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The State of the University
By Dr. Robert O. Kelley, President
University of North Dakota

September 30, 2010, 3:30 p.m.
Memorial Union Ballroom

Thank you, Vice Chair Stofferahn, and good afternoon to the members of the University Council, and to all the faculty, staff and students of the University of North Dakota.

I look forward to another great year working with the leadership of the University:  in the University Senate, Kathy Smart and Curt Stofferahn; the Staff Senate, Loren Liepold and Kristi Swartz; and the Student Senate, Matt Bakke and Grant Hauschild.

And thank you for the opportunity to visit with all of you this afternoon.

I believe that we are at an important time in the history of the University of North Dakota.  UND is approaching another legislative session in January; we are as large a university as we have ever been in our history; and we are looking forward to making a major announcement next week.   UND has many partners and friends, both within the state and around the world, and we gratefully acknowledge the critical importance of these relationships.  In many ways, this year will be transformative for all of us…legislators, friends, partners… as we work together to move the University of North Dakota from “Great to Exceptional”.


A great deal has changed since UND was established in 1883.  Our society is more global and connected, more immediate, and more focused on performance measures and outcomes than ever before.

But conserving core principles is central to our success, even as we adapt to the changing demands and expectations of our constituents.

UND was founded on the principle that an outstanding liberal arts education is at the core of successful citizenship.  We continue that principle today.  It is the foundation of the core mission of the University…teaching, learning, and service to the State of North Dakota.  UND benefits from an innovative, world class faculty; expert, knowledgeable staff; bright, creative students; and strong commitment to an entrepreneurial spirit …that “can-do spirit”…of our community and state.


All of us are aware of the many challenges facing higher education around the country as a consequence of the continued global economic downturn.  North Dakota has not been impacted as severely as other states and, as a result, the University of North Dakota is not only healthy financially, but is able to effectively position itself to excel in meeting its core mission.

UND will continue to offer an excellent education and university experience, at a great value, for students and their families.  I urge leaders in our state to continue their commitment to higher education…the payoff is real, tangible and can be measured in hard economic terms.

In addition, as we enter the 2010-2011 academic year, UND is experiencing an all time high enrollment – almost 14,200 students.  Overall enrollment in the graduate school is up some 14%, an all time high.  Revenue from research grants and contracts, some $128 million, has also achieved an all time high.  All these numbers translate into an economic impact of more than $1 billion for our city and state.   I want to thank the faculty, staff and students at UND for their hard work in attaining these significant, essential milestones.

I believe that these enrollment numbers are just about right for the physical resources of the institution.  So, I submit to you that the challenge before us, now,  is not so much quantity, but to continue to focus on quality.  Of course, we will need to sustain enrollment numbers.  But, of greater importance for the long term, focus now on enhancing the quality of the academic programs at the university; the quality of research, creative and scholarly opportunities for students and faculty; and an enhanced overall quality of the university experience at UND.  I’ll speak more to this point in just a moment.

Let me develop this “quality” theme a little bit by highlighting some successes and achievements of UND’s faculty and students.

UND is entering the second year of the 2009-2011 fiscal biennium.  As a result of generous legislative support( which helps keep tuition affordable), UND’s record high enrollment, and the success of extramural funding from all sources,  UND is not only able to continue support for critical existing academic  programs, but is also funding important new programs that address the contemporary priorities of our state.  For example, we have established new undergraduate and graduate degree programs in energy engineering and a new Petroleum Research, Education and Entrepreneurship Center.  And we have developed the nation’s only major for learning the science and technology behind remotely piloted vehicles.

I should mention, in the same breath, that UND also recommended termination of some 12 programs to the State Board of Higher Education last year.  Growth of quality is not just about increasing numbers of programs.  Quality is also about getting the most out of available resources.

To this end, working in full partnership with North Dakota State University, a new Masters degree in Public Health is nearing completion.  This innovative program will share institutional resources, both old and new,  and will permit students enrolled in either institution to complete a degree program very much needed in the state.

As an aside, it is a pleasure to welcome President Dean Bresciani to North Dakota.  UND looks forward to continued collaboration with our colleagues at NDSU.

On the interdisciplinary front, UND students may also complete a Ph.D. in educational leadership with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and a Masters degree in Public Administration in social entrepreneurship.

UND’s program in clinical psychology just received the full seven year accreditation from the American Psychological Association.

UND’s Law School has just been placed in the nation’s Top 20 Best Value Law Schools by prelaw magazine.

And, perhaps most useful of all, students can now take Norwegian 101 on-line.
Furthermore, UND students are competing successfully for prestigious national scholarships, and for national championships in both academic and athletic competition.  Did you know that UND’s Flying Team just won their 16th national championship?

And I just learned this morning that UND’s UAS Engineering Laboratory team made history this week in the 2010 Australian International UAV Outback Search and Rescue competition held in Queensland.  UND’s team became the first in the four-year history of the competition to actually locate the prized target, a life-size dummy known as “Outback Joe”.  To achieve their success, they used ground-assessment technologies positioned on UAV platforms that have been developed at UND.

