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College: It'd be Georgia peachy if we had a Nodak

Officials at Georgia Southern University looked over their student body recently and found something missing: a North Dakotan. Word went out via Twitter last week: "Georgia Southern has students from every state but North Dakota," the tweet read....

Statesboro, Georgia

Officials at Georgia Southern University looked over their student body recently and found something missing: a North Dakotan.

Word went out via Twitter last week: "Georgia Southern has students from every state but North Dakota," the tweet read. "Let's get one!"

Kim Walker, an administrative secretary at the school, laughingly denied that football players had been sent north with gunny sacks to capture at least one Nodak, or that state troopers were watching the approaches to Savannah for North Dakota license plates.

No need to play rough, she said.

"We have everything here. We're an hour from the beach, and we're three hours from Atlanta."

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Slight pause.

"And we have wonderful academics."

Is it a friendly place?

"Of course it is," she said in a charmingly miffed drawl. "It's the South."

If anyone's interested:

Georgia Southern has an enrollment of about 19,000 students. Founded in 1906, it is in Statesboro, Ga., described on the school's web pages as "a safe and classic Main Street community" of 30,000 people about an hour northwest of Savannah.

It claims "the most beautiful campus in Georgia" and boasts a center for wildlife education, a raptor center and botanical gardens. The campus library was expanded recently to 333,000 square feet, "larger than a city block."

Georgia Southern's athletic teams, the Eagles, play in Division I and have won six national championships in football in Division I-AA, now the NCAA Football Championship Series.

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(Among their regular football adversaries: the North Dakota State University Bison. A student transferring from UND would find an instant bond with Georgia Southern classmates.)

And speaking of UND:

Carmen Williams, director of institutional research at the Grand Forks campus, said UND also claims students from every state but one this year.

UND is missing Delaware, she said. They had one last year -- had all 50 states represented last year -- but fell just short this time.

"We do have 23 students from Georgia," she said, sounding rather pleased.

Christian Flathman, a spokesman for Georgia Southern, said Tuesday that some question had arisen concerning the school's enrollment geography since the "North Dakotan Wanted" call went out across the country last week.

"There appears to be some confusion now as to whether it's North Dakota or Wyoming," he said. People were checking.

Does it really matter whether the registrar gets to color in all 50 states?

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"We're trying to grow," Flathman said. "And to be able to say we have students from all 50 states says something about us a national university."

Maybe UND could arrange a trade, Georgia Southern. How are you on Delaware?

Reach Haga at (701) 780-1102; (800) 477-6572, ext. 102; or send e-mail to chaga@gfherald.com .

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