‘Two Presidents’ highlight faculty, staff, student accomplishments in video

The list is impressive, especially considering the challenges posed by the pandemic, the Presidents say in their letter to the campus community


Joshua Wynne: Hello, everyone, I’m interim UND President Josh Wynne and I’m joined by incoming president Andy Armacost. It’s a real pleasure to be with you today. I’m with you from here in North Dakota and Andy, you’re still in Colorado, right?

Andy Armacost: Still in Colorado, but looking forward to making it onto campus in June. Pending what happens with this COVID pandemic, we’re aiming to be on campus in the month of June. So, we’ll see everybody then.

But, in my four months in this position, supporting you, and really getting a warmup for becoming the president, I’ve noticed a lot of really amazing things happening on campus. Faculty, staff, students: it’s really been a year for the University. So, I don’t know if you’d mind starting off this session by reminding all of us about some of the great accomplishments from this academic year.

Joshua Wynne

Wynne: I’d love to, Andy. Thank you. And it’s been a real pleasure working with you on this transition period over the last good number of months. But I must say I’m actually looking forward to the June 1 handover date, so I can get back to my day job of vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

But it’s been really fun working with you and quite frankly, especially given the COVID pandemic, having both of us working together really has been a major advantage in helping the University deal with this and prepare for the future.

So, it’s been a real pleasure. And, I look forward to continuing to work with you as of June 1 as the vice president for health affairs.

But more importantly, let’s talk about some of the important contributions of our students, faculty, staff in a whole variety of areas. And I’m going to just catalog some of them because both Andy and I as well as the rest of the community are so proud of them and of you.

Among other things, we’ve had seven UND student recipients of prestigious national scholarship awards this year. The result of an effort led by Yee Han Chu, academic support and fellowship opportunities coordinator.

We’ve renamed the College of Business and Public Administration after UND alumnus Werner Nistler and his wife Colleen. And by the way, if you have not had a chance to meet this marvelous couple yet, really look for the opportunity to do so when they visit campus in the future. They are a remarkable couple. And I feel honored to have met them and chatted with them so they are really special people.

We also broke ground on a new UND Memorial Union. We celebrated the 10th anniversary of the nation’s very first degree program in unmanned aircraft systems. The National Resource Center on Native American Aging and the Center for Rural Health recognized really big milestones of 25 years and 40 years in existence, respectively.

The School’s Indians Into Medicine program made history when it announced the launch of the world’s first PhD program in indigenous health. The College of Engineering and Mines unveiled the world’s largest oil and gas drilling simulation laboratory. The college’s Dean Brian Tande, who had been the Interim Dean was named as the permanent dean.

The newly established State Energy Resource Center received 56 ideas for proposals from researchers and funded 21 of them.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the College of Education and Human Development proved to be an important asset for the K-12 teaching community and parents with tips and best practices for online teaching. As a grandfather with five grandchildren who are now deeply engaged in online teaching, addressing the K-12 community was near and dear to my heart.

The college also jumped feet first into the ultra popular world of Esports and gaming with a new academic based program that appeals to college bound students.

Nursing’s Maridee Shogren continued UND’s leadership on the frontlines of America’s opioid crisis with her ‘Don’t Quit the Quit’ initiative focused on new mothers in the nation’s most underserved areas. Stephanie Walker, dean of libraries and information resources, has led the effort for more open educational resources or OER, increasing total savings for students to nearly $11 million.

UND welcomed Michelle Sauer of the Department of English and Sean Valentine, in the Department of Management, as our newest Chester Fritz Distinguished Professors. Congratulations to all!

Andrew Armacost

Armacost: Josh, that’s really an incredible list. And a number of those achievements were done under very challenging circumstances during this spring semester.

But in addition to those accomplishments, our university staff members have been quite busy as well. Terry Wynne, who was our UND director of safety, was instrumental in UND’s distinction by the North Dakota Department of Health as the first cardiac ready campus in North Dakota.

And just last month, Karlene Clark, who was a librarian at the Chester Fritz library, was named both the Midwest region and UND student employment supervisor of the year. These are just some additional highlights.

I’ve been pleased to see so many great things happening on the campus this spring semester and I know that work will continue throughout the upcoming years.

Wynne: Andy, and I take great pride in everyone’s accomplishments as well as acknowledging the invaluable contributions of our strong alumni network. All of you helped make UND the special place that it always has been and will be in the future. Please join us in celebrating all that we are and all that we will continue to achieve.

Andy and I will have another update for you in a couple of weeks but Goodbye for now and be well.

Armacost: So long!