North Dakota State University

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North Dakota State University
North Dakota State University seal.svg
MottoFor the land, and its people
Endowment$103 million[1]
PresidentDean L. Bresciani
ProvostBruce Rafert
Academic staff893
Admin. staff1,638
LocationFargo, North Dakota, U.S.
CampusUrban - Fargo Campus: 258 acres (1.0 km²)
ColorsYellow and Green
Sports14 Division I
AffiliationsNorth Dakota University System
North Dakota State University
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North Dakota State University
North Dakota State University seal.svg
MottoFor the land, and its people
Endowment$103 million[1]
PresidentDean L. Bresciani
ProvostBruce Rafert
Academic staff893
Admin. staff1,638
LocationFargo, North Dakota, U.S.
CampusUrban - Fargo Campus: 258 acres (1.0 km²)
ColorsYellow and Green
Sports14 Division I
AffiliationsNorth Dakota University System
North Dakota State University

North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, more commonly known as North Dakota State University (NDSU), is a public university in Fargo, in the U.S. state of North Dakota. As of fall 2013, NDSU has 14,629 students and sits on a 258-acre (1 km²) campus. The institution was founded as North Dakota Agricultural College in 1890 as a land-grant institution. The university operates several agricultural research extension centers spread over 18,488 acres (75 km²). NDSU is part of the North Dakota University System.

NDSU offers 102 undergraduate majors, 170 undergraduate degree programs, 6 undergraduate certificate programs, 79 undergraduate minors, 81 master’s degree programs, 47 doctoral degree programs of study and 10 graduate certificate programs.

NDSU is a comprehensive doctoral research university with programs involved in high research activity.[2] NDSU uses a semester system - Fall and Spring with two summer sessions. The majority of students are full-time with 55% male and 45% female.



The bill founding North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC) was signed on March 8, 1890, seven years after initial plans to start an agricultural college in the northern portion of the Dakota Territory. NDAC was established as a land-grant university.[3]

On October 15, 1890, Horace E. Stockbridge became the first NDAC president and the Board of Trustees was formed.[4] Classes were initially held in six classrooms rented from Fargo College. A provisional course was held on January 6, 1891, and the first regular class of students was admitted on September 8, 1891. College Hall (Old Main), completed in 1892, was the first building and consisted of offices, classrooms, and a library to serve the four NDAC students.[4]

20th century[edit]

In 1908, the school's alma mater The Yellow and The Green was written and a year later the school’s official colors, Yellow and Green, were selected.[3]

NDAC continued to grow and became known as North Dakota State University on November 8, 1960. The name change was to reflect the increasing field of study breadth of the institution.[3]

A 36-acre (15 ha) area including 12 historic buildings was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as North Dakota State University District in 1986.[5]

21st century[edit]

Around the start of the 21st century, NDSU began a phase of growth.

NDSU surpassed 10,000 students in the fall of 2000 for the first time, and by Fall Semester of 2009, NDSU increased enrollment by another 10% to 14,189 students.[6]

Research, athletic programs, and campus facilities benefited from increases in student enrollment. Between 2000 and 2007, NDSU added a number of undergraduate programs and 31 graduate programs. Several buildings have been built or expanded and remodeled over the past seven years, including the Wallman Wellness Center, Memorial Union, and the College of Business.

In 2004, all athletic programs moved to Division I.


Gates to North Dakota State University

North Dakota State University is primarily located in Fargo, North Dakota. NDSU consists of several campuses including: the main campus, NDSU Downtown, and several agricultural research extension centers.

Main campus[edit]

The main campus sits on 258 acres (1 km²) of land and consists of over 100 major buildings. The appearance of the main campus is maintained by the university's extensive agricultural programs. The main campus is located by 19th Avenue to the North, University Drive to the East, and 12th Avenue to the South.

Located in the historic Minard – South Engineering quad is the Babbling Brook. The Babbling Brook is a large water feature that offers students a serene location to relax and unwind. Enhancing the area are several waterfalls, various fish and flowers, an amphitheater, and "buffalo-rubbed" rocks. This area also offers a space for the holding of classes outdoors as well as performances. Over the years NDSU’s main campus was aesthetically enhanced with many monuments including: the Bjornson Memorial Obelisk, Theatre Passion: Mask Sculpture, We Will Never Forget Memorial, and Noble's Golden Marguerite, among many others.

