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This publication features President Kelley's Inaugural Address, State of the University (2008) and State of the University (2009)


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Dr. Robert O. Kelley assumed duties as the 11th President in UND’s 125-year history on July 1, 2008. He came to UND from the University of Wyoming, where he had served as Dean of the College of Health Sciences and professor of medical education and public health since 1999. Before that, he was Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Executive Associate Dean of the Graduate College at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and professor of biological sciences at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor of anatomy and cell biology at the College of Medicine, both at the University of Illinois at Chicago. At the University of New Mexico, he served as chair of anatomy and Senior Executive Associate Dean, as well as other faculty capacities. He has also taught at the University of California, Berkeley.

Kelley earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas, in 1965, and his master’s degree in 1966 and doctorate in 1969, both in cell and developmental biology from the University of California, Berkeley.

UND’s First Lady, Marcia Bell Kelley, was a senior lecturer in the University of Wyoming Department of Communication Disorders and supervisor of clinical services in speech-language pathology. She earned her bachelor’s degree at Loretto Heights College and her master’s degree at the University of New Mexico. She spent much of her childhood in northern Minnesota.

Bob and Marcia Kelley have four grown children and two grandchildren. They are outdoor enthusiasts who count skiing, camping, hiking, sailing, kayaking, and scuba diving among their hobbies.

Robert O. KelleyMarcia Bell Kelley

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THE INAUGURAL ADDRESSPresented September 12, 2008

THE STATE OF THE UNIVERSITYPresented November 18, 2008

Dedicated in 1930, Merrifield Hall was the first campus structure to have ornamental details beyond the bare necessities. These relief images of the prairie rose, the “flickertail” gopher, the plow and wheat shocks were symbols that resonated strongly with the frontier heritage of the state.


THE STATE OF THE UNIVERSITYPresented December 2, 2009

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“UND will be a national leader in integrating the liberal arts into the education of every student with the goal of providing the highest quality

opportunities for individual growth and fulfillment in the global society.”


Presented December 2, 2009Memorial Union

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Thank you and good afternoon.

A “State of the University” address is a valuable opportunity. It is a time to reflect and evaluate, and to contemplate a shared vision for our institutional future. It is a time to begin the process of refining that conversation into an action plan for moving forward.

I believe that it is time for UND to make some major steps forward, both in its expectations for itself and to achieve its full potential for our society.

Instead of reciting a litany of specific achievements recently made by faculty, staff and students, and of the many accolades and awards received by UND’s departments, colleges, schools and centers (including the Athletic Department), I would like to lay the foundation for what I believe should be UND’s future. It is my hope that these comments will begin a collective conversation that will extend through the remainder of this academic year, resulting in the development of, and a shared commitment to, specific action items that will advance the University and its constituencies going forward.

I also intend to include in my remarks some of the necessary priorities that I feel

UND will need to make to be successful in our transition from “great” to “exceptional.”

As the University prepares to enter its 128th year in February 2010, I believe that all of us in the UND Family can take considerable pride in the work that we do to continue the mission, goals and distinction of this great institution.

Let me take a few moments to discuss where we currently are.

As we move through the 2009-2010 academic year, UND enjoys substantial support from the North Dakota Legislature, the executive branch, the State Board of Higher Education and our congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. These groups continue to support the vision of higher education as an economic engine for our state, and to sustain the principles of flexibility with accountability in the management of our institutions.

Overall, UND appreciated a significant increase in its budgeted expenditures. As a matter of fact, I think I’m safe in saying that the University is in its best budget position ever — a remarkable position when compared with other public postsecondary institutions across the nation. UND’s budget supports

the mission of preparing students for tomorrow. These students number 13,172 this semester — just 15 students shy of a record enrollment — including 10,440 undergraduates and 2,732 graduates. They are pursuing degrees in some 220 fields of study, including 90 majors, 70 minors, 59 graduate programs, 24 doctoral programs, two graduate professional programs and one specialist diploma.

In addition, we appreciate support from the state for renovation of and an addition to the College of Education and Human Development building, and for construction of a new building for the Center for Family Medicine in Bismarck. Planning is already under way for both of these projects.

UND also appreciates positive partnerships with the cities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks; the communities that support UND’s statewide Family Medicine programs; the community hospitals that assist in the education of students in medicine, nursing and the health sciences; and the Grand Forks Airport Authority and the Grand Forks Air Force Base for their ongoing support for


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UND’s programs in collegiate aviation. In return, the UND community contributes over $1 billion in economic development, much of it in Greater Grand Forks and the region. I might also add that the budget supported by the Governor, the Legislature and North Dakota’s congressional delegation continues to position UND as an affordable and accessible university, fully compliant with the academic plan and goals of the North Dakota University System.

Going Forward

As I talk with faculty and staff across the campus, it is clear to me that the institution is dedicated to the creation of knowledge, to the transmission of that knowledge to our students and to colleagues in our disciplines, and to the application of that knowledge to the problems of society. To put it another way, we are committed to building North Dakota and our society through teaching and learning, research, scholarship and creative work, and service. This is the foundation upon which we will continue to build.

It is also clear to me that UND enjoys significant synergies in three multidisciplinary selected areas: energy and the environment; the biomedical, behavioral, and life sciences; and the liberal arts.

These selected areas are further enhanced through functional connections with the professions: medicine, nursing and other health professions; business; law; education; and the advanced technologies that are fundamental to the sciences, engineering and mathematics.

So what should UND emphasize? What do we aspire to become in the years ahead?

First and foremost, my vision of the future is one in which the UND student experience will make a demonstrable difference in the values, the talents, and the critical thinking and problem solving that graduates must be able to bring to a global society. UND will be a national leader in integrating the liberal arts into the education of every student with the goal of providing the highest quality opportunities for individual growth and fulfillment in that global society.

UND must also aspire to provide students with the highest intellectual

and practical skills: inquiry, analysis, critical and creative thinking, written and oral communication, ethical reasoning, quantitative literacy, information literacy, and teamwork and problem solving.

UND will continue to be committed to excellence in teaching and learning, and to providing activities and services to make that possible. To this end, UND will be a national leader in the application of advanced technologies to teaching and learning, with increased emphasis on learning networks within the experience of the University.

UND will become the premier institution for research and development related to energy utilization, renewability and sustainability, and also in the development and implementation of sustainable policies for our environment.

UND will be the nation’s leader in health care education and training for rural primary care and for rural health care policy. To this end, UND will continue to emphasize the importance of research and scholarship in the basic and applied life sciences.

UND must place a high priority on its research enterprise. Better organization

Our students made a tremendous contribution to the region’s flood fight in the spring of 2009.

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within the new Office of Research and Economic Development will focus on enhancing technology transfer and the management of intellectual property, and on increasing UND’s competitiveness for extramural funding.

UND will continue to lead the world in the field of collegiate aviation, and in the research, development and commercialization of innovations related to unmanned aircraft systems.

UND will aspire to achieve the highest possible rates of student retention and degree completion, both undergraduate and graduate.

And UND will aspire to a significant international and multicultural presence, both on campus and abroad, with the goal of creating a learning environment that fosters greater curiosity and understanding among students in international and intercultural issues. The emphasis should be on student and faculty engagement with “big questions,” both contemporary and enduring.

Permit me a few moments to elaborate on some of these points.

First, I hope that it is clear that I’m addressing some fundamental — but fairly

large — questions that will impact UND’s growth as a research university. What characteristics and qualities do we want our graduates to exhibit in a global society? What kind of world environment will UND promote? And what quality of life will UND promote to enhance fulfillment of the individual, both on campus and going forward (and I might add for those of us who work at UND on a daily basis)?

The people who will shape tomorrow are in today’s classrooms, laboratories, centers and clinics. The strategies today’s students are using to learn — for example, the formation of online networks and IT-based information management — are practical innovations that are challenging traditional pedagogy and traditional strategies in higher education. Students are using informational and networking technologies more and more as both an academic and a social component of their college experience.

