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UND street could be renamed after Earl Strinden

Those who know Earl Strinden hope reminders of his work stay on UND's campus long after the building named for him is gone. Strinden, a former state legislator, Grand Forks City Council member and UND Alumni Association chief, soon could be the l...

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Those who know Earl Strinden hope reminders of his work stay on UND's campus long after the building named for him is gone.

Strinden, a former state legislator, Grand Forks City Council member and UND Alumni Association chief, soon could be the latest namesake for one of the city's streets. Grand Forks' Planning and Zoning Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a request to change the name of a section of Stanford Road to Strinden Road in his honor, and it appears on track for final approval by the City Council later this month.

"I'm not sure if the original idea came from us or the university, but the Strinden Center is one of the (UND) buildings that are slated to be torn down," said Milo Smith, a spokesman for the UND Alumni Association and Foundation, referring to a list of buildings on campus that soon will be demolished. "We saw this as an opportunity to make up for the fact."

The stretch of Stanford Road to be renamed runs from Campus Road to University Avenue. It is owned and maintained by UND and has no addresses listed upon it. It runs adjacent to the Gorecki Alumni Center.

The Herald was unable to reach Strinden for comment Friday. Strinden is a beloved figure at the UND Alumni Association, which he led from the mid-1970s to 2000. He founded the UND Foundation in 1978, growing its assets from $1 million to more than $100 million before he stepped away from the job. In 2003, the Herald dubbed him "the Earl of UND."

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"Earl Strinden has such a loyal, devoted, respectful following among alumni of the university," Grand Forks attorney John Marshall said in 1999, shortly after Strinden announced his departure from the Alumni Association. "You don't build up that type of respect and trust in a short period of time."

He also was a notable state legislator, serving as House majority leader from 1975 to 1987.

Smith said Strinden and his wife, Jan - who, given her work on behalf of the Alumni Association, also is feted by the name change - will be honored with a 4 p.m. reception May 4 at the Gorecki Alumni Center.

"Even though Earl retired many years ago now, he still is around," Smith said. "He visits probably twice a month. He's still a supporter of the university financially, and through his other efforts as well."

Correction: An earlier version of this post misstated the time when the reception in Earl Strinden's honor begins. It starts at 4 p.m.

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