GRAND FORKS - The University of North Dakota received a $7.5 million donation Thursday to fund the building of a Collaborative Energy Complex for the College of Engineering and Mines.

Hess Corp., a New York City-based integrated oil and natural gas company, donated $5 million. The state gave an additional $2.5 million from the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Fund, which was set up to help fund and encourage donations to higher education.

“We are known nationwide among governors, congressmen, the president, as a state that is truly leading the way in a number of areas, and energy development is certainly at the top of that list,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said.

The more than 30,000-square-foot building will be on the southeast part of campus between Leonard Hall and Upson Hall I, bridging Upson Hall I, Upson Hall II, Harrington Hall and the Wilson M. Laird Core and Sample Library together to create one large center.

Hesham El-Rewini, dean of the UND College of Engineering and Mines, said the donation will enhance UND’s research and education abilities.

“Thanks to the generosity of our partners, we will be able to better educate and produce generations of engineers who will contribute to the economic growth and prosperity of North Dakota, the region and the nation,” he said.

The program has increased from four to 200 students in the last three years, and the school has raised $11.8 million of the $15.5 million project goal.

Hess Corp., which also donated $25 million in 2011 to the Succeed 20/20 project that enhances K-12 education to help with college readiness, will have several labs and an atrium in its name within the CEC.

In a news release, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., said the energy sector will greatly benefit from the CEC.

“It’s an understatement to say that energy development in North Dakota is booming,” she said. “With more than 27,000 job openings in our state - many in the energy sector - we want to do everything possible to encourage North Dakotans to fill those jobs.”