Move-in day for UND’s new president

Andy and Kathy Armacost take up residence on University campus

New UND President Andy and First Lady Kathy Armacost moved into the University House on Monday, their first full day on campus. They moved from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Grand Forks, N.D., over the weekend. Photo by Shawn Schill/UND Today.

President Andy and First Lady Kathy Armacost awakened Monday morning in University House to the sight of the sun rising over English Coulee, the beginning of their first full day on the UND campus.

“I’m eager and excited to be here, to see people face-to-face, rather than online,” President Armacost said, noting how the COVID-19 pandemic delayed by months his arrival on campus. “We really want to start making a difference in the lives of our students, faculty and staff.”

The Armacosts and their dog Sadie took up residence at University House on Monday. A friend of Kathy Armacost made a welcome sign for their new home. Photo by Shawna Schill/UND Today.

Monday was also move-in day for the Armacosts and their dog Sadie, a 12-year-old cockapoo – thought to be the first canine resident of the home, which was completed in 2008. The Armacosts and Sadie made a two-day trip from Colorado Springs, Colo., to Grand Forks. Sadie watched patiently as Kathy stood in the driveway, clipboard in hand, marking off each box unloaded from the moving van.

COVID-19 delay

The First Lady commented on how much time had passed since UND announced the selection of Andy Armacost as UND’s 13th president last December 3.

“It’s been a long process, almost seven months that we’ve been looking forward to coming here,” she said. “The move has gone very well, and the timing has been perfect. We’re looking forward to getting started and settling in.”

The Armacosts already have a plan in mind to acquaint themselves with UND.

“What we’re hoping to do every evening – as long as the weather allows it – is take walks with Sadie to see every nook and cranny of the campus and, most importantly, to say hello,” Andy Armacost said. “We want to know what’s on peoples’ minds and spread the warmth of UND to everyone.”

The first order of business is preparing for the fall semester reopening of UND.

“The plan is to continue the work to get ready for the fall semester – bringing people back to campus in earnest,” the UND president said. “We’ll be setting up important safeguards, such as COIVID-19 testing for all students, faculty and staff. We also want to make sure the courses we’re offering are well designed.

“We can float between on-campus and online teaching if the pandemic takes us that direction,” he added. “There’s been a lot of work by faculty and staff to get ready for this moment. It’s good to be here to see it unfold.”

Building relationships

While moving in, Andy Armacost answered a call from a community leader requesting a meeting, which underscored the new president’s desire for strong relationships with the community and the state of North Dakota.

“We’ll have active engagement with all our elected officials, as well as our legislators,” he said. “The relationships with elected officials, city leaders and business leaders are imperative.”

UND’s new First Lady also plans to be involved on campus and in the community.

“I’m going to take an observational approach at first to see where my skills and talents might be helpful, and then go from there,” she said.

UND First Lady Kathy Armacost checked boxes off her list as movers unpacked them and took them into University House. Photo by Shawn Schill/UND Today.

Before accepting the president’s position at UND, Armacost was the Dean of the Faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He has more than 30 years of active duty experience, with 20 years at the Academy. Armacost held the rank of Brigadier General as the Chief Academic Officer at the nationally ranked institution.