Rylance discusses legacy of UND library benefactor Chester Fritz

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Rylance discusses legacy of UND library benefactor Chester Fritz

Dan Rylance, coauthor of the autobiography on the UND benefactor Chester Fritz, recently delivered an address about the man who was Chester Fritz during as part of the 50th anniversary of the Chester Fritz Library.

"Reflections on the Life and Legacies of Chester Fritz" was the title of the talk. In 1958, Fritz gave $1 million to UND to build the library, dedicated in 1961. Rylance said the address was “augmented by warm insights and great photos in the life of Chester Fritz.”

“The thrust of my address is to review the Fritz challenge,” Rylance said. “The challenge is for others to step up as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of this magnificent building and endow this library – endow it with additional funds to continue the Fritz gift.

“Great universities build and support great libraries,” he continued. “Fritz gave this university a great library and later endowed it with additional funds to assist in the computerization of its holdings. Now is the time for others to step up, answer the Fritz challenge and continue to support Chester Fritz Library.”

According to Rylance, the term “Fritz challenge” came from Fritz’s October 13, 1961, library dedication speech, which said: "But now that we have this building, I am trusting that from time to time, alumni and other friends of the University will augment with private funds the regular legislative appropriations to the University for the growth of the library, so that this library will always be well-stocked with the type of books, magazines, and other materials needed for scholarly work in every department of the University."

Rylance came to UND in 1964 as a graduate student in history and left in 1989 to become the editorial page editor of the Grand Forks Herald, a position he held until 1993. While at UND, he was coordinator of the Elwyn B. Robinson Department of Special Collections at the Chester Fritz Library and an associate professor of history.

Largely elected by UND’s students, Rylance served two terms in the North Dakota House of Representatives from 1975-1979. He co-authored Ever Westward to the Far East with Chester Fritz in 1982 and Quentin Burdick: The Gentle Warrior in 2007.

Patrick Miller

Writer/Editor UND University Relations

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