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$15 million gift to the University of Jamestown from Jim and Candy Unruh
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$15 million gift to the University of Jamestown from Jim and Candy Unruh

The University of Jamestown has received a $15 million gift from Jim and Candy Unruh. President Dr. Polly Peterson says it is the largest single donation in university history, as well as the largest single gift given to private education in North Dakota.

The gift goes toward the creation and naming of University of Jamestown’s new School of Character in Leadership and will support the renovation of the Voorhees Chapel and a new building that will become the center for faith and life. This gift kick starts UJ’s next capital campaign, which will launch publicly in the fall.

“Leadership is something we are all engaged in, and the pressure of leadership today is enormous,” said Jim Unruh. “We can’t be more supportive of trying to raise this program up, because the need is great. The success I’ve had has a lot to do with the values that were reinforced here at UJ. We’re happy to be able to provide this kind of support.”

Dr. Peterson expressed deep gratitude for the Unruhs’ support: “Jim has been an incredible visionary for University of Jamestown, challenging us to think boldly while never losing sight of the values upon which we were founded. With my heart and mind still absorbing the magnitude of this gift, I thank Jim and Candy through tear-filled eyes knowing that their love and commitment for UJ will forever secure the integrity of our commitment to values-based education rooted in Christian principles.”

In 2006, University of Jamestown created the undergraduate Character in Leadership (CIL) program. In 2015, the University extended its leadership education by launching a Master of Arts in Leadership (MAL) program geared toward the working professional. Nearly 200 students have graduated from the program since its founding.

The new School of Character in Leadership will provide programming options including workshops, certificates, and degree programs at the undergraduate, master, and doctoral levels blending leadership theory with practice. Courses will be available on the Jamestown campus, as well as through the University’s online learning division, University of Jamestown Accelerated.

The Voorhees Chapel and the new center for faith and life are also part of the upcoming capital campaign. The chapel, which was built between 1917 and 1918, will undergo renovation, while the center for faith and life will be constructed to house the School of Character in Leadership—connecting the chapel to the Badal Nafus Center.


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