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President Dean Bresciani to leave estate to NDSU

President highlights accomplishments in last state of the university address

North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani gives his final state of the university speech Friday, Oct. 8, at the school. Submitted Photo
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FARGO — North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani announced Friday, Oct. 8, that he will leave his estate to the school.

The announcement came during what Bresciani called his last state of the university address. The president who has led the school since 2010 said the power of higher education, and particularly NDSU, has transformed him and others.

“That realization has led me to think about how I could pay it back to NDSU,” he said during the speech. “I have concluded that I can’t ever do enough. I have concluded I can only do everything I possibly can. That is why I recently documented that my entire estate will be left to NDSU.”

Born in Napa Valley, California, Bresciani was hired to be NDSU’s 14th president after serving as the vice president for student affairs at Texas A&M University in College Station.

Bresciani highlighted a number of accomplishments at NDSU during his tenure, including an increasing number of students who have graduated from the university, a cut to administrative costs, financial stability, raising annual economic impact to $1.5 billion and halving the amount of deferred maintenance on campus.


He also noted NDSU’s endowment has increased by 220% and money spent on research has increased, despite losing 165 faculty and staff to state budget cuts. Bresciani oversaw a number of renovation and new building projects, including the Aldevron Tower, Sanford Health Athletic Complex, Nodak Insurance Company Football Performance Complex and the Sugihara Hall science building project.

“One could easily argue that NDSU, in its entire history, has never been in a better position and (is) poised to be even more successful in the future,” Bresciani said.

The State Board of Higher Education asked Bresciani to step down as president by the end of 2022 after an evaluation by North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott criticized declining enrollment, the research position compared to other schools in the U.S. and hiring decisions.

That included naming Margaret Fitzgerald as provost, despite her declining to apply for the position during a nationwide search.

Bresciani has defended his leadership decisions and NDSU research status. The school has faced many challenges, such as competitiveness from other schools and the coronovirus pandemic.

It's unclear how much Bresciani would leave to NDSU in dollars. His annual salary is $371,380.

To watch the full speech, go to ag.ndsu.edu/media/pr/address2021 /.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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