It is my judgment that UND is lagging behind in the use of IT for student learning. This University should position itself to take the lead in the applications of technology for both teaching and learning, and in computational research and scholarship.

What will make UND fresh and engaging in the future will not only be greater applications of technology but also the continued development of some of the initiatives that are taking place on campus right now.

For example, the faculty and the academic leadership of UND are re-shaping undergraduate education through the evolution of general education requirements as foundations of learning. The Essential Studies Program develops a fabric of knowledge, critical thinking and problem solving that weaves its way throughout the undergraduate years.

It is also my observation that UND’s graduates will need to be comfortable in international settings.

International study at UND is not a


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distraction. The data show us that students who have international study experiences as undergraduates perform at a higher level academically and graduate at rates both higher and earlier than their counterparts who do not study abroad. An international presence and experience for UND students must become a higher priority for this institution. That experience must include cultural awareness, language proficiency, and knowledge of history and societal development in regions of the world beyond the borders of North America.

As we go forward, our students and their faculty members must continue to be creative and entrepreneurial.

I’m going to elaborate on this point in some depth, as there are opportunities for synergies in teaching, learning, research, and tech transfer and commercialization in the following example.

The new Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Vehicles — abbreviated

respectively as UAS and UAV — is a remarkable opportunity for UND. This center of excellence, supported by both state and federal resources, is designed to research and develop technologies for unmanned flight.

The activity, however, is far from “unmanned.” It will require development of new, innovative ways for crews on the ground to fly machines virtually all over the world.

Think about this for a moment from a multidisciplinary perspective, and from the standpoint of education, research and development, entrepreneurship, and commercialization. Add to your thinking the perspectives of human behavioral analysis, ethics and public policy. Pilot training requires that new instructional software be developed. New flight simulators must be designed to utilize this software. Flight systems require new remote sensors to keep pilots on the ground informed of what’s happening in the air. Higher-resolution imaging systems must be developed to analyze what’s on the ground. Newer, more fuel-efficient engines must be designed and new sustainable fuels developed, perhaps from hydrogen or sustainable biomass. And behavioral

studies of human performance for pilots and maintenance crews must be completed and understood, depending upon the wide range of activities in which UAVs will be engaged.

The work that will be done at the UAS Center of Excellence has the potential for starting up new businesses or expanding the product lines of existing businesses. Furthermore, development of this potential requires expertise from multiple disciplines: students, faculty and staff in engineering and mines, education and human development, business and public administration, aerospace, the entrepreneurship program, the EERC, the Center for Innovation and the REAC 1 facility in UND’s research park, nursing, psychology, medicine and health sciences, chemistry, and — not to leave anyone out — our law faculty, who may be required to assist the FAA in working through rules and regulations for use of airspace. How UND develops the teaching, research and entrepreneurial potential in the UAS Center will be an additional metric in how well the institution achieves both its mission and vision.

Let me turn to the goal of bringing

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The liberal arts are the very soul of our University, where we learn to think and critically evaluate our environment and technology.


UND to a premier national position in the fields of energy and the environment.

North Dakota is blessed with an abundance of carbon-based energy resources. Our state is also blessed with the basic materials required for renewable and sustainable energy generation: geothermal, wind and biomass.

UND must develop an even greater presence in energy research and education. And we will continue to expand programs in the responsible use of our environment.

Two weeks ago, I met with a group of students encouraging me to continue to emphasize the goals of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Our students are telling UND that we must exercise leadership in our communities, and throughout society, by modeling ways to reduce

global warming by limiting carbon dioxide emissions, and by providing the knowledge and the educated graduates that will continue the effort to achieve climate neutrality. In many ways, I believe that this is a defining issue for this generation of students. As I conversed with this group, I was reminded of the work being done by students and faculty across campus to catalog UND’s carbon footprint, and to develop technologies that will significantly reduce carbon emissions and our overall carbon footprint. Faculty and staff in the EERC are evaluating new technologies for carbon storage and for commercial production of alternative fuels like hydrogen. As a result of this work and through the persuasion of UND’s students, it is not unreasonable to envision this university as a premier institution in developing policies and technologies for energy utilization and sustainability. UND must become the “go-to” institution for developing solutions that address the quality of the environment, including such complex issues as global warming and air and water quality.

Finally, let me speak to how UND must become a leader in fulfilling the quality of life for the individual. To put it another way, what should UND do to become a

premier institution that contributes to the development of the whole person, in the holistic sense?

For me, “quality of life” embraces a wide range of intellectual and physical pursuits: arts and humanities, including music and theater; science and technology; physical exercise; intelligent conversation on the issues of the day; travel and an informed interest in what’s happening around the world; and personal relationships. Sometimes, “quality of life” requires that we stop, listen, reflect, contemplate, process some new piece of information — and smile. Listen to the Twamley Carillon at noon. UND permits us to do that.

And to this end, I believe that UND should aspire to be a premier institution known for providing a student with the foundation for a fulfilling existence, someone able to be accomplished across both general and specialized fields.

I’m saying all of this to emphasize that UND is not only about Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (popularly referred to as STEM), but also the development of “human

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infrastructure,” if you will, involving an integration of the liberal arts and humanities with other specialized courses of study. UND values innovation and creativity in literature, music, visual and performing arts, history, sociology, philosophy, languages and linguistics, as well as STEM. All must be valued parts of the vibrant intellectual environment at UND. And all, I believe, are at the core of a holistic “educated” person.

UND must also be at the forefront in promoting physical and mental wellness through education and through the provision of health care and the education of health professionals.

The University community enjoys one of the finest wellness programs and centers in the nation. In addition, UND’s College of Nursing and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences are recognized leaders

in meeting the health needs of rural populations in innovative and practical ways. The greatest advances in the country in addressing the under-representation of Native Americans engaged in the health professions are being made on our campus. And we are positioned to address significant questions through behavioral research by students, faculty and staff in the Department of Psychology and in the Counseling Center. Also, we are bringing together the interdisciplinary strengths of North Dakota’s two research universities to deliver a new Master of Public Health degree. Collaborating with NDSU, this effort combines elements of pharmacy, medicine, nursing, epidemiology, psychology, and social work to form a public health curriculum.

My vision, then, is that UND will become an even greater force in the education and training of health professionals for the state. When we examine the health and wellness of our society half a century from now, we will be able to point to the central role that UND played in preparing health care professionals for rural America, and to the role that these graduates played in increasing access to health care and to

increased levels of wellness in our state and nation.

The Challenge

In closing, it’s evident to me, through listening to discussions of legislators serving on the Interim Higher Education Committee and to the deliberations of the State Board of Higher Education, that UND is expected to use its resources to make significant contributions in support of the state’s economy and workforce. To this end, the academic plan of the North Dakota University System calls for significant increases in enrollment, retention and graduation of individuals in its 11 institutions.

Success in meeting this expectation will require UND to continue to improve its efforts in marketing and advertising — one way of addressing enrollment enhancement and management.

But an additional priority, going forward, will be to increase UND’s retention and graduation rates. At present, based on data published by the UND

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Office of Institutional Research, slightly more than three-fourths of UND’s students continue into their second year of study. And a significant percentage are unable to complete graduation within the traditional four years.

As we move ahead with our plans to meet both the mission and vision for our University, I anticipate a vigorous conversation in the planning process that will address issues of retention and graduation rates, financial aid, and the economic impact on families when students require longer than four to five years to complete a degree. In addition, I would invite discussion regarding:

• sorting of students (viz. by test scores and GPAs from high schools);

• the “under-matching” problem of students who fear they will be unable to achieve at a four-year research institution but who can succeed and should be enrolled;

• promoting environments, including financial ways and means, by which under-represented minority students — specifically American Indian students — can matriculate and graduate from UND.

So let me extend a call to action.

I invite the campus to join in a conversation during the next semester about planning the next steps for UND.