In recognition of the emphasis UND places on student participation in shared governance,  student leadership has been advanced to membership on the President’s Cabinet, with President Matt Bakke and, when unable to attend, Vice President Grant Hauschild bringing the student perspective to the considerations of that group.

And UND’s staff isn’t doing badly, either.  Janice Hoffarth in the Music Department and Kirk Peterson of the Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences just received the Governor’s Award for Public Service to citizens of the State of North Dakota.

Speaking of the President’s Cabinet, a search is nearing completion for the next Vice President for Student Affairs upon the announced retirement of Bob Boyd, who leaves office in December.

I’ve asked Dr. Boyd to continue on with UND for a bit as the Name and Logo Transition Officer.   As you know, UND  is retiring the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo following the directive, last April, of the State Board of Higher Education.  UND has until August 15, 2011, to complete the transition.

As an aside, I hope all of you are enjoying, as much as I am, watching the renovation of the old education building. When finished it will be the proud new home of the UND College of Education and Human Development.  I want to thank the legislature for approving Stimulus Funding for this project; and I also want to thank the faculty and staff for their patience while the construction and renovations are being completed.

And even though we can’t enjoy watching construction in Bismarck on a daily basis, the new clinical facility for the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Family Medicine Residency is almost at the groundbreaking stage.

I should also mention that at this time of the year, with Homecoming just a week away, the campus is beautiful and buzzing with activity, thanks to the hard work of UND’s dedicated facilities and operations staff.

And mentioning Homecoming prompts me to invite you to join me Friday, October 8, at 3 p.m. at the Chester Fritz Auditorium for an announcement that will “Ignite the Spirit” and help explain how we are going to transform this University “from Great to Exceptional”.

So, in summary, all appears to be quite well at UND.

OVER THE HORIZON: what’s coming?

But what’s developing just over the horizon that will affect UND?

This summer, I’ve attended many legislative committee meetings in Bismarck. As we get a bit closer to the 2011 session, I’ll be bringing to all of you an update of the budget and capital construction requests for the university.

At the moment, though, many individual legislators are asking some fundamental questions, all of which center, in one way or another, on the issue of “return on investment” for UND, and the other NDUS institutions.

These questions are often worded in different ways, but they still have the same message.

Is Higher Education still relevant and necessary for North Dakotans?  Are research universities worth the cost of sustaining them?  Do the research universities really serve an important role as economic engines for the state?  Why should we use taxpayer funds to educate students from out of state?  And when do the continued requests for increased appropriations for higher education end?

So, in a nutshell, what’s the return on investment?

I believe that UND is providing a significant return on investment for North Dakota.  We are helping to enrich a burgeoning economy, and this is happening in several meaningful ways.

UND is preparing an increasingly educated workforce with the skills of critical thought, effective communication, and problem solving that is desired in employees in every industry.  Students engage the essential studies program, then commit to majors and degree programs in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), health professions, business and industry, education and law…all needed by North Dakota.

UND is also helping industry find more effective ways of enhancing their productivity…for example, developing  new vaccines; thinking through more effective business plans; creating novel technologies for aviation platforms; and defining  innovative ways of assessing human performance and behavior.  And we’re providing employees of these businesses the opportunity to access courses and degree programs on-line…in partnership with other colleges and universities in the North Dakota University System.

There is no better example of UND’s value proposition to North Dakota than the work UND is doing to help the oil industry find better ways of extracting oil and geothermal energy from the Bakken Formation in the western part of the state; to manage carbon emissions and carbon storage in innovative, creative ways; and to develop novel techniques to use agricultural waste to make biodiesel fuel.  UND provides the educated workforce that delivers health care in rural areas; provides executive leadership for established companies in the state; educates entrepreneurial leadership that is vital to small business start ups;  and contributes to the education of students in K-12.  And I would be remiss if I didn’t say UND continues to help enrich the quality of lives for North Dakota by providing access to the performing arts…including the Theatre Department, celebrating its Centennial this year…and through the  performances of our music faculty and
students, and through programs such as the nationally acclaimed UND Writers Conference.  By the way, if you haven’t seen the exceptional new text, Storytelling Time, by Prof. Art Jones and his colleagues, which catalogs the remarkable collection of Native North American art and other objects on our campus, I encourage you to do so.

As I study the economic reports of Prof. David Flynn, R&D revenues at the university, in 2009, approached $100 million.  As I mentioned a moment ago, these revenues are some $28 million greater in 2010.  But in 2009, adding direct, indirect and induced impacts, UND research and development generated an almost $200 million cumulative economic output impact across the region.  The employment impact included 1,650 jobs, and nearly $20 million in cumulative tax revenues in the region.  I believe that this is a significant, positive return on investment by UND.

And UND’s value to society…?

UND has provided about 45% of the physicians practicing in North Dakota.  Most of the presidents of tribal colleges in North Dakota, and many across the nation, are UND graduates. Significant percentages of the state’s physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, clinical laboratory scientists, physician assistants, social workers, school superintendants and principals, elementary and secondary school teachers, nurses, and almost 1000 engineers and oil and gas experts working the oil play that is so critical to the economic health of the state…are all educated at UND.  According to the latest placement study, 60% of UND graduates who also graduated from a ND high school stayed in ND to contribute to the state’s economy.

