Couple pledges $20M to College of Business & Public Administration, upon state match

Anonymous alum strongly believes state should support University at highest levels; others poised to give

College of Business

Gamble Hall (above), the headquarters of the UND College of Business & Public Administration, was built in 1968. An anonymous alumnus recently pledged $20 million to replace the aging facility with a new building, if the state committed to match the donation. UND archival photo.

An anonymous University of North Dakota alumnus and his wife are pledging $20 million to help build a new College of Business & Public Administration (CoBPA) building on campus if the state commits another $20 million to use as a match for all gifts to the project.

DeAnna Carlson Zink, CEO of the UND Alumni Association & Foundation, announced the pledge to the North Dakota House Appropriations Committee on Monday in Bismarck, where she joined UND President Mark Kennedy, CoBPA Dean Amy Henley and others, testifying on behalf of the University.

The University is seeking an amendment to a legislative bonding bill to provide the needed match.

Carlson Zink read a letter from the alumnus to members of the House committee:

“I am a proud native of the great state of North Dakota and graduate of the University of North Dakota College of Business & Public Administration. I am extremely proud of my North Dakota roots and the strong education I received at UND. The hard work ethic that is instilled within me was developed in North Dakota – it’s a trait that has served me both personally and professionally throughout the years.

Because I believe in investing in the state, people and the University I hold so close to my heart, my wife and I are committed to give a gift of $20 million to name the College of Business & Public Administration with the stipulation that the state creates a $20 million match fund for all gifts to its proposed new building project.

I strongly believe the state of North Dakota should financially support the University of North Dakota at the highest level possible through this new College of Business & Public Administration building.

This state-of-the-art building will be a place that produces strong business leaders who will, in turn, invest back into this beautiful state. This new building is essential for UND to recruit, retain and graduate top students that will become our future business leaders, meeting essential workforce needs of the state.

I thank you for your consideration to invest in this monumental project for the University of North Dakota, the state, region, and the world.

I am committed to making a difference in the lives of students for generations to come and believe this partnership is essential in empowering leaders of tomorrow.”

DeAnna Carlson Zink

DeAnna Carlson Zink, CEO of the UND Alumni Association and Foundation, told members of the North Dakota House Appropriations Committee recently that, with the state’s support, there are more potential donors poised to give for a new College of Business & Public Administration building at UND. Photo by Shawna Schill/UND Today.

More potential donors

Carlson Zink told lawmakers that, with the state’s support, there are more potential donors poised to give to the project.

“We are finding tremendous enthusiasm among our alumni and friends,” Carlson Zink said. “One thing, though, that we hear time after time is that these potential major six-to-seven to even eight-figure donors want to partner with the state to make this building a reality.

“So, we are asking this committee and your fellow lawmakers to consider a major donor’s request to commit $20 million in state funds to be matched by $50 million from our donors.”

The State Board of Higher Education, the North Dakota Legislature, and the UND Alumni Association & Foundation Board of Directors already have approved fundraising for a new $70 million state-of-the-art College of Business & Public Administration building in the heart of UND’s quad.

The University is hoping to replace its aging Gamble Hall, the current business school hub built in 1968, with the new structure. A new facility also would offset nearly $20 million in current deferred maintenance needs in Gamble Hall.

Tomorrow’s business leaders

Amy Henley

Amy Henley

Henley said Gamble Hall is no longer adequate for the way students of today want to learn. Many of the building’s classrooms are designed as lecture halls with tiered, inflexible seating.

Gamble also doesn’t have the interactive and collaborative spaces needed to foster innovation among North Dakota’s future business leaders. Technology upgrades also are needed.

“Tomorrow’s students need a place for hands-on learning to interact and hone those skills, not just sit and listen,” she said.

Henley continued, “A new building equipped to educate the business and public leaders of the future — businessmen and women, accountants, financial experts, economists, government officials — including legislators — will help UND and the State of North Dakota compete with business schools both regionally and nationally for the best and brightest students from North Dakota and beyond.”

Henley added that a new College of Business & Public Administration building would strengthen partnerships with alumni and the business community in North Dakota and beyond.

“We’re excited about the possibility of a new home for the CoBPA, as it can transform not only the number of students we teach, but also the way we teach and the way faculty and students conduct research,” Henley said.