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Robert Bess' tenure as president of St. Cloud State University was short, but it was long on accomplishments. Bess was appointed interim president in 1992, and before leaving in 1995, he had helped the school establish its American Indian Center and led an ambitious public fundraising campaign to completely renovate the 1,000-seat auditorium in Stewart Hall. Bess also built a foundation to provide for expanded opportunities for multicultural students to study at colleges in South Africa. One of his last actions as president was conferring St. Cloud State's first honorary doctoral degree. He awarded it to Minneapolis labor leader and political activist Nellie Stone Johnson, saying "her life and accomplishments had been a testament to the lessons that the best educators and parents wish to instill in their students and children." Bess, 74, died of cancer Monday in his native California. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Aug. 17 at Sacramento State University, where he was executive vice president from 1986 to 1991.