College president sorry for disparaging high school diploma

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal

WAHPETON, N.D. (AP) — The president of a North Dakota college apologized for saying that a high school diploma provides only enough education to be a "ward of the state."

John Richman, president of North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton made the comment on a Fargo radio show more than a month ago but it recently prompted criticism of him.

"Today to be a contributing member (of) society you need almost an associate's degree," Richman said. "That is what it requires to be a contributing member of society."

Richman was heavily criticized on social media. North Dakota Republican Party district chairman John Trandem also said on a Fargo TV station program that Richman's words were "unfortunate."

"I have a high school education, not a day of college in my life. I support my wife and children adequately," Trandem said. "We don't take any public money. I think that's the frustrating part, when you have college presidents essentially trying to shame people into going to college."

Richmond said the remarks he made on the June 15 broadcast were inappropriate.

"I have obviously offended some people and I owe them an apology," Richman told the Daily News. "I do apologize because it was never my intent to offend anyone. I made a mistake and it's totally on me."

He said that during his time as college president he's seen the lives of men and women change for the better thanks to advanced education.

"It's very rewarding," he added.

Richman said national associations have done extensive research that shows higher education helps with economic growth and a stronger America.

"What I'm advocating for and what a lot of these national associations are advocating for is the future," Richman said. "The research will tell us. In order to enter the workforce in the future, the vast majority of people are going to need beyond a high school diploma."