Dr. Kathleen and Hal Gershman with a photo of the Gershman Graduate Center

Preserving History, Furthering Education

A gift from Hal and Kathy Gershman, members of the Adelphi Circle, provides a space for modern learning in UND’s oldest building.

The oldest building on UND’s campus houses the Dr. Kathleen and Hal Gershman Graduate Center. Opening in 2021, the Center is a hub for graduate students and graduate education. 

But before Kathy and Hal, ’66, invested in the building, it survived vacancy and the threat of demolition several times. Known as the Oxford House when it was built in 1902 and rechristened the J. Lloyd Stone Alumni Center in 1981, the building has been home to University presidents, students, the art department, and the UND Alumni Association & Foundation. And now, grad students.

“We don’t build things like that today so preserving them is important,” said Hal.  

“If you can preserve old [buildings], it’s honoring its past and it’s a beauty of its own,” Kathy added.


The Gershman Graduate Center at sunset.


The restored dining room with furniture of the era.

Kathy Gershman joined UND’s faculty in 1984 and retired in 2015 as professor and former chair of the UND Department of Educational Foundations and Research. Hal Gershman is a successful Grand Forks business owner and former president of the Grand Forks City Council.

The newly restored Gershman Graduate Center, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, provides a home for UND grad students to prepare for their futures. The center is outfitted with technology to enable hybrid and streaming workshops, spaces to accommodate distance students when they’re on campus, multiple meeting rooms for student collaboration, and an indoor lounge and outdoor patio. 

“We’re very fortunate at UND to have a place specifically dedicated for graduate students and graduate education. Students have really embraced it,” said Julie Bean, Director of Graduate Student Engagement and the Gershman Graduate Center.

“We host a variety of activities,” Julie continued. “We host dissertation and thesis defenses, writing retreats, workshops, and networking events. We’ve brought in representatives from departments such as Career Services and the library to host drop-in hours. Graduate students don’t have to go to multiple places across campus; they can come here to get their questions answered.”

With the University’s history as its backdrop, the Gershman Graduate Center drives peer discussion and mentorship for graduate students at UND, all of which inspired the Gershmans to give back to the University of North Dakota.

“We’re hoping we gave (the building) another 100 years,” Hal said.

We’re very fortunate at UND to have a place specifically dedicated for graduate students and graduate education. Students have really embraced it.Julie Bean, ’05, ’13Director of Graduate Student Engagement & the Gershman Graduate Center