We have engaged in two comprehensive strategic planning exercises in the last decade, and we ought not to have to reinvent the wheel in charting our strategies and tactics for tomorrow. Under the direction and leadership of the Provost, the academic deans, and the leadership of every department at UND, our goal will be to determine how each unit will approach the goals expressed this afternoon, and then identify the specific major actions and resources needed to move each component of the University to the next level.

One word of caution: It will be a mistake to think that UND should attempt to be all things to all people.

But I firmly believe that UND can make a difference in preparing for the society of tomorrow. We have the talent, the commitment, and the collegial and collaborative attitudes that will show that the University of North Dakota is a special place because of our people and what they are doing. I firmly believe that UND’s lasting priority — and its legacy — will always be our students and our graduates, and the opportunities we provide them to excel — to be the very best, be it in the classroom, laboratory, studio, clinic, cockpit, business incubator, or in athletic competition.

We have work to do.

I look forward to the next several months as we define the strategies and action items that will take UND from “Great to Exceptional.” We will do so together.

Thank you, Professor [Wendelin] Hume, for this opportunity to address the University Council.

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Presented November 18, 2008Memorial Union

“Our goal, quite simply, is to be exceptional in all that we do.”

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It is a great personal pleasure to present my first State of the University address to the UND community. Marcia and I have been warmly welcomed by all of you and, as a result, we have very quickly come to feel that we are an integral part of the Uni-versity and all that UND represents to our city and our new state of residence. Thank you for welcoming us.

As Marcia and I have traveled the state, we have come to understand that North Dakota is UND’s campus. We have also come to understand how much North Dakotans care about UND and how much UND means to them. As the new President, I feel that much more than an institution has been entrusted to my care and my leadership. I have been charged with caring for a community: a family of students, faculty, staff, retirees, legisla-tors, and concerned partners in the city and state, all willing to work together to nurture this great institution.

UND has transformed generations through its mission of education, learning, research, scholarship and creative works, and has prepared its graduates for leader-ship in Bismarck, Washington, throughout the United States and the world, and, most

recently, aboard the International Space Station in Earth orbit.

The University of North Dakota is a great university poised to be an exceptional one, blessed with a creative, innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.

Our goal is, quite simply, to be excep-tional in all that we do, to be the very best in the arts and humanities and the professions, as well as science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which I will refer to as “STEM,” and athletics. And we will continue to conduct our programs in exceptional facilities that are sensitive to our environment and to the economies of our city, state and nation.

Since arriving here on July 1, I have observed that there are at least four core values, unspoken but clearly present, shared by every member of the University family: an emphasis on quality; a willing-ness to take advantage of offered opportu-nities; an atmosphere that I can only call “learner-centered”; and a strong sense of public engagement. I believe that sharing these core values will help us move from “great” to “exceptional.”

I would like to spend just a few

moments at the beginning of this address highlighting some of the outstanding achievements within the institution. Clearly, I won’t be able to speak to every accomplishment, and there should be no attempt to read between the lines if a favorite program or achievement is not mentioned. But I would like to showcase a sample of what the faculty, staff and students of UND have achieved as a reflec-tion of where we are at the moment, and why we should be justifiably proud of the University.

UND has a remarkable faculty and staff. The University has recruited well over the years, and we will continue to put priority emphasis on allocating resources into faculty and staff compensation and professional development. The efforts of UND’s faculty and staff have resulted in new centers and institutes; new advances in science and technology; creative new performances in music and the visual and performing arts; and development of innovative new technologies, such as the AgCam that was recently delivered to the International Space Station by NASA on the space shuttle Endeavour.


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Faculty have developed centers that focus on such diverse themes as digital humanities, sustainable energy, human rights, digital archiving, neuroscience, natural resource law, human behavior, and regulation of the gaming industry. The list goes on and on.

And last week, UND hosted the first North Dakota University System Staff Leadership Conference. In addition, it’s important to note that UND enjoys unprecedented leadership across the North Dakota University System: Haylee Cripe is the student member on the State Board of Higher Education; Jon Jackson is the faculty representative to the State Board; and Janice Hoffarth, administrative assistant in the Department of Music, is the newly elected (and first) president of the University System Staff Senate.

UND enjoys remarkable students, too. Enrollment is up. We have nearly 12,750 students at the University this fall. And among those students is a freshman class that, from the standpoint of grade point averages and ACT scores, is possibly the most prepared incoming class in the institution’s history.

The Graduate School continues to grow. Students working on advanced degrees now number 2,135. The professional schools continue to have stable enroll-ments. Some colleges, such as the School of Engineering and Mines and the College of Nursing, have seen significant growth, thanks in part to our distance education programs. And the best news is that there is every reason to believe that enrollment will again be up next fall. It will take a great deal of hard work by a lot of people — faculty, staff, and students — but if we all pull together, we should exceed our near-term enrollment goal of 13,000.

I just mentioned distance instruction. I learned the other day of one remarkable student who is a truck driver based in North Dakota. Her work takes her from Alaska to Texas — quite the opposite of the “place-bound” student. Along the way, she visits Internet connections so she can pursue her degree, online, through UND.

The University currently offers 31 distance degree programs and certificates administered by Continuing Education. Enrollments stand at 3,161 and, in my judgment, there is considerable capacity for growth in online and distance education. And driving a long-haul 18-wheeler is not

a prerequisite for accessing UND’s online programs. We have students on campus who are taking UND courses through distance education to supplement on-cam-pus courses or to overcome a scheduling conflict.

Students of the future, as well as many enrolled now, will come to expect choices in how they receive their education.

This clearly is an area where UND can do more, and we will.

I believe that this kind of dedication to study at UND reflects exceedingly well on our academic programs and the oppor-tunities for learning that these programs provide. Accreditation for professional programs is always an issue, and it is an index of UND’s excellence that programs in the School of Law, College of Educa-tion and Human Development, College of Nursing, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, School of Engineering and Mines, and the Odegard School of Aerospace Sci-

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ences all continued to achieve high ratings from accrediting and licensing agencies.

UND recently hosted a very success-ful Higher Learning Commission site visit focusing on program and learner outcome assessment. Because of the hard work of our faculty and staff, UND received high marks on our response to the Higher Learning Commission about learning outcome assessment and how we use the results of assessment to continually strengthen our educational programs.

Let me mention just a few of UND’s many areas of programmatic excellence.

Recently, I was introduced to the Inte-grated Studies Program, an opportunity for students entering the University to explore how multiple disciplines — for example, economics, political science, the intersec-tion of technology with society, music and the arts — all come together to frame solutions to contemporary issues. That was an enjoyable morning for me because this is the way I learn, and, of course, I think others should enjoy learning this way, too.

UND rolled out its new nationally recognized Essential Studies Program, providing a roadmap for students to

navigate through the University and obtain a general education that benchmarks against the curriculum of other exceptional universities.

And I’ve had a great deal of satisfaction watching students in the College of Busi-ness and Public Administration manage America’s only student-run venture fund, the Dakota Venture Group. A similar group of UND students manages an Invest-ment Fund portfolio of some $800,000 that continues — at least, I think it continues in today’s financial climate, Dean Elbert — to outperform the S&P 500.

National rankings are a somewhat fickle index of an institution’s quality, but I would be remiss if I didn’t state that it gives a president a great set of talking points to be able to highlight areas with national recog-nition — such as UND’s entrepreneurship program (top 15 nationally); UND’s pro-grams in aerospace sciences and aviation education (uniformly ranked No. 1 nation-ally); national standing for UND’s commu-nity-based program in medical education, in partnership with health care systems in the state; nationally recognized academic programs for Native American students, including INMED (Indians into Medicine)

and RAIN (Recruitment and Retention of American Indians into Nursing); nationally recognized programs administered by the National Center for Hydrogen Technol-ogy and the Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies in the School of Law; and installation of the AgCam associated with the Northern Great Plains Center for People and the Environment.

