Building for the future: Richard Offerdahl gives historic $25 million gift to NDSU College of Engineering

Fargo, N.D. — North Dakota State University announced today it has received a $25 million gift from electrical engineering alumnus Richard Offerdahl ’65 to support its new Center for Engineering and Computational Sciences. The gift was celebrated at a special event at the Harry D. McGovern Alumni Center on Friday, Feb. 16. In exchange for the historic gift, NDSU will request the entire engineering complex of buildings — new and some existing — to be named in Richard’s honor, pending State Board of Higher Education approval.

“The state of North Dakota and NDSU made a big investment in me some 50 years ago, so it was time to return the favor … I figured putting it toward the education of future students was a good investment,” Richard said. “I think it will pay off; the engineers educated here in the coming years will move the world forward.”

The gift is the largest in history to directly support the College of Engineering at NDSU. In addition, it is the single largest gift in school history to support a building project on campus, whether academic or athletic. The formal name will be the Richard Offerdahl ’65 Engineering Complex.

Richard’s monumental gift to NDSU will supercharge the construction timeline and accelerate development of a strong pipeline of engineers who will drive societal advancements; critical program growth related to artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, precision agriculture, data science, energy stewardship, advanced infrastructure, manufacturing, and robotics; and a transformative educational experience.

“Today is truly a momentous day for the College of Engineering … An opportunity like this comes along perhaps once in a lifetime,” Alan Kallmeyer, interim dean of the College of Engineering, said. “The impact of this gift and the benefits of this project will be felt for generations to come.”

Architectural renderings are subject to change.

After growing up in Ada, Minnesota, Richard attended NDSU and graduated with an electrical engineering degree in 1965. Throughout his life, Richard started and sold businesses and invested in numerous startups and real estate. Always calling himself an engineer, Richard’s success in business ventures has now turned to philanthropy and supporting his alma mater. In October 2023, Richard and his wife, Linda, gave $1.2 million to establish the Offerdahl Faculty Fellowship in the department of microbiological sciences. Barney Geddes, assistant professor in the department, is the fellowship holder.

“NDSU taught me to think like an engineer — and that I could make a difference,” Richard said.

Richard’s gift joins other philanthropists who have provided support for a new engineering facility authorized by the North Dakota Legislature during the 2023 session. The Legislature agreed to appropriate $59 million for the project, however challenged the donor community to raise the rest, which was set at a minimum of $25 million. Thanks to leadership gifts from Richard, Doosan Bobcat, Mortenson, and numerous other benefactors, approximately $40 million has been given to the project in just 10 months.

“Clearly, there is passion, belief, and confidence in what NDSU stands for, what it delivers, and why it matters for the state of North Dakota, the region, and the world,” John Glover, president and CEO of the NDSU Foundation, said. “Richard and Linda Offerdahl, Mortenson, Bobcat, and numerous other investors who care about the value proposition of an NDSU engineering degree have stepped up to supercharge our future, and we could not be more grateful for this moment.”

The project will include construction of new space and renovating existing space. The NDSU Foundation began fundraising immediately after North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum signed House Bill 1003, which included authorization for the engineering facility.

Designed with innovation at the forefront, the Center’s state-of-the-art multi-purpose learning spaces will prepare generations of engineers to meet the University’s — and industry’s — evolving needs. Its collaborative design studio, precision agriculture headquarters, college commons, and flexible teaching and research labs will showcase engineering in action, giving NDSU a critical edge in recruiting and retaining students, faculty, and staff who will excel at the highest level.

“I think we all can agree innovation is at the center of NDSU’s College of Engineering. Bison students, faculty, and alumni are challenged to change the way that we think, the way that we interact, and the way that things are done for the betterment of society,” Paige Sanders ’26, an environmental engineering student, said. “With the addition of new state-of-the-art labs, workshops, and collaboration centers, we will be able to empower students to push the boundaries of what we know as engineers, and the impact of our work will reach not only beyond the University, but beyond the state of North Dakota.”

The College of Engineering has not had a major expansion or transformation of its facilities since the $1.6 million Ehly Hall addition in 1999, with most of the College’s current buildings being constructed in the 1960s, around the time when Richard was a student.

“I like the thought of making the world a better place because we’re here,” Richard said. “You know, you stop and think, ‘Well, what if I hadn’t been here? Would these things have happened?'”

Find more information about the project at the Center for Engineering and Computational Sciences webpage.

View a recording of the event.


The College of Engineering at NDSU is a leader in engineering education and research, with a strong commitment to innovation, sustainability, and excellence. It prepares the next generation of engineers to address the complex challenges of today’s world and shape a brighter future through cutting-edge research and education.


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


Bethany Hardwig 
Vice President of Alumni and Donor Connections 
NDSU Foundation