Sydney Mook / Forum News Service
GRAND FORKS — The UND Alumni Association and Foundation has raised a record $67.7 million during its latest fiscal year, which ended June 30. The record is nearly twice the amount brought in the previous year. The previous record was $49.9 million set in fiscal year 2011. The endowment now sits at $284.8 million. Of that $67.7 million, $12.2 million has been committed for scholarships and $34.2 million has been committed for program, faculty and priority needs, according to the foundation.
The North Dakota University System has spent more than $400,000 with Washington, D.C.-based AGB Search over the past eight years. Of the seven searches conducted by AGB, three of the leaders hired have left the university system in that time, including former University of North Dakota President Mark Kennedy. AGB Search will be used once again as the NDUS prepares to replace Kennedy, who now is the president of the University of Colorado system. The NDUS plans to spend $57,000 with AGB for the search, less than it spent on the search that brought Kennedy to UND.
The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education’s research committee, chaired by SBHE member Casey Ryan, met for the first time Wednesday, July 31. The research committee is made up of three State Board members, the presidents from the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University, the universities' two vice presidents for research and a faculty member from UND and NDSU. Additionally, the NDUS chancellor, vice chancellor of academic affairs and a representative from the nine other NDUS institutions round out the committee. Industry leaders also will play a role.
GRAND FORKS — Grand Forks’ Grand Sky will be one of the first companies in the world to fly a long-endurance drone produced by Northrop Grumman. The drone, known as Firebird, is an optionally piloted intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft system that can fly anywhere in the country for about 30 hours while performing multiple missions at the same time. Grand Sky is one of the first commercial companies to purchase the aircraft, which has typically been only utilized by government agencies.
GRAND FORKS — A higher education crisis is coming, according to Jeff Holm, the University of North Dakota’s vice provost for online education and strategic planning. As enrollments dip across most colleges and high school graduation rates level out, there may be fewer students going to college in the coming years, which will likely lead to the closure of campuses across the country. Holm predicts 2026 will be a tipping point for schools.
GRAND FORKS — The contract for University of North Dakota interim president Joshua Wynne has been finalized and includes no extra money for Wynne’s presidential duties. Wynne, who is vice president for health affairs and dean of the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences, is already the state’s top paid public employee, making around $695,000 a year. Wynne began his presidential duties on Monday, June 17, as former President Mark Kennedy departed for a job as president of the University of Colorado System.
GRAND FORKS — Employees across the University of North Dakota campus can expect a small pay increase this year, regardless if their position is funded through state appropriated money. Last month, the North Dakota Legislature approved the North Dakota University System’s needs-based budget. In addition to funding for UND and other NDUS institutions, the budget also includes a mandated, minimum pay increase of $120 per month in the first year of the biennium.
Leaders at area universities keep a watchful eye on conversations in Washington, D.C., that could affect their respective students and staff. Peter Johnson, chief liaison officer at the University of North Dakota, said UND has a number of staff members who watch for various higher education priorities and policies coming out of Washington, D.C. For example, Cara Halgren, vice president of student affairs and diversity, follows topics related to students. John Mihelich, interim vice president for research, looks at priorities related to research, Johnson said.
GRAND FORKS — U.S. Sen. John Hoeven on Tuesday met with students, faculty and staff of the University of North Dakota aerospace school to underscore the need to reform the air traffic controller hiring process.
GRAND FORKS — Gov. Doug Burgum signed a bill Tuesday, April 23, that will give exploratory research dollars to the Energy and Environmental Research Center in Grand Forks. Senate Bill 2249, introduced by Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, creates a state energy research fund that would dedicate dollars for exploratory research at EERC, which is located at the University of North Dakota. The bill puts 1% of oil and gas gross production tax and oil extraction tax revenues into the state energy research center fund every month — up to $5 million per biennium.