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Jamestown College
Motto Your Success.
Our Tradition.
Established 1883 (1883)
Type Private Liberal Arts
Religious affiliation Presbyterian
Endowment $25,071,662 (2009) [1]
President Robert S. Badal
Dean Gary Watts
Students 1,025[1]
Location Jamestown, ND, USA
46°54′50″N 98°41′53″W / 46.914°N 98.698°W / 46.914; -98.698Coordinates: 46°54′50″N 98°41′53″W / 46.914°N 98.698°W / 46.914; -98.698
Campus Urban (110 acres)[1]
Colors Orange and Black          
Nickname Jimmies
Mascot Knight
Affiliations DAC; NAIA

Jamestown College is a private liberal arts college founded by the Presbyterian Church[2] located in Jamestown, North Dakota. It has about 1,000 students enrolled today and has been co-educational from its founding.

In 2007, Jamestown became the first North Dakota college or university to make US News and World Report's "Tier 1" for undergraduate colleges in the Midwest, a distinction repeated annually ever since.[3] As of 2009, Jamestown College ranks 45th in the region.[1]



Jamestown College was founded in 1883, but closed fairly quickly during the depression of 1893. The school reopened in 1909 and has remained in operation ever since.

Jamestown College has been notable for three things: its athletics, its science and nursing programs, and its choir. In 1979, the Jamestown College football team went to the NAIA Division 3 National Championships.[4] Jamestown's pre-medical students have long-standing tradition of higher than average medical school acceptance rates.

In 1972 the college's choir—directed by Richard Harrison Smith and for decades one of the top small-college choirs in the United States—became the first American choir to sing at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, an honor they repeated four more times during the 1970s and 1980s. The choir continues to tour internationally every four years, with their most recent tour in May 2006 to Italy where the choir received the honor of singing at the main altar of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.


1980s: Low Ebb

In the mid-1980s, a difficult farm economy, along with alleged mismanagement by several former college administration officials, led the college into difficult times; in 1986, the school graduated 92 students, had a full-time enrollment of only 500 students, and reportedly came within 24 hours of closing its doors. A few 11th-hour donations and some radical restructuring brought the college back from the brink. The fundraising charge was led by Marvin E. Seibold ('56) and R.G. "Bob" Lyngstad who formed the "Committee of 100"—a group of 100 donors who each gave $10,000 to keep the College open.


Today, after nearly twenty years of aggressive fundraising, the school has nearly triple the students, and has been able to embark on a large building program to replace some of the buildings, which in many cases date from the college's original heyday in the 1920s.

The $30 million capital campaign to finance both this new construction and a larger scholarship base recently surpassed its goal several months ahead of its self-imposed 2008 deadline.[5]

Recent Developments

The Unruh and Sheldon Center for Business and Computer Science

Jamestown College has recently added many new buildings to the campus:

  • renovations to the nursing program building, featuring a state of the art simulated Intensive Care Unit.
  • the Unruh and Sheldon Center, home to the college's Business, Accounting and Economics, and Computer Science and Information Technology departments. This building is one of the most wired and high-tech buildings in the midwest; construction of the $5 million facility was completed in the summer of 2006 using gifts from Jim Unruh and Agnes (Sheldon) Griffin.
  • the Ed and Elaine Nafus Student Center, including a two-story atrium entrance, an open commons area for students, a new coffee lounge, and full handicap-accessibility.
  • an expansion of the Larson Center gymnasium and indoor track facility.
  • the Foss Wellness Center, a modern student wellness and physical education center.
  • the Student Media Center, featuring a studio, control room, and the Kurt Schork Newsroom, an integrated center for video, audio, and print media production.

A recent addition to the JC curriculum as of the 2006-07 school year is the "Character in Leadership" program, giving entering freshmen the ability to receive a minor in leadership.[6]

The Jamestown Journey to Success

In 2007, Jamestown announced the Journey to Success, a new program targeted at preparing students for rapidly changing environments. The program has five elements: a combination of liberal arts education and professional preparation, more personalized advising and career counseling, first-year student mentors, a proven placement service and guaranteed internships, and finally, guaranteed graduation in four years.[7]

Notable alumni

Notable Faculty

Current Faculty

  • Larry Woiwode, accomplished author and poet, serving as Poet Laureate of the State of North Dakota since 1995
  • J. Aaron McDermid, director of the Concert Choir since 2006 and prominent composer of a cappella choir music

Former Faculty

  • Richard Harrison Smith, director of the Concert Choir from 1969 to 1999, during which time it was the first American choir to sing at Paris' Cathedral of Notre Dame and an acclaimed writer and arranger of modern choral music
  • Robert Scriba, one of the country's leading authorities on Asian theatre and music
  • James Edwards, notable theologian, author of five books, four New Testament commentaries, and contributing editor of Christianity Today


External links


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