I am confident when I say that UND demonstrates a significant return on investment for North Dakota.  I submit that no other industry in the state contributes more to developing and sustaining the efficient, quality  workforce needed to support the state of North Dakota than does UND.

So…please get out there and tell UND’s story…of the faculty, students, staff and graduates of UND who are making a bold, transformative difference for North Dakota.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE…where are we going?

I’d like to conclude my remarks about the state of the university today by reminding everyone of the conversations that were started last semester, and that continued over the summer with the community of Grand Forks… and in which most of us in the university community were engaged.  As you recall, I charged UND’s Provost with leading an effort to take our last strategic plan and sharpen its focus, so that we would have a shared vision of our university’s priorities going forward.

Working closely with Vice President Alice Brekke, Provost Paul LeBel retained consultants from the Stratus Group to facilitate a series of conversations about the future of UND.  I was very pleased at how many of you participated in these conversations and how many of you made productive, thoughtful contributions to the development of a shared vision for UND.

I believe that those conversations have produced broad support for five key elements of a vision that holds the promise of transforming this university… by strengthening relationships both inside and outside the university.

The vision that has emerged from listening to all of you about what is most important to our future can be organized under five broad headings.

I am very excited to share them with you today.

  1. The first is to enrich the student learning experience.

    It is not surprising that this is at the top of the list. This is, when all is said and done, why we exist as an institution of higher education, and the primary way we serve the citizens of North Dakota.

    Under this heading of enriching the learning experience, there are already efforts underway.  One clear example is the Undergraduate Learning Working Group. Led by Ryan Zerr from the Department of Mathematics and Brett Goodwin from the Department of Biology, this faculty-initiated effort is identifying some promising pilot projects to improve the first year experience and to develop an early warning advising system.  We know how critical both of these activities are to the success of our students, to keeping them engaged and intellectually challenged in a supportive environment.

    In addition, UND has created a new position – Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education – to ensure continuity and to underscore UND’s commitment to a successful undergraduate experience.

    Furthermore, the UND that you envision, an exceptional UND , will employ more learning communities;  have more students engaged in research;  place more students into real world experiential learning settings;  provide integrated advising about academic programs, academic success, career counseling, and life issues; and chart clear pathways for students to succeed while they are at UND.

  2. A second set of vision elements revolves around the idea of facilitating collaboration.

    There are obvious strengths across campus that could have an even greater impact if they effectively worked together.  We know that there is already a good deal of collaboration in research, and Vice President Johnson is leading the development of a research strategic plan to identify and support even more ambitious and cutting edge projects.

    Collaboration in research is critical to an exceptional university, but research is not the only area in which collaboration can create greater impact. Teaching can be more engaging to students and rewarding to faculty when instruction cuts across traditional boundaries between disciplines.  Similarly, collaborative service can bring faculty, staff, students, and organizations together in ways that add value to the Greater Grand Forks community and to the surrounding region.  We will search for ways to both incentivize and reward successful collaborative outcomes in teaching and service.

  3. A third priority that you told us was important to making this university truly exceptional was encouraging gathering.

    This priority covers a number of both small and large initiatives that will change the way we interact. For example, we need to make it easier than it is now for people to get together spontaneously. We also need to create places that are more intentional destinations…places that will strengthen our sense of community and help us fulfill the multiple dimensions of our mission. Two of the exciting ideas that were raised in our conversations about the future involve the creation of hubs that are focused on essential attributes of university life.

    One is an intellectual hub, a place where people go to pursue ideas and to gather together with others who may have similar interests. This intellectual commons could evolve around the hub of the Chester Fritz Library, so that even its location symbolizes the centrality of learning to an exceptional university.

    A second hub would be a social gathering place that includes a broad range of activities and spaces suitable for different types of casual getting together.

    By exercising our imagination about how to encourage gathering, we can be distinctive as a campus that offers the advantages of a major research university, yet maintains much of the feel of a small liberal arts college.

  4. A fourth area of priority is improving the quality of life for the people who promote the university’s endeavors, our faculty and staff.

    UND is a community.

    We must implement such initiatives as expanded child care opportunities;  a more deliberate and effective approach to accommodating the needs of dual career partners;  provide mid-career faculty with development opportunities that are comparable to the world class Alice T. Clark Mentoring program for new faculty;  and ensure that all of our staff have the development opportunities to enhance their skills and career progression and satisfaction.

  5. And finally, a fifth vision element involves expanding UND’s “presence”.

    Some of UND’s presence will be physical.  We must continue to look for opportunities downtown and around the periphery of campus to develop meaningful partnerships with our local businesses, professions, community groups, and government agencies.

    Some of this expanded presence will be virtual, as we continue to provide learning at a distance that brings our first rate education to people who can’t come to us.  Some of this expanded presence will be global, as we strengthen our partnerships with such institutions such as the American College of Norway and the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology, and as we continue to develop additional academic partnerships.

