Our History

Founded in 1883, six years before North Dakota became a state, our founders believed they could make a difference. And they did.

UND's first graduating class, 1889

UND's First Graduating Class, 1889

Like our founders, we believe that no obstacle is too big and no challenge too great. Throughout our long history, we have faced our share of challenges, but each time we've come back stronger. In times of adversity, we come together and keep fighting. For us, persistence pays off.

We've Always Been Leaders in Action

Our first graduating class of six women and two men were our first Leaders in Action. Most notably, Dr. Cora Smith King was the first woman to receive a medical license in the state and was a fierce advocate for women.

Their resilience remains in all of us today. We know strong individuals make a stronger community. As people we are fiercely independent, but as a community we are forever family. 

Just like Dr. Smith, the great successes of our 150,000+ alumni are a testament to our belief that results matter. We lead not by telling, but by doing.

Heritage and Legacy

Generations of Leaders


The Fighting Hawk

Overtime, our nicknames and logos have changed. But as history reminds us, our tradition does not change.

The Fighting Hawk, like all of our past mascots, embodies the collective determination of UND and our great athletes. It represents our piercing vision, our determination and our mentality to rise above adversity.

Our 100+ year athletic legacy continues to soar. Most recently, we've achieved conference championships in football, volleyball and men's and women's basketball. And let's not forget our 2016 NCAA Men's Hockey Championship — our 8th in school history!

New Name, Same North Dakota


Women's basketball cheerleaders

Stand Up and Cheer – Our School Song

Stand up and cheer; stand up and cheer for North Dakota!

Pledge your loyalty for she's your Alma Mater true!

Rah! Rah! Rah!

Our teams are fighting, and we are here to see them through!

We've got the team. Rah! Rah!

We've got the steam. Rah! Rah!

So North Dakota here's to you!

Presidential Visits

From campaign swings through the upper Midwest to a national hockey championship team visit to the White House, UND has been front and center in the attention of at least six presidents of the United States: Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

There is an old saying that things don't happen, they are made to happen.President John F. KennedySpeaking at the University of North Dakota Fieldhouse
September 25, 1963