UND President Mark Kennedy was in office amid several major changes at the university, including finalization of the nickname and logo change, major budget cuts to the university system and the cut of the women’s hockey team.
During Kennedy’s tenure as president the university system budget was cut by about a third. The budget cuts led to hundreds of jobs lost at the university.
The campus itself has also gotten smaller since Kennedy took the helm, with the demolition of more than a dozen buildings since 2016 as the university tries to cut back on its deferred maintenance costs.
Here’s a look at a timeline of Kennedy’s UND presidency:
March 15, 2016 — The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education appoints Kennedy as president
July 1, 2016 — Kennedy begins his UND tenure, says new logo/nickname will stay.
Oct. 10, 2016 — Kennedy is inaugurated as the 12th president of the university
May 5, 2017 — Kennedy rolls out UND’s new five-year strategic plan. As of June 2019, UND has already hit several of the plan’s goals, including increasing the four-year graduation rate by 10% since the plan’s inception. The plan also sought to increase research dollars. Under Kennedy’s leadership, UND has helped the university jump from 170th to 151st in research rankings, according to the National Science Foundation’s most recent report.
Jan. 26, 2017 — UND officially announced a move from the Big Sky Conference to the more regionally based Summit League and Missouri Valley Football Conference.
March 29, 2017 — With a $1.3 million athletic budget shortfall and anticipated cut in state funding, UND announced it would no longer sponsor women’s hockey and men’s and women’s swimming and diving.
2017 legislative session — Significant budget cuts cause the university to cut jobs. From fiscal year 2014 to the beginning of the 2018 fiscal year UND lost around 600 jobs, many because of the budget cuts in 2017.
Feb. 23, 2018 — Kennedy is named one of four finalists to be the next president of the University of Central Florida position. He ultimately did not get the job.
May 9, 2018 — Kris Engelstad McGarry, daughter of the late Ralph Engelstad and head of the Engelstad Foundation, asks for an editorial board meeting with the Herald and claims her relationship with Kennedy has been “hostile.” The two, along with many others from UND and the Engelstad Foundation, would meet in Las Vegas later that month to discuss a usage agreement between UND and the Ralph Engelstad Arena. The agreement would be signed in June.
June 19, 2018 — A planned sale of the Ray Richards Golf Course is delayed due to SBHE concern about the framework of the sale. The sale continued to get further delayed until fall when UND announced it would reopen the course.
Aug. 9, 2018 — Kennedy and North Dakota State President Dean Bresciani unveil their plan to increase research dollars at the two schools. The original plan asked the North Dakota Legislature to use Legacy Fund earnings to provide $100 million to the two schools over the next biennium. Although the final plan was a much lower dollar amount, $45 million, the idea was shot down by lawmakers in the House. Kennedy and Bresciani each expressed plans to continue to increase research funds for the universities.
Feb. 12, 2019 — UND announces Angelique Foster will stay on as chief of staff and work remotely after previously stating she would be leaving the university to move home. Kennedy later reversed course and Foster was set to leave UND in April.
March 1, 2019 — Kris Engelstad McGarry publicly states her family would not donate directly to the university until Kennedy was out of office.
April 10, 2019 — Kennedy is announced as the sole finalist for the University of Colorado president’s position
May 2, 2019 — Kennedy is appointed president of the CU system by a 5-4 vote of the CU Board of Regents
June 15, 2019 — Kennedy’s presidency concludes after 1,079 days