New strategic momentum spurs ever-changing UND

In 1889, six women and two men made history when they became not only the first graduating class at the University of North Dakota, but the first University graduates in the northern region of the Dakota Territories. Their legacy continued on May 11, 2019 as UND celebrated its 131st spring commencement. Nearly 2,000 students crossed the stage at the Alerus Center receiving their degrees signifying the end of their undergraduate and graduate careers and the beginning of new lives as college graduates.

Their accomplishments are a part of surge in graduation celebrations at UND, tied to strategic goals to increase graduation rates. In the last three years, UND’s graduation rate has jumped 10 percentage points.

And although our graduates are leaving as alumni to pursue careers all over the world, UND will always be their home.

They may return to UND to give of their time and efforts or to reminisce and revisit to see the completed projects they helped spearhead.  These projects include the Memorial Union, which was built in 1951.  Slated to open in the spring of 2021, a new Memorial Union, with over 158,000 square feet, will house new dinning and retail options, study spaces, and many other features. What current students envisioned will become a reality, which they will be able to visit during homecomings, reunions, and events in the years to come.

Through the generosity of retired UND Professor Dr. Kathy Gershman and her husband, 66’ graduate and Sioux Award recipient Hal Gershman, the J. Lloyd Stone House is in the process of being completely restored.  Just a few weeks ago, the historic home’s new foundation was laid, and renovations will continue throughout the summer to house spaces for Graduate students to meet, collaborate, and learn.  Other improvements to UND include renovations to the Chester Fritz Library and the College of Business & Public Administration, additions to the High Performance Center, and the restructuring of University Avenue and other roads and parking lots around campus.

New changes are not just occurring on campus.  UND’s commitment to bring quality education and broaden the UND community worldwide are being seen through growth in online programs as well.  In an eight state region, UND is the largest non-profit online university, with over 3,346 students currently enrolled, besting Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

The online programs will expand in the fall of 2019 with the addition of the Online Masters in Nursing.  The Dean of Libraries, Stephanie Walker, and her team are working hard to provide free online classroom resources to students with Open Educational Resources, resulting in over $6 million in student savings in the last four years.  All of this is contributing to the success of our One UND Strategic Plan goals:

Goal 1 – Liberal Arts

Provide a strong undergraduate liberal arts foundation

Goal 2 – Graduation Rates

Increase undergraduate, graduate and professional graduation rates

Goal 3 – Enrollment

Deliver more education opportunity online and on-campus

Goal 4 – Research

Enhance discovery at a level consistent with most research-intensive universities

Goal 5 – Inclusive

Foster a welcoming, safe and inclusive campus climate

Goal 6 – Serving Military

Meet educational needs of active duty and reserve military personnel, veterans and their families

Goal 7 – Engaging Alumni

Attract support for the University by actively engaging alumni and donors

Find more information on our Strategic Plan here.

Finally, the resurgence of this blog will serve to keep you informed regarding all of the exciting things happening at UND.  Other UND leaders will contribute valuable information as guest authors on a regular basis.  We hope you will subscribe, read, and engage with us so we may succeed in working toward our goal of One UND, the place we all call home.

— Tom DiLorenzo, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost