UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

VIDEO: Congrats, graduates; and thank you, ND lawmakers

In weekly video and letter, President Armacost thanks legislators for supporting higher ed

Dear Members of the UND Community,

The North Dakota Legislature adjourned its 2021 session last week. I’m happy to report that the University of North Dakota and the School of Medicine & Health Sciences received full funding under the state’s funding formula for higher education. In addition, I’m pleased that a number of important initiatives also received funding. Although we’re still awaiting developments on a few issues, I’ll take this opportunity to express my gratitude to our legislators who spent four long months in Bismarck working tirelessly on behalf of the state. They deserve our thanks for supporting our university’s funding needs. We are awaiting the final outcome of the challenge grant bill (2030), which places restrictions upon partnerships across the university system, and we will provide written clarification of its impact upon UND, if those changes are enacted into law.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a tradition that began in 1978 as a time to celebrate the achievements, contributions, history, and culture of Asian and Pacific Island Americans. While this is a time to recognize their role in making America a strong and more culturally diverse country, it’s even more important to do so given the recent national examples of racial attacks and hate crimes targeting Asian and Pacific Island Americans.

To demonstrate how seriously UND takes this issue, the Teaching Transformation and Development Academy (TTaDA) – in collaboration with Academic Affairs – this week sponsored an online training program on bystander intervention, as well as a conversation and panel discussion on the topic of  “The Experience of Anti-Asian Sentiment, Hostilities and Violence.” My thanks to Dr. Tamba-Kuii Bailey, Assistant Vice Provost for Inclusion & Equity, for promoting the idea for this event and moderating the discussion.

Next week we celebrate the reason we exist as a university: the graduation of our students! For most, this represents the biggest achievement of their lives. Our very use of the term “Commencement” signifies what UND is all about: offering our students a beginning in the next phase of life.

Ahead of Commencement, we celebrated the Grad Walk last Saturday. We had the chance to see more than 500 of our graduates and offer our congratulations on behalf of a grateful and admiring campus community. What struck me was the excitement and optimism of each student. In spite of all that has happened over the last year with the pandemic, there was a strong sense of hope about what lies ahead in their lives.

As we prepare for the next academic year, let me challenge each faculty member and staff member to hit the “reset button” and to make sure that the excitement and passion you bring to your students and colleagues is like it was your first time. This allows us to bring that incredible sense of wonderment and innovation to our important work as a university. Hitting the reset button allows us to reflect upon the successes we’ve had, to think about missed opportunities, and to make changes that will better serve our students.

Graduates, you’ll hear more from me on the 15th, but just know how proud we are for you. Go out and make a difference in the world and in the lives of others, continue to learn and discover, and be certain to offer your gratitude to those who helped you get to this day.

With respect,