BISMARCK — The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education has voted to name the University of North Dakota College of Business and Public Administration after donors Werner and Colleen Nistler.

The couple have donated the lead gift of $20 million toward the construction of a new CoBPA on the UND campus.

Werner Nistler earned an accounting degree from UND in 1968. He is the founder and chairman of Touchmark, which owns 14 full-service senior living communities in 10 states and one Canadian province. Colleen Nistler is the vice chairperson. The company is based in Oregon.

The Nistlers also have owned medical records processing companies along with several other businesses. They formed Touchmark Foundation, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to enhancing the well-being of senior citizens by providing nursing scholarships to aspiring students, distributing food boxes to seniors and families in need and funding university-based research, the UND Alumni Association and Foundation said in a press release.

“We are very appreciative of the State Board of Higher Education for agreeing to name the new building and College after Colleen and me,” Werner Nistler said in a statement. “I am humbled and proud that my alma mater would ask that this honor be bestowed on us. I am grateful for the outstanding education I received at UND, which set a path for my career success.”

The CoBPA will be named the Nistler College of Business & Public Administration. The new building is planned for the corner of University Avenue and Centennial Drive. It will be connected by skywalks to the Chester Fritz Library and Merrifield Hall. The UNDAAF is conducting a campaign to raise $50 million in private donations for the $70 million project. The university hopes to break ground next fall.

Foundation CEO DeAnna Carlson Zink said the Nistlers are “very deserving of having the building and college named after them. Their lead gift has launched this project into high gear and helped convince state lawmakers to offer a $20 million matching fund as a private/public partnership.”

Amy Henley, dean of the CoBPA, said students will “take great pride in having the college named for such outstanding alum.”

“Werner and Colleen are a remarkable example to our students for their business success and philanthropic spirit,” Henley said.

Werner Nistler grew up on a farm near Golva and in Beach. In addition to Werner, six of his nine siblings also attended UND. The couple have six children.

A public celebration of the Nistlers will be held at 1 p.m. on Oct. 4 at the Gorecki Alumni Center.