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History

A Timeline of Tri-College University

Concordia College, Minnesota State University Moorhead, and North Dakota State University came together in the late 1960s to form Tri-College University. The consortium was created to allow students from one university to attend classes at the other two, with no additional tuition or fees. Through TCU, the partner institutions now offer a variety of collaborative programs, courses, and services -- the course exchange, free use of library facilities on all three campuses, free parking on all three campuses (with valid parking pass from home campus), and several cooperative student organizations and events. Tri-College University has been incorporated since 1970. 

Forty-five years later Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State) and North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) were brought in to expand the partnership to provide more opportunities to students, faculty, staff and administrators.

1962                                   

The informal F-M Common Market in education is created.

1965 & 1969                        

Legislation authorizing formal cooperative relationships across state lines passes in Minnesota (Senators Dosland and Sillers) and North Dakota (via George A. Sinner of the ND Board of Higher Education). 

1968-1970                         

The TCU committee meets regularly – chaired by George A. Sinner, then member of the North Dakota Board of Higher Education who led the effort in North Dakota.

1969                                         

The Hill Family Foundation (now the Northwest Area Foundation) provides a $70,000 grant for initial support of the provost position.

1970                                         

Articles of incorporation establishing TCU as a North Dakota non-profit educational corporation are filed.

1971                                         

The first edition of TRICE, the official newsprint publication of Tri-College University is produced. 

1971

The Bush Foundation grants $94,000 to enhance the TCU library cooperation. 

1972

The National Endowment for the Humanities grants $400,000 to establish the TCU Humanities Forum.

1972-1994

The TCU Center for Environmental Studies is founded and operates for 22 years. It brings in more than $500,000 in grant funds.

1972

The TCU Women’s Bureau is formed (becoming Tri-College Women United in 1986).

1974

Agreements covering the course exchange and covered programs are negotiated.

1974

The TCU film library is established. 

1976

The TCU History Lectureship is established.

1976

TCU by-laws are drafted and amended.

1977

North Central Association (NCA) accreditation is granted to the Tri-College Consortium in 1977; National Council for Accreditation for Teacher Education (NCATE) accreditation is subsequently granted in 1989.

1978

The first TCU Catalog is published. 

1978-85

The Prairie Writing Project is established and operated.

1983 

An economic impact study is completed showing that the institutions have a combined impact of $330,252,513.

1985

A joint (CC and NDSU) nursing program is established.

1987

The first annual Rotary/TCU Welcome Picnic is held for International students.

1987

The first TCU Graduate School Information Day is held.

1988

An economic impact study is completed showing that the institutions have a combined impact of $610,935,083.

1988

The first Tri-College Career Fair is held.

1988

The first Tri-College Pow Wow is held.

1990

The Third World Studies Committee is established (becoming the World Studies Committee in 1994).

1991 

William M. Jones authors A Brief History of Tri-College University.  The 46 page booklet documents many events of significance during our first 21 years.

1992

The TCU Technology Committee is formed.

1992

As per the North Dakota University System, NDSU shifts to semesters (which impacts TCU cross registration). 

1993

The TCU Chapter of the Fulbright Association is established.

1993

Founding member Senator William Dosland dies in Arizona while on vacation.

1995

MSU (now MSUM) shifts to semesters, restoring the Tri-College common calendar.

1995

The Nursing program is re-accredited by the National League for Nursing (NLN) for a 10-year period.

1995

TCU celebrates its 25th anniversary, with almost 30,000 students having taken more than 90,000 courses through the TCU course exchange since its inception; the commemorative poster created for the event is widely distributed on the campuses and in the community.

1995

Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks appears on all three campuses, the project being supported by a $6,000 grant from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

1995 

In a joint session with the TCU Commissioners, the TCU Board develops strategic goals for Tri-College University.

1996 

Education Administration title changed to Educational Leadership with degree granting authority at MSUM and NDSU.

1996-97

“Plains: Take One, Two and Three” exhibits are held at MSUM, NDSU and Concordia College respectively.

1996

Formal NCA accreditation of TCU ceases (effective June 30th), with the TCU Education Administration program degrees to be conferred by MSUM and NDSU.

1997

The Education Leadership program completes and satisfies NCA, NCATE and state reviews on the MSUM and NDSU campuses.

1997

TCU assessments are standardized on the basis of a 50/50 basic/supplemental (based on enrollment) split.

1997

A TCU dedicated T-1 fiber optic line is established.

1998

TCU hosts the Small College Computing Conference.

