NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani says the university is coming back from a major cut in its biennial budget. During his 2017 State of the University Address on Sept. 29, in Festival Concert Hall, he said that achievement has come through the hard work and commitment of faculty and staff.
“NDSU is a very special place,” Bresciani told the audience. “Your resolve in the face of extreme difficulties this past year is a strong demonstration of how important it is to share the unity of purpose that sees us through good times and bad.”
NDSU weathered a 17 percent cut in state support as thoughtfully and creatively as possible, but Bresciani noted the university is down 149 faculty and staff from a year ago. He said to meet the biennial budget cut, personnel chose to retire, positions were eliminated and others have been left unfilled.
“All of you have shown admirable resolve as we work through our new reality,” Bresciani said. “The people of NDSU are not just resilient, but are more adaptive than any I’ve ever known. If you’re like me, you’d have trouble imagining a university community of 18,000 people that is as nimble as we have been over the past few months.”
NDSU’s strong foundation as a student-focused, land-grant research university allows the institution to rebuild. “You know how vital our work is. You see every day that NDSU is a place that gives students and the citizens we serve opportunity like no other,” Bresciani said. “And you know that going forward, although we will have to make our way through some rough patches, we will continue to be the student-focused, land-grant, research university our students and our citizens rely upon.”
NDSU continues to do outstanding work. The university’s seven National Institutes of Health Research Project Grants, known as R01 grants, are examples.
Some of them include:
• Kristine Steffen in the College of Health Professions received a $3.7 million award for a study that examines how biological and behavioral factors interact in determining the success of bariatric surgery.
• Jagdish Singh, chair and professor of pharmaceutical sciences, received a $1.9 million grant for an Alzheimer’s disease study.
• Sanku Mallik and Bin Guo in pharmaceutical sciences received a $1.2 million grant to study ways of using tiny polymer spheres to deliver anticancer drugs to prostate cancers.
• Yagna Jarajapu is principal investigator of a $1.3 million grant for a project titled “Targeting Mas Receptors for Diabetic Vascular Disease in Older Adults.”
“These NIH awards are a testament to the caliber of the competitive health research – that is being recognized on a national level – conducted at NDSU. It’s one more example of how successful our scientists are in seeking solutions that make a difference in people’s lives,” Bresciani said.
Significant work continues across campus. Bresciani cited two Grand Challenge research projects – the Engineered Cancer Test Beds Initiative and the Population Health Research Initiative.
“It’s important for us to recognize the caliber, breadth and impact of the research conducted here,” Bresciani said. “Unlike most of our peer institutions, our students are working alongside these world class researchers.”
Those examples, and others, demonstrate that the university is already overcoming the budget difficulties and moving forward.
“We have a history of achievement despite adversity. In the past, we’ve faced objective and subjective challenges, and we have prevailed, and we will, again, eat adversity for lunch,” he said.
The campus will soon begin hiring new faculty, and the construction of the new Catherine Cater residence hall is underway without state funding. In addition, a $28 million Sudro Hall addition, funded by private donations, is expected to begin in March. The university also is in the beginning stages of a major philanthropic campaign, launched in partnership with the NDSU Foundation and Alumni Association, that will focus on investments in students, faculty and staff.
NDSU also welcomed its first class of McGovern scholars – incoming STEM students who received full tuition scholarships through a program established by alumnus Harry McGovern.
“Throughout this address, my guess is you’ve come to appreciate why I’m so proud of our faculty, staff and students,” Bresciani said. “It is truly a privilege to be part of North Dakota State University. Our work enriches everyone around us.”
The annual address was Bresciani’s eighth since he became NDSU’s 14th president in 2010.
As a student-focused, land-grant, research university, we serve our citizens.