In 1931, legislative action authorized the establishment of junior colleges in North Dakota cities with a population exceeding 10,000. The Legislative Assembly amended the law in 1941 to allow junior colleges in cities with a population exceeding 5,000. An extension of junior college legislation came in 1961 with the approval of the North Dakota SBHE to establish an off-campus education center in conjunction with a state-supported college or university. WSC resulted from this legislation.
The University of North Dakota (UND) first offered extension classes in Williston during the fall of 1957. In 1961, WSC, then known as the UND-Williston Center, founded its own resident campus, faculty, and curricula through a contractual arrangement between UND and Williston School District #1. This arrangement continued until July 1, 1984 when the North Dakota SBHE assumed responsibility for the College. What was once the UND-Williston Center became UND-Williston.
In 1999, legislative action expanded the College’s mission to include workforce training and resulted in UND-Williston’s transition to an autonomous campus renamed Williston State College.
WSC has grown from an extension center, established in 1961, to an institution with a student body of more than 1,000 students and over 125 faculty and staff providing educational opportunities to the greater Williston area.