1998

A Fargo-Moorhead/Tri-College University brochure targeting the recruitment of Twin Cities students is produced, to be used by the three Admissions Offices as a compliment to their own recruiting materials.

1999

The first TCU/Hedmark summer course on Norwegian culture, language, natural resources and society is held at Evenstad, Norway.

1999

Best Practices in Higher Education Consortia: How Institutions Can Work Together is co-edited by TCU Provost Jean Strandness. She also authored a chapter on Tri-College University cross registration and joint programs.

2002

Lech Walesa, former Polish president, Nobel Laureate for peace and holder of thirty honorary degrees from various American universities was the featured speaker at the Tri-College Human Rights Conference held at MSUM.

2003-2004

Total head count of students enrolled in the course exchange exceeds 40,000 students.

2004

The Governor George Sinner Public Policy Symposium is initiated (three year program) in honor of founding TCU Board member George Sinner and his 35 years of service on the board.

2006

Students from each campus compete for scholarships based on their speech on the topic of substance abuse for the Third Annual Governor George Sinner Public Policy Symposium.

2006

A flood forecasting tool is launched by the International Water Institute, NOAA and other partners to help mitigate flooding in the Red River Valley.

2007

An economic impact study completed with a grant from the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development shows that the three institutions have a combined economic impact of $1.22 billion (using data from 2005-2006).

2007 

During their final year of operation, the Tri-College University Graduate Nursing Program receives the STAR Award from the Dakota Medical Foundation.  After 2007 each campus will be responsible to support their campus nursing program as they deem appropriate and will continue to use the course exchange program to deliver classes.

2007

Tri-College University held a student art competition at each campus with winning pieces displayed in the TCU office.  Winning students from each campus were presented with a cash award.  Pieces are also used for promotional and marketing materials for Tri-College.

2007

Through the 36-year history of Tri-College, the approximate total student head count involved in the course exchange exceeds 32,000 students and those students have taken more than 108,500 courses.

2007

TCU people, programs and educational efforts appeared on the front page of the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead nine times and on the cover of regional papers six times.  Stories about our people, programs and educational efforts appeared in 20 print stories during the year, including USA Today and the Chronicle of Higher Education. 

Awareness of TCU programs was enhanced with a one year Program Outreach Series.  Collaborative recruitment efforts were undertaken.  Data shows that approximately 5% of the undergraduate students at each campus use the course exchange program. 

2008

Funding for the $5 million LiDAR surface mapping project was announced by Tri-College’s International Water Institute.   The project is the largest financial project in the history of Tri-College University and will cover more than 40,000 square miles in North Dakota and Minnesota. 

2008

TCU Collaborative grants are awarded to encourage greater collaboration between campuses and to increase efficiency and enhance progress.  The Forum of Fargo Moorhead give a “Prairie Rose” to Tri-College and related supporters for their collaborative recruitment efforts. 

The TCU International Water Institute receives $5 million in grants and appropriations from 14 funding partners for a LiDAR mapping project.  This is the largest project in Tri-College University history. 

2008

Tri-College University and their NEW Leadership program received the YWCA “Business or Organization that Empowers Women” award. 

2009

TCU/IWI LiDar topographical data played a major role in the flood response efforts related to the historic 2009 Red River flood.  The LiDar mapping project was awarded an additional $750,000 in federal funds.

2009

Total external monies and in-kind donations exceeded $303,000/FTE for the year.

2009

All exchange agreements were codified into one document that was signed by campus Presidents.  All Educational Leadership materials are electronically archived.

2009

Provost participated as one of a select group of 42 people from across the country in the Global Education Competitiveness Summit at the Press Club in Washington, DC.

2009

TCU, The Greater FM EDC and campus partners' team up to produce an award winning brochure aimed at recruiting students.  It highlights quality of place issues in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

2010

Tri-College University celebrated its 40th Anniversary.

2010

TCU began efforts in capacity building in life sciences in the area of vaccinology.

2010

More than 45,000 students have taken more than 111,000 courses in the first 40 years of Tri-College University.

2010

NEW Leadership Development was adopted as a new program for Tri-College University.  The Tri-College NEW (National Education for Women's) Leadership Development Institute is a five-day residential program.    

2011

Tri-College University launched a first-in-the nation undergraduate minor program in vaccinology.  It was created in response to a study undertaken by the Greater Fargo-Moorhead EDC which showed great potential for the vaccine industry in the Red River Valley and FM Metro area.  The press conference and program announcement were reported in more than 60 publications or media outlets from coast to coast.

