UND President delivers State of the University address
Dr. Andrew Armacost discussed the University's COVID-19 response, budget concerns and plans for the future.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — There have been many changes for students and faculty over the past year, but the University of North Dakota is proud of its response to the coronavirus.
“Our pandemic working group has been at it since mid-march and the work has been absolutely, in my opinion, extraordinary,” said University president Andrew Armacost. “They have identified campus needs and garnered state and federal funding for the supplies, for the testing, for the hotel rooms, for disinfection, for meals and housing and for so much more.”
While Armacost says it has adapted well, the pandemic has caused financial concerns as UND looks towards the future.
He says the school faces pressure from two key funding sources.
The first is tuition. Although UND had a slightly higher enrollment this year, it knows that trend may not continue.
“As the pandemic continues, we continue to run the risk of families making tough decisions about college funding,” said Armacost. “We will watch this very carefully as we go from fall semester to spring semester.”
The second area of concern is funding from the state.
“The governor presented his proposed budget. In that budget is a 10% deduction in the funding for higher education. The state board of higher education countered by submitting a needs-based budget. This would yield a slight overall increase in our state appropriations,” Armacost explained.
The university will not know the exact amount of state appropriations until the next state legislative session.
Armacost said he is optimistic about the strategic future of UND. He is committed to creating a more inclusive and diverse campus, continuing the university’s research efforts, veteran support and alumni outreach.
President Armacost had been advocating for a city-wide mask mandate in Grand Forks. He wrote a letter to Mayor Brandon Bochenski to encourage the move.