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2010: A Year of Great Success In The Face Of Transition At UND

Posted on 12/30/2010

It was a year of growth, transition and huge successes among students, faculty and staff at the University of North Dakota in 2010.

Signs that the University's enrollment was headed into uncharted territory could be seen as early as January when the first day spring enrollment numbers were tallied, showing more students on campus than any other previous spring semester. That growth trend continued into the fall, when after the official student headcount was taken, UND shattered its previous all-time record enrollment.

There was change aplenty, too. On the heels of a decision by the State Board of Higher education to retire the Fighting Sioux nickname and logo, UND President Robert Kelley announced the University's plan to make it happen. He put Dr. Robert Boyd, vice president of student affairs, in position to oversee that process. At the same time, UND made headway in its quest to find a conference affiliation for most of its sports teams, an effort that culminated with the announcement that the school would join the Big Sky Conference in 2012.

The successes enjoyed by the University community over the past year are too numerous to mention. The Office of University Relations has compiled a list of the top stories (unranked) that radiated this past year from UND. In this list, we touch on a few of the achievements by our alumni, faculty, staff and students who helped make 2010 such a great year for UND:

*The University of North Dakota and UND Foundation launched the public phase of a comprehensive $300 million fundraising campaign in October. North Dakota Spirit: The Campaign for UND intends to raise $100 million to increase the number of student scholarships awarded; $100 million for endowment funds for faculty support; $50 million to enhance programs to respond to state and global needs; and $50 million to improve existing or add new buildings and technology. It was the first comprehensive fundraising effort in the University's history. To date, more than $201 million has been raised in cash gifts, pledges, bequests and other commitments.

*Harold Hamm, cited by Forbes as the richest oilman in the United States and listed by Forbes.com as 136th on the list of world's billionaires, visited UND on Dec. 3. Hamm, founder and chief executive of Oklahoma-based Continental Resources, spoke to a standing-room-only classroom of engineering, geology and business students, praising them for their knowledge of the oil and gas industry. He also lauded UND for its development of three new degree programs in petroleum studies.

*The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education unanimously approved a first-of-its-kind collaborative master's degree program between UND and North Dakota State University in Fargo. The Master of Public Health (MPH) program will address an anticipated need for professionals in the field of public health. The program will partner UND's School of Medicine and Health Sciences with NDSU's College of Pharmacy, Nursing, and Allied Sciences; and other departments at both Universities.

*In March, Dr. Robert Boyd, long serving Vice President for Student and Outreach Services at UND, announced his intention to retire Dec. 31, 2010.

*With North Dakota State Board of Higher Education approval of a site location on Nov. 4, a new alumni center on the UND campus inched closer to reality after more than 15 years of planning. The new center will be called The Gorecki (pronounced go-rets'-key) Alumni Center in honor of Benedict, '62, '63, and Dorothy Gorecki, who have donated $4 million dollars toward the $10.5 million project.

*Sanford Health-MeritCare and the UND Foundation announced in February a $1.5 million gift to establish the Dr. Roger Gilbertson Endowed Chair of Neurology at the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences. Dr. Gilbertson is president emeritus of MeritCare Health System.

*UND will become the official repository of The Byron L. Dorgan Papers, a significant portion of all records documenting the longtime North Dakota Senator's national public service, as a result of a signing that took place on Dec. 14, between Sen. Dorgan and UND President Kelley, in Washington, D.C. The papers eventually will be housed in UND's Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections in the Chester Fritz Library.

*A research team headed by UND geomorphologist Dr. Jaakko Putkonen headed Antarctica, to the Ong Valley in a desolate, little-known region near the South Pole, in November, on a National Science Foundation-funded expedition. The purpose of the trip was to dig into the evolution of the Antarctic landscape in one of the continent's remotest and least understood regions, an area not currently covered in snow and ice.

*UND law professor Gregory Gordon, an internationally known expert on the prosecution of war crimes and genocide, traveled to Cambodia in December to train prosecutors gearing up for the trial of the top surviving leaders of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime at the UN-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC), commonly referred to as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.

*The UND School of Law ranked 19th on the list of Top 20 Best Value Law Schools in the nation, according to the Fall 2010 issue of prelaw magazine.

*The UND School of Medicine was named the top medical school in the country for producing family medicine physicians, according to rankings released in May by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). UND ranked first among the country's 132 accredited medical schools.

*UND School of Engineering and Mines recognized the need to produce petroleum engineers not only for the state but for the nation, and in April, the school gained the support of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education in approving a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering at UND. The creation of this new program provides the education and research necessary to support major developments in the Bakken Formation in western North Dakota.

