Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Research

First Advisor

Kathleen Gershman

Second Advisor

Deborah Worley


The University of North Dakota, a liberal arts institution founded in 1883, has a mission statement that speaks directly to present-day societal needs and norms. While staying true to its founding object, the mission has specific focus on science, technology, health and diversity. These areas speak directly to national and global economic and societal needs. In order for public institutions to secure funding, they have to respond to legislators and taxpayers; they must respond to current trends. This research looks at the University of North Dakota’s evolving mission, from founding in 1883, to present-day 2016. The research focuses on institutional purpose and studies it against the social and historical context of the time, in an effort to identify and understand the culture and motivation of the University of North Dakota and to determine if public institutions of higher education respond to the current needs and norms of society, as evidenced through their missions.