After a four-year hiatus, the prestigious North Dakota Governor’s School is back. The four-week residential program will alternate between North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota each summer, with the first session being held at NDSU in the summer of 2024.
The summer residential program, which began at NDSU in 1990, allows high-achieving, scholastically motivated North Dakota high school students who have completed their sophomore or junior year to engage in a specific discipline, such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics, energy law & legal studies, mental health, education, and health sciences.
During their respective summers, NDSU will emphasize the STEM pathways and UND will focus on health sciences, education, energy law & legal studies, and mental health. Students who attend will be eligible to receive college credit.
“We are thrilled to have Governor’s School return to NDSU as it aligns perfectly with our mission to engage learners in a transformative educational experience,” said NDSU President David Cook. “Our commitment to gaining, creating, and sharing knowledge and expertise is underscored by the unique opportunities this program offers students in North Dakota.”
UND President Andy Armacost agreed. “We at UND are grateful and pleased to co-host the North Dakota Governor’s School and to provide an incredible opportunity for our state’s high school students,” Armacost said. “NDSU did a great job hosting this program for 30 years, and we are delighted to join them in welcoming these students to our campuses.
“The Governor’s School is in lockstep with our vision of inspiring a sense of wonder, a love of discovery and a commitment to serve, and North Dakotans can be proud of it,” Armacost continued. “I certainly am.”
An application process will open in October. Students will be selected based on personal essay submissions, academic and service records and recommendations from a teacher and counselor or principal.
Stacy Duffield, director of the Office of Teaching and Learning at NDSU, said the goal is to have every county in state represented at the Governor’s School.
“We are excited to bring academically gifted students to provide challenging and innovative learning experiences that allow them to explore their interests and talents,” Duffield said.
Karyn Plumm, UND’s vice provost for Undergraduate Studies and Student Success, likewise voiced her support. “We’re thrilled about this partnership with NDSU and the opportunity to work with our high achieving North Dakota high school students,” Plumm said. “Our faculty and staff look forward to highlighting the professional and graduate career opportunities available for students from across our state.”
The North Dakota Legislature provides Governor’s School funding to help pay for student housing, dining, resident assistants, program directors, instructors and faculty research sponsors.
This year, the Legislature appropriated $250,000 each summer for the 2023-25 biennium. The funds will allow about 50 students to attend North Dakota Governor’s School next year. Sens. Ron Sorvaag, R-Fargo, and Larry Luick, R-Fairmount, were two of the sponsors for Senate Bill 2200, which provides funding for the NDGS program.
“I sponsored bringing back the Governor’s School, because it benefits our students, higher education institutions and our workforce. It provides exposure for North Dakota’s top students to programs offered by our Research institutions,” Sorvaag said. “Hopefully this will help them as they decide their future, which we hope will include staying in North Dakota to study and work. Most importantly, it will help them to better prepare for their future careers, wherever that leads them.”
“My wife and I have five children, and all five participated in the Governor’s School program at NDSU in the past,” Luick said. “STEM has been one of the main drivers for our interests to expose our children to a little more avid learning. I feel that making programs such as this for the students who want to excel in STEM, or other offerings, is critical to continuing the uninterrupted learning that they choose.
“I am certainly thankful for those who want to see this program continue, and am very thankful that the funding came through for the program as well. Many students will benefit from this, as my own children have.”
The North Dakota Governor’s School is affiliated with more than 55 other Governor’s School programs throughout 25 states in the National Conference of Governor’s Schools.