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UND, NDSU collaborate as Fargo university gains endowed chair through $4.5 million funding boost


The head of UND’s School of Entrepreneurship said the donation to North Dakota’s only other research university for an endowed chair of entrepreneurship is a positive thing for the whole state.

“My reaction is congratulations to them,” Executive Director and Chairman Tim O'Keefe said. “That success on their part does nothing other than validate the value of entrepreneurship as an educational pursuit and that it bodes well for entrepreneurship education in the entire region.“

At North Dakota State University, an anonymous $3 million donation had been given in honor of Jim Ozbun, a former NDSU president, and the donation will be supplemented by a $1.5 million matching state grant, according to a Wednesday announcement by Dean Bresciani, the current president.

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reported the $4.5 million will establish an endowed chair position and scholarships for students in any discipline who take entrepreneurship courses.

NDSU offers a certificate in entrepreneurship in partnership with UND that is open to students pursuing any major.

"It's a really good thing for the state we have this shared certificate,” O’Keefe said.

The NDSU certificate program is housed in the College of Business, led by interim dean Jane Schuh, according to the university’s website.

O’Keefe said discussions about growing or changing NDSU’s program would take place once a new dean is hired on a permanent basis.

“Right now we’re collaborating on the certificate and I wouldn't rule out additional collaboration in the future," he said.

UND established its an endowed chair in entrepreneurship in 2009, thanks to a $2 million donation from Rod and Barbara Burwell, according to Herald archives.

Bruce Gjovig, director of the UND Center for Innovation, said the center and NDSU Research Park have worked together for years by hosting seminars and working with clients.

“We're making an assumption good collaboration will continue,” Gjovig said.

UND is working toward the creating a bachelor's in innovation and entrepreneurship degree program and a bachelor of leadership, Interim UND President Ed Schafer announced in May.

Those programs still need State Board of Higher Education approval.

Anna Burleson

Anna Burleson is the higher education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. She is a 2013 graduate of the University of South Dakota's Mass Communication program and is originally from Watertown, S.D. Contact her with story ideas or tips by phone, email or Twitter, all of which are listed below. Examples of her work can be accessed here.