University of North Dakota

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Chester Fritz Library on UND campus

The University of North Dakota (UND) is a comprehensive institution of higher learning in Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA. Founded in 1883, it is the largest and oldest such institution in the state of North Dakota. UND has the only schools of medicine and law in the state. Enrollment in 2005 was nearly 13,200 students. The current president of the University is Dr. Charles Kupchella.



UND was founded six years before North Dakota even became a state. Grand Forks native George H. Walsh submitted a bill to the Territorial Legislature of Dakota Territory in 1883 that called for a university in Grand Forks. The university was viewed by many as the premier state institution to be given to a community; even more so than the state capitol.

The first building at UND was Old Main. It housed all classrooms, offices, dorm rooms, and a library. In the 1880s, UND consisted of only a few acres of property surrounded by farms and fields. At this time, the university was nearly two miles west of Grand Forks. Students living off campus had to take a train from downtown to the university.

Gradually, more buildings were constructed on campus and a trolley system was built to connect the growing university to downtown Grand Forks. However, there were several major interruptions in the life of the university. In 1918, UND was the hardest hit institution in the country by the flu epidemic which killed 1,400 people in North Dakota alone. Later that year, classes were suspended so the campus could become an army base for soldiers during World War I.

During the Great Depression, UND provided free housing to students. "Camp Depression" consisted of many railroad cabooses each housing eight male students. Living at the camp was free for students who did manual labor on campus. "Camp Depression" students did not get regular meals from the cafeteria and had to be satisfied with only free leftovers. However, a number of Grand Forks citizens opened their homes and kitchen tables to many of these destitute young men.

After World War II, enrollment quickly grew to more than 3,000. A large amount of housing had to be built on campus as well as several new academic buildings. The 1950s saw the rise of the Fighting Sioux hockey tradition.

The 1960s and 1970s saw many student protests. The largest occurred in May of 1970 when 2,000 students gathered to protest the Kent State killings. In 1975, enrollment swelled to a record 8,500. The 70's also saw the advent of the aerospace program.

The 1980s and 1990s were another period of growth for UND. However, the devastating Red River Flood of 1997 inundated numerous buildings on campus and forced the cancellation of the remainder of the school year. So far, the 2000s have been a decade of record enrollments and an increased emphasis on research. Also, several high profile athletic venues have opened. Current issues facing UND include how to house well over 13,000 students, how to handle parking on campus, how to increase funding for the university, and the controversy surrrounding the university's athletic nickname and logo.


The school has ten academic divisions:

  • John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • College of Business and Public Administration
  • College of Education and Human Development
  • School of Engineering and Mines
  • Graduate School
  • School of Law
  • School of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • College of Nursing
  • Division of Continuing Education

All together, the University has 87 undergraduate majors, 64 undergraduate minors, 56 master's programs, 22 doctoral programs, two professional programs (medicine and law) and a specialist diploma program in educational leadership. The University also has an interdisciplinary program that allows students to obtain a degree in virtually any course of study. An extensive collection of correspondence classes are offered for students outside of the immediate area.

On campus, there are numerous buildings in which classes are held. Classrooms range from smaller rooms capable of seating around twenty students to large lecture bowls capable of seating hundreds at a time. The University has three major libraries for student use: the Chester Fritz Library and two smaller libraries at the School of Law and the School of Medicine.

UND is part of the Red River Valley Research Corridor.


UND's athletic teams bear the name of "The Fighting Sioux" (which is not without controversy). The school's colors are green, white, and pink (however, pink is rarely used). The colors are supposed to be representative of North Dakota's state flower: the prairie rose.

UND is in NCAA Division II in all sports except hockey; its men's and women's hockey teams compete in the Division I Western Collegiate Hockey Association. Its sports teams are often nationally competitive in both divisions.

All of the athletic facilities that UND currently uses for its major sports are new and state-of-the-art. The football team plays in the Alerus Center, the basketball and volleyball teams play in the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, and the hockey teams play in the Ralph Engelstad Arena. "The Ralph", as it is commonly known, is a $100+ million facility and is regarded by many as one of the finest hockey arenas in the world.

A new $20 million Wellness Center (a large gym and physical/mental wellness facility) is also being constructed.

The school's best-known athletic alumnus is NBA coaching great and former player Phil Jackson.

Campus life

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Twamley Hall (Administration)

About half of the student body is from North Dakota. The other half is made up of students from all 50 states and over 50 other nations. The ratio between male and female students is about even.

Students can choose to live on or off campus. On campus, there are 15 dorms and 800 student apartment units, as well as several "Greek" houses. There are over 200 student organizations.

There are a number of cultural offerings on campus. The North Dakota Museum of Art is open most days of the week. The Burtness Theater and the Chester Fritz Auditorium (not to be confused with the Chester Fritz Library) regularly feature theater and concert events. The Ralph Engelstad Arena, to a certain extent, also features non-athletic events including concerts. The nearby Alerus Center independently promotes events like concerts as does the Empire Arts Center and other venues in and around Grand Forks.

There are several stores and restaurants located on campus, including a Barnes and Noble bookstore and a Hilton Garden Inn. Other neighborhoods in the city of Grand Forks offer UND students abundant shopping and dining opportunities, with many local merchants offering student discounts.

UND students ride free on the local transit system, and receive discounted fares on taxicab rides through Student Government subsidies. Grand Forks also has an extensive bikepath and park system.

Campus media

The college newspaper is the Dakota Student. UND operates three public radio stations. KUND-FM rebroadcasts North Dakota Public Radio. KFJM-FM broadcasts other public radio programming and no longer has any locally-produced programs. The licence for KUND-AM has been put up for auction by the university as its transmitter blocks proposed expansion at the university.

UND also runs two local cable channels. One operates as an information billboard and also shows city council meetings, as well as a weekly student-produced news program, Studio One. The other channel, The Fighting Sioux Sports Network, broadcasts many home hockey games.

On campus, Showtime is replaced on the cable lineup by Residence Life Cinema. The University separately licences movies for showing on this channel.

Notable alumni

See also

External links



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