The UND Graduate School has also enjoyed signal achievements in recent weeks. Neville Forlemu, a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry, became the first UND stu-dent to receive a UNCF/Merck Predoctoral Fellowship. Peter Reis, a Ph.D. student in physics, and Daniel Theis, a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry, were selected to be among only 60 invitees from around the world to attend the 58th Annual Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students in Lindau, Germany. And, two weeks ago, the State Board of Higher Education approved a Ph.D. program in scientific computing to add to UND’s roster of graduate programs.

Also, this past summer the four telescopes at the UND Internet Observa-tory were brought into operational status.


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Three optical telescopes and a radio telescope are now available for use over the Internet. Observers can be at home, in dif-ferent states or even in different countries, and make observations. How cool is that? A telescope for the southern hemisphere is the next goal of this group.

Also this summer and fall, UND enjoyed events associated with the 125th anniversary of its founding: commence-ments; convocations awarding honorary doctorates; Great Conversations with Salman Rushdie, Phil Jackson and Stephen Bloom; an inauguration ceremony; An Afternoon of the Arts; a day of memory for President John F. Kennedy; Travis Roy; performing arts productions in the Burtness Theatre; musical performances and concerts by the Pride of the North Marching Band, the 12 O’Clock Jazz Band, and the Steel Drum Band. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend a performance of this last group, you should. They’re a creative blend of the Caribbean — Bob Marley, Trinidad and Tobago, and Junkanoo — right here on the Red River of the North.

UND’s research enterprise continues to grow. Awards for research and sponsored programs have been at or around the $100 million mark for the past two years.

Many people have contributed to this growth. Faculty and staff efforts have played a major role through their com-petitive ideas and innovation. UND has a very productive, supportive congressional delegation that assists in providing fund-ing for new ideas that will be the nuclei of economic development for the state and nation.

For example, Sen. Byron Dorgan founded the Red River Valley Research Corridor, and provided funding for a number of centers and institutes that have contributed to the Corridor’s success. And Gov. John Hoeven, by recommend-ing funding for North Dakota’s Centers of Excellence Program, supports programs like the Center of Excellence in Unmanned

Aircraft Systems and the Center of Excel-lence in Life Sciences and Advanced Technologies.

The University’s work through the Red River Valley Research Corridor — which includes collaborations with North Dakota State University, the two tech parks at both institutions, and with businesses and local communities included in the Research Corridor — has helped UND reach an overall economic impact of more than $1 billion.

And UND’s facilities are supporting the expectations of faculty, staff and students in their respective activities. In September, we dedicated the new National Center for Hydrogen Technology at the EERC. A month later, we dedicated the Northern Plains Behavioral Research Center, which will house research activities in nursing and psychology. Soon we will dedicate the new REAC 1, the first building in our Research, Enterprise and Commercial-ization Park next to the Hilton Garden Inn. Housing the Center of Excellence in Life Sciences and Advanced Technolo-gies, its tenants will include businesses and programs like Alion, Avianax, Ideal Aerosmith, Laserlith, NovaDigm and SUN-RISE Renewables (affectionately known as

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“Wayne’s World,” where Professor Wayne Seames and his team of students from the School of Engineering and Mines and the College of Arts and Sciences investigate the development of biofuels).

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the new University House where Marcia and I have the privilege to live. It’s another example of the impact of our growing UND Foundation. Through a generous gift from William and Jane Marcil, adminis-tered through the Foundation in partner-ship with the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Operations, UND has a new venue for greeting guests to campus and a gracious home that adds value to an already handsome campus.

The Foundation has assets of nearly $220 million, thanks to many generous alumni and friends. True, we are now in turbulent economic times — and how the global downturn impacts our future remains to be seen — but the Founda-tion Board is composed of accomplished alumni who are dedicated to the success of UND and will continue to work with all of us to assure a successful future for the University.

The new Student Wellness Center

remains one of the jewels in UND’s crown. Just yesterday, the center was awarded the American Heart Association Platinum Level Fit Friendly Company Award and the Workplace Fitness Innovation Award — awards given to organizations that achieve the highest levels of physical activ-ity in the workplace.

And the Chester Fritz Library continues to be an integral component of teach-ing, learning and scholarship on campus. Digital collections have grown, histori-cal records and manuscripts have been archived, and the Library has partnered with the School of Law to obtain important international documents from the Nurem-berg Tribunals and the period of the Ethio-pian Red Terror to supplement research collections critical to UND’s Center for Human Rights and Genocide Studies.

Let me also share with you the status of UND’s transition to Division 1 in the NCAA. Under the very capable direction of our new Director of Athletics, Brian Faison, UND is in the first year of transi-tion to full D1 membership status. In July, our first month of the transition, we took our first big step as a D1 program when we were invited to join the Great West Con-ference. This provided almost all of our

sports programs with a conference home. In this regard, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball have all enjoyed wins over Division 1 opponents. We have dra-matically increased the marketing reach of UND Athletics through a marketing part-nership with the Ralph Engelstad Arena. I’m sure that you have seen the advertise-ments for our teams as you travel around the city and state: “We Are One, We Are North Dakota.”

Also, as I “Stand Up and Cheer” for our teams, I’m impressed that these outstand-ing young athletes are also outstanding students. At the close of the spring semes-ter of 2008, seven graduating seniors held a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or better. Eighteen student athletes held a 4.0 GPA through the fall 2007 and spring 2008 semesters; and coming into competition this semester, 55 student athletes hold GPAs of 3.5 or better. Fourteen of our 20 teams were represented in NCAA post-season play. Six student athletes were named to Academic All-Dis-trict teams and four were named Academic All-Americans. And three earned indi-vidual event NCAA championships.


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Clearly, UND is a great university — creative, innovative and entrepreneurial.

So, what do we do next? Where are we going, and how will we get there?

As I indicated in my inaugural address to the University family a few weeks ago, there is a great deal to be learned from the 125-year history of our institution. We’ve had good times and bad. Significant chal-lenges have confronted the University, and we certainly have some significant ones ahead of us.

Going forward, the following challenges will provide the working foundation for specific priorities as outlined in UND’s cur-rent academic plan.

We will be challenged by the increasing costs of higher education. These costs are driven by the need for competitive com-pensation, competitive benefits like health care, construction costs for new facilities, regulation and compliance with govern-ment mandates and oversight, and campus

security. All are necessary and must be managed thoughtfully. Effective alloca-tion of fiscal and human resources will be an ongoing process to assure that UND reaches its goals.

We will continue to be challenged to provide access to new generations of students. We will continue to work with the Chancellor and the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education to promote increased contributions from the state to UND’s revenues. We have no wish to raise tuition if that can be avoided, because that action simply places a greater burden on students and families, and makes higher education less accessible.

And we will continue to be challenged by the need to maintain and improve educational quality, and to be accountable for that quality.

There are five specific areas that I wish to emphasize for the coming year: the global financial landscape in which we live; enrollment; leadership; academic priorities and synergies; and UND’s athletic transi-tions.

First, all of us are aware of the major economic downturn that has had ripple effects around the world for the past

several weeks and months. Although UND and the State of North Dakota appear to be relatively stable at the moment, we may have challenges ahead with institutional finances. In this regard, UND supports the budget recommendations advanced by the Chancellor of the North Dakota University System and approved by the State Board of Higher Education.

UND has explained its portion of that budget to the executive branch in Bismarck, and we will learn where UND will stand in the Governor’s Budget as it is rolled out in early December. We are also discussing UND’s priorities with members of the North Dakota Legislature as opportunities permit. The Legislature has supported UND by acknowledging the recommendations of the State Roundtable for Higher Education and through the recommendations of the Interim Commit-tee on Higher Education. I wish to thank the Legislature for its continued support for UND and the North Dakota University System.

UND’s budget relies on several major related components. About half of our operating revenues are derived from state appropriations and tuition and fees, both about equally divided. The remaining

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We will establish a clear set of goals that are both challenging and realistic.

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revenues come from grants, contracts, the auxiliary enterprises of the University, and our modest but growing endowment. We thank our friends and alumni for helping grow that endowment.

