part of Warford's managing purview. Among the many achievements at the local level during his tenure, the city: posted its largest growth spurt in history; implemented numerous infrastructure upgrades and comprehensive strategic plans; rejuvenated downtown and added over 100 Renaissance Zone projects; established better human relations and proactive initiatives for the homeless; created 15,000 jobs between 2002 and 2013 -- all the while maintaining the highest quality of life and earning the designation as one of America's top 10 safest metropolitan cities according to Farmers Insurance.
On an international scale -- through goodwill, diplomacy and trust -- Warford traveled the world with trade delegations to help negotiate value-added agriculture and industrial opportunities that have positively impacted Bismarck and North Dakota.
"For our faculty and students, John brings the experience of a successful businessman, keen insight, strong relationships, and most importantly, faith-filled integrity -- none of which will ever be found in a textbook," said Monsignor Shea. "For our university, John will offer a kind of leadership and character that will elevate our School of Business to the highest levels of local and global impact. In this way, John's legacy of economic development will continue in an amplified way: by forming the next generation of ethical and hard-working business leaders. This is wonderful news for our booming state."
Education is in Warford's blood. Through the years he has been very involved with the University of Mary and the other Bismarck colleges. His father was a teacher and served as dean of business at Bemidji State University in Minnesota.
Warford envisions a much bigger role for the Gary Tharaldson School of Business by forging fully collaborative and innovative partnerships with the local business community as well as national and global entities.
"I have a passion for young people and their success. But more than anything, I want to work with faculty to help this wonderful generation of students receive the most comprehensive educational experience on a world-class level," added Warford. "My philosophy is a holistic approach to education. It's rooted in the values brought forth to this community in 1878 by our pioneering founders, the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, and exemplified by our students. Business should be a force for good in society by emphasizing to our students much needed ethics, community involvement, integrity, academic excellence and personal accountability with a broad background in business and liberal arts. Then we can all be proud to be associated with and known as a premier business school, in the acclaimed tradition of Catholic higher education."
In 2010, the Bismarck Tribune endorsed Warford for a third term and called him a "glass-half-full man."
Shea noted that Warford has been more than mayor of Bismarck, but also an ambassador of goodwill for the area. "John is a people person who's passionate about our great university, our great city and our great state and all its citizens. He has worked so hard for the common good. That's the drive, that's the energy, that's the passion we want leading and elevating our Gary Tharaldson School of Business to a global level of prominence."
Warford has been in private practice as an orthodontist and in cattle and land management since 1973 and 1976, respectively. Born in Milaca, Minn, he's a graduate of Bemidji High School, earned a B.A., B.S. (honors), and D.D.S. from the University of Minnesota, then received a certificate in orthodontics and M.S. in orthodontics from Northwestern University. Warford and his wife Jennifer have four children and eight grandchildren.