UND College of Engineering and Mines announces a $1 million impact gift to support its Collaborative Energy Complex


Deb Austreng

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Engineering & Mines


The University of North Dakota College of Engineering and Mines announced today a $ 1-million impact gift to support its Collaborative Energy Complex (CEC).

UND alumni Kristine Solberg (BSN'69) and Robert A. Solberg (BSCE'69) have utilized match dollars from the North Dakota Higher Education Challenge Fund to contribute $1 million toward the funding of the CEC project. This new gift marks the second time the Solbergs have given their support to this project. Kristine and Bob were the first to support the CEC project with an initial lead gift of $1 million.

"Kristine and I are supporting the Collaborative Energy Complex to ensure that UND Engineering graduates excel in the competitive global energy industry," said Robert Solberg.

UND President Robert Kelley expressed his appreciation for the Solbergs' gift and for their personal efforts to make UND and exceptional place to learn, teach and collaborate.

"I can only say 'thank you' for the ongoing support for UND's programs provided by Bob and Kris Solberg," said Kelley. "Their commitment to students, and their love of the University, is expressed by their continued leadership through philanthropy."

"Bob and Kris are true pioneers and visionaries. I am extremely grateful for their support of the CEC project. Both their lead gift and this new one will help our College move forward to a greater future," says College of Engineering and Mines Dean Hesham El-Rewini.

The CEC is a combination of several initiatives that will enrich the educational and research experience for students and faculty. The CEC will be the home of the UND Department of Petroleum Engineering, the Institute for Energy Studies, and the Student Success Center. In addition to cutting-edge labs and active learning classrooms, the CEC will provide space for interdisciplinary collaboration among faculty, students and industry.

"Bob and Kris Solberg have been generous supporters of the University of North Dakota for many years, said DeAnna Carlson Zink, chief executive officer of the UND Foundation. "They understand that this investment in UND and the College of Engineering & Mines will benefit students and faculty members for generations to come. Bob and Kris both have been advocates for UND on many different levels and are incredible examples of what makes the University of North Dakota a special institution."

Robert A. Solberg received his bachelor of science in civil engineering in 1969 from UND, while Kristine Solberg received her bachelor of science in nursing that same year. Bob spent 33 years with Texaco, retiring in 2002 as president of commercial development responsible for the assessment of commercial viability and swift development of new assets worldwide. He is currently the director of JDR Cable Systems, Ltd., and chairman of Hyperdynamics, an exploration company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange. Kris works as a childbirth educator and community volunteer in Houston. The Solbergs have served on the UND Alumni Association & Foundation Board, the National Campaign Steering Committee for North Dakota Spirit, the Campaign for UND, and the UND College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines Advisory Council. Bob was inducted into the CEM Alumni Academy in 2005, and is currently serving on the CEM Executive Board. They were both honored during UND Homecoming as recipients of the 2013 Sioux Award, UND's highest honor given to alumni.