As we apportion our revenues, we will continue to focus on faculty and staff com-pensation, and on UND’s academic pro-grams, with special priority on the arts and humanities, the professions, and the STEM initiatives, including the national Sci-ence and Math Teaching Initiative (SMTI, affectionately known as “Smitty”). We will continue to work to increase scholarships and other forms of support for students. Likewise, we will place a high priority on creating more endowments for professor-ships and chairs, which will continue to enhance the stature of UND through more competitive recruitment of faculty and development of new programs.

And we will continue to target resources for improvements to our facili-ties. We anticipate that a new Informa-tion Technologies and Computing Center will be funded during the next session in Bismarck. This building will house IT for the North Dakota University System and will provide space for UND’s further development of technologies that will sup-

port computational science on campus. An additional top priority is the renovation and build-out of the structure housing the College of Education and Human Develop-ment.

I wish to add that UND will be challenged to provide stewardship of resources which we must earn — and I emphasize “earn.”

Whether they are appropriations from the Legislature, tuition and fees from enrolled students, grants and contracts from state and federal agencies, or gifts from friends and supporters of this great University, these resources are being competed for by many sectors. UND must compete at the highest levels to earn the resources that are assigned to us. I believe that these resources will be earned, by all of us, through our creative, innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.

Another ongoing priority will be build-ing UND’s enrollment. We had increases

this year, but it will take a lot of hard work to continue that trend. We will step up activities in recruitment through strategic marketing and advertising.

This will require additional resources, but equally important, it will require a clear set of goals that are both challenging and realistic. We will work with staff in the Office of University Relations, and also extramural expertise, in UND’s marketing and advertising initiatives. Success in this area will require all of us to contribute to a university environment that will be wel-coming, stimulating and safe for students; a culture that is conscious of, and places a priority on, multicultural diversity; and one in which this diversity is coupled with critical thinking through UND’s curricu-lum. In brief, UND must be an exciting place for all of us in which to learn, live, create, innovate, and advance our respec-tive goals and ambitions.

We will enhance our international stu-dent presence on campus. We’ve already had some very good success in this area. UND is the No. 1 destination campus for Norwegian students studying in the United States. Programs in the Odegard School


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bring in students from literally all over the world. The Department of Chemistry has created a pipeline for students from Cam-eroon. And students from Somalia and Malawi enroll at UND to study educational leadership in the College of Education and Human Development. Among students, faculty and staff, more than 60 countries are represented on campus.

In addition, I believe that we must engage more actively in exchanging UND students with other universities and insti-tutions beyond the borders of the United States. Clearly, the goal of these efforts is to add value to the UND experience through the creation of an enhanced international and multicultural environment. It is only through such enhancement that UND will be able to educate fully our students for their roles in an increasingly connected, complex global community.

More and more students are requesting the opportunity to enroll in courses and programs offered in part or totally online. We will need to review our program and course offering culture. To succeed, in some cases it will be necessary to examine how and when courses are scheduled and how they are delivered and funded. We

must become more nimble in addressing this cohort of our students.

In addition to recruiting more students, we must find more ways to retain those who do come, and find ways to assure their progress toward a degree.

We have a wealth of academic pro-grams for a university of our size. But we need to utilize this strength to retain students. We lose far too many students after they get here. The retention rate for the freshman class has improved over the past two years, which may be a direct result from increased admissions standards implemented in 2005. But we need to do more to keep students from leaving us after their first, second and third years. In this regard, finding more compelling ways to engage students in the life of the University may have the most immediate impact on meeting this goal. And retention, time to graduation, and graduation rate must

become metrics by which we gauge institu-tional success.

UND has one of the most comprehen-sive curricula of any university of compa-rable size. The newly launched Curriculum Master Planning Initiative, administered by the Deans Council and the Office of Academic Affairs, will continue to assess issues of quality, identification of impor-tant new program initiatives, and, in some cases, revisions to existing programs to assure maintenance of the highest quality education at the University.

As UND’s future begins to unfold under a new administration, I wish to state that shared governance is alive and well here. We have an engaged group of senates — faculty, staff and students — all with dedicated, capable leadership. The President’s Cabinet and I participate with each of these groups and have listened to the respective issues that have been brought before the administration. In this regard, it is my position that the leadership of the University is responsible for nurtur-ing the UND family.

UND has a tradition of caring for members of the family, and that tradition will be continued. The administration of

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We must engage more actively in student exchanges with

institutions outside the United States.

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the University will strive to communicate its deliberations and decisions wherever possible, and to permit input into those decisions that impact the UND commu-nity. That isn’t saying that hard decisions will not have to be made; rather, it is to say that the business of the University isn’t just business. It’s also about how students, faculty and staff are affected.

In addition, UND will continue to partner with the City of Grand Forks and seek new avenues to participate in the economic development of our city and state.

A downtown presence for some of UND’s academic programs may be both desirable and feasible in the immediate future. In addition, we will seek new ways to partner with the Grand Forks Air Force Base in areas of immediate return, most notably by providing courses needed by personnel to advance their careers, and in developing the facilities and programs

needed for the new Center of Excellence in Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Furthermore, UND will continue to achieve new collabo-rations with North Dakota State University for purposes of education and research advancement. The immediate priority will be to advance a joint program leading to a master’s degree in public health.

There has been some reorganization within the President’s Cabinet. I have asked Brian Faison, Director of Athletics, to join the Cabinet; and I have eliminated the position of Vice President for General Administration. Robert Gallager, Vice President for Finance and Operations, has announced his retirement starting in December, and I have asked Alice Brekke, UND’s Budget Director, to serve as interim Vice President. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Greg Weisenstein has been named President of West Chester University in Pennsylvania and expects to begin his duties there in March 2009. Paul LeBel, Dean of the School of Law, will serve as interim Vice President for Academic Affairs during the search for a permanent successor to Weisenstein.

In addition, Gary Johnson, interim Vice President for Research, has resigned to take a position with the South Dakota

University System, and I have asked Dean Hesham El-Rewini (School of Engineering and Mines) to chair a search committee to recommend candidates for the position of Vice President for Research and Economic Development. Barry Milavetz has stepped up to the interim vice presidency as the search progresses.

I wish to personally thank each of these individuals for their service to UND.

[Editor’s note: Alice Brekke was appointed Vice President for Finance and Operations on May 7, 2009, and Phyllis E. Johnson assumed the duties of Vice President for Research and Economic Development on August 1, 2009.]

The respective portfolios of each Vice President and the Provost will continue to be examined to best serve a growing, evolving university so that they will reflect added emphasis on meeting goals in equity, multicultural and international issues, and information technology utilization for the campus.

I mentioned earlier in this address that priorities for academic programs would reside in the arts and humanities, the


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professions, and the STEM initiatives on campus.

I believe that UND has done an excellent job in building and strengthening the research enterprise. We will continue to do so. But we must also renew our commitment to the liberal arts and to scholarship in the arts and humanities.

We can do that in several ways. First, we will find ways to continue the Great Conversations that have been so popular. These were special events associated with the 125th anniversary celebration of UND. We need to continue these instructive and entertaining events. I would like to see UND host at least two or three Great Conversations during the course of an academic year.

I also suggest that UND establish an

Arts and Humanities Council to help focus attention on the liberal arts and humanities. Among its charges would be developing and organizing conferences and symposia, much like the “John F. Kennedy History, Memory, Legacy” event held this past September. This excellent conference represents the focus on scholarship and knowledge that characterizes an excep-tional university like UND.

An additional priority will be placed on the development of connections among campus resources, both human and fiscal capital, to create synergies. UND already has some excellent examples. The College of Nursing, the Department of Psychology, and UND Aerospace have teamed up to lead a nationwide study of human factors that affect aircrew performance, and to examine how differences such as personal-ity and communication styles may affect pilot training. Such synergies contribute to excellence in academic programs and to competitiveness in obtaining extramural funding to support the synergy.