Southern area[edit]

The southern area of campus consists of many of NDSU's historic buildings, including Old Main, Minard Hall, Ceres Hall, Putnam Hall, South Engineering, and Morrill Hall.

Central area[edit]

The central area consists of the Engineering Complex, Shepperd Arena, and many academic buildings, and the Industrial Agricultural Communications Center (IACC) which is a technology powerhouse for the entire state. The IACC contains several hundred computers and computer servers for many of the universities in the North Dakota University System; and many other technologies and communication devices.

Old Main at North Dakota State University

The NDSU Memorial Union is also situated within the central campus and serves the sole purpose of serving student social needs. The NDSU Memorial Union recently completed a multi-million dollar addition and renovation, which included the addition of 63,000 square feet (5,900 m2) used for dining facilities, student offices, lounges, meetings and a new ballroom. The renovation includes redesigning the main concourse to better serve students, the addition of the Bison Connection, which is a one-stop shop to meet many of the students' administrative needs, and more.

The NDSU Memorial Union consists of six restaurants, a coffee shop, a dining center, a recreation center, including a bowling alley, the NDSU Bookstore, the Herd Shop convenience store, large, spacious lounges, meeting rooms and much more. The large outdoor area to the east of the NDSU Memorial Union, known as Churchill Field, is a large quad consisting of a plaza, a performance stage, and a large grassy field. The quad provides a great area for students to hang out and relax and serves as a focal point for outdoor entertainment, picnics and recreation.

North area[edit]

Just north of the central area of campus is a large area that consists of many academic buildings, residence halls, and dining centers. This area is easily recognizable as four residential high-rises rise above the landscape. The high-rises are surrounded by grassy quads, and sand-volleyball and basketball courts. In between the four identical high-rises is a dining center that serves the 1000+ residents of the high-rises. Tunnels connect the high-rises and the dining center to ease travel. A large new upper-class student residence facility, known as the Living Learning Center (East and West), is to the west of the high-rises. To the east is another dining center serving other nearby residence halls and 1000+ residents.

West area[edit]

This area of campus is home to the NDSU Wallman Wellness Center, which currently houses the Wellness Center, Student Health Services and Disability Services. The Wellness Center, which was completed in 2002 and renovated in 2007 and 2011, includes strength and cardiovascular equipment, a 35' climbing wall, four racquetball courts, three basketball courts, two group exercise studios, an indoor cycling studio, martial arts studio, multipurpose gym, walking track and suspended running track, massage therapy room and locker rooms. The facility also includes a licensed child care facility for use by students while engaged in campus activities, a licensed massage therapist, a registered dietitian, and a health educator.

Athletic area[edit]

Further north is an area of campus that consists of many athletic facilities including the Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse, Bison Sports Arena, Fargodome, Newman Outdoor Field, Ellig Sports Complex, McCormick Wrestling Complex, Dacotah Field, Schlanser Track, and others.

A $31.6 million renovation of Bison Sports Arena (commonly referred to as the BSA) is currently in the fundraising stage. Upon completion, the Sanford Health Athletic Complex will include the Scheels Center basketball arena; a 14,500 square feet (1,350 m2) basketball training facility; a 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) performance training center; a 2,000 square feet (190 m2) Hall of Fame display, and a Bison team store. Construction for the Shelly Ellig Indoor Track and Field Facility started in October 2011.

Research and technology park[edit]

The Research and Technology Park is a 55 acres (0.22 km2) site of innovation and technology, residing to the west of the north area of campus, and consists of entities that research and develop nano technologies, RFID, polymers and coatings, high performance computing, and others.

The Technology Incubator opened in March 2007. The 49,757 square feet (4,622.6 m2) facility is located in the NDSU Research and Technology Park, five minutes from the international airport and major interstate highways. The Technology Incubator offers entrepreneurs the following: state of the art facility, wet lab/dry lab space, manufacturing space, customizable tenant space, shared production areas, executive boardroom, conference rooms, common reception area, T1 lines, dedicated data rooms and phone systems. The Technology Incubator was developed to assist startup entities and to complement the Research and Technology Park.

The Research and Technology Park also houses the Fargo branch of the North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS-Fargo), which opened in 1997.

