By Sarah Hoffbeck
Claire T. Blikre was the sixth president to serve at NDSCS. He began his first day of work at what was then called the State School of Science on October 17, 1966 and served until June 30, 1987. President Blikre’s ambitious leadership proved instrumental in growing the college. A true visionary, Blikre expanded the campus of NDSCS with the addition of numerous physical facilities.
Recently, the NDSCS Foundation was fortunate to receive a $173,000 gift from the estate of the late LaVonne Blikre, Dr. Claire T. Blikre’s wife, which will help fund an athletic stadium renovation project on the NDSCS campus. Mrs. Blikre’s generous gift will help fund improvements to the Earl “Skip” Bute Alumni Stadium including: renovated public restrooms and concession area, a new retail outlet for the campus bookstore, and new locker rooms.
During his 21 years of presidency— yes, you read correctly, 21! —Blikre accomplished numerous things for NDSCS. Perhaps two of the most important accomplishments of his tenure were that enrollment grew by 1,500 students and new buildings worth over $16 million were added.
Check out the following timeline of the “best of the best” from Blikre’s presidency and be sure to check out our Flickr account at flickr.com/photos/ndscs to view photos from the archives. Gotta love those black and whites!
1966: Clair T. Blikre becomes 6th President
1967: Barnard Hall was built; Continuing Education Division established
1968: Robertson Hall was built; Student Center Addition completed
1969: Walton Hall was built
1970: Mildred Johnson Library completed
1971: Schulz Hall, College Complex, and the Earl “Skip” Bute Alumni and Frank Vertin Athletic Field were built; Forkner Hall Addition completed
1973: Nordgaard Hall was built
1974: Mechanical Systems Building and Bisek Hall were built
1975: Ballweber Hall Addition completed; women’s basketball was revived on campus; Schuett Hall was built
1976: State School of Science named 1st Bicentennial College in North Dakota
1977: Blikre Activities Center completed
1978: State School of Science 75th Anniversary Celebration
1979: College Complex NW and College Complex SE were built
1980: Wildcat Willie made his 1st appearance at the Homecoming Game on Oct. 13!
1981: Record Enrollment reaches 3,422 students (2,354 men/1,068 women)
1982: Schuett Hall Addition completed
1983: Student Center Addition to Bookstore completed; Stern Cultural Center was built
1987: State School of Science (SSS) becomes North Dakota State College of Science; Blikre resigns as president
While each president of the college can be credited for particular accomplishments, Vernon Hektner summed it up quite nicely in his quote from NDSCS: 100 Years of Excellence, “In short, Riley started the college on the vocational-technical track, Haverty built the curriculum, and Blikre built the facilities—brick and mortar.”
Indeed, Blikre left an everlasting legacy to the campus of NDSCS.