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Northland celebrates East Grand Forks campus’ 50th anniversary


Northland celebrates East Grand Forks campus’ 50th anniversary

Open house, campus tours, guest speakers lined up for Friday, April 28, celebration event.

Northland Community and Technical College is hosting an afternoon of events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the college’s East Grand Forks campus. The EGF campus was designated by the State of Minnesota as a location for a vocational school in 1971. Classes started in the 1972-1973 academic year with two programs — Welding and Secretarial (today’s Administrative Professional program).

During the past 50 years, Northland has become an economic engine for northwest Minnesota and the surrounding region. The college is a reliable talent pipeline that supplies the region with skilled and career-ready graduates able to fill high-demand roles in healthcare, business, manufacturing, public safety, and construction trades.

A community open house and campus tours will kick off the celebration on Friday, April 28th, at 1:00 p.m., followed by a ceremony to honor Henry Tweten for his dedication and support to Northland. A formal program will begin at 2:00 p.m. and feature guest speakers, including Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra, Minnesota Senate Minority Leader, Mark Johnson, two past Northland presidents — Dr. Anne Temte and Dr. Dennis Bona — as well as current president, Dr. Sandy Kiddoo. A reception will follow from 3-4:00 p.m.

“We have provided the community with so many resources and support,” Dr. Kiddoo said. “Our graduates over the years have primarily stayed, lived and worked in the region. Thinking back to the flood of 1997, Northland was not only the base for the community, but we also remodeled our construction labs to support the rebuilding of the community. We will continue to provide the workforce and transfer options the community needs and continue to build and partner with the region for a vibrant area.”

The mission that launched the EGF campus remains the driving force today for expanding academic programs, partnering with local industry, and responding to the complex demands of today’s economy and labor market. United in its mission of creating access to academic excellence, our faculty, staff, employer partners, and alums have propelled Northland to its current stature. The thread that ties Northland’s story together so tightly is simple: its commitment to students.

“When the designation was made to start a vocational school in East Grand Forks, it was very hard to find programs that didn’t compete with other existing vocational schools in the region at the time,” explained Lars Dyrud, Northland Foundation Executive Director. “However, there was a demonstrated need for many roles in health-related services specifically. That led to the many health-related programs we have at Northland’s EGF campus. Today, it’s hard to get any kind of healthcare service in the greater Grand Forks area without a Northland graduate being a part of the process.”

Such history will be proudly displayed during the 50th-anniversary celebration, as well as overflowing optimism for Northland’s future.

“Part of the secret to Northland’s success in East Grand Forks has been quality instruction that provides employment-ready graduates that meet the hiring demands of our community,” Dyrud said. “Our advisory boards are made up of representatives from the businesses that hire our graduates, and their input and relationships ensure our programs continue to be laser-focused on real world needs and skills.”

The community and technical college model is well-suited to adapt to workforce needs, whether it’s through new programs, customized training, or partnerships for delivering training. In fifty more years, the community will still need qualified employees in healthcare, construction trades, and emerging technology. Fifty years from now, Northland will be celebrating new successes… but all tied to its vision of affordable, accessible academic excellence.