    And some of this expanded presence will draw on connections that we already have, in the form of our graduates who live and work around the state, across the nation, and throughout the world.  We can continue to build on our relationships with our alumni, so that they help us with both ends of our student pipeline, recruiting prospective students and employing well-educated graduates.

    And the relationship with our alumni operates in both directions.  They help inform our work in teaching and research, so that we are aware of the changing world in which our students will operate.

    And we help them maintain and sharpen the skill sets that contribute to their success, by making available continuing education and information about the breakthroughs in knowledge and creativity that are occurring as a routine matter at an exceptional university.

So, to conclude my thoughts this afternoon, you and I, working together, can transform UND through focusing our activities into five fairly simple priorities:

enriching learning
facilitating collaboration
encouraging gathering
improving the quality of life for faculty and staff
and expanding UND’s presence.

The time is right.

We are located in a state with a thriving economy and a population that is historically supportive of higher education.

We have students who are eager to be challenged by their education and to become the leaders of tomorrow.

And we have the most desired resource of all… a dedicated faculty and staff who are committed, not only to their personal and professional success, but who devote enormous time, energy, and talent to the students and to the mission of UND .

I challenge all of us to transform this great university.

Help create the UND of which you wish to be a part.

Ignite the Spirit…

Together, we will make our shared vision a reality.


Faculty Bus Tour – Day 3

August 18, 2010


  • Coffee stop and briefing about Wind Farm, Edgeley
  • Picnic lunch for tour participants at Ft. Ransom State Park
  • Visit to North Dakota State University in Fargo – Meet with NDSU faculty
  • Agriculture-related tour and briefing en route to Casselton
  • Community Supper in Casselton

The UND bus in Edgeley, N.D.

Doug Munski, professor of geography and bus tour color commentator, explains the kuchen options: blueberry, raspberry, prune and caramel apple.

Theresa from the Edgeley Coffee Shop explains the kuchen options: blueberry, raspberry, prune and caramel apple.

Hsin-Ling (Sonya) Hung, assistant professor of educational foundations and research, helps herself to some of the fresh kuchen at the Edgeley Coffee Shop.

The bus tour made a stop at the Florida Power and Light Energy farm near Edgeley, N.D.

Heather Terrell, assistant professor of psychology, finds North Dakota on the Florida Power and Light Energy wind map.

Terry Job of Florida Power and Light explains how the wind generators operate.

A picnic lunch at Fort Ransom State Park was a welcome break from the bus.

Jill Novotny and Fred Wittmann kept the bus tour on track and running smoothly.

Special T-shirts were a big hit for the bus tour group.

Dr. Dean Bresciani, president of North Dakota State University, joined the UND bus tour for a driving tour of NDSU. Dr. Bresciani hosted the UND bus tour at his home on the NDSU campus.

Dr. Dean Bresciani, NDSU president, visits with Lucia Carvelli, assistant professor of pharmacology, physiology and therapeutics, at Dr. Bresciani's home on the NDSU campus.

UND President Robert Kelley visits with North Dakota Legislators Sen. Judy Lee, Rep. Blair Thoreson and Rep. Bette Grande at the NDSU President's Residence.

Rep. Scot Kelsch, NDSU President Dean Bresciani and UND President Robert Kelley visit at the home of President Bresciani, who hosted the UND Bus Tour.

Faculty Bus Tour – Day 2

August 17, 2010


  • Tour of North Dakota Capitol Building
  • Visit to Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site
  • Lunch in Beulah with UND alumni, friends, and community leaders
  • Visit to Medora for free time site-seeing or drive through the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the ND Badlands.
  • Picnic supper in Dickinson with faculty of Dickinson State University

Bus Tour group at the North Dakota State Capitol.

Inside the Great Hall.

State Capitol Tour Guide Darlene explains some of the images in the Monkey Room to Marcia Kelley and Heather Terrell.

At the Knife River Indian Villages

At the Knife River Indian Villages

At the Knife River Indian Villages

Fred Wittmann, UND New Faculty and Administrator Bus Tour Director, and Dr. Douglas Munski, tour color commentator, Knife River Indian Villages lodge.

National Park Ranger Maureen McGee-Ballinger points out a gopher hole. The pesky rodents dig holes, but also help unearth artifacts.

Richard Aregood, Chuck Johnson Professor of Journal, tells alums and friends at Beulah, N.D., that he has been reading the Beulah Beacon for about a year.

Lucia Carvelli, assistant professor in pharmacology, physiology and therapeutics, tells the alums and friends at Beulah that she is originally from Italy.

National Park Junior Ranger Doug Munski led the bus tour through the Theodore Roosevelt National Park -- South Unit.

Lucia Carvelli, assistant professor of pharmacology, physiology and therapeutics, in the Badlands.

Heather Terrell, assistant professor of psychology, and Hyrum Patterson at Scoria Point in the Badlands.

Tamba-Kuii Bailey, assistant professor of counseling psychology, and "National Park Junior Ranger" Harry Tsang, assistant professor of economics, in the Badlands at Theodore Roosevelt National Park -- South Unit.

