NDSU professor Clay Routledge named the Arden & Donna Hetland Distinguished Professor of Business

Fargo, N.D. — Dr. Clay Routledge, professor in NDSU’s College of Business and faculty scholar in the Sheila and Robert Challey Institute for Global Innovation and Growth, has been appointed the inaugural holder of the newly-established Arden & Donna Hetland Distinguished Professorship. Routledge is a leading existential psychologist who studies how the human need for meaning in life influences and is influenced by different cognitive processes, self-regulation, momentous life experiences, personal and professional goals, creativity, social connections, spirituality and religiosity, entrepreneurship, and prosocial behavior.

“Professorships like the Hetland professorship help us retain and attract talent at NDSU,” Scott Beaulier, the Ronald and Kaye Olson Dean of Business, said. “They also give our high-impact professors much-needed support to elevate their research to the next level of quality and creativity.”

Routledge is a highly cited researcher who has published more than 100 scholarly papers, co-edited three books, authored two books, and wrote the documentary short film “Why do we feel nostalgia?” He has been a renowned faculty member at NDSU for nearly 15 years.

“This distinguished professorship will enhance my research, outreach, and related efforts to help individuals, businesses, and the broader society thrive,” Routledge said. “Fargo is an amazing community full of industrious, talented, and friendly people. I endeavor to serve this community and the state of North Dakota by helping the College of Business and NDSU build a national reputation in thought leadership on the big challenges of our time. Generous donors like the Hetland family play a vital role in making this possible and I am extremely grateful for their support.”

Arden ’76 and Donna Hetland grew up on neighboring farms in North Dakota and are longtime supporters of NDSU — particularly the College of Business and the Performing Arts. Arden is a member of the College of Business Advisory Board, and the two of them understand the importance of investing in faculty to retain world-class researchers and teachers.

“I’m so excited for what Clay can do, what he’s done, and what he can do for the future of NDSU and the College of Business. He’s an exceptional person and scholar,” Arden said. “We just want to help wherever we can, and hopefully Clay can continue to open up the mindset of students in the College so they see there’s a bigger picture.”

Named faculty positions provide exceptional scholars the resources needed to advance education, research, and outreach in their classrooms, community, and the field. Support for one faculty member directly impacts the lives of countless students and makes a world of difference.

“Since 2016, philanthropic support for NDSU faculty has increased exponentially,” John Glover, NDSU Foundation president and CEO, said. “This is the 17th named faculty position on campus and the 10th established since the start of In Our Hands: The Campaign for North Dakota State University. It’s fantastic Arden and Donna appreciate the value of investing in our talented faculty, and we’re grateful for their tremendous investment.”

To date, the In Our Hands campaign has raised more than $440 million for NDSU to support scholarships, faculty, programs, and facilities. Each gift works to enhance the NDSU experience for students across campus. The campaign launched publicly Oct. 10, 2019, and will conclude Dec. 31, 2021. For more information about the campaign and its impact, visit InOurHandsNDSU.com.


Routledge’s work has been featured by many media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NBC Today, CBS News, ABC News, CNN, The Atlantic, HGTV, Men’s Health, Wired, Forbes, BBC Worklife, and others. He has authored dozens of articles for popular outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, National Review, Entrepreneur, Harvard Business Review, and Scientific American. He is an editor for Profectus, a periodic magazine focused on creating a cultural and academic conversation around key drivers of human flourishing, progress, and the barriers that stand in the way of improving wellbeing.


The NDSU Foundation builds enduring relationships that maximize advocacy and philanthropy to support North Dakota State University.



Nicole Thom-Arens
Director of Communications
NDSU Foundation
(701) 231-6808 | 800-279-8971