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Lane Sunwall

  • Today, Lake Johnson sees few visitors. Yet, strategically located along the communication and supply lines between US military forts and the immigrant trail to Montana, Lake Johnson was an important watering hole on the plains of Dakota Territory for much of the 19th century.
  • When we picture high-powered attorneys or the leaders of major corporations, we often think of the stereotype presented by Hollywood – someone who got their start as a brash twenty-something with East Coast roots, fresh out of an Ivy League college. However, as is often the case, such stereotypes are inaccurate, and the real version is much more interesting.
  • In 1990, the president of the University of North Dakota, Thomas Clifford, took on the additional task of serving as Interim Chancellor of the newly formed North Dakota University System. After what must have been a busy eight months, Clifford stepped down on this date in 1991. For many, the work involved in managing both major academic bodies would have been overwhelming, but for Clifford, the fast pace was par for the course.
  • 1/7/2013: North Dakota State University is today an integral part of the city of Fargo. Yet that was not always the case. It was this month, January of 1889 that marked the beginning of a pitched battle between Valley City and Fargo over the location of the agricultural college, which later evolved into NDSU. Valley City won the first skirmish when the Territorial legislature passed a bill granting them the school. However, Fargo’s citizens refused to give up.
  • 10/1/2012: The trials, tribulations, and triumphs of average soldiers are often forgotten in the annals of war, for our eyes naturally settle upon the glorious victories, the bitter defeats, and the leaders whose names live on in history. Yet, it is the average soldiers who do the fighting, the marching, the dying, and their stories are just as fascinating as those more often remembered.
  • 8/15/2012: When we think on the last few days of World War II most people will think of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And looking back with the benefit of hindsight it seems quite natural that Japan would fall in 1945; the country was out-manned, out-gunned, and out-produced.
  • 5/4/2012: It’s spring. The trees are budding, the flowers blossoming, the prairies blooming with emerald life. And children, long cooped up behind their brown and tan desks are eagerly anticipating the wondrous joy of the three months of glorious freedom shortly to come. Teachers – for their part – are likewise looking forward to the respite after the school year’s cacophony. Yet eighty years ago,in the two-room schoolhouse of Sims, North Dakota one young teacher daydreamed not about the freedom of the upcoming summer, but of the mysteries of germ theory.
  • 3/22/2012: To some, the Cold War carried the specter of nuclear Armageddon, the end of life as we know it. While humanity dodged that particular bullet, efforts to build more effective bombs spurred both American and Russian intellectual curiosity and scientific prowess. The “space race,” the other epic mid-century contest between the US and the USSR, was intimately tied to nuclear-arms development. Indeed, the first rockets to send men into space were converted warfare missiles.
  • 12/2/2011: On this date in 1942, in an inconspicuous laboratory at the University of Chicago, a handful of men gathered around a controlled laboratory in which they had carefully arranged a pile of wooden timbers and uranium bricks. Throughout the morning, these scientists had been ever-so-slowly pulling cadmium rods out of the pile, taking careful measurements of the result.
  • 8/16/2011: Part of Thomas Jefferson’s plan, when sending the Corps of Discovery across the American continent, was to foster positive relationships with the American Indians encountered along the way. Initial contact between Lewis and Clark and Native Americans would be a crucial first-step, but Jefferson hoped to further cement US-Indian relationships by inviting tribal leaders to Washington D.C. to introduce them to the wonders of American civilization and impress upon them the advisability of an alliance with the United States.