Faculty Bus Tour – Day 1

August 16, 2010


  • Morning  outreach coffee stop in Cooperstown
  • Tour of Oscar-Zero and November-33 Missile Launch Site
  • Lunch with alumni and community leaders in Jamestown
  • Tour and briefing at UND School of Medicine Center for Family Medicine
  • Social and dinner with UND alumni and friends; tour of State Heritage Center
University of North Dakota Tour Bus

University of North Dakota Tour Bus

Cooperstown Mayor Carl Sad welcomes Rachel Navarro, UND assistant professor of counseling psychology, to the first stop on the bus tour: the Coachman Inn in Cooperstown, ND

Cooperstown Mayor Carl Sad welcomes Rachel Navarro, UND assistant professor of counseling psychology, to the first stop on the bus tour: the Coachman Inn in Cooperstown, ND

Marcia Kelley addressing alums and friends while in Cooperstown.

Marcia Kelley addressing alums and friends while in Cooperstown.

UND law graduate Owen Anderson (front and center), now a law faculty member at the University of Oklahoma, was on his way back to Oklahoma from his family farm when he saw the UND bus in Cooperstown and figured the UND New Faculty and Administrator Bus Tour was making a stop at the Coachman Inn. Several UND graduates and friends joined the tour for coffee -- or as Dr. Douglas Munski called it, "a little lunch."

first lady marcia kelley

First Lady Marcia Kelley, Cooperstown Mayor Carl Sad, Fred Wittmann, tour director for UND New Faculty and Administrator Bus Tour.

Outside Oscar-Zero

Inside Oscar-Zero Underground

Oscar-Zero Missile Control Center

Oscar-Zero Missile Control Center: Mark Sundlov, Site Supervisor, is giving the tour. This is the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Launch Site.

Doug Munski and Mark Sundlov inside Oscar-Zero.

Bus Driver Gerry Eggers

Bus Outside Buffalo City Grille

Buffalo City Grille

UND First Lady Marcia Kelley greets the UND alums and friends who joined the bus tour participants for lunch at the Buffalo City Grille in Jamestown.

Some of the alums and friends who joined the Bus Tour group for lunch at the Buffalo City Grille in Jamestown.

UND First Lady Marcia Kelley passes the mic to Harry Tsang, UND assistant professor of economics.

Harry Tsang, UND assistant professor of economics, tells the alums and friends at the Buffalo City Grille a bit about his background.

Andre Kehn, assistant professor of psychology, talks a bit about his background at the Buffalo City Grille lunch stop.

Andre Kehn, assistant professor of psychology, talks a bit about his background at the Buffalo City Grille lunch stop.

Members of the UND New Faculty and Administrators Bus Tour visited the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Southwest Campus Friday.

Members of the UND New Faculty and Administrators Bus Tour visited the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Southwest Campus Friday.

North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger, UND President Robert Kelley, Richard Hoffart, and Sherri Haugen-Hoffart, UND Outreach Coordinator for Continuing Ed/Outreach Support.

Harry Tsang visiting with (from left) Chuck Horter, North Dakota Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle, and Mark Fickinger at The North Dakota Heritage Center.

Bismarck State College President Larry Skogen, North Dakota Heritage Center Director Merl Paaverud.

Faculty Bus Tour 2010

August 16, 2010

On Aug. 16-18, President Robert and Marcia Kelley will lead more than 30 new faculty members, top administrators, and their guests on a three-day tour of North Dakota. This year’s tour—the 20th since the inaugural launch in 1990 by then-president Thomas Clifford—is the third for the Kelleys.

UND’s strategic plan champions the University’s role as a public service provider to the state and as a resource for helping North Dakota diversify its economy. In order to help North Dakota, it is important for UND’s new faculty and administrators to see and understand the state.

The tours alternate each year between southern and northern routes.  This year’s tour of the southern half of the state will offer glimpses of the region’s geography, economy, culture, and heritage, and will offer participants an opportunity to learn about the challenges and opportunities that are shaping the state.

On Thursday, May 6, I  addressed the University Senate about the nickname and logo transition process and structure.  The text of that talk is below.  You can watch the address at  You can find more information about UND nickname and logo transition process at

Address to University Senate, May 6, 2010:

Good afternoon.

Today, I want to provide you with an update on the issue of the UND nickname and logo.

First, though, I want to state that, as the Spring semester draws to a close, the University of North Dakota continues to focus on its core mission…teaching and learning; research, scholarship and creative work; and service to the state and nation. In addition, I reported last month at the University Council meeting on the status of UND’s budget and the NDUS budgeting process. UND is financially sound, and for that I want to thank the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education, the North Dakota Legislature, and the people of North Dakota for their continued support of the university.

As UND addresses its core mission, we continue to build community and we are enhancing connections, within the University, as well as across the state, the region and the nation. UND is in the middle of a University-wide planning conversation on those very topics: building community and developing connections.

