History of the Department
The name of North Dakota State University in 1950 was North Dakota Agricultural College. Under provision of the Hatch Act of 1887, an Agricultural Experiment Station was organized in connection with the North Dakota Agricultural College in 1890. In 1914, with the passage by Congress of the Smith-Lever Act, the function of the Extension Service was added to the college. On November 8, 1960 the voters of North Dakota amended the state constitution changing the name of this institution from North Dakota Agricultural College to North Dakota State University of Agriculture and Applied Science.
In 1950 and earlier, soil scientists were members of the Agronomy Department in the College of Agricultural and Agricultural Experiment Station. For easier identification soil scientists were classified under Agronomy (Soils) and crop scientists under Agronomy (Crops). In 1959 soil scientists were separated from crop scientists and were members of the Soils Department. The department name of Soils Department was used from 1959 to 1981.
Mr. T. E. Stoa was chairman of Agronomy (Soils) and Agronomy (Crops for the period 1934-1959. The Agronomy (Soils) section head or leader was Dr. E. B. Norum from 1947 to 1959. Prior to 1947 the soils section leaders were Dr. G. Johnsgard, Dr. Volkerding, Dr. William Johnson, Dr. E. H. Tyner, Dr. C. E. Kellogg and possibly a few others, including Dr. H. L. Waster. At the retirement of Mr. Stoa in 1959, soil scientists were given departmental status with the name of Soils Department. Dr. E. B. Norum was the department chairman from 1959 to 1975. Dr. J. C. Zubriski was interim chairman from July to October 1975. The next chairman of the Soils Department was Dr. Charles M. Smith. He was chairman from October 1975 to December, 1980. Again, Dr. J. C. Zubriski was interim chairman from December 1980 to September 1981. In September, 1981 Dr. John Foss accepted the position as chairman of the department. Dr. Foss recommended to the administration that the department name be changed from Soils Department to Department of Soil Science. This request was approved in 1981. In 1985, Dr. Lynn Brun served as Interim chair of the department and in 1986 was appointed as chairman of the department. Following Dr. Brun's retirement, Dr. Jimmie Richardson became Interim Chair in July of 2001 until his resignation in 2005 to accept a position as Research Soil Scientist with the National Soil Survey Center in Lincoln, NE. On July 1st of 2005, Dr. Rod Lym, Professor of Weed Science was appointed interim chair of the department.
The merger of Soil Science with Range Science and Natural Resources Mangement was approved in 2006 and on July 1st, 2007, Dr. Don Kirby was appointed Interim Chair. In April of 2008 the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education approved the creation of the School of Natural Resource Sciences. The School includes the Entomology and Soil Science Departments and the Natural Resource Management and Range Science programs. Dr. Frank Casey is the interim Director of the School.
Download our Departmental White Paper . This document authored by Dr. Lyle Prunty in 2004, is a concise summary of our department's past and present.