Another opportunity resides in the development of an exciting new field, digital humanities, that is being explored in the Department of English and other units across campus. By using computational

technologies, one can study the develop-ment of the thought and creative reasoning that goes into a creative work — a poem, a concerto, a novel, and a public address. By adapting these methods to assess the creative process, and to extend that line of creativity and reasoning beyond the completed work, an investigator may then able to develop paradigms that predict how further work in that area might be framed. The applications to public policy, business planning, legal issues, and even health diagnostics and human behaviors are limitless.

And I’ve already mentioned UND’s AgCam, another example of multidisci-plinary activity creating a “supercluster” to advance ideas into realities. This instru-ment will capture on-demand images of land and other surface features across the Upper Midwest, and will be used by farm-ers, ranchers, tribal resource managers, and researchers to assess hydration, nutritional content, and other properties of soils, in addition to biological resources like forests and crops within the range of the sensors and analytic instruments contained in the camera.

Students and faculty involved in this project came from four UND colleges

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— Arts and Sciences, Business and Public Administration, Aerospace Sciences, and Engineering and Mines — and from the Departments of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Computer Sci-ence, Space Studies, Earth Systems Science and Policy, Physics, and Theatre Arts.

An obvious opportunity for multidisciplinary synergy is the potential of developing an academic unit at UND dealing with alternative and sustainable energy resources.

The goal would be to provide an undergraduate and, eventually, a graduate degree program focused on understanding current energy sources and their manage-ment and utilization. Clearly, UND has existing strengths in this area, as evidenced by the activities in the EERC, the SUNRISE Initiative, the new degree programs in petroleum engineering and research center, and the Jodsaas Center in the School of

Engineering and Mines.

Connecting existing strengths in several colleges and schools across the campus — a new, exciting synergistic curriculum dealing with natural resource law and policy, executive management, languages and cultures in energy-producing regions of the world, as well as the technology behind development, recovery and produc-tion — would provide opportunities for students to enter the energy industry with knowledge and tools not available through programs at other universities. We cur-rently have our best and brightest from a variety of disciplines working on recom-mendations for curriculum development in these important areas.

These are examples of activities in which we need to do more. I’ve asked Professor John La Duke, Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, to work with UND’s faculty and staff to identify existing multidisciplinary groups that have potential, with added resources, to attain national prominence. I have asked La Duke to take the same approach to iden-tifying possible new groups that, through collaboration, expertise and synergy not before realized, can also be taken to national prominence.

And fifth, UND will continue the tran-sition into NCAA D1 competition. Our goal of full Division 1 membership for all of our sports programs will involve the fol-lowing priorities during the next five years:

n Administer the athletics program in full compliance with all D1 membership requirements;

n Continue to lead the mandated process for reclassification, continually engag-ing all constituencies of UND in the progress of the process;

n Continue to build and maintain com-petitive athletic teams;

n Aggressively grow the financial resources needed to operate a com-petitive Division 1 athletics program, including continued partnering with the City of Grand Forks and the UND Foundation for development of competitive facilities for training and game-day competition;

n Expand the presence of UND athlet-ics in the local, regional and national media;

The State of the University 2008 z Page 21


We will identify existing and

prospective multidisciplinary groups

that have the potential to achieve

national prominence.

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n Work in partnership with the Univer-sity to maintain the department’s com-mitment to diversity and gender equity;

n And ensure continuation of the tradi-tion of academic success by our student athletes.

I have asked Sue Jeno to continue to be the faculty representative to the NCAA and will ask Athletic Director Brian Faison to continue to work with his coaches and staff to assure appropriate progress toward completion of these priorities.

In closing, as I indicated in my inau-gural address, UND will continue to dem-onstrate a shared set of values: academic freedom; academic integrity and honesty; inclusiveness; understanding of cultural, ethnic and racial diversity in our society; respect for individual differences and beliefs; a genuine commitment to advanc-ing knowledge through teaching, research and scholarship; and a commitment by the University to serve our society at every level. Leading universities — and UND is one — exhibit focus, passion, courage, wisdom and integrity in coupling multicul-tural and international awareness with the critical thinking that students gain from participating in the curriculum.

Strategic positioning of a university comes from a lively, robust institutional conversation. From these conversations will come “the Big Ideas” and a more complete understanding of the institution’s mission and goals.

I believe that UND’s “Big Idea” is the realization that we are educating our students for “complexity” — to prepare our students to participate in a global commu-nity and to address complex questions for

which there are no simple, or even correct, answers.

It is to this end that we must renew our commitment to the University and to its success in moving from “Great” to “Exceptional.”

We will go there together.

Thank you.

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The State of the University 2008 z Page 23

I believe that UND’s “Big Idea” is the realization

that we are educating our students for “complexity,”

preparing them to participate in a global community

and to address complex questions for which there are

no simple, or even correct, answers.

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THE INAUGURAL ADDRESSPresented September 12, 2008

Chester Fritz Auditorium


“Our University must continue to frame the power

of the intellect.”

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Governor Hoeven, Chief Justice Vande-Walle, Justice Kapsner, members of the State Board of Higher Education, Chancel-lor Goetz, fellow presidents from tribal colleges and from colleges and universities in the North Dakota University System, distinguished faculty, staff and members of the administration; my dearest Marcia, my family and my friends,

I want to begin by saying how much it means to me to have members of my family with me today: daughter Karin and her children; our grandchildren, Taylor and Lauren; Marcia’s mother and father, Orin and Mary Bell; and Marcia’s brother, Greg, and his wife, Michelle. I wish that my parents, David and Onetia Kelley, could be here. Mother would be painting the landscapes along the English Coulee, and my librarian father would be evaluating the collection in the Chester Fritz Library.

I also want to recognize my good friend, Dr. Stuart Webster, chair of accounting in the College of Business at the University of Wyoming. For nine years, Stu tolerated my trombone playing in the Laramie Community Band. That’s friendship! Stu and his wife, Jan, have a lake place to the northeast of here, and Fred Wittmann told me a couple of days

ago that Stu had called for directions to campus. Fred was explaining about getting off I-29 to DeMers, going east, etc., and Stu interrupted to say, “Oh, that’s the way to Cabela’s!”

I welcome, too, the scholars and leaders of other universities with us today. Their presence reminds us of what we do at UND every day: teach, gain new knowledge and insights into the world around us, and serve our community, our state and our nation.

And I welcome the students who have joined us. You are the reason that the University is here.

This inauguration marks the addition of another name to the list of individuals who have served the University of North Dakota as President. It should be noted that even though this ceremony looks a bit like a commencement, an inauguration is somewhat different. Commencement is a rite of passage for an individual, but an inauguration is a rite of passage for the entire university.

It is also interesting to consider the so-called inaugural address. To paraphrase Drew Faust, the current President of Har-vard University, “Inaugural speeches are

a peculiar genre. They are, by definition, pronouncements by individuals who don’t yet know what they are talking about.”

In preparing for this afternoon, I’ve been thinking of those who have preceded me. Ten times in the past 125 years, a new President has been invested with the task that is now my turn to assume. Each of them was deeply dedicated to the Univer-sity. Each must have been grateful and proud of the opportunity to contribute to UND’s development. And each must have been both sobered and excited by the chal-lenges facing them during their terms of service. I share all of these emotions with them.

Today we celebrate the University of North Dakota. UND … creative, inno-vative and entrepreneurial … 125 years old this year … founded six years before statehood.

As I develop my thoughts with you this afternoon, I want to frame UND’s future somewhat around the past — “From Tradi-tion to Tomorrow,” to quote our theme for the 125th celebration.


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In 1958, Louis Geiger, a history profes-sor at UND, wrote The University of the Northern Plains, recording the first 75 years of UND’s history. There is a great deal to be learned by a new President in reviewing this history.

First and foremost, the spirit of North Dakota is embedded in UND. North Dakota is passionate about its namesake university. This passion resides in the citizens who serve in our Legislature. This passion resides in faculty, staff, and alumni. And this passion is reflected in the pride that the citizens of this beautiful state have for their University.