2011

Sanford Medical donated $150,000 to establish the Sanford Tri-College Vaccinology Professorship Endowment.  This was the first endowment in TCU history and it helped leverage $50,000 in matching funds.  In addition, 36 scholarships were arranged for through Tri-College with the support of various business and individual donors.

2011

The International Water Institute was "graduated out" from TCU which allows them to expand into areas of water related need that extend beyond the mission of TCU.

2011

Educational Leadership students are again eligible for scholarships that have been created by the State of North Dakota.  Total funds secured for the program to date are $300,000.

2011

Founding board member Douglas Sillers passed away at the age of 96.  Mr. Sillers served on the board of Tri-College University for more than 40 years.  Sillers was a Navy veteran, a graduate of Concordia College.  He also served in the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives where he authored language necessary to begin Tri-College University in 1970.

2012

A total of $325,482.18 was raised to set up the first two endowments at Tri-College.  The endowments help campus partners cope with challenging financial times.

2012

Tri-College ROTC programs earned national attention as:  ranking in the top 10% in the nation, 3rd Best ROTC program in the 3rd ROTC BDE, and 2LT Cory Arnold (MSUM) ranked 18th in the Nation (out of 5,650 people).

2012

Provost Tim Flakoll served as Grand Marshall of the Xcel Energy Downtown Holiday Lights parade - he was joined by campus mascots Kernal (Concordia), Scorch (MSUM) and Thundar (NDSU) before 20,000 attendees.

2013

The Educational Leadership Program exceeded 300 students and both MSUM and NDSU have full and complete programs which allow them to deliver stand-alone programs.

2013

Course exchange program participants are limited to one course per student per partner campus per term.

2013

A survey of students conducted on campuses revealed that:  100% of students surveyed who used the course exchange were either satisfied, very satisfied or extremely satisfied, 93.9% of the students surveyed had knowledge of Tri-College University and 12.2% of the students surveyed had taken a course through the Tri-College University course exchange program.

2013

Provost Tim Flakoll was honored with the 2013 “Student Advocate of the Year award” from the North Dakota Student Association. An organization representing nearly 50,000 college students in the state.

2013

“Senator Tim Flakoll is a 2011 alum of Creating Collaborative Solutions (CCS). Flakoll was recently honored with the 2013 Advocate of the Year by the North Dakota Student Association for his work on the state-wide educational reform bill, SB 2200.  The origins on this bill partly resulted from a team project in CCS whereby the group was tasked with finding new method of funding higher education in North Dakota. Flakoll returned to his state and applied the knowledge gained to become both the producer and primary sponsor of the bill. The lessons learned in public value, shared ownership and navigating the rough path to progress helped Flakoll push through this landmark legislation.” Source Harvard ALUMNINEWS June 2013.

2014

In order to help promote TCU options to students, a TCU Student Ambassador program was started.  These Ambassadors help advise student related activities and provide peer to peer contacts.

2014

Collaborative grants are used to sponsor the Tri-College Art Boom faculty art show.  The exhibition is the first major show to bring together the work of the schools' 24 full time faculty.

2014-2015

Provost Tim Flakoll is elected to serve as Chair of the Council of State Governments Midwestern Legislative Conference. The organization is comprised of eleven-member states and four Canadian Provinces totaling more than 80 million people. The annual meeting is hosted in Bismarck, ND and features Astronaut Buzz Aldrin and North Dakota native and Concordia Alum Clint Hill.

Flakoll receives space memorabilia from Apollo 11 including autographed items and a pin from Buzz Aldrin that contains metal from the lunar module that went to the moon. Those items were donated to the Department of Physics and Astronomy at MSUM.

Flakoll is later recognized by the Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Newsletter for his successful work with the Council of State Governments (Winter 2016-2017 publication).

2015

Tri-College Board of Directors comprised of Presidents William Craft (Chair), Anne Blackhurst and Dean Bresciani and citizen board members Paul Marquart, Pam Astrup, Deb Knutson, Mark Nisbet and Paul Richard in concert with President Peggy Kennedy (M State) and John Richman (NDSCS) and upon recommendation of TCU Commissioners Dr. Michelle Malott, Dr. Eric Eliason, Dr. Beth Ingram and TCU Provost Tim Flakoll add Minnesota State Community and Technical College  (M State) and North Dakota State College of Science (NDSCS) as Tri-College University partners.  The partnership will now include more than 35,000 students across the five institutions. 