And we are adding to the UND alumni family. This weekend, we will graduate students in the School of Law. Next weekend, UND will conduct the general university Spring commencement, with U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano as our main speaker. Graduation for students in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences will also be that weekend. UND will graduate some 1,500 students – which makes about 2,700 new UND graduates this academic year.

As you know, on May 14, 2009, the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education unanimously passed a resolution directing the University of North Dakota to retire its nickname and logo. On April 8, the president of the State Board of Higher Education instructed Chancellor William Goetz to direct the president of UND to start the process of retiring the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo. As your president, I am fully committed to the implementation of the board resolution, following the instructions contained in the Chancellor’s letter, which I received on the morning of April 9. You may recall that I spoke with the University community that same day, and promised that the leadership of the university would develop a transparent and inclusive process for appropriately retiring the nickname. The Chancellor’s letter, in its entirety, is published on the UND website.

In addition, at that time, I announced that I had appointed Dr. Robert Boyd, UND Vice President for Student and Outreach Services, as the Transition Officer. I have great confidence in Dr. Boyd. He has served UND with distinction and with great integrity. He is a highly respected leader on the UND campus and across the state.

Since April 8, Dr. Boyd and I have had many conversations on how best to approach the retirement of the nickname that UND has used for 80 years. We agree that the process must be inclusive, thoughtful, and deliberate. We have received e-mail, phone calls and letters about what we should do– and should not do. The consistent message has been: Go slow. Take your time. Do it right.

And that is what we intend to do.

To that end, we have developed the following structure:

We have identified three Task Groups that will help us work through the process.

* The first Task will be to plan and implement the process of honoring the history and traditions of the Sioux name and logo. The group will be co-chaired by Bruce Smith, dean of UND’s Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, and Kris Compton, chief operating officer of Alerus Financial. Bruce and Kris will build a Task Force Group that will plan the appropriate steps for honoring UND’s traditions connected to the name and logo; they will help us think through how UND will document and retire 80 years of institutional tradition.

* We also are putting in place a Communications Task Group. The University has many stakeholders. UND wants to reach out to students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends — all of our constituencies. And we want to use all of the tools at our disposal: the media, e-mail, the Web — Twitter, and other social media. To that end, I have named Dr. Joshua Riedy, UND’s chief information officer, and Kathryn Rand, dean of the School of Law, as co-chairs. This Task Group will certainly include others, but as of now, task group members include Peter Johnson, UND’s chief communications officer; DeAnna Carlson Zink, UND Alumni Association and Foundation associate executive vice president and chief development officer, and Jayson Hajdu, Athletics media relations coordinator.

These two task groups have been formed and they are at work addressing their respective charges. One of the first tasks of the co-chairs will be to recommend additional task force members for my consideration.

A third Task Group has not yet been appointed. This one we are calling the New Directions Task Group, which, when and, I might add, if activated, will help us think through the process of selecting a new name and logo for the university.

Next Monday, May 10, I will report on UND’s progress in the transition to the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education. The letter I received from Chancellor Goetz instructs the university to begin the process of retiring the name and logo immediately, and also recognizes that it may be difficult, if not impossible, to meet the August 1, 2010 deadline as stated in the board resolution of May 14, 2009. If needed, the Chancellor has made it clear that the board has discretion to extend the deadline to August 15, 2011, as stated in the settlement agreement with the NCAA. I interpret this caveat to be practical recognition that the university must honor and protect its contractual obligations and interests as the directive from the SBHE is implemented.

Let me provide a couple of practical examples that speak to this last point. First, UND’s Department of Athletics may require several months to transition their uniforms and equipment, especially if these items have already been ordered for the coming season. In addition, the company that assists UND in licensing the copyright and mark used on university goods and services will require some time to stop production, distribution and sale of merchandise as the business cycle is completed.

Addressing the issue of a name and logo for the immediate future, and with the guidance and permission of the State Board of Higher Education, I will request that UND simply use its name…the University of North Dakota…and that our athletic and academic teams use the term “North Dakota” or the interlocked ND…as an outward identity for activities that require such designation.

Finally, for want of a better term, a Transition Cabinet, made of representative stakeholders — students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the local and state community — will be critical in helping me consider the recommendations that come from the Task Groups.

Ultimately, the UND president will be responsible for decisions about how UND retires the current nickname and logo and the manner by which the University identifies new traditions and a new name when it is both timely and appropriate to do so.

I know there will be questions about timelines. As I said earlier, we plan to go slow…to take our time…and to do it right. I expect our Task Groups to make progress, to move ahead. But I also expect them to be deliberate and to take whatever time is necessary to ensure that we are inclusive and, ultimately, successful in honoring UND’s great traditions as the Fighting Sioux name and logo enters retirement.

At this time, I would be happy to take questions.


At that time, I provided the following bios to the media and subesquently shared them with the campus community via e-mail:

Transition Officer
Dr. Robert Boyd, UND Vice President for Student and Outreach Services

Dr. Robert Boyd is UND’s vice president for student and outreach services. Boyd has been with UND for more than 30 years, starting out as the director of extension and professional services, next as dean of outreach programs, and, for the past 12 years, in his current position.

