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Anonymous donor gives $1M to UND accounting department

College of Business and Public Administration at Gamble Hall on the University of North Dakota campus. Forum News Service file photo.

An anonymous donor has pledged $1 million to UND’s accounting department, money that will go to students and faculty.

About 20 percent of the gift will fund an endowment for graduate student stipends. The additional $800,000 will help elevate the Kulas Koppenhaver Endowed Professorship fund from a professorship level to an endowed chair level, said Milo Smith, senior director of public relations at the UND Alumni Association and Foundation.

With this gift, the endowment has grown to $2.5 million, with much of that total given by the same donor.

The Kulas Koppenhaver endowment is named for for R.D. Koppenhaver and Ludwik Kulas. Koppenhaver served as chair of the accounting department from 1940 to 1971. Kulas was an instructor and a professor from 1946 to 1971, when he took over as department chair. He retired in 1988. The fund is for those in the accounting department.

DeAnna Carlson Zink, CEO of the UND Alumni Association and Foundation, said the “substantial gift” shows that the time the donor spent at UND had a great influence on their life and that they want others to benefit from the same education they received.

"We cannot begin to express how thankful we are to have donors who care so much about our students at the University of North Dakota that they would make such a generous gift," she said in a statement.

Smith said people can choose to donate to the university foundation anonymously for a variety of reasons.

Carlson Zink spoke about the importance of endowed faculty chairs in her State of the Foundation address in August.

"Endowed chairs help to create and maintain faculty excellence by helping UND departments and colleges compete nationally for outstanding teaching and research faculty,” she said.

Endowed chair funds can help supplement faculty members’ salaries, and there are multiple funds across the campus, Smith said.

Amy Henley, dean of the College of Business and Public Administration, said the money also can allow individuals to do research, something Henley said is very expensive.

“By increasing that gift, what the donor allows us to do is serve a greater number of students,” she said. “It also helps us provide greater support for faculty research and outreach to business communities.”

Henley said there are a couple of other endowed chairs in the College of Business and Public Administration, but this will be the first time there is an endowed chair for the accountancy department.

“This gift is from a very passionate accounting alum who has been very engaged and supportive of our faculty and students,” she said.

Henley said the gift allows the college to have more much resources in revamping their masters of accountancy program.

Sydney Mook

Sydney Mook has been covering higher education at the Grand Forks Herald since May 2018. She previously served as the multimedia editor and cops, courts and health reporter at the Dickinson Press from January 2016 to May 2018.  She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science in three and half years in December 2015. While at the USD, she worked for the campus newspaper, The Volante, as well as the television news show, Coyote News. She also interned at South Dakota Public Broadcasting and spent the summer before her senior year interning in Fort Knox for the ROTC Cadet Summer Training program. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys cheering on the New York Yankees and the Kentucky Wildcats, as well as playing golf. If you've got an idea for a video be sure to give her a call!

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