Aggie Fawcett

Aggie Fawcett

Modified & Updated: 28 Jan 2024


The University of North Dakota, also known as UND, is a prestigious institution located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. With a rich history dating back to 1883, UND has become a cornerstone of higher education in the region. While many people may be familiar with the university’s reputation for academic excellence and its strong programs in aviation, engineering, and medicine, there are several surprising facts about UND that may catch you off guard. In this article, we will delve into 12 lesser-known facts about the University of North Dakota that highlight its unique offerings, achievements, and contributions to the community. From its distinct research initiatives to its notable alumni, UND proves to be more than just a typical university. So, let’s dive in and explore these intriguing aspects of the University of North Dakota!

Table of Contents

Birthplace of the first female U.S. astronaut

Did you know that the University of North Dakota is the alma mater of Karen Nyberg, the first female U.S. astronaut from North Dakota? Her journey to the stars began with her education at UND, where she honed her skills in engineering and embarked on a career that would take her beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. This remarkable accomplishment underscores the university’s commitment to empowering women in STEM fields.

Pioneering research in unmanned aircraft systems

The University of North Dakota is at the forefront of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) research. As one of the first institutions to offer a UAS program, UND has established itself as a leader in this cutting-edge technology. Through its state-of-the-art facilities and partnerships with industry leaders, UND continues to push the boundaries of UAS research and innovation.

Home to the only law school in North Dakota

Aspiring legal professionals in North Dakota need not look further than the University of North Dakota School of Law. Established in 1899, it is the only law school in the state. The school boasts a rich tradition of legal education, producing top-notch graduates who contribute to the legal profession locally and nationally.

A hub for Arctic research

Nestled in the Upper Midwest, the University of North Dakota serves as a hub for Arctic research. With its renowned department of Atmospheric Sciences and the Northern Plains Unmanned Systems Authority, UND is uniquely positioned to study the impacts of climate change on the Arctic region. Through collaborative partnerships with international institutions, UND is actively contributing to our understanding of this critical area.

The Fighting Hawks

Since 2015, the University of North Dakota’s athletic teams have been known as the Fighting Hawks. This name change reflects the university’s commitment to an inclusive and representative athletic program. The Fighting Hawks have competed in various NCAA Division I sports and have achieved notable success, proudly representing UND both on and off the field.

Historic significance on the Lewis and Clark trail

The University of North Dakota is located in Grand Forks, a city along the historic Lewis and Clark trail. This proximity allows students and visitors to explore the rich history of the region, with opportunities to visit nearby historical sites and immerse themselves in the stories of the famous expedition.

A commitment to sustainability

The University of North Dakota is dedicated to sustainability and environmental stewardship. With initiatives like the Renewable Energy Certificate Program and the Sustainable Initiatives Fund, UND actively works towards reducing its ecological footprint and instilling a culture of sustainability within its campus community.

A strong focus on aerospace studies

UND is renowned for its aerospace studies program, positioning itself as a leader in the field. Boasting cutting-edge facilities and partnerships with industry giants, the university offers an unparalleled educational experience for aspiring aviation professionals. UND graduates have gone on to achieve remarkable success in various sectors of the aerospace industry.

A diverse and inclusive campus

The University of North Dakota prides itself on fostering a diverse and inclusive campus community. With students from all 50 states and over 70 countries, UND celebrates the unique perspectives and backgrounds that each individual brings. This commitment to diversity enhances the learning experience and prepares students for success in an interconnected world.

Robust online and distance learning programs

Recognizing the importance of accessibility, UND offers a wide range of online and distance learning programs. Whether through fully online degrees or blended courses, students have the flexibility to pursue their educational goals while balancing other commitments. This commitment to flexibility and innovation has earned UND recognition as a leader in online education.

A vibrant cultural and arts scene

The University of North Dakota cultivates a vibrant cultural and arts scene that enriches the campus and the surrounding community. From theatrical performances to art exhibitions and music concerts, UND offers a diverse range of cultural events throughout the year. These opportunities allow students to express their creativity and engage with the arts in meaningful ways.

A supportive alumni network

Graduating from the University of North Dakota means becoming part of a supportive and engaged network of alumni. UND alumni have excelled in various fields, from business and healthcare to the arts and sciences. The university’s alumni network provides opportunities for networking, mentorship, and career advancement, ensuring that UND graduates have a strong foundation for success.


The University of North Dakota is truly a remarkable institution with a rich history and numerous surprising facts. From its renowned aviation program to its world-class research centers, UND continues to make a significant impact on education and innovation. Whether you’re considering attending the university or simply curious about its achievements, these 12 surprising facts shed light on the unique aspects of UND. From its status as the oldest university in the state to its strong commitment to sustainability, UND offers a diverse range of opportunities for students and researchers alike. So, if you’re seeking an exceptional educational experience in a vibrant and supportive environment, the University of North Dakota may just be the perfect fit for you.


Q: What is the history of the University of North Dakota?

A: The University of North Dakota was founded in 1883 and is the oldest university in the state of North Dakota.

Q: What is the reputation of UND’s aviation program?

A: UND has one of the top aviation programs in the country and is renowned for its pilot training and aerospace research.

Q: Does UND offer online degree programs?

A: Yes, UND offers a variety of online degree programs, allowing students to pursue their education remotely.

Q: What research opportunities are available at UND?

A: UND has several research centers and institutes focused on areas such as energy, health, and aerospace, providing unique research opportunities for students and faculty.

Q: How does UND support sustainability?

A: UND is committed to sustainability and has implemented various initiatives, including renewable energy projects and eco-friendly construction practices.

Q: What is UND’s sports program like?

A: UND has a strong sports program, competing at the NCAA Division I level in various sports, including ice hockey, football, basketball, and more.

Q: Are there scholarships available for UND students?

A: Yes, UND offers a range of scholarships to help support students financially and recognize their academic achievements.

Q: What is the campus life like at UND?

A: UND offers a vibrant campus life with numerous student organizations, events, and activities to engage and inspire students outside of the classroom.

Q: Does UND have any notable alumni?

A: Yes, UND has a long list of notable alumni, including astronauts, politicians, business leaders, and professional athletes.

Q: Can international students apply to UND?

A: Yes, UND welcomes international students and provides support services to help them succeed academically and adjust to campus life.

Q: What are the popular majors at UND?

A: Some of the popular majors at UND include aviation, engineering, nursing, business, and biology.

Q: What facilities and resources are available for students at UND?

A: UND offers state-of-the-art facilities, including libraries, research centers, athletic complexes, and student support services to enhance the learning experience.

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