During his time at UND, Boyd has often been the “go-to” leader for UND presidents. In the late 1990s. then President Baker tapped Boyd to run the “virtual” University set up by UND in the immediate aftermath of the Flood of ‘97. He then asked Boyd to chair the Exigency Task Force on Enrollment to help return UND to its pre-flood headcount. A year later, he turned to Boyd to lead the newly reconstituted Division of Student and Outreach Services. Four UND presidents asked Boyd to lead the recruitment of high-level positions to campus and appointed him co-chair of the task group that guided UND in its move to Division I Athletics.

During his career at UND, Boyd has been active in the Grand Forks community, a fact that earned him the Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce’s prestigious Henry Havig Award in 2008.


History and Traditions Task Group Co-Chairs:
Kris (McConn) Compton, Chief Operating Officer, Alerus Financial

A 1977 graduate of the University of North Dakota, Kris (McConn) Compton launched her banking career at First National Bank North Dakota immediately after graduation. In 1999, she helped lead First National Bank North Dakota through a process that resulted in a new name and a new brand, Alerus Financial. Compton is now the Chief Operating Officer of Alerus Financial, an $8 billion diversified financial services company headquartered in Grand Forks, N.D., with offices in Grand Forks, Fargo, N.D., Minneapolis, and Phoenix. She has been, and continues to be, very active in numerous civic and industry organizations, including her current service with the Altru Health Systems board, UND Foundation and Alumni Association board, and College of Education and Human Development Advisory Board. In 2003, Compton was awarded the region’s first annual Athena Award, which recognizes individuals for their contributions to the community, proactive development of women, and personal success in the field of business.

Dr. Bruce Smith, Dean, UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences

Since 2000, Dr. Bruce Smith has served as Dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences at the University of North Dakota. A standout football player at UND 1966 to 1969, Smith was All North Central Conference in Football, Honorable Mention, in 1968, First Team in 1969, and Associated Press All American in Football in 1969. He was twice named to the UND Athletic Hall of Fame, in 2001 as a member of the 1966 team and in 2003 as an individual. He also lettered in track in 1970. Smith earned his master’s degree from Arizona State in 1975 and the Ph.D. from Florida State in 1984. Prior to returning to UND, Smith served as Director of Training for Delta Airlines in Atlanta, Ga. A former Air Force officer and pilot, he served on the faculty at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Smith is widely published and internationally known in the areas of large aircrew training systems and simulation research.


Communications Task Group Co-Chairs:

Kathryn R. L. Rand, UND Dean and Floyd B. Sperry Professor of Law

Kathryn Rand is the Dean and Floyd B. Sperry Professor of Law at the University of North Dakota School of Law. A native of East Grand Forks, Minnesota, she is a graduate of the University of North Dakota and the University of Michigan School of Law. Before joining the School of Law faculty in 2000, Rand was a federal prosecutor in Wisconsin. She is widely published and nationally known as an expert on Indian gaming law and policy. Her first book was featured on C-SPAN’s /Book TV/, and she has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. At the School of Law, Rand teaches in the areas of constitutional law, civil rights, and Indian gaming.

Dr. Joshua Riedy, UND Chief Information Officer, Associate Vice President for Outreach Services, and Dean of Outreach Programs

Dr. Joshua Riedy is at the forefront of creating educational opportunities and methodologies to meet the diverse and rapidly evolving needs of traditional students and non-traditional learners at the University of North Dakota. Prior to his current appointment, he served as Director of the Electronic University Consortium with the South Dakota Board of Regents. Riedy earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from South Dakota State University and the doctoral degree in education administration from the University of South Dakota.

I am very pleased and excited to announce the 40th Annual UND Indian Association (UNDIA) and Indian Studies Association (ISA) Time Out Week and Wacipi (Pow Wow) to be held at UND April 12-18, 2010.  Time Out Week and the Wacipi were originally designed and implemented over four decades ago by a small group of American Indian students attending UND who recognized a need within our campus community for a greater understanding about their heritage and cultures.  These students encouraged our entire campus community to take “Time Out” for one week each year to share in and celebrate their cultural traditions.  Today’s UNDIA and ISA students continue this tradition of education and celebration while sharing their unique talents and contributions to the state, region, and nation with our UND campus community.

The Time Out Week and Wacipi provide the campus and the Greater Grand Forks community a wealth of wonderful opportunities to participate in the culturally rich and highly informative events focused on the cultures and issues of the indigenous tribes of our state and region.  American Indians are the largest and fasting growing ethnic minority group in the state of North Dakota; therefore, I believe it is critically important and valuable for the entire University community to be exposed to the beautiful and complex tribal cultures in order to expand our knowledge of this region’s diverse population, and to develop a greater appreciation and sensitivity concerning American Indian people and cultures.

Please mark April 12-18 on your calendar and help me by promoting the events, participating and warmly welcoming our distinguished American Indian presenters, dancers, drum groups, and visitors to UND.