NDSU Downtown[edit]

NDSU Downtown is a growing campus of North Dakota State University. This mini-campus, started in 2004 with the purchase and renovation of the Northern School Supply building at NP Avenue and 8th Street north in downtown Fargo, serves as the home of NDSU's visual arts program including part of its architecture program. In 2006, the NDSU Development Foundation purchased the Pioneer Mutual Life Insurance Building and Lincoln Mutual Life & Casualty Insurance Building along 2nd Avenue North between 8th and 10th Street in downtown Fargo from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Dakota. The buildings and subsequent additions house the College of Business and some architectural programs. The area surrounding these buildings will be developed into a "mini-campus" with large grass areas, trees, and other amenities. To further supplement the area, local developers immediately expressed interest in developing the area after campus expansions were reported. For travel between NDSU Downtown and the main campus, the Fargo-Moorhead Metro Area Transit offers transportation every 15 minutes during the school day. All NDSU students ride on the entire MAT system free by using their student ID cards.

Agricultural research extension centers[edit]

North Dakota State University has many research extension centers across the state that encompass over 18,488 acres (75 km²) in total. Major NDSU research extension centers are located near Carrington, Casselton, Dickinson, Fargo, Hettinger, Langdon, Minot, Streeter, and Williston.


North Dakota State University is well known for many of its academic programs. Not only are many of NDSU's academic programs nationally known, but NDSU offers many unique degree programs including: Communication and Signal Processing, Emergency Management, Health Communication, and Behavioral Statistics.

North Dakota State University is divided into the following colleges:

  • Engineering and Architecture
  • Science and Mathematics
  • Human Development and Education
  • Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
  • Pharmacy, Nursing, and Allied Sciences
  • Business
  • Agriculture, Food Systems & Natural Resources
  • University Studies
  • Graduate School and Interdisciplinary Studies

NDSU offers a unique major known as University Studies that allows a student to study in nearly any area that interests them. To enhance learning among its students, NDSU offers online classes, online academic portals, or technology enhanced classrooms.


Tuition and required fees at NDSU are, on the average, 11.4 percent less than regional counterparts. As a percent of median household income, tuition and required fees at NDSU are 2.5 percent lower than regional counterparts.[7]


The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education has classified NDSU in the “Research University/Very High Research Activity” category, which represents 108 of the most research intensive private and public universities in the United States. NDSU is the first and only institution in North Dakota to receive this categorization.[2]

National Rankings [8] lists Fargo, ND as No. 5 in an article called “Top College Towns for Jobs.” The article suggests that research universities are conducive to great environments for business, providing an educated labor force and centers of innovation stemming from university research.[9]


Total collections at the NDSU Libraries include holdings of approximately 1 million physical items in addition to access to extensive electronic resources.

Libraries at NDSU:

A feasibility study was recently completed regarding the construction of a new Main Library.


NDSU is a major component of the Red River Valley Research Corridor and does research in many areas. According to the National Science Foundation, NDSU is the largest research institution in the state of North Dakota. NDSU is among the top 100 research universities in the United States in six research categories. NDSU's annual research expenditures exceed 134 million dollars. Major fields of research at NDSU include nanotechnology, RFID technology, agriculture, chemistry, and polymers/coatings. NDSU also has a 55 acre (223,000 m²) Technology Park located on the north side of the main campus.

The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education has classified NDSU in the “Research University/Very High Research Activity” category, which represents 108 of the most research intensive private and public universities in the United States. NDSU is the first and only institution in North Dakota to receive this categorization.[2]


The Bison's current athletic logo.

NDSU's sports teams are known as the North Dakota State Bison, or simply The Bison; however, they are also known as "The Thundering Herd." NDSU's athletic symbol is the American Bison.

North Dakota State's Bison Dance team took 1st place at nationals in 2012 and 2013 in pom in Orlando, Florida.

North Dakota State's intercollegiate sports teams participate in NCAA Division I in all sports (Division I Championship Subdivision in football). NDSU was a charter member of the Division II North Central Conference (NCC), and made the move to Division I sports in the fall of 2004. NDSU spent the next two years as an independent in Division I in all sports other than football, in which it was a member of the Great West Football Conference. The school was accepted into The Summit League on August 31, 2006, and began play in that conference on July 1, 2007. The football team left the Great West Football Conference and joined the Missouri Valley Football Conference on March 7, 2007. They became a full member of the conference during the 2008 season.

The Bison football team was the winningest program in NCC history with twenty-six conference championships and eight national championships (1965, 1968, 1969, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990) before moving to Division I Championship Subdivision in 2004. In January 2012, NDSU defeated Sam Houston State in the FCS National Championship game becoming the 2011 season National Champions. NDSU football is a major event in the city of Fargo and the region, averaging over 18,000 fans per home game. The Bison play their home games at the Fargodome (cap. 19,287). In January 2013, NDSU football won the NCAA Division I championship title for a second year in a row.

