image of Old Main
February 16, 2022

The NDSU Archives preserve our institution’s unique history and culture. We invite you to experience this point of pride in various exhibit cases throughout the Main Library, installed Spring Semester 2022.

Located on the main level is a panel that focuses on education at our top-ranked institution. North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC) was founded in 1890, with the first students admitted in 1891. Images include students from the 1920s to 1950s, highlighting the value NDSU holds on education, research, and student success. Image on left: Circa 1940.

On the upper level near the top of the main staircase are two cases devoted to "bison pride." The first focuses on the history of NDSU Homecoming with related photos from 1922 to 1991. NDAC celebrated its first homecoming in 1921. Parade floats soon became a tradition, and many showcased intense rivalries like the Bison and the Jackrabbits. NDAC changed to North Dakota State University in 1960, followed by our first costumed mascot, “Thundar." NDSU has deeply established homecoming traditions with sporting events, a parade featuring the Gold Star Marching Band, a performance by the Blue Key Honor Society, and a Homecoming Court. Image on right: Homecoming Parade, 1981.

Student activities are highlighted on a second "bison pride"-themed panel. NDSU offers student employment opportunities, civic engagement programs, club sports, fraternity and sorority life, leadership programs, hundreds of student organizations, a volunteer network, and many other campus attractions. We hope students viewing the historic images from the 1920s to 1980s inspire them to discover unique opportunities at NDSU by visiting the Student Activities Office in the Memorial Union or online at myndsu.ndsu.eduImage on left: Presenting a trophy, 1957.

Also located on the upper level is a panel which focuses on the buildings the NDSU community has strived for excellence in since 1890. This panel can be found just past the New Books shelf, near the elevator. Photos from 1891 to 1948 of some of the oldest and well-known campus buildings can be viewed as you learn about how our institution came to be with The Morrill Act. It also showcases a list of our current buildings. Learn more about the history of NDSU and campus buildings hereImage on right: Remodeling Old Main, 1948.

Included throughout the exhibit are important messages supported by the NDSU community such as our diversity and inclusion statement, the NDSU Land Acknowledgement, and a favorite school song, "The Yellow and the Green."

You can browse related photographs online in the NDSU-NDAC Historic Photos Collection on Digital Horizons, or browse the extended collection in-person at the NDSU Archives located in the West Building. For further information, please visit

How To Get Involved

The NDSU Archives actively seeks additions to its collections and relies on material and financial donations from the community to fulfill its mission to preserve the history of NDSU, North Dakota, and the Red River Valley. To learn more about our collections or make a donation, visit or contact us at