North Dakota State University

North Dakota State University
Former names
North Dakota Agricultural College (1890-1960)
Motto For the land, and its people
Type Public
Flagship university
Established 1890
Endowment $138 million[1]
President Dean L. Bresciani
Provost Beth Ingram
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 14,516 [2]
Location Fargo, North Dakota, U.S.
46°53′30″N 96°48′00″W / 46.8917°N 96.8000°W / 46.8917; -96.8000Coordinates: 46°53′30″N 96°48′00″W / 46.8917°N 96.8000°W / 46.8917; -96.8000
Campus Urban – Fargo Campus: 258 acres (1.0 km²)
Colors Yellow and Green
Athletics NCAA Division I
The Summit League
Missouri Valley Football Conference
Big 12 (wrestling only)
Sports 14 varsity teams
Nickname Bison ("Thundering Herd")
Mascot Thundar
Affiliations North Dakota University System

North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, more commonly known as North Dakota State University (NDSU), is a public research university that sits on a 258-acre campus in Fargo, in the U.S. state of North Dakota. The institution was founded as North Dakota Agricultural College in 1890 as the research land-grant institution for the state of North Dakota. NDSU is a comprehensive doctoral research university with programs involved in very high research activity.[3] 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.

The university also operates the state agricultural research extension centers spread across the state on over 18,488 acres (75 km²). NDSU is part of the North Dakota University System. As of fall 2015, NDSU has 14,516 students.



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.[4]

On October 15, 1890, Horace E. Stockbridge became the first NDAC president and the Board of Trustees was formed.[5] 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.[5]

One of North Dakota State University's main iconic images welcomes you to their campus.

20th century

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.[4] In 2015 a change was made where only the first verse of the alma mater is recognized by the university.[6]

NDAC continued to grow and was renamed North Dakota State University on November 8, 1960 after a statewide referendum.[7] The name change was to reflect the increasing field of study breadth of the institution.[4]

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.[8]

21st century

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.[9]

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

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 boundaries are 19th Avenue N. to the north, University Drive to the east, 18th St. N. to the west, and 12th Avenue N. to the south.[10]

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 study. Enhancing the area are trickling waterfalls, various fish and flowers, an amphitheater seating area, and "buffalo-rubbed" rocks. This area offers a space for outdoor class sessions and small 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

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

The central area consists of the Engineering Complex, Shepperd Arena, and many academic buildings, and the Quentin Burdick Building (QBB formerly IACC) which is a technology powerhouse for the entire state. The QBB contains several hundred computers and computer servers for many of the universities in the North Dakota University System as well as 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 multimillion-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, formally known as Churchill Field, was a large quad consisting of a plaza, a performance stage, and a large grassy field. In the Fall of 2014, NDSU began construction on the multimillion-dollar Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) building. Since then the building has been completed and renamed to A. Glenn Hill Center.

North area

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

West area

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 34' climbing wall and a 12' tall bouldering 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, and a recently added aquatic center.

Athletic area

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 underway. 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

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

A colorful sign from an earlier era still brightens downtown Fargo

NDSU Downtown is a vibrant, contemporary part of North Dakota State University located in Fargo, N.D. Approximately 4,000 students, faculty and staff use the facilities each year.

The project started in 2004 with the purchase and renovation of the former Northern School Supply building, located at NP Avenue and 8th Street North in the city’s downtown. The structure, now known as Renaissance Hall, is a state-of-the-art facility that houses NDSU's visual arts department, architecture department and the office of Tri-College University, a partnership between NDSU, Concordia College and Minnesota State University Moorhead. The building’s features include studios, classrooms, a wood shop, computer laboratories, gallery and an outdoor sculpture area.

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 Streets, also in downtown Fargo. The refurbished Pioneer building is now Richard H. Barry Hall, named after a former Fargo businessman. Barry Hall is home to the NDSU College of Business and Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics. According to the college, the downtown location and addition of the North Dakota Trade Office have increased interaction with local businesses and allowed the college to expand its offerings, such as a Certificate in Entrepreneurship in partnership with the University of North Dakota, and add three new centers: The Center for Professional Selling and Sales Technology, Fraud Education and Research Institute and the Center for Leadership Practice. Barry Hall has 12 conference rooms, a two-story atrium, 14 classrooms, a 250-seat auditorium and a six-story faculty office town.

The MAT Bus line runs between the main campus and downtown.

The Lincoln Mutual Life and Casualty building is now Klai Hall, named for NDSU alumnus and university supporter John Klai. The building houses the landscape architecture program and features studios, classrooms, a model shop, computer lab, laser cutter facilities and a library.

For travel between NDSU Downtown and the main campus, the Fargo-Moorhead Metro Area Transit offers efficient and reliable transportation during the school day. All NDSU students ride on the MAT system free by using their student ID cards.

Agricultural research extension centers

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
  • Science and Mathematics
  • Human Development and Education
  • Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
  • Health Professions
  • 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.

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.


Tuition and required fees at NDSU are, on 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.[11]


The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education classifies NDSU in the Research University/Very High Research Activity category, to which 108 research-intensive universities in the United States belong. NDSU is the first and only institution in North Dakota to receive this categorization.[3]

National Rankings [12]

University rankings
Forbes[13] 400
U.S. News & World Report[14] 188
Washington Monthly[15] 259 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.[16]


Total collections at the NDSU libraries include holdings of approximately 1 million physical items in addition to access to extensive electronic resources. The NDSU library was remodeled and updated during the school year of 2015 and 2016.

