Our History

History of the Foundation

Today’s North Dakota State University Foundation — and its heritage organizations prior — can trace its history back to the early years of North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC).

NDAC Alumni Association is founded.
NDAC Memorial Foundation is incorporated.
NDAC Foundation is formed.

Similar mission to the Memorial Foundation, but the two are not affiliated.

NDSU Memorial Foundation

NDAC Memorial Foundation changes to NDSU Memorial Foundation.

NDSU Development Foundation

'SU 75 Board of Trustees creates the NDSU Development Foundation. The Memorial Foundation and NDSU Alumni Achievement Foundation become part of the NDSU Development Foundation, which forged a strategic alignment with the NDSU Alumni Association.

First major capital campaign

The first major capital campaign, 'SU 75, reaches its $4 million goal on schedule. The campaign contributions help in building Askanase Hall, a new field house, improvements to Dacotah Field, and a new all-weather 400-meter track.

Centennial Campaign

The Centennial Campaign finishes six months ahead of schedule, raising $9.35 million. The goal of the campaign is to enhance NDSU through the development of endowed scholarships, endowed faculty development programs, and funding for equipment purchases.

$20 Million Campaign

The $20 Million Campaign for NDSU raises $27.2 million in four years, concluding in 1997. Funds support Ehly Hall, scholarships, faculty support, and what becomes the McGovern Alumni Center.

Momentum Campaign

The $75 million Momentum Campaign launches, which secures funds for Richard H. Barry Hall, Bison Sports Arena renovations, scholarships, and faculty support. The campaign closes in 2007 after raising more than $108.4 million.

Giving Day

NDSU's Giving Day is established, encouraging alumni, faculty, staff, and friends to come together and support the university in a one-day giving blitz.


NDSU Foundation and Alumni Directors approve governance changes to combine volunteer bodies under one name called Trustees.

Challey Institute launches

The Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth launches in the College of Business.

In Our Hands Campaign

The $400 million In Our Hands campaign publicly launches, pursuing private gift support to advance priority initiatives in scholarships, named faculty positions, facility projects, and programs.

Largest single gift announced

Robert '67 and Sheila Challey commit a $75 million gift to NDSU — the single largest publicly-announced gift in university history. The gift supports performing arts, the Challey Institute, scholarships, and other key priorities for NDSU.

NDSU Foundation

The NDSU Foundation and Alumni Association consolidate its name to become the NDSU Foundation.

In Our Hands Surpasses Goal

The Foundation announces the campaign reached $413 million in May 2021, 20 months ahead of schedule.

Dec 31
In Our Hands Campaign Ends

In Our Hands: The Campaign for North Dakota State University raises $586.7 million to support NDSU.

In 1901, just 11 years after NDAC was founded, graduates officially established the NDAC Alumni Association to engage, network, advocate for, and eventually support the institution.

In 1948, alumni and friends incorporated the North Dakota Agricultural College Memorial Foundation. The NDAC Memorial Foundation was headed by the NDAC president, who served as an ex officio director, and a group of 14 elected directors. Those directors elected officers and appointed the executive committee, which was responsible for recommending members to the Memorial Foundation. In 1963, the NDAC Memorial Foundation became the NDSU Memorial Foundation to reflect the school’s name change.

Meanwhile, in 1961, the NDAC Foundation was formed with similar objectives to those of the Memorial Foundation; however, the two were not affiliated. The NDAC Foundation was managed by a Board of Trustees. From this group, SU ’75, a broad-based fundraising challenge to NDSU alumni, faculty, and students to add to and improve the physical facilities of the campus, was presented.

Foreseeing NDSU’s monetary needs would continue after 1975, the SU ’75 Board of Trustees created the NDSU Development Foundation, which was incorporated in April 1971. That same year, the Memorial Foundation and NDSU Alumni Achievement Foundation became part of the NDSU Development Foundation. The Development Foundation’s purpose was to be the official solicitor and receiver of private gifts to North Dakota State University. SU ’75 was the first of several multi-year fundraising initiatives pursued to advance NDSU over time. The NDSU Development Foundation and the NDSU Alumni Association forged a strategic alignment and partnership through the years to bring together alumni, parents, friends, and business associates who advocated for and invested in the university’s future.

In 2015, the Development Foundation and Alumni Association merged its respective governing bodies to create one body with service and support to NDSU.

Today, the NDSU Foundation pursues the philanthropic mission of the Development Foundation and the engagement and advocacy efforts of the Alumni Association. By forging connections, fostering support, and facilitating outcomes, the NDSU Foundation fulfills its mission of building enduring relationships that maximize advocacy and philanthropy to support North Dakota State University.