University of Mary receives $12M donation from Bakken oil company founder – InForum

BISMARCK — The University of Mary on Tuesday, Feb. 1, announced it has received a $12 million donation from the founder of Continental Resources, a top Bakken oil producer, to bolster the college’s engineering program.

The donation is the largest single donation the University of Mary has received in its history, the college said in a news release Tuesday. The majority of the funds are from the Harold Hamm Foundation, the namesake of which founded Continental Resources in 1967.

In a statement, Hamm said the University of Mary’s engineering program will help create future engineers for North Dakota’s oil and gas industry.

“Continental Resources is serious about oil and gas production in the Bakken, and to sustain that growth we need some of the best and brightest engineering graduates,” Hamm said. “We believe Mary’s engineering program will provide some of the most well-prepared engineers in the industry. So, we see this as a long-term partnership for the viability of the economy in western North Dakota.”

Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources

Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, appeared at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference on May 22, 2014 in Bismarck, N.D. Chris Flynn / Forum News Service

The Harold Hamm Foundation donated $10 million which will go toward naming the University of Mary Hamm School of Engineering, while an additonal $2 million from Continental Resources will “endow a Chair of Engineering,” the college said its release.

University of Mary President Monsignor James Shea said the college is grateful for Continental Resources’ investment and “partnership.”

“We accept this challenge with great vigor and excitement, as we continue to meet the needs of the people of this region and beyond,” Shea said in the release.

Hamm and his family rank as the 63rd richest Americans with an estimated $11.4 billion in wealth,

according to Forbes.

The 76-year-old also served as an informal energy adviser to former President Donald Trump, according to Forbes. A prolific donor to Republican causes, Hamm also spoke in support of Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Michelle Griffith, a Report for America corps member, at

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