In 1889, when the UND campus consisted of one building on the prairie, our first eight graduates met after commencement to form the UND Alumni Association.
That small group was quickly tested. During the 1895 farm depression, North Dakotans struggled to stay afloat. Gov. Roger Allin decided the state could not afford a university. UND alumni and community leaders disagreed. In an appeal for financial aid, they asked:
“Shall the University of North Dakota be closed? ... It would advertise to the world that North Dakota is either unwilling or unable to maintain for her sons and daughters an institution of higher learning. We believe that the people are both willing and able and that they will rally to the support of their University.”
And rally they did, raising nearly $30,000 to keep UND open.
That was the start of the UND Alumni Association’s tradition of enthusiastically and passionately working with alumni, the University and the greater community to support our school. University of North Dakota leaders and these first graduates wanted to make a difference - to better their lives and the lives of others.
The establishment of the UND Foundation in 1978 created the official fundraising and private gift-receiving organization for the University of North Dakota. The foundation works closely with alumni and friends, faculty and staff, corporations and foundations, and the University to create fundraising programs and opportunities to benefit the University and its excellence in teaching, research and public engagement.
In 2012, the Alumni Association and the Foundation moved into the Gorecki Alumni Center. This move was made possible by the North Dakota Spirit | Campaign for UND, which
directed more than $324 million to UND. At the time, the capital campaign was the
largest in North Dakota history.
In 2014, the UND Alumni Association and the UND Foundation legally merged into one nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. The UND Alumni Association & Foundation (UNDAAF) continues to support UND growth and development and to keep alumni connected to each other and to campus.
The public phase of Forever UND: The Campaign for the University of North Dakota was launched in the fall of 2023. The $500 million comprehensive fundraising campaign is one of the largest in the state of North Dakota and strives build a University of North Dakota for the future.
From our first eight graduates in 1889 to the thousands of UND graduates today, our passion and enthusiasm for our alma mater continue. Together, we work to uphold the original alumni’s mission: to support the ongoing growth and development of the University of North Dakota while keeping classmates in contact with each other and alumni connected to campus.
We believe that the people are both willing and able and that they will rally to the support of their University.UND Alumni and Community Leaders1895
Part-time directors led the UND Alumni Association until 1945, when J. Lloyd Stone became its first Executive Vice President. He named Earl Strinden as Assistant Director in 1969, a position Strinden held until Stone's retirement in 1974, when Strinden took the helm.
Strinden helped to incorporate the UND Foundation as a separate nonprofit corporation, becoming the first to hold the titles of Executive Vice President & CEO of the UND Alumni Association & Foundation.
After Strinden's retirement in 2000, Bob Feidler (2000-01) and Dave Miedema (2001-02) led the organization until Tim O’Keefe arrived in late 2002. O'Keefe's tenure lasted until 2014. That same year, the UND Alumni Association and the UND Foundation merged to become the UND Alumni Association & Foundation (UNDAAF). Deanna Carlson Zink became the organization's first female CEO in 2014, and continues to serve in that role.