Paul Korus was born and raised in North Dakota and attended UND, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics, ’78, and master’s in Accounting, ’80.

Today, Korus is senior vice president and Chief Financial Officer of Cimarex Energy Co., a New York Stock Exchange listed oil and gas exploration and production company that recently landed on the S&P 500. 

Paul Korus '78 '80
But even after achieving a successful business career, Korus remained true to his roots. In 2010, he found himself in a position where he was looking to rebalance his stock portfolio and wanted to take advantage of tax incentives to donate long-term appreciated securities that would allow him to give more.

First, he knew he wanted to make difference to a cause he cared about, which for him was research at UND. “I have a view that research at an institution like UND is very important for a number of reasons, the primary being UND’s ability to attract and retain qualified faculty,” Korus said. 

He had learned from his involvement on the College of Business & Public Administration Advisory Council that faculty research is part of the accreditation process, which in turn leads to a better quality of education for students and its ability to continue to attract top-quality professors.

Through his gift of stock, he established the Excellence in Education Endowment. “I purposely didn’t put my name on it in hopes that others might come to share my passion and join in this effort to foster faculty excellence and thereby further enhance the quality of education available to UND students,” Korus said.

Last year, the Excellence in Education Endowment benefited research funding for a project Korus felt had significant merit — a joint effort between the Department of Economics and the School of Medicine & Health Sciences examining medical services in western North Dakota, where oil development is experiencing a huge boom.

“The economic and business growth in North Dakota, whether in the oil fields in the West or the retail sector in the East, stands in stark contrast to the economic performance in the U.S. as a whole,” says David Flynn, UND’s Chair of Economics and Director of the Bureau of Business & Economic Research. “Understanding why North Dakota has enjoyed such success, how North Dakota can maintain that success, and how North Dakota can leverage this success best for the future are important research topics. Gifts like those from Mr. Korus encourage and support faculty research on topics important to North Dakota and the country as a whole.”