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Bismarck State College

By | Last Modified: May 5, 2017
Bismarck State College – Jack Science Center

Bismarck State College, known more commonly as “BSC”, is a public community college located in northwest Bismarck. The college offers mainly two-year degree programs, however added its first four-year program, Bachelor of Applied Science in Energy Management, in 2007. Bismarck State College also partners with other North Dakota universities to offer higher-level degree programs on the BSC campus.

Voters authorized a junior college in a special election held on June 5, 1939. Bismarck Junior College held its first classes on September 4, 1939 inside the Bismarck High School building. Only a one-year program was available in its first year, consisting of general education courses. Its initial enrollment included 68* students, with four part-time teachers.

The college moved to its own facility in 1955 at 900 Boulevard Avenue, sitting on the grounds of the State Capitol. Just four years later, in 1959, the increasingly overcrowded state government assumed control of the college’s new building and forced the college to again relocate. Local businessman, Harold Schafer, founder of Gold Seal, donated a tract of land on Meadowlark Hill overlooking the Missouri River to house the college, where the facility remains today. The first building on its current campus, Schafer Hall, opened in 1961.

In 1984, Bismarck Junior College became part of North Dakota’s system of higher education, making it possible to enable partnerships with other state colleges and universities. Its name was slightly altered to Bismarck “State” College in 1987.

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Former Bismarck State College logo, used from 1991-2009 Current Bismarck State College logo, unveiled in April 2009

*One source states initial enrollment was 73 students, and according to Bismarck State College’s website the initial enrollment was 104; however, a Bismarck Tribune article from September 1939 lists 68, so this is the number used as it seems to be the most accurate enrollment figure.

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