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North Dakota University System rekindles its foundation

FARGO--The North Dakota University System has plans to reboot its foundation, which has laid dormant in recent years. At a State Board of Higher Education meeting Thursday, NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott said board member Kevin Melicher will spear...

FARGO--The North Dakota University System has plans to reboot its foundation, which has laid dormant in recent years.

At a State Board of Higher Education meeting Thursday, NDUS Chancellor Mark Hagerott said board member Kevin Melicher will spearhead growing the foundation, which has a fund balance of $66.

The foundation was started in 1991. SBHE spokeswoman Billie Jo Lorius explained  the foundation's original purpose was to support the advancement of higher education in the state. Moving forward, it will hopefully support systemwide initiatives such as Bakken U and overall cybersecurity.

Melicher said the foundation is not meant to supplant existing foundations at the institutions the board oversees and he would like to see the North Dakota Legislature match contributions in some way one day.

"Most people today want to see their money work while they're alive, so our opportunity is to go  out there and try to funnel some of that wealth to our university system," he said.

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Five more trustees will be appointed by the SBHE on two- or four-year terms. Lorius said Bismarck State College President Larry Skogen has agreed to serve.

Lorius said the foundation has been relatively inactive in recent years, but it saw controversy in 2013 when  Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said the foundation broke open records laws by refusing to provide political blogger Rob Port with a copy of revenue and expenditure reports.

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