*UND's John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences and Tokai University of Japan renewed a flight training partnership that provides for two classes each year for the next four years with a minimum of 40 students per year. The school also announced a long-term relationship with Norwegian company, Avinor, by formalizing a three-year agreement with two one-year options totaling five years. The agreement provided for 36 students per year.

*The UND Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF) won first place in the undergraduate division for their growth-style portfolio at RISE X (Redefining Investment Strategy Education) Global Investment Forum March 18-20. With 302 universities from 73 countries represented, 50 of the top performing funds entered their portfolios in the RISE X competition.

*UND Center for Innovation's two technology incubators were designated as a "Soft Landings International Incubator" by the National Business Incubation Association (NBIA) for the third time in November. The Center for Innovation was one of first five incubators in the world to secure that designation in 2006, and today there are just 19 incubators out of 5,000 worldwide with that designation and certification. Other Soft Landings incubators are located in such places as Hong Kong, England, Australia, Finland, Belgium, France, San Jose, Baltimore and Boston. The NBIA designation identifies incubators that provide a "soft landing" to international firms wishing to expand into new markets.

Other UND highlights for the year include the following, also unranked:

*The UND Flying Team won the 2010 SAFECON national collegiate aviation competition held at Indiana State University-Terre Haute last spring. It was UND's 16th SAFECON championship in the 25 years that UND has participated in this competition.

*Students from the UND School of Engineering and Mines Unmanned Aircraft Systems Engineering Laboratory made history and won some cash for their effort in September in the land Down Under. The UND team took first place in the 2010 Australian international UAV Outback Search and Rescue competition in Kingaroy, Queensland, Australia. The victory was made even sweeter by the fact that the UND team became the first in the four-year history of the competition to actually locate the prized target, a life-sized dummy known as "Outback Joe."

*UND's Energy & Environmental Research Center, in partnership with the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) and Science Applications International Corporation, demonstrated the effectiveness of a mercury pollution control technology for chemical weapons incinerators in June.

*U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan announced in June that the UND Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center of Excellence and L-3 Link Simulation and Training will collaborate on a new program to provide unique Predator and Reaper UAS operator education. The center also is part of a hub for a broad program of mutlidisciplinary UAS-related research activities at UND.

*The UND Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Fighting Sioux Battalion was one of only eight such units recently honored as tops in the nation by being named winner of the 2010 MacArthur Awards. The MacArthur Awards recognize unit performance based on the ideals of Gen. Douglas MacArthur. This year's award also acknowledged the Fighting Sioux Battalion as the top unit in its 10 state region.

*Kirk Harold Peterson, manager of avionics at the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, was named the 2010 National Avionics Technician of the Year by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

*Actor Sam Anderson - one of UND's best-known theatre arts graduates - returned to Grand Forks to hold a Great Conversation with the public on Oct. 21. Anderson helped the university kick off its Theatre Arts 100th Anniversary by attending a reunion of his UND classmates.

*U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano gave the main address at UND's general commencement, May 15. Lynn Luckow, Craigslist Foundation president and CEO, UND graduate and Hettinger, N.D., native, had the honor of delivering the commencement addresses at the undergraduate and graduate winter ceremonies Dec. 17.

*Christina (Tina) Cummings, a graduate student in UND's Department of Geography, has spent the past two years writing her master's thesis on the flooding threat Devils Lake poses to the small town of Minnewaukan, N.D. When completed, her work will become part of the Devils Lake risk assessment study being put together by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in collaboration with other federal, state and local agencies.

*Harvard astronomers using the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Chandra X-ray Observatory discovered evidence of a black hole in a galaxy about 50 million light years away from Earth-by astronomical standards, a close neighbor. The Harvard discovery was based, in part, on theoretical groundwork laid by UND astrophysicist Dr. Tim Young. The location of the black hole is at the site of a recent supernova that exploded in 1979 and is the youngest black hole known. In 2005, a theoretical model proposed by Young and his team of graduate students predicted that a black hole should have been produced at the explosion site. Young's model was based on optical observations of the supernova.

*Two UND employees were among six statewide winners of the 2010 "Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Service" at a luncheon held in September in Bismarck. Janice Hoffarth, an administrative assistant in the UND Department of Music, and Kirk Peterson, an aircraft avionics manager at UND's John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, were formally recognized at the luncheon by former North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven for their dedication and contributions to the people of North Dakota.

*For the second year in a row, the UND Aerobatic Team won first place in the National Collegiate Aerobatic Championship, according to results released by the International Aerobatics Club in January. This was not just any win--it's the top spot in one of the world's most difficult and challenging sports. Aerobatic flight, which is taught at the UND John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, is a highly specialized and rigorously demanding area of general aviation that requires highly focused attention, discipline, physical conditioning, and a wide array of flying skills.

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