New UND Faculty And Administrator Bus Tour Ready To Roll

This year’s route goes through towns such as Hillsboro, Jamestown, Edgeley, Medora, Washburn, Cooperstown and Mayville

New University of North Dakota faculty and administrators will be ready to embark on the 24th annual bus tour Monday, Aug. 18, giving them a chance to explore much of the southern portion of North Dakota.

“It gives newcomers to the state and campus a glimpse into the state,” said Fred Wittmann, the tour coordinator and director of Ceremonies and University Events.

The three-day tour, free for participants, was introduced as a way to raise awareness about the importance of higher education, as well as to acquaint the new faculty with their new state of employment.  It also allows new faculty to get a better understanding of where many of their students will come from.

“It’s one of the pieces of the ‘orientation puzzle’ for them,” said Wittmann.

Joining the new faculty and administrators on the tour will be President Robert Kelley and his wife, Marcia, Susan Balcom Walton, vice president for UND University and Public Affairs, as well as Melissa Gjellstad, assistant professor in the UND Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures.

Walton will serve as the “On the Bus Expert” in North Dakota government relations.

Gjellstad, a North Dakota native from Velva, will provide additional commentary for the tour.

The tour also serves as a way to bring interdisciplinary faculty members together. These people may have never had the chance to meet otherwise.

“I’m always amazed with this activity and how it brings people together,” said Wittmann.

Each year, the tour alternates between northern and southern routes across the state.

This year, the tour will be making stops in communities such as Hillsboro, Jamestown, Edgeley, Bismarck, Medora, Washburn, Cooperstown and Mayville.

Throughout the tour, participants will get the chance to learn more about North Dakota agriculture, education, tourism, energy development, government and business from experts in the field.

A unique aspect of this tour will be a picnic hosted by the family of U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp at their cabin on Lake Elsie southwest of Fargo near Hankinson.

Some other highlights of the tour will be visiting North Dakota’s newly expanded Heritage Center in Bismarck, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Falkirk Coal Mine near Underwood, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Washburn, and the former “Oscar-Zero Missile Alert Facility”  near Cooperstown.

The following is a partial itinerary for the bus tour (subject to change):

Day 1     Monday, Aug. 18:

  • 7-7:20 a.m.                          Meet at the Chester Fritz Auditorium Parking Lot.
  • 7:30 a.m.                              Depart UND/Grand Forks.
  • 8:15 a.m.                              Coffee Stop at Our Town Bakery/Café – Hillsboro.
  • 11 a.m.                                 Arrive at Heitkamp Cabin on Lake Elsie near Hankinson for lunch and conversation.
  • 2:15 p.m.                             Break at Edgeley Coffee Shop and a wind energy briefing by Eric Costello, NextAir Energy Resources.
  • 5:30 p.m.                             Arrive in Bismarck for a social and dinner at the North Dakota Heritage Center.

Day 2     Tuesday, Aug. 19:

  • 8:15 a.m. (MDT)                Arrive at Medora for driving tour of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
  • 10:15 a.m. (MDT)             Free time in Medora.
  • 11 a.m. (MDT)                   Lunch at the Bully Pulpit Golf Course near Medora.
  • 3:45 p.m. (CDT)                 Arrive at Falkirk Coal Mine near Underwood for energy related briefing and tour of mines.
  • 6 p.m.                                   Social and dinner in Washburn with alumni and friends at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

Day 3     Wednesday, Aug. 20:

  • 8 a.m.                                    Tour of the State Capitol Building in Bismarck.
  • 9:45 a.m.                              Tour and briefing of the United Tribes Technical College south of Bismarck.
  • 1 p.m.                                   Break and refreshments at Frontier Village in Jamestown.
  • 3:15 p.m.                             Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile Launch Site (former Oscar-Zero Alert Facility) tour near Cooperstown.
  • 5:45 p.m.                             Community social and dinner with UND alumni, friends and community leaders in Mayville.
  • 8:30 p.m.                             Arrive in Grand Forks/UND – Chester Fritz Auditorium Parking Lot.



Peter B. Johnson
Executive Associate Vice President
Media Relations Coordinator
Public Relations Group
Division of University and Public Affairs
701-777-4317 or 701-740-5398 (mobile)

Or at UND:

David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator
Public Relations Group
Division of University and Public Affairs
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144
701.777.5529 | 701.777.4616 fax