History | Bismarck State College

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Created in 1939 in response to a community need for a local college, BSC was originally known as Bismarck Junior College. The first students started classes on Sept. 4, 1939, on the third floor of Bismarck High School with 107 full- and part-time students and 12 instructors. By the late 1940s a new location became increasingly urgent as college enrollments soared with returning GIs.

In 1951 the ND Legislature responded to an appeal from community leaders to grant the college 15 acres on the Capitol grounds for a campus site. BJC moved into its own building at 900 Boulevard Avenue in 1955.FirstClass.jpg

Within a few years the college had outgrown the Capitol site. In 1959 Harold Schafer, a local entrepreneur and founder of the successful Gold Seal Company, offered the college land overlooking the Missouri River at the northwest edge of Bismarck. Classes began on the new campus in the fall of 1961 in a single building, Schafer Hall.

That windy hill has been transformed over the years with the addition of more than a dozen buildings, countless landscape improvements, the MDU Resources Community Bowl, parking lots, sidewalks, walking paths and more. In 2019, Health Science moved to its new location, a fully renovated facility adjacent to campus with almost double the space of the previous location. This new virtual hospital environment will allow collaboration between Health Science programs, using state-of-the-art technology to prepare students for healthcare jobs of the future.
The Bismarck State College-Mandan Campus at 1831 Twin City Drive S.E. in Mandan opened in 2007 to house the Mechanical Maintenance Technology program. The $2 million facility was funded through the sale of bonds, a federal earmark, funds from the City of Mandan and contributions from industry.

The Lineworker program has long been located in its own space on the Old Red Trail in Mandan where an outdoor forest of poles provides hands-on practice for lineworker students. 

Part of the Bismarck Public Schools for many years, the college became part of the North Dakota University System in 1984. The college's name changed to Bismarck State College in 1987.
Today, Bismarck State College is the third largest institution in the North Dakota University System with 4,000 traditional college students, and 22,000 community members involved in continuing education and training.
Since 1939 (read more about the history here), BSC has always centered its energy and its efforts on the students. No matter what stage in life students are in their education, Bismarck State College provides an affordable education.  Today we can do that both on-campus and online. We offer two-year degrees that seamlessly transfer to four-year universities, technical training, and four-year degree options on campus through partnerships with other North Dakota universities — continuing our legacy as the smart, affordable option for the first two years of college.
Our students choose their beyond. For more than 75 years BSC has proudly helped them get there.