Next, the role of university leadership is valued, a function shared by all of us in the community and state. As in 1883, we invest the responsibility for oversight of our state system for advanced learning in a state board — originally a Board of Regents and now the State Board of Higher Education.

And last, many of the values brought to the University during its early history are timeless, and must be nurtured and contin-ued into our future.

Let me return to our traditions for a moment.

The Dakota territorial legislature passed a bill in 1862 — its first session, Professor Geiger relates — to establish a university at Vermillion. No appropriation accom-panied the measure, so nothing happened. But by 1880, the territory was intent on statehood and the roles of colleges and universities attained greater importance. On February 27, 1883, the Territorial Assembly passed, and Territorial Governor Nehemiah G. Ordway signed, a bill that established a University at Grand Forks.

The Act authorized issuance of a $30,000 bond for construction of a building, provided that the city donate a ten-acre site; $5,000 for faculty and staff salaries; and $10,000 for an observatory.

So, here’s lesson number one for a new President of UND: know how you got to where you are. Work with the citizens of the state through the representative legislature to advance your programs. Be steadfast, clear and consistent in stating what you feel is needed to serve the citizens of the state. And work as closely as pos-sible with the leaders of state government. Always maintain honest, open relation-ships with city and state leaders. All are important to the advancement of the University.

Well, to continue with a bit more his-tory, on October 2, 1883, a group of digni-taries gathered on the prairie more than a mile west of the boomtown of Grand Forks to lay the cornerstone for the first building of the University of North Dakota [later to be affectionately known as Old Main] on the banks of the English Coulee. The Grand Forks Herald observed that the event occurred on one of the “brightest, crispest, freshest, most palpably wholesome days of the most glorious autumn that even Dakota ever saw.” The weather that day “crowned the object of the day’s proceedings with an approving and sunlit smile.”

UND was off to a great start. North Dakota then, as now, was UND’s campus.

Blessed with some of the most fertile soil on earth, North Dakota attracted railroads, the beginnings of what would become a great agricultural industry, developers, merchants, speculators and homesteaders. And Grand Forks was a boomtown, a town of excitements and contrasts. Saloons and churches. “Fly-by-nighters” and solid families. Among the latter were the Twamleys, the Collinses and the Teels.

James Twamley operated a general

Laying the cornerstone

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store. Born in Ireland, he had started a number of business enterprises in New York, Chicago and St. Paul before mov-ing to Grand Forks. William T. Collins and Charles E. Teel were both physicians practicing in Minnesota. Like many doc-tors today, they may have responded to the challenges of extending primary care into a small, but growing, rural community.

These three men were joined by R.M. Evans, a physician from Minto, and the Rev. E.A. Healy of Grafton to form UND’s first Board of Regents.

The first President for UND was appointed on April 9, 1884: William Max-well Blackburn. Having just gone through the recruitment process myself, I was fas-cinated to read part of the letter Blackburn received from the Board of Regents, and to consider its similarities to my experience.

It read, ”You have been recommended to us for the position of President of the University of North Dakota, and I am directed by the Board of Regents to inquire of you your disposition toward this open-ing, and what salary would command your services.“

Blackburn was a graduate of the Princeton Seminary. He arrived in

Grand Forks after 30 years of ministerial positions. He was a man of great solemnity and dignity, of force and principle. He had a solid reputation for his scholarly work and served UND both as President and as professor of mental, moral and political science.

Blackburn’s writings and lectures dur-ing 1883 and 1884 suggest to me that the challenges he faced may not have been totally different than those facing us today. Among his several publications are “Things That Accompany Salvation,” “Opportunity Lost,” and “Enduring Hardness.”

Blackburn faced multiple challenges in getting UND started, particularly the academic curriculum. He favored a practi-cal curriculum and open admissions — a curriculum which included mechanics and agriculture. He had vigorous, open differences with the two members of the faculty at that time, Professors Webster Merrifield and Henry Montgomery. They favored a classical liberal arts curriculum of mathematics, sciences, history of Greece and Rome, Caesar, English composition, literature, and the like. And Merrifield and Montgomery also favored entrance examinations to show at least some prepa-ration by the students. Blackburn also had

differences with his staff, including a Mrs. Mott who took her complaints directly to the Board of Regents. As Professor Geiger noted, the board ultimately elected to dismiss Blackburn after only one year as President. They promptly installed Profes-sor Montgomery as acting President, after Professor Merrifield declined the honor.

Now this history isn’t lost on me, and here are some lessons learned. Listen to your faculty and staff. Respect the core academic values and abilities that are vested in them and their roles in the uni-versity. They have a dedication and com-mitment to learning and to the university that exceeds your authority, and that your ability to continue to lead the University, and to serve the university community effectively, resides in your ability to com-municate with them. Also, it is equally clear that to be effective in university leadership, the President must acknowl-edge the authority of the governing board and maintain clear, open, honest commu-nication with those individuals at all times. These are fundamental characteristics of leadership, prevalent in 1883 and just as relevant to us today and in the future.


The Inaugural Address z Page 27


Twamley Collins Teel Healy Evans

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As I continue to frame UND’s future in these remarks this afternoon, I became curious about UND’s presidency at the beginning of the 20th century since we all are participating in the development of UND at the beginning of the 21st century.

Almost one hundred years ago, Frank LeRond McVey became the fourth President of UND. During his tenure, he encouraged faculty research and publica-tion. Both The Quarterly and the School of Education Record were established. He structured the University upon a relational basis. The School of Mines, the College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, and a course in Civil Engineering formed what we know today as the School of Engi-neering and Mines. With his faculty, he instituted standards for students, including a “C” average for graduation. He acted upon his conviction that a University must serve the state and adopted the motto, ”To Be the Servant of the People.” Under his leadership, UND established an Exten-sion Division, offered correspondence courses and faculty lectures, and benefited North Dakota through its research and investigative activities, particularly those of the weather station, Geological Survey, and Public Health Laboratory. This his-

tory, found in the Robinson Department of Special Collections in UND’s Chester Fritz Library, shows that President McVey believed that the University “must be a beacon light to hold up the highest things for the city and the state.”

And I learned yet another lesson from UND’s history: The institutional values that we respect and hold dear are part of a fabric woven over a century of institutional development and commitment, dedicated by those who have served before us. As the concept of “service” was added to teaching and research during the start of the last century, it becomes our continued responsibility to build upon the belief that the University serves as a “guiding light” for the community and state. Fulfillment of this ideal, I believe, is what brought all of us to serve UND and will frame our insti-tutional values for the next 100 years.


UND has achieved great stature since 1883. The institution has become a major public research university exhibiting excellence in the arts, sciences and profes-sions. Enrollments have grown to exceed

12,000, operational expenditures exceed $310 million, research is a major mission of the University, and research-related expenditures have exceeded $100 million. Our athletic programs have moved to the highest levels of intercollegiate competi-tion, and our student athletes have demon-strated championship performance in their chosen sports. And UND has become a major factor in economic development for our city, state and region.

The dreams of our founders, and the many who followed, have come true.

But we must contemplate our future. What will be our mission as we move forward in an increasingly complex world, and what resources will be needed as we attempt to move from “great” to “excep-tional” in meeting UND’s mission and potential?

When I was a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley during the tumultuous decade of the 1960s, I had the opportunity to listen to the university’s President, Clark Kerr, as he addressed the many challenges facing that institution. He suggested that four tasks presented themselves to the university in our society. One is to continue to stimulate the quest

To Be the Servant of the People

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for knowledge. Another is to transmit our knowledge to future generations. A third is to enable us to remain masters of our knowledge, to prevent the fragmenta-tion of our society and our universe. And the fourth, which I’ve never forgotten and is perhaps the most difficult, is to assess the values our knowledge should enable us to serve. UND’s task now, like that of the University of California then, is little different. By rising to these challenges, we strengthen our shared values and assure a successful future for the institution we love and serve.

