Dean Bresciani has been North Dakota State University’s president since 2010, and during these years, he has transformed the university into a nationally recognized institution for education, athletics and research. An institution that is vital to the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo metro, the state, the nation and the world. And his leadership and vision has never once wavered.
Bresciani may be under fire, but the facts speak for themselves, and the facts show that the university has never been stronger, thanks in large part to the wisdom and experience from this seasoned leader.
Just one of many indicators of Bresciani’s success lies in the university’s fundraising efforts. Through the end of May, the NDSU Foundation and Alumni Association’s fundraising totaled over $33 million. To put this into perspective, that number was just under $7 million at the same time last year, which was the fourth highest fundraising year ever.
The university also secured more than $176 million in current and deferred gifts from July 1, 2010 through June 16 of this year. In the five years prior, (fiscal years 2006 to 2010), the total was $58 million. Numbers like that don’t increase without solid leadership from the top.
Moody’s Investors Service released a statement on July 6, 2016, which read: “NDSU’s strategic positioning is good, reflecting excellent long-term planning, strong investment in core programs and facilities, and careful financial oversight enhancing financial flexibility. The university carefully calibrates its expenses to revenue volatility, which is essential given high competition for students, variable state funding and pressure on federal research funding. Management continues to successfully capitalize on Fargo’s economic growth, with industry partnerships for education, job placement and research.”
Another fact is that North Dakota State University plays an important role in the ongoing issue of workforce in the metro. Not only is the institution the second largest employer in Fargo Moorhead West Fargo – only after Sanford, with over 4,000 FTEs as of December last year – but they produce highly educated and trained employees, many of which stay to work in the region.
In fact, according to a recent graduates survey from NDSU, 77% of North Dakota students are working in the state, and 34% of Minnesota students are now working in North Dakota.
Bresciani has been involved in the recent workforce collaborative and has shown his strong support of efforts to attract, train and retain qualified workers in the region. Quite simply, our work in solving the workforce gap would be much harder without the backing of our higher education leaders.
Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that NDSU has upward of an $884 million annual economic impact on the regional economy. These are no small figures.
While colleges and universities around the country struggle with enrollment, under President Bresciani’s leadership, NDSU continues to grow and prosper.
It’s also hard to ignore the incredible athletic accomplishments. Bison pride booms through this community, and the university boasts five consecutive NCAA D1 football championships and four visits from ESPN. Getting national sports coverage on this level promotes not just NDSU, but the community and state. While this kind of exposure could be a million-dollar marketing campaign, we receive it for free because of NDSU’s accomplishments. Knowing that Bresciani hired the athletic director and football coach shows that he picks the kind of staff and provides the vision and leadership that they need to succeed.
It’s clear that the president has his heart and head in the right place when it comes to serving the citizens of North Dakota and the students of the university. It is inspiring to watch as he and his team continue to pursue excellence in academics and research, with an eye toward the economic success of our region.
I have to applaud Bresciani’s commitment, leadership and vision, and I stand behind him with confidence.