Gershman Graduate Center, the oldest building on campus, was built in 1902
The University of North Dakota’s Gershman Graduate Center will open next week, thanks to an extensive renovation of the Stone House, an elegant Victorian home that served as UND’s president’s residence from 1902 to 1955.
Members of the public are invited to an open house and to tour the Center from 5 to 6 p.m. TODAY. Free tours of the historic Gershman Graduate Center will begin the week of August 2, 2021. Advanced registration is required. Tours are 30 minutes long and are limited to groups of 10 or less. Tours can be booked online or by calling 701.777.2850. A video tour is also available.
A generous donation from Dr. Kathleen and Hal Gershman enabled a full-scale renovation of the Stone House building, located on the corner of Centennial Drive and University Avenue. The new Gershman Graduate Center is a unique space dedicated to graduate students and programs, encouraging collaboration and connection for online and on-campus students.
The oldest building on campus, the renovated Gershman Graduate Center was built in 1902 as home to the University’s fourth president, Webster Merrifield. His wife, Elizabeth Bull Merrifield, an heiress to the Cream of Wheat fortune, paid for much of the construction and furnishings. Described as one of the most fashionable homes in the Midwest, it was designed by architect Joseph Bell DeRemer, who also designed Merrifield Hall and portions of the North Dakota State Capitol, as well as other buildings in Grand Forks.
It housed UND presidents until 1955, when President George Starcher moved into a new official residence on campus, and then served as a dormitory and the home of the art department. After a 1981 renovation, it was renamed the J. Lloyd Stone Alumni Center and used by the UND Alumni Association & Foundation until the Gorecki Alumni Center was built.
The renovated building will open to graduate students and faculty on Aug. 2.
“It’s not possible to thank Kathy and Hal enough,” said Chris Nelson, associate dean of the School of Graduate Studies. “It’s going to make a big difference in building a sense of community among graduate students. It’s something we now have that a lot of bigger universities with bigger budgets can’t offer.”
About Kathy and Hal Gershman
Kathy Gershman retired in 2015 as professor and former chair of the UND Department of Educational Foundations and Research. She began serving as a member of UND’s faculty since 1984. Hal Gershman, a 1966 UND graduate and 2006 Sioux Award recipient, is a successful Grand Forks business owner and former president of the Grand Forks City Council. Both have been active civic and philanthropic leaders in the community.
“Hal and I have always been interested in seeing old buildings saved that have charm and a certain tradition,” Gershman said. “So after about two years of discussion, we hoped the old Oxford House would be a good location for a graduate center. Seeing this building come to life is a dream come true for Hal and me.”
“This home was referred to as one of the most beautiful buildings in the Midwest,” said Hal Gershman. “Our objective was to try to do that again. This building will be here for another hundred years.”
CONTACT: Chris Nelson, , associate dean of the UND School of Graduate Studies, chris.nelson@UND.edu, 701-777-47302786.