Among our challenges are these…

UND will need to commit to a level of engagement and service to our commu-nity, state and nation as never before in its history. We are challenged not only to pro-vide opportunities for education and learn-ing for students, but also to place those students into the regional and national economy — an economy for which we are also asked to develop new businesses, new industry, and which UND must help grow. In this regard, UND is central to the

continued prosperity of North Dakota and to its citizens.

UND will be challenged to provide stewardship of resources which we must earn — and I emphasize “earn.” Regardless of whether these resources are appropria-tions from the state legislature, tuition and fees from student enrollments, grants and contracts from state and federal agencies, or gifts from friends and supporters of this great University, these resources are being competed for by many sectors, and UND must compete at the highest levels to justify the resources that are assigned to us. These resources will be earned through our creativity, our innovation, and our entrepreneurial spirit.

UND will continue to be challenged to demonstrate a shared set of values: academic freedom; academic integrity and honesty; inclusiveness; understanding of cultural, ethnic and racial diversity in our society; respect for individual human dif-ferences and belief systems; a genuine com-mitment to the advancement of knowledge through teaching, research and scholarship of all forms; and a commitment by the Uni-versity to serve our society at every level.

I’m reminded of the words of Robert

Gordon Sproul, who was, incidentally, the 11th President of the University of Cali-fornia: “It is not with the interesting and glorious history or manifold and notable present accomplishments that we must concern ourselves … we are interested not so much in what our institutions have been … as in what they shall be. The test for … this university has been here established … it is what [it] contributes to the creation of wider opportunities for those who are fac-ing the future. This test is a stern one.”

Stern indeed.

And those who are most heavily invested in the future are UND’s students.

As I look ahead, I believe that UND’s academic programs must provide our students not only with knowledge but also systematic learning skills that will permit them to compete in a future world that we can only see dimly. We must prepare them for jobs and careers that may not even be in existence as we assemble here today. In addition, we must provide them with inter-disciplinary and multidisciplinary experi-ences that will provide synergies for their learning. They must have the opportunity


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of working in teams of individuals with diverse skills — both diverse professional skills and diverse ways of thinking. In this regard, the University must examine closely how to produce more opportunity through synergies among existing pro-grams, centers and institutes.

To this end, I suggest that UND find ways to create “superclusters” among our academic programs, centers and institutes, so our students and faculty can apply their collective intellectual power to solving the “big questions”: sustainable energy, biocomplexity, strategies for international diplomacy, human ecology, global environ-ments, and so on. We must also continue to explore learning opportunities for our students through increased collaboration among institutions of higher learning: UND, NDSU, the tribal colleges, the col-leges and universities in the state university system, and indeed institutions across the nation and world.

Of equal importance for the future of our students is the breadth and depth of the learning available to them at UND. The quality of UND’s academic curriculum is founded in our faculty and the leadership they provide for UND’s essential liberal arts core: excellence in humanities, arts,

and the natural and social sciences. In addition, UND’s faculty bring their passion for excellence in the professions as well as in the specialized sciences, technologies, engineering and mathematics so prevalent and economically productive in today’s contemporary society. UND’s faculty must continue to push the boundaries of knowl-edge and learning in all disciplines through published research and scholarship. This is a responsibility for all of us, and one to which we must continue to affirm our commitment.

And in return, the University must continue to meet the challenge of provid-ing competitive compensation at national market levels to permit continued hiring of the best and brightest faculty to lead UND’s future. This is an ongoing initiative that will require commitment to partnerships among the state, the Legislature, the Board of Higher Education, the North Dakota University System, and friends of UND who wish to promote excellence through their philanthropy and gifts.

Furthermore, UND must continue to commit to facilities and support services that add value to our students and to the quality of the academic curriculum. We must continue to keep up with advances

in instructional technology. UND must continue to be both creative and fiscally responsible as we set our priorities for capital construction. We must provide state-of-the-art facilities for activities as widely varied as creative scholarship in the arts and humanities and applied research in human athletic training; space flight training simulators and health care delivery simulators; laboratories for behavioral research and laboratories for biofuel research.

As I look forward, I am confident that together we will succeed.

The spirit of North Dakota is embedded in the heart of this great University and will serve us well in the years ahead.

That spirit expresses itself in being cre-ative, innovative and entrepreneurial. We must continue to embrace these values as a university and as individual participants in meeting the mission of the University. These are not only values, but aspirations for us all.

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UND must aspire to be creative. Cre-ativity that springs from simple curiosity, expressed in every activity of the Univer-sity, to music, the visual and performing arts, writing, and through the basic and applied sciences … a part of the human experience that adds to the quality of our lives.

We must also aspire to be innovative. Charles Vest, the former President of MIT, once remarked, ”Innovation is where creative thinking and practical know-how meet to do new things in new ways … and old things in new ways.”

And UND must aspire to be entrepre-neurial. In a recent editorial in the New York Times, Thomas L. Friedman remarked “that a developed country’s competitive-ness now comes primarily from its capacity to innovate and to create the new products and services that people want. Entrepre-neurial activity, brought about by innova-tion, is the only path to growth, prosperity, environmental sustainability and national security for America.”

Basic pragmatism and common sense make me believe that both now and in the future, our nation’s welfare and security reside in our ability to continue our scien-

tific and technological progress through the work of the research university. But I caution us not to place all our hopes and dreams solely on science and technology. Efforts to help developing regions of the world, through education and engaged out-reach, may exceed technological advances in helping our global society sustain itself. In this regard, I firmly believe that the most important thing for UND is not only to find new ways of making things, but also to find new ways of living together.

So, in conclusion, UND’s world has changed since 1883. We have moved from “Tradition” to “Tomorrow.” Our Univer-sity must continue to frame the power of the intellect: critical, concise, rational thought. And we must continue to frame the roles and the responsibilities of the educated individual in our increasingly complex global society. At the dedication of UND’s main library, Chester Fritz said, ”In this divided world, it is of the utmost importance that we prepare to meet our national and international responsibilities. By calmly studying present facts, and by evaluating the lessons of the past, we can then meet with greater confidence, more wisdom and more courage the increasingly intricate problems of the future.“

It is to this challenge that I will apply my abilities in leading this great University. I invite all of you to engage with me in the exciting experiment that is UND. We will engage the future together. Join with me in moving UND from being a great university to an exceptional one.

The spirit of North Dakota is

embedded in the heart of this

great University.

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I invite all of you to engage

with me in the exciting

experiment that is UND.

We will engage the future together.Page 32 z The Inaugural Address

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The University of North Dakota at Grand Forks is among the largest institutions of higher learning in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. It is classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a “Research University (high research activity).” This ranking places UND in the small group of nationally important universities whose missions extend beyond undergraduate instruction to include graduate education, research, scholarship and creative activity, and public service. UND has long been characterized by its solid foundation in the liberal arts, a comprehensive array of colleges and schools (including law and medicine), a manageable size, high-quality students and faculty, a varied curriculum, rich cultural resources, and an outstanding record of alumni support.


Academic Divisions:John D. Odegard School of Aerospace

SciencesCollege of Arts and SciencesCollege of Business and Public

AdministrationCollege of Education and Human

DevelopmentSchool of Engineering and MinesGraduate SchoolSchool of LawSchool of Medicine and Health SciencesCollege of NursingDivision of Continuing Education

Programs of Study: 202 Undergraduate 76 Master’s 1 Specialist Diploma 27 Doctoral Law (J.D.) Medicine (M.D.)

2009-2010 Operating Budget:$422 million

Robert O. Kelley, PresidentThe University of North Dakota300 Twamley Hall264 Centennial Drive Stop 8193Grand Forks, ND 58202-8193

Telephone: (701) 777-2121E-mail: [email protected]:

The University of North Dakota is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution. UND is a tobacco-free campus.

This report was published by the Office of the President with assistance by the Office of University Relations. All contemporary photographs by Chuck Kimmerle, Office of University Relations.

UND at a Glance Overview Contact:

Office of the President300 Twamley Hall264 Centennial Drive Stop 8193Grand Forks, ND 58202-8193


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