|State of the U is exceptional, says Kupchella|
The state of the University is exceptional, said President Kupchella in his annual address to the University Council Oct. 23.
With record research support of more than $100 million and great new facilities, UND serves 25,000 students each year. Around 15,000 are seeking degrees, and summer enrollment has increased nearly 4 percent. UND is one of 47 public universities with both law and medical schools, he said, and the law school, with more than 700 applications, is one of just 20 in the nation with increasing enrollment.
The economic impact of UND exceeds $1 billion, and three publications, Washington Monthly, US News & World Report, and Princeton Review have ranked UND nationally. The medical school is ranked fifth in the nation for rural medicine, and Entrepreneur Magazine and Princeton Review named UND’s entrepreneurship program in the top 10. The Energy and Environmental Research Center has approached $40 million in contracts, Kupchella said. And UND athletic teams played in seven national title games.
The University will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2008, Kupchella said, and mentioned events that will mark the quasquicentennial, including talks by noted authors Salman Rushdie and Stephen Bloom.
He emphasized the rich cultural tapestry of the University, which has faculty and students from 60 nations, and discussed his recent trip to the Kyrgyz Republic to establish an exchange program with the University of Osh there.
UND is an innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial university, Kupchella said, and that has served as a guiding spirit since its founding. UND Aerospace, he reminded the audience, began with two airplanes and a dream.
Philanthropy has made a big difference at UND, Kupchella said, citing donors such as Chester Fritz and the Hopper-Danleys, who made possible the recent refurbishment of the Adelphi Fountain, along with the Memorial Chapel and celebration wall.
The University is currently in the “silent phase” of a major campaign to increase our endowment to $500 million. The campaign is necessary to help support faculty, students, facilities, and our signature programs, Kupchella said. Harvard’s endowment, he noted, is $35 billion, and they distributed $1 billion back to the university last year.
UND is at a crossroad, Kupchella said. We can’t rest on our accomplishments, and we must look toward the future. Higher education is an investment, and we must be proactive as we carve out a place in the higher ed landscape. Our goal, he said, is to be in the top 50 universities in the nation. We’re already in the top 100.
Getting there will require additional resources from both the state and private funding. State funding must increase so we can offer better salaries, cover operating costs, and continue to work on economic development. Private funding will help with endowed chairs, scholarships, to increase the performing arts, add a clinical center, and add a program in aerospace engineering, along with transitioning to Division I.
We can, should, and will do these things, Kupchella said, but we need resources. And we need to more aggressively market the University.
The state’s higher education institutions have added a net total of 231 new academic programs since 1988, Kupchella said, adding 307 programs and dropping 76. UND deleted 31 of those programs, and other campuses are increasing their program numbers. There is a lot of unnecessary duplication across the state, Kupchella said. It’s a matter of remodeling and looking to the future.
“We need to skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it was a couple of years ago,” he said. He would like to add an Earth System and Environmental Science unit to take advantage of EERC and engineering resources, noting that it’s a program in demand.
“We’re working for the resources to make the future happen,” Kupchella said. “The possibilities are enormous, and limited only by resources.”
(Editor’s Note: President Kupchella recognized a large number of students, faculty, staff and units for their achievements. They will all be listed in a printed piece which will be distributed to the University community.)
-- Jan Orvik, Writer/Editor, University Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 777-3621