MINOT AIR FORCE BASE This month Minot State University marked its 50th anniversary of offering classes at Minot Air Force Base.
Today the university offers 40 to 50 classes per semester and bachelors' degrees in more than 60 majors at the base. There is a full-time adviser at Minot State.
Classes at the base began in 1961 with an extension service. Adult education was becoming increasingly important in the 1960s and the college was able to provide services. Under the new program, available staff, faculty and citizens were used as teachers in the program. The program later expanded to include qualified airmen as teachers.
By the spring of 1962, airmen of the 906th Refueling Squadron were taking courses. The sessions were eight weeks and available to on-duty and off-duty airmen and dependents. The campus also offered high school courses and evaluations for credit and implemented the newly created Air Force Bootstrap Program. Bootstrap allowed airmen to attend college full time to finish degree requirements for programs they had not previously completed.
A schedule of 10 classes was designed for the base. These classes included courses in communications, mathematics, humanities, geography, political science, sociology, education and U.S. history. On-duty classes operated out of the base aircrew Alert Facility. B-52 alert aircrews from the 525th Bomb Squadron, Strategic Air Command, used the same space for classrooms and plotting their "Peace Persuader" missions around the globe.
Fifty years later there are more than 300 airmen and women taking classes at the base.