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Magazine: UND outranks NDSU in the famous alumni department

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GRAND FORKS — The University of North Dakota is more influential than North Dakota State University.

Actually, 8.2 times more influential, according to an online tool Time magazine released last week that compares universities based on their most famous living alumni.

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“We like to think it demonstrates the quality of education we have here at UND,” said UND spokesman Peter Johnson. “It does seem to say something special about the institution.”

The university’s influence comes mostly from NHL players such as Jonathan Toews and Zach Parise and former player Ed Belfour, among others. It also boasts former NBA coach Phil Jackson, former Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and former House Majority Leader, Dick Armey, R-Texas.

“We’ve had, in all kinds of fields, many famous alumni,” Johnson said. “Students have gone on to do extraordinary things in their fields.”

NDSU has athletes such as NFL player Craig Dahl and Major League Baseball player Neil Wagner along with former Congressman Rick Berg, R-N.D.

While Time’s feature is of the just-for-fun variety, the magazine did crunch some numbers to come up with the rankings. It said it looked at people on Wikipedia who are listed with their alma mater and calculated their prominence. The length of a person’s Wikipedia entry, how many links it has to other websites and how many Wikipedia categories the entry belongs to all contribute to his or her prominence.

Because of the online encyclopedia is edited by its readers, the magazine said the rankings could change over time.

Compared to other rival schools, UND’s level of influence over NDSU is relatively high. For example, Harvard University is only 2.03 times more influential than Yale University and Stanford University is only 1.18 times more influential than University of California-Berkeley.

The University of South Dakota is 1.44 times more influential than South Dakota State University.

Minnesota is a different story, with the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities obliterating other universities in the state with 14.41 times more influence than its campus in Duluth, 14.24 times more than Minnesota State University Moorhead, 24.41 times more than St. Cloud State University, 47.84 times more than MSU-Mankato and 74.75 times more than Bemidji State University.

Minnesota is also 7.29 times more influential than UND.

The Twin Cities campus has an alumni roster that includes musician Bob Dylan, best-selling author Thomas Friedman and athletes such as NBA player Kris Humphries, former NFL player Tyrone Carter and Neal Broten of “Miracle on Ice” fame.

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