UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

UND launches $500 million campaign

‘Forever UND: The Campaign for the University of North Dakota’ aims to transform future of education at UND

By Milo Smith

UND and the UND Alumni Association & Foundation (UNDAAF) are excited to announce the official launch of the university’s most ambitious fundraising campaign to date, “Forever UND: The Campaign for the University of North Dakota.” With a goal of $500 million, this campaign seeks to propel UND into a future of unparalleled excellence and innovation.

The campaign was unveiled during a special event, “Forever Starts Here: A Celebration for the Future,” held Friday, Oct. 6, in the Memorial Union on the UND campus and for an online audience watching a livestream of the event.

“We are thrilled to introduce ‘Forever UND: The Campaign for the University of North Dakota,’ ” said UND President Andy Armacost. “This campaign is not merely about raising funds; it’s about building a lasting legacy that will illuminate the path for future generations of UND students.”

The campaign is designed to focus on four key pillars:

  • Student Scholarships: With a target of $125 million, this pillar aims to ensure that every student has access to a world-class education, regardless of their financial circumstances.
  • Faculty and Research: Seeking to raise $120 million, this pillar will attract and retain top-tier faculty members, drive groundbreaking research, and foster an environment of academic excellence.
  • Capital Projects: With a goal of $175 million, this pillar will invest in state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure, providing students and faculty with innovative resources to thrive.
  • Programs and Priority Needs: Allocating $80 million to this pillar will support various programs and priority initiatives, allowing UND to adapt and excel in a rapidly changing world.

“We Do. We Lead. We are Forever UND,” emphasized Armacost, reflecting the university’s rich history and its commitment to shaping the future. The campaign seeks to capture the spirit of the university’s enduring legacy, dating back to its first graduating class in 1889.

DeAnna Carlson Zink and Andrew Armacost
DeAnna Carlson Zink (left), CEO of the UND Alumni Association & Foundation, and UND President Andy announce the $500 million goal of the “Forever UND” campaign. The event took place in the Memorial Union on Oct. 6, 2023. Photo by Shawna Schill/UND Today.

The launch event featured speeches from notable alumni philanthropist Werner Nistler (grad year 1968, honorary degree 2023) entrepreneur and inventor Dr. Kathryn Uhrich, (grad year 1986) and former NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg (grad year 1994, honorary degree 2014). All of them highlighted their deep connections to UND and the reasons the campaign resonated with them.

Nistler, for example, talked about how he and his wife, Colleen, came to focus their philanthropy on the University of North Dakota.

“And as we heard about this opportunity (to contribute to a new business and public administration building) many years back, we talked and she said, “Well, if we do step forward, I think we can make a difference.” And I believe that’s what has happened. But that’s what can happen with all of you being part of this wonderful $500 million campaign.”

Uhrich, who has more than 60 patents and has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, spoke of her “humble beginnings” when she was the first in her family to pursue a college degree.

She told the audience that she and her husband had recently supported faculty through a campaign gift. “I was fortunate to have faculty who saw in me what I could not see myself,” she said. “Without faculty support, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

“Forever really does start right here, right now, with all of you.”

Karen Nyberg
UND graduate and retired NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg talks about her lasting gratitude to UND at the launch of the Forever UND campaign. Photo by Shawna Schill/UND Today.

Retired NASA astronaut Nyberg was the final speaker at the event. She said it was at UND that she learned to “embrace the audacity of my dreams.”

“I am really, really genuinely excited when I see the opportunities the students here at the University of North Dakota have, and I’m excited when I consider and imagine what opportunities that they might have in the future,” said Nyberg.

“With their start here at UND, those young people are going to make a difference. For me, Forever UND is a reminder of where I started. And if I can speak directly to any students that might be listening, I encourage you to dream those biggest dreams. And don’t hold back on that. Just dream. Because what you’re going to find is the journey in trying to reach those dreams is  where you will find your internal strength, you’ll find your potential, you find what you’re made of, and you make a difference.”

With a silent phase that commenced in 2018, the campaign has already raised a remarkable $368 million from generous alumni, friends, and corporate partners. This initial support has set the stage for the public phase of the campaign.

“We invite all members of the UND community, alumni, friends, and advocates, to join us on this remarkable journey,” urged DeAnna Carlson Zink, CEO of the UNDAAF. “Your gift can be anything. It means everything.”

To stay updated on “Forever UND: The Campaign for the University of North Dakota” and to learn how you can contribute to this transformative endeavor, please visit UNDalumni.org.

Milo Smith
Milo Smith

About the author:

Milo Smith is senior director of Public Relations & Videography for the UND Alumni Association & Foundation.