NDSU libraries:


NDSU is a major component of the Red River Valley Research Corridor and ranks in the top 100 research universities for agricultural sciences, chemistry, physical sciences, and social sciences.[17] According to the National Science Foundation, NDSU is the largest research institution in the state of North Dakota. NDSU's annual research expenditures exceed 135 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) Research and 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.[3]


NDSU's sports teams are known as the North Dakota State Bison, or simply The Bison. They are also known as "The Thundering Herd." NDSU's athletic symbol is a caricature of the American Bison.

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. NDSU joined the Big 12 Conference in wrestling in 2015. [18]


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, defeating Sam Houston again. They also defeated Kansas State and hosted ESPN College Gameday. In January 2014, NDSU defeated Towson to win its 3rd consecutive national championship in FCS football. It is only the 2nd team in NCAA history to achieve this feat. NDSU also defeated FBS Iowa State for their 6th consecutive win over an FBS opponent and hosted ESPN College Gameday for the 2nd straight season. January 2015, NDSU defeated Illinois State to win its 4th consecutive national championship in FCS football. The feat had never been accomplished in Division I football. In 2016, NDSU defeated Jacksonville State for a record 5th consecutive NCAA Division 1 FCS national championship. No football team in the modern history of the NCAA has accomplished this feat.

On September 17, 2016, the Bison upset the Iowa Hawkeyes, 23–21.[19] It was the Bison's sixth-straight win against a team in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.[19]


The Bison men's and women's teams have played since 1970 in a venue that was known before 2016 as the Bison Sports Arena. Following a $41 million renovation that nearly doubled the facility's seating capacity, the venue will be renamed the Sanford Health Athletic Complex, with the basketball arena called The Scheels Center, beginning with the 2016-2017 season.

The women's basketball team won five NCAA National Championships 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 an automatic invitation 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 #14 seeded Bison lost to #3 Kansas in the 1st Round.

In the 2nd Round of the 2014 NCAA Basketball Tournament, the #12 seeded Bison team defeated #5 Oklahoma 80-75; then it lost to #4 San Diego State in the 3rd Round.

NDSU also made the 2015 NCAA Basketball Tournament, with the #15 seeded Bison falling 86-76 to #2 seeded Gonzaga in the Round of 64. (Gonzaga went on to the Elite Eight, before losing to Duke, the eventual Tournament Champion.)


Formed in 1957, Bison wrestling won Division II team titles in 1988, 1998, 2000, and 2001. The team first became fully eligible for the Division I tournament competition in 2009. In 2015, following the disbanding of the Western Wrestling Conference, the Bison and all other former WWC members joined the Big 12 Conference for wrestling. NDSU wrestlers compete in the Bison Sports Arena but will be moving into the Sanford Health Athletic complex for the 2016 season.

Other Sports

The Bison hockey team plays in the ACHA and has won eight men's club hockey national championships. North Dakota State's Bison dance team won a National Championship by taking 1st place at nationals in 2012 and 2013 in pom in Orlando, Florida.

The NDSU Track and Field team has won nine consecutive conference championships in the Summit League.

Student life

Campus media

Thunder Radio, an NDSU radio station, operates on KNDS-LP 96.3 FM and offers online streaming. The Bison Information Network, founded in 2008, 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.

NDSU magazine is a magazine for alumni and friends of North Dakota State University. Story ideas and information for NDSU magazine come from a variety of sources. The inaugural issue was October 2000.[20]

"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

The Division of Performing Arts offers four performance facilities:

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

Residence Dining Center

Residence Life

The Department of Residence Life supports students with 15 residence halls and 3 apartment complexes, housing more than 4,300 students on campus. The Living Learning Program offers on-campus students opportunities to engage in community development, leadership, academic success, and wellness.

Greek life

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.[21] The first women's social fraternity was formed on campus in 1908.[22] 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.[23]

Notable alumni


  1. "Financial Statements December 31, 2014 and 2013 North Dakota State University Development Foundation" (PDF). Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  2. As of Fall 2015 "Annual Fall Term Enrollments". Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 "The Carnegie Foundation...Classifications". The Carnegie Foundation.
  4. 1 2 3 "NDSU History and Traditions Council: Did You Know?". NDSU History and Traditions Council. Retrieved October 7, 2007.
  5. 1 2 "University Archives – NDSU History". Retrieved October 7, 2007.
  6. Troubling Lyrics Prompt Action on NDSU Fight Song
  7. "NDSU Historical Facts".
  8. National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  9. "Enrollment Census Summary 2009" (PDF). North Dakota State University. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  11. "2012 Student Affordability Report" (PDF). North Dakota University System. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  12. "National Science Foundation Survey of R&D Expenditures at Universities and Colleges". National Science Foundation. Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  13. "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. July 5, 2016.
  14. "Best Colleges 2017: National Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016.
  15. "2016 Rankings - National Universities". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  16. Woolsey, Matt (May 19, 2009). "Top College Towns For Jobs". Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  18. "Big 12 Adds North Dakota State to Wrestling Membership". Retrieved 2016-06-09.
  19. 1 2 Becht, Colin. "North Dakota State beats Iowa for sixth straight FBS win". Sports Illustrated. September 17, 2016.
  20. "NDSU magazine". Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  21. "Local Happenings." 'The Spectrum,' February 15, 1904, p. 117. Retrieved July 4, 2012.
  22. "Finding Aid to the NDAC/SU Greek Life Records" Retrieved July 4, 2012.
  23. "NDSU Greeks" Retrieved July 4, 2012.
  24. "Ralph Herseth". National Governors Association. Retrieved September 2, 2012.
  25. "Miss North Dakota USA 2014". Miss Universe Organization. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  26. "Chris Tuchscherer MMA Bio". Retrieved 17 September 2016.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to North Dakota State University.
Wikisource has the text of the 1921 Collier's Encyclopedia article North Dakota Agricultural College.
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