Burgum Foundation funds unique master’s program

The Burgum Foundation has provided a generous $250,000 donation to fund the University of North Dakota College of Education & Human Development’s Partnership for Rural Education in North Dakota program.

The program provides 50 percent tuition assistance to teachers in a rural school district seeking a Master of Science in Teaching and Leadership from UND. For the pilot program, nine master’s students are working and learning together in the Watford City School District in western North Dakota. The program has the capacity to enroll 24 students in a three-year period.

“Many educators in our state are eager to continue their own education in hopes of making a greater impact upon their students,” said Katie Itterman, Executive Director of the Burgum Foundation. “The difficulty lies in that many educators in our rural districts don’t have these programs easily accessible to them. Burgum Foundation and the UND College of Education & Human Development share the goal of bridging that gap for our educators.”

The Burgum Foundation was established in 2015 by Rick and Jody Burgum of Arthur, North Dakota, to continue their lifelong commitment to philanthropy. The goal of the Burgum Foundation is to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives and make communities stronger by encouraging education, good values and an entrepreneurial spirit.

Both Rick (1968) and Jody (1974) are graduates of the University of North Dakota.

“I cannot think of better models of philanthropy than Rick and Jody Burgum,” said DeAnna Carlson Zink, CEO of the UND Alumni Association & Foundation. “They give from their hearts and their support has made a difference not only at UND, but across the state of North Dakota.”

Sherryl Houdek of the College of Education & Human Development said the Burgum Foundation’s financial commitment “means the world to our students. They are so excited. They could not believe that 50 percent of their degree would be paid and that they would be able to be in an innovative master’s program collaborating with teachers that they see every day.”

Houdek says the Watford City School District will also benefit from the program as the students work collaboratively on district-focused research to fulfill their degree requirements.