Dear Campus Community:
I want to bring you up to date on recent events related to the nickname and logo. But first let me a take a moment to welcome everyone to the start of a new academic year. I can feel the energy, enthusiasm, and excitement in the air as many return to campus from being gone all summer. We also have the privilege of welcoming our new students and families in the upcoming Welcome Weekend. I encourage you to participate in these events so you can meet some of our new students. A special welcome to our new faculty, as well. We look forward to you joining our community.
As you may know, our university had been directed by the State Board of Higher Education to retire the nickname and logo of our athletic programs by August 15, 2011. The transition was proceeding when the State Legislature passed a bill requiring UND to retain the name and logo. After the Governor signed that bill into law, the State Board directed me to suspend any further activities associated with its retirement.
Following a meeting last Friday between North Dakota officials and the leadership of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the State Board of Higher Education held a teleconference meeting today and instructed me to resume the process of planning the retirement of the nickname and logo consistent with prior Board action. The State Board of Higher Education extended the deadline to complete that process through December 2011. I will resume the planning process, mindful of the state law which, as of Aug. 1, directs the University of North Dakota to continue to use our nickname and logo. Gov. Jack Dalrymple has indicated that he will urge the North Dakota Legislature to readdress that law in the special session of the North Dakota Legislature planned for November.
The controversy surrounding the name and logo cannot be permitted to deter us from our core missions of teaching and learning, research, and service. We begin the 2011-2012 academic year as strong as our university has ever been. Our talented and dedicated faculty and staff, supported by our committed alumni and friends, will sustain the momentum that has been generated in recent months around the Exceptional UND initiatives that can establish our position as a world-class institution of higher education.
I know that each of us will do all we can to contribute to the success of all of us. Our university has a long and distinguished history and tradition, and we all play important roles in writing the next chapter.
Robert O. Kelley