Sen. Kent Conrad and U.S. Department of Education special advisor Rosemarie Nassif to speak at UND Education Building dedication

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Sen. Kent Conrad and U.S. Department of Education special advisor Rosemarie Nassif to speak at UND Education Building dedication

Sen. Kent Conrad and Rosemarie Nassif, a special advisor with the U.S. Department of Education, will be among those speaking on Friday, Oct. 21, at the dedication of the University of North Dakota’s remodeled and expanded Education Building.

In conjunction with UND homecoming events, the dedication ceremony will take place on campus at 2 p.m. in Room 7 of the Education Building and is open to the public. Other speakers include University President Robert Kelley and Dan Rice, dean of the UND College of Education and Human Development.

“Sen. Conrad, along with North Dakota’s team in Congress and the state Legislature, was instrumental in helping secure funding needed to renovate our 56-year-old Education Building into the remarkable facility you see today,” said UND President Robert Kelley. “The transformation was so complete that it should be considered a whole new building on our campus. With numerous healthy-living adaptations incorporated into its design, upgrades in technology to improve student learning and wide open spaces to promote gathering and the sharing of ideas, the new education building is a tangible example of the University’s ‘Exceptional UND’ initiatives all under one roof. The improvements will go a long way in UND’s ability to produce the educators who will teach, mentor and lead the future of North Dakota.”

Emphasizing UND’s “green initiative” and good stewardship of resources, the Education Building was built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Silver LEED certification is being pursued. Renovations and new additions include 14 classrooms, two lecture halls, four seminar rooms, five conference rooms and faculty offices.

The Education Building project was designed and coordinated by JLG Architects Ltd. of Grand Forks, N.D. a nationally recognized architecture and environmental consulting firm. As a result, the Education Building is the most environmentally conscious and sustainable higher education, teaching and research building in the state.

Conrad is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and played a lead role in the project’s funding, which came primarily from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) passed by Congress. The funds were dispersed to the states by the U.S. Department of Education and were allocated to UND by the North Dakota Legislature. Rep. Mark Sanford will represent the North Dakota Legislature at the dedication ceremonies on Friday.

"I am proud to have worked to secure $11.2 million in federal funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for this project," Conrad said. "This new Education Building reflects the innovation taking place throughout the University of North Dakota. In that spirit, the building is LEED certified - providing a model for environmental leadership that I hope will serve as an example for other projects in the region. UND is a shining example of the education and leadership opportunities available in our state."

Nassif is the special advisor to Eduardo Ochoa, assistant secretary for postsecondary education. She served 11 years as president of Holy Names University in Oakland, Calif., and was president of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. A native of St. Louis, Mo., she earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

As a special advisor in the Department of Education, she advances a wide range of issues in higher education related to reform, improvement and innovation. She develops internal and external partnerships, collaborates with stakeholders, leads studies and develops positions on matters of national need or special interest. She is also involved in outreach activities to raise public awareness on higher education initiatives.

Nassif taught chemistry in higher education for 13 years. At the St. Louis College of Pharmacy, she initiated courses in environmental chemistry and in pharmaceutical ethics and professional responsibility, which became a national model for the pharmacy industry.

The first major renovation to the Education Building since 1953 began in spring 2009 with an $11.2 million appropriation from the North Dakota Legislature to completely remodel the facility and build an addition that linked it with Gillette Hall.

ARRA funding for the project was made available through the office of then-North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven. The State Board of Higher Education also authorized an additional $1.4 million for small equipment items, which must come from external fund-raising or internal reallocation.

The finished project modernizes learning environments for on-campus students and provides hybrid learning spaces to accommodate the needs of distance learners. The design encourages interactive research across the disciplines in the College of Education and Human Development.

Patrick Miller

Writer / Editor University Relations

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