Catalyst of the American energy renaissance: Harold Hamm visits NDSU

Fargo, N.D. — On Friday, Oct. 20, 2023, energy industry pioneer and author Harold Hamm discussed his new book, “Game Changer: Our 50-Year Mission to Secure America’s Energy Independence” and the bright future for students, researchers, and industry partners in the energy sector. NDSU President Dave Cook facilitated an insightful conversation with Harold, the executive chair of Continental Resources, at a reception hosted by the NDSU Foundation.

“Nobody else told the story,” Harold said of “Game Changer.” “From the beginning to where we’re at currently, horizontal drilling was the one thing that made this American energy renaissance happen.” 

Harold hails from rural Oklahoma and began his career in the oil fields as a teenager, later establishing Continental Resources at just 21 years old. He transformed the grassroots startup into a top-10 oil producer and the largest privately held oil company in the U.S., significantly contributing to American energy independence. Additionally, Harold co-founded and serves as executive chairman of the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance, leading efforts to lift the ban on U.S. crude oil exports.  

During his visit to NDSU, Harold discussed his affinity for North Dakota, his childhood and early educational pursuits, carbon capture and sequestration, and how he hopes to define his legacy. 

His philanthropic endeavors include a $65 million donation to the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center and the establishment of the Harold Hamm International Prize for Biomedical Research in Diabetes. Committed to education, he has made significant philanthropic investments and funded various educational initiatives. Harold has received numerous awards and recognition for his contributions to the energy industry and society at large. 

“Hopefully this book will inspire somebody, some young person, to do great things in the world — be a game-changer, world-changer,” Harold said. 

“It’s occasions like these that remind us that universities are places where we can gather to engage in thought-provoking conversations, learn from extraordinary individuals, and explore the complex issues that shape our world,” President Cook said. 

Following the conversation, Harold answered questions from NDSU students and a faculty member regarding the impact of electric vehicles on the oil and gas industry, the current national policy landscape and its long-term effects, advice for students who are pursuing research or a career in the field, and what industry advancements are next for North Dakota. 

“The future is bright for students in the petroleum industry,” Harold said. 


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


Bethany Hardwig 
VP of Alumni and Donor Connections 
NDSU Foundation