Fargo, N.D., Sept. 30 – North Dakota State University President Dean L. Bresciani says a rare “window of opportunity” exists in North Dakota, and challenged the campus community to imagine the opportunity to help shape the state over the next century. That observation came during his first State of the University Address today before an audience of faculty, staff, students, alumni and the public at Festival Concert Hall.
“We may never have the opportunity we do now to reposition perceptions of North Dakota and NDSU,” said Bresciani, who was named NDSU’s 14th president on May 24 by the State Board of Higher Education. “We may never have the opportunity we do now to catapult the economic vitality, diversity and competitiveness of our state past others in the nation, and to enhance its attractiveness to not only the young North Dakotans who are our future, but also to the best and brightest minds of people throughout the country.”
North Dakota is “becoming a hotbed of economic vitality, spurred on by higher education,” said Bresciani. The state has the third highest per capita percentage of college educated young people, and research is expanding through the visionary Red River Valley Research Corridor. The state has a deserved reputation for the work ethic of its people and one of the best K-12 education systems in the nation.
“We all know that higher education is a powerful way to expand the economy of a state, diversify the tax base and create jobs,” he said. “While at the same time we honor our historic mission and focus on educating students, we also create the new knowledge that leads to new technologies that lead to new businesses that lead to new jobs.”
Bresciani said NDSU has witnessed record student enrollments for the past 11 years, and the level of interest in the university has risen dramatically throughout the nation and world. He noted NDSU has evolved over the past 10 years by increasing productivity, visibility and its contributions to a greater number of constituencies.
“The future of our state is at a point of awakening – and our imagination is the only limit to the future. We are the ones poised to make that future a reality,” Bresciani said. “NDSU already commands a powerful niche. We are unique in how we successfully balance our roles of being student focused, land-grant and a research university; and that makes us distinctive among our peers.”
Bresciani said he is pursuing additional resources to support programs that will change the fate of the state. He said the university must work to identify its strengths in specific areas that hold the most promise. “NDSU cannot be considered a ‘cost’ to North Dakota; we must be considered an investment,” he said.
A native of Napa Valley, Calif., Bresciani previously was vice president for student affairs at Texas A&M University in College Station. He was at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1998 to 2004 in positions including interim vice chancellor for student affairs. In 1992-98, he held positions at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, including director of Residential and Greek Life and interim associate vice chancellor for student affairs.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from Humboldt State University, Arcata, Calif.; master’s degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio; and doctorate in higher education finance, with a doctoral minor in economics, from the University of Arizona, Tucson.
Bresciani’s State of the University is available as both a script and webcast archived at www.ndsu.edu/president/speeches.