The University of North Dakota announced Monday it is naming its school of geology after Continental Resources Inc. CEO Harold Hamm.
Hamm and Continental are giving $10 million to the university's efforts to enhance its educational offerings in petroleum geology and related fields. University officials said it is the largest gift ever from someone who is not an alumnus of the school.
“We're proud to be partnering with Harold Hamm and Continental Resources to provide funding through a private-public partnership for this major expansion of UND's geology program,” North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “This is a perfect example of what can be done at our research institutions to enhance educational and employment opportunities for our state.”
Hamm's Continental Resources has been at the forefront of developing the Bakken Shale, an oil-bearing formation in North Dakota and nearby states.
“With the discovery of the world's largest oil field in more than 40 years, Continental Resources and North Dakota are changing the world,” Hamm said. “The Bakken play is one of the primary fields making North American energy independence a reality, releasing us from the grip of foreign oil and serving as a model for unconventional oil production worldwide.
“Establishing the School of Geology and Geological Engineering is a vital commitment to continuing North Dakota's national and global leadership in energy.”
The donations from Hamm and Continental will be paid over the next four years as part of a $14 million public-private partnership. The remaining money will come from the North Dakota Industrial Commission's Oil and Gas Research Program.
The renamed Harold Hamm School of Geology and Geological Engineering is part of the college of engineering and mines.
Dean Hesham El-Rewini said the school will attract top-notch faculty and students to North Dakota.
“Our goal is to produce future generations of petroleum geologists and engineers who can contribute to building a better world through professional service and research for safe, reliable and affordable energy production,” he said. “We also aim to increase the research efforts currently conducted by faculty members and students in petroleum-related fields, which will create new opportunities for collaboration with industry in North Dakota and elsewhere.”