Thank you!
Robert O. Kelley, President

View the archived video of this address along with the Q/A session. The forum will be rebroadcast at 8 p.m. today (Friday, April 9) on UND Cable Channel 3 in Grand Forks.

Today, we come together to begin the process of transition.  The State Board of Higher Education’s decision to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo launches this initiative…and allows all of us at the University of North Dakota to focus on our core mission:  The advancement of knowledge and learning through teaching, research, scholarship and innovation…and through service to our community, state, region and nation.

UND is about people — students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends – who must come together if we are to successfully fulfill this mission.  I ask our students and alumni and all friends of the University to join me in the important work ahead as we define new traditions for the University of North Dakota.

In my 40 years in higher education, I have never met a more passionate alumni base or a more dedicated faculty, staff and student body than we have at UND.  Our alums are a tremendous asset to this university… and I understand their strong feelings toward the Fighting Sioux identity.  There are great memories and accomplishments attached to it.  As a result, many will find it difficult to say goodbye to the nickname and logo.   But by working together, our gain will be greater than our loss.

I want to reassure our students and alumni – and all friends of the University – that we will make sure we appropriately retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo.

To manage that process, I am appointing Dr. Robert Boyd, our Vice President for Student and Outreach Services, as the Transition Officer.  Dr. Boyd is a highly respected leader on the UND campus and across the state.  I want to thank Dr. Boyd for agreeing to lead this process.

As we move forward, I will create a President’s Transition Cabinet made up of representative stakeholders.  This group will work with me as the transition process is implemented and will be viewed as critical to reaching a successful result.

Our commitment to educating all students dates to the founding of the University in 1883.  Our commitment to educating American Indian students is borne out by our more than 20 American Indian-related programs and services that have produced 20 percent of all of the working American Indian doctors in the United States…as well as countless nurses, scientists, engineers, business and civic leaders, educators, and others who have made profound contributions to our country.  It is a commitment that will continue to deepen.

The passion that our alumni and friends of the university have for UND is driven by much more than the nickname and logo. The bond is stronger than that…the connections more meaningful… and the commitment more dedicated.

Knowing our alumni, I believe they will embrace this opportunity to come together and move forward as one UND family.  We will be a stronger university as we focus on our ambitious core mission and develop the new traditions of an identity around which the entire University of North Dakota community can rally.

And now I’ll be happy to take a few questions.

Dear University Community:

The University of North Dakota is poised for an exceptional future. The way in which we present the University to the rest of the world is a critical piece of becoming exceptional. Since our Web site is the most widely-used global resource for information about UND, we have begun an intense process for building a new UND Web site. This project goes beyond creating a new visual look; it will represent a new architecture designed specifically for reaching our external audiences. A separate and secure internal Internet environment — an Intranet, if you will — will become the main communication tool for the informational needs of internal audiences, including students, faculty, staff, and administrators.

To guide the process, the President’s Cabinet approved the following purpose statement: “A significant marketing tool for the University, the Web site will be redesigned as the primary interface between the University of North Dakota and its key external constituency groups (such as prospective students, their families and alumni).”

The President’s Cabinet also created a Web Oversight Committee (WOC), which began meeting in October 2009 using the above purpose statement as its guide to outline the structure, priorities and execution of the new site. The team is led by Peter Johnson and Dr. Josh Riedy. A new Web Team has been in place as of January 2010 to begin organizing and implementing information based on the purpose statement and direction of the WOC. The Web Team is led by Nathan Clough and Amanda Hvidsten.

The goal is to have the external site completed by October 2010 to coincide with the recruiting cycle.

More information regarding what our new approach means to each college or unit on campus will be available soon. In the meantime, I invite you to visit for updates, details, and other announcements.

The Web is our most effective public marketing tool, and we must use it fully and appropriately to present the information the world seeks about us. This is an exciting time and this approach will surely enhance our efforts as UND moves from great to exceptional.

Dr. Robert O. Kelley

Dear Members of the University Community:

Welcome back to our students and all others who were able to get away over Spring Break!

I would like to take a moment to discuss the next steps in our University-wide conversation on strengthening connections and community.

First, I offer my sincere thanks to those who attended or viewed the Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, March 9, and the many individual and group meetings that followed, especially on such short notice. Your dedication to UND is heartening. If you were not able to attend the meeting, you can view it online at starting Friday, March 26.

As I said in the Town Hall Meeting, I want this dialogue to engage as many of you as possible. The consultants from STRATUS, Sal Rinella and Doug Graham, will be returning to campus April 6-8 for additional meetings with faculty, staff, and students. There will also be two open forums in the Memorial Union Lecture Bowl: Tuesday, April 6, 9 to 10 a.m., and Wednesday, April 7, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

I encourage you to attend one of these sessions to share your thoughts and ideas about the key questions posed at the Town Hall Meeting.

Before the end of the spring semester, the consultants will summarize the results of all of the conversations and will present a set of ideas to strengthen connections and enhance community. Over the summer more details will be added to the ideas, such as their space implications, and the conversation will resume at the beginning of the Fall 2010 semester.

Again, thank you for your participation in this important process.

Robert O. Kelley