The men's and women's Bison basketball teams play in the Bison Sports Arena. The women's basketball team won five titles during the 1990s - 1991, 1993 through 1996. In January 2006, the NCAA recognized NDSU's four consecutive Division II Women's Basketball Championships (1993–1996) as one of the "25 Most Defining Moments in NCAA History." NDSU's men's basketball team gained national recognition in 2006 with an upset win at #13 ranked Wisconsin, and again in the 2006-07 season with a win at #8 ranked Marquette. On March 10, 2009, North Dakota State gained a bid to the NCAA Basketball Tournament in its first year of eligibility for Division I postseason play by defeating Oakland 66-64 in the Summit League Tournament Championship game.

The Bison wrestling program has won four Division II team titles in 1988, 1998, 2000, 2001. The team first became fully eligible for the Division I tournament competition in 2009. They joined with six other institutions to create the Western Wrestling Conference. The Summit League does not sponsor wrestling.

Student life[edit]

Campus media[edit]

Thunder Radio, an NDSU radio station, operates on KNDS-LP 96.3 FM and offers online streaming. The Bison Information Network, founded in 2009, is a student run TV station. It focuses on student and athletic news, and is broadcast on campus channel 84 and Fargo public-access television cable TV channel 14.


The Spectrum is NDSU's student newspaper. It has been in print since 1896.

Bison Illustrated is a magazine covering North Dakota State Bison athletics.

Bison Briefs is a newsletter for alumni and friends of North Dakota State University. Story ideas and information for Bison Briefs come from a variety of sources, including alumni, newspaper clippings, faculty and staff.[10]

"Northern Eclecta" is a literary journal produced by students in NDSU's Literary Publications class. It accepts creative writing, photographs, and artwork from NDSU students and community students in grades 7-12.

Performing arts[edit]

The Division of Fine Arts offers four performance facilities:

NDSU's marching band, the Gold Star Marching Band, performs for Bison football games at the Fargodome.

Residence Dining Center at North Dakota State University

Residence Life[edit]

The Department of Residence Life supports students by providing a vibrant, healthy place to live and learn. With 15 residence halls and 3 apartment complexes, more than 4,300 students are housed on campus. The Living Learning Program offers on-campus students opportunities to engage in community development, leadership, academic success, and wellness.

Greek life[edit]

Greek life has been a part of the NDSU campus since 1904 when the first social fraternity was formed offering membership to men in all fields of study.[11] The first women's social fraternity was formed on campus in 1908.[12] NDSU presently has 15 national fraternities and sororities, 12 of which are open to individuals in any field of study and 3 that restrict membership to students in specific professional disciplines and/or areas of career interest. The Greek community has over 650 students.[13]

In 2011, the then 14 fraternities and sororities at NDSU raised nearly $50,000 and served over 15,000 hours to local and national charities.[14]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ As of January 17, 2012. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2011Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2010 to FY 2011" (PDF). 2012 National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. Retrieved December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Carnegie Foundation...Classifications". The Carnegie Foundation. 
  3. ^ a b c "NDSU History and Traditions Council: Did You Know?". NDSU History and Traditions Council. Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  4. ^ a b "University Archives - NDSU History". Retrieved 2007-10-07. 
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  6. ^ "Enrollment Census Summary 2009". North Dakota State University. Retrieved March 2012. 
  7. ^ "2012 Student Affordability Report". North Dakota University System. Retrieved March 2012. 
  8. ^ "National Science Foundation Survey of R&D Expenditures at Universities and Colleges". National Science Foundation. Retrieved December 2012. 
  9. ^ Woolsey, Matt (May 19, 2009). "Top College Towns For Jobs". Retrieved March 2012. 
  10. ^ "Bison Briefs". Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  11. ^ "Local Happenings." 'The Spectrum,' February 15, 1904, p. 117. Retrieved 2012-07-04.
  12. ^ "Finding Aid to the NDAC/SU Greek Life Records" Retrieved 2012-07-04.
  13. ^ "NDSU Greeks" Retrieved 2012-07-04.
  14. ^ "NDSU Greek Life - Memorial Union" Retrieved 2012-07-04.
  15. ^ "Ralph Herseth". National Governors Association. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°53′30″N 96°48′01″W / 46.891582°N 96.800252°W / 46.891582; -96.800252