NDSU serves the citizens of North Dakota – that thought was the theme of President Dean L. Bresciani’s annual State of the University Address Oct. 9.
Before a packed audience in Festival Concert Hall, Bresciani noted the extensive media coverage of North Dakota’s robust economy and NDSU’s contributions to the state’s success.
“We have invested our hearts and minds to ensure and expand the quality of life of all North Dakotans. We do what our state needs from us – we attract new young people better than any other aspect of our state and give them the educational base they need to be the next generation of leaders. We conduct research that improves North Dakota’s growing technology base, business environment, historic agricultural sector and more, which leads to economic growth and diversification. Bottom line: We serve our citizens.”
Bresciani described higher education as a magnet for North Dakota. A growing number of NDSU graduates stay in the state to work, which is vital in a state where vacant jobs are expected to rise from 22,000 positions today to 76,000 by 2020.
NDSU had an outstanding past year, with continuing academic and research success, student achievement and a nationally visible athletic program. Among his cited highlights were:
• Research expenditures as audited by the National Science Foundation topped $150 million per year.
• Students received a Truman scholarship, Fulbright teaching assistantship and National Science Foundation fellowship.
• Nine of 14 Bison athletics teams won their leagues, while achieving exceptional academic success. Student athletes earned the highest grade-point average in NDSU’s Division I era.
• NDSU’s master of public health program began the only American Indian specialization in the country.
• A chemistry faculty member received the prestigious Sloan Fellowship, and the visual arts department chair is a Bush Fellow.
• The largest class of National Merit Scholars in NDSU history enrolled in classes this fall.
• Construction of the new STEM education building is under way, and the food production lab for the College of Human Development and Education will be dedicated this week.
NDSU will soon be home to the National Agricultural Genotyping Center. “That North Dakota and NDSU were named for this major federal laboratory facility over existing national labs and Association of American Universities research universities, speaks volumes about our national visibility and reputation,” Bresciani said. “The Genotyping Center will be the kind of tremendous asset never before possible for North Dakota to secure, with immeasurable potentials for partnerships with NDSU scientists on the priority food science challenges facing the world.”
In other areas, NDSU researchers are focused on topics ranging from cancer prevention or treatment and understanding asthma, to preparing teachers for 21st century classrooms. NDSU researchers are working on a variety of issues related to the state’s oil patch, including population projections, school enrollments, law enforcement needs, soil conservation, transportation logistics and road dust.
“At NDSU, we are educating the future leaders and entrepreneurs of our state. We are serving the state and improving the lives of all through research solutions at levels never before imagined much less achieved — which are now bringing a new level of positive national attention to our state in a way North Dakota has never before experienced.”
But, Bresciani said NDSU has more work to do, including a new emphasis on graduate student enrollment growth “to bolster the scholarly environment at our university and in response to needs expressed by state business leaders, who also need more people with master’s and doctoral preparation.”
A top legislative priority will be the first building of a comprehensive renovation and replacement of NDSU’s engineering complex. Other important capital projects are Dunbar Hall, Sudro Hall and a new veterinary diagnostic lab.
The state legislature’s new higher education funding formula will allow the university to hire numerous new faculty during the next several years. “This will be one of the most significant additions to our faculty ranks in NDSU history,” he explained.
In closing, Bresciani said the recent return of ESPN’s “College GameDay” to Fargo and NDSU is a significant reflection of the university’s growing status.
“We have so risen in national visibility that one of the most watched shows in the nation chose, for the second year in a row, to come here,” he said. “When a university and its athletic programs reach the national level of visibility and success never before achieved in our state, it repositions the nation’s perception of the entire state of North Dakota.”
That national stage “allows us, as never before, to serve our citizens.”
The speech is available as a script and webcast at www.ndsu.edu/president/speeches.
NDSU is recognized as one of the nation’s top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.