Associate Dean retires after 46 years

Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences Thomas Rand. Photo by Nicholas Nelson/The Dakota Student.

For many students, life at UND merely sums up to a four-year period that may or may not result in a degree. After obtaining said degree, students will move on with their lives, possibly never to see the college or state ever again.

By spending such a short period at UND, it is easy to overlook the constants that have always been there, helping to make the college experience as painless as possible.

For 46 years, Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences Thomas Rand has been helping countless students navigate their way through the choppy waters of college life.

It is hard to find someone who has given more of their time to UND than Rand, and after years of selflessly serving our school, he has decided to retire in June of 2015.

“I could have retired 12 years ago, but I have just enjoyed working here too much,” Rand said. “I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than get up and go to the university every morning.”

Rand credited a large part of his job satisfaction to the excellent relationship he had with his coworkers.

“We have never had a harsh word with each other in 46 years,” Rand said.

An East Grand Forks native, Rand has lived quite a varied life. He began his higher education at the prestigious Macalester College in Minnesota. But after a few short years, he and his roommate were kicked out for flunking multiple classes, a story that took over the front page of the Minneapolis Morning Tribune at the time. After this brief wrinkle in his academic career, Rand went on to do graduate work at the University of Minnesota and attend the seminary at Harvard.

“After I finished seminary, I was going to do work at an institution in Boston,” Rand said. “But I ended up getting a job at a Erskine High School (located in Minn.) teaching music instead.”

Briefly after becoming a music teacher, Rand was presented with the opportunity to work at UND teaching humanities and helping students in problematic academic situations.

“With my good background in flunking out, I was able to land the job,” Rand said. “I help with whatever tricky academic problems arise, including questions about grad work, incoming transfer students and any other academic questions students have.”

His failing grades may have actually been a blessing in disguise, however. Rand believes being kicked out of school has actually helped him connect to students that are going through the same situation he had experienced.

“I know what it’s like to sit on the other side of the table,” Rand said.

Along with his work as an Associate Dean, Rand has also taught classes at UND, including Intro to Honors and Intro to Humanities.

“My tenure is in teaching humanities, and I taught honors on the side,” Rand said. “I really enjoy it, working with students who were interested for learning’s sake.”

When asked if he had received any awards over his lustrous career, Rand humbly replied, “I’ve gotten some along the way, but my most prized is a blanket I received from the Indian Student Organization.”

Brendan McCabe is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].