2015

The collaborative effort to expand TCU earns a Prairie Rose aware from the Forum of Fargo Moorhead.  The Forum writes that the new partnership "would be a win for the students, campuses and community."

2015

TCU leads efforts to produce a youth activity and coloring books which is used to promote educational and all of the fun activities where kids can participate in the Fargo Moorhead area. 50,000 were produced in the first three print runs.

2015

TCU provides collaborative grant funds to help launch the Great Ride Bike Share program.

2015

Tri-College University Libraries were selected in a competitive grant process to host a workshop on issues related to scholarly communication and the role of the academic library presented by the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).  Tri-College was among four institutions around the country chosen by ACRL as "roadshow sites."  There were individuals from 11 institutions in the region who participated.

2015

TCU Endowments grow to more than $400,000.  An increase of 23% in the first 30 months of the program.

2015

Provost Tim Flakoll participates in an education leader's conference at the White House.

2016

Provost Tim Flakoll is awarded the NDSU Blue Key Doctor of Service Award for his body of work in education and service over a forty-year span. Campus Presidents and TCU Board members attend the dinner in his honor.

An inaugural Bridge Bash is hosted in the downtown area on the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge between Fargo and Moorhead. The event welcomes back students with live music, games, informational tables and great food trucks.

2017

The NEW Leadership Institute program was transferred from TCU to MSUM.

2017-2018

Provost Tim Flakoll is elected to Chair the Midwestern Higher Education Compact. This organization is comprised of twelve-member states with 4.2 million college students in attendance within their states. Like TCU they are an organization dedicated to improving the quality and efficiency of higher education.

2018

Tri-College surpassed 50,000 students who have participated in the course exchange program since the inception of TCU.

2018

Tri-College Presidents and Sanford leadership announce a partnership for a shared medical simulation center.  A 17,000 sf $5,000,000 facility at Sanford Broadway in Fargo, which is scheduled to open in 2020.

2018

A second program whose idea was launched during the year was a program to expose K-5 graders to a higher education environment with a major one-day event.  This program is called "Walk Into My Future" (formerly called Seeds of Hope) and we hosted 1,200 kids for our first event in August 2018.  Overall, in our first year we had about 40 individual booths from the campus partners.  As part of the program, kids were given campus tours to expose them to college life.  There was no cost to the campuses for this program.  The inaugural event was held at NDSU and it will rotate campuses annually.  2019 will be hosted at M State, 2020 will be hosted by MSUM and 2021 by Concordia College.  

2018

Tri-College Founding board member and North Dakota Governor George Sinner passes away March 9, 2018 at 89 years of age.

2018

A new developed data set/formula revealed that $266 million has been saved to date by students and their families due to the course exchange program from inception through July 1, 2018 (in 2018 dollars).

2019

A new developed data set/formula revealed that $275 million has been saved to date by students and their families due to the course exchange program from inception through July 1, 2019 (in 2019 dollars).

2019

TCU uses social media to make a dramatic entrance into social media (primarily Facebook) marketing and instruction through a six-part series on “How to get that first great job.”  It incorporated nationally recognized HR Senior Leader Sharon Miller in presenting focuses and flowing tips.

More than 75,000 people will see the video and over 1,200 post engagements share the message and show support. Engagements note any action taken by someone for the post. Common examples are “likes, comments and shares.”  Engagements also help because they help and extend organic (non-paid) reach.

2019

The Commissioners and Presidents approve adding language to affirm the current practice of students taking online undergraduate courses through the TCU Exchange and Cooperative Agreement.

The addition is to Section II B as follows.  “Students may take undergraduate online courses except for specific courses that are campus designated as not eligible. Space availability restrictions apply to all courses.”

2019

Financial Policies and Procedures Guidelines are presented by Accountant Donna Kristianson and approved.  A TCU Commissioner Roles and Responsibilities document is developed and approved by TCU staff and Commissioners.

 

 

Tri-College University Provosts

1968-1977                                          Albert Anderson

1977-1986                                          John McCunn

1984-1985                                          Andrew Keogh (1 year interim)

1986-1990                                          Marcia Kierscht

1991                                                   William M. Jones (6 month interim)

1991-1994                                          William C. Nelson

1994                                                   William M. Jones (5 month interim)

Dec. 1994-June 2000                         Jean Strandness

July 2000 to June 2005                      Nathan Davis

August 2005 – February 2006            Susanne Williams (6.5 month interim)

February 2006 – present                    Tim Flakoll

Currently the longest serving Provost in the history of Tri-College University 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                   As of 10/1/2019