Stevens Hall

North Dakota State University Walking Tour

Stevens Hall

Fargo, North Dakota 58105, United States

Created By: North Dakota State University

Point of Interest Details

On October 17th, 1885, O.A. Stevens was born on a farm near Blue Rapids, Kansas. At a young age, Stevens would steal his older sister’s botany textbook and read about the interesting plants and animals of the world. He would then go on to college at Kansas State College and eventually teach at his alma mater. What brought him to the North Dakota Agricultural College (NDAC) in 1909 was the new pure seed and drug law as well as the brand new State Seed Laboratory. This meant that there was an opening for a seed analyst. He worked his way up to an associate professor in 1926, and then became a full professor in 1947. Stevens worked for 47 years at NDSU, but continued to stay around and conduct research.

Stevens has written and published more than 200 hundred articles in 40 different scholarly journals on topics ranging from plants, weeds, birds, and North Dakota towns. One of his more interesting accomplishments came in 1917. Stevens was studying weeds in America that came from Europe and sent lamb’s quarters to the United States National Herbarium for analysis. Another scientist, Dr. Paul Allen of Switzerland, wanted the lamb samples as well. Those samples that Allen got had one species that had not yet been cataloged yet. Thus, Dr. Allen named the species Stevensii in his honor.

Dr. Stevens is known around the nation and world as being one of the top botanists of his time. [1]

In 1968, a 1.3 million dollar building that would house biology, zoology, geography, and wildlife management was named in Dr. Stevens honor. Retirement was not much of a retirement for Stevens because he still continued to conduct research and write on campus. What was remarkable about this man was that he rarely drove his car; he would ride or walk to school even into his 80s. Colleagues would see him come to work in the morning at 5:30 am and wouldn’t leave until the sun went down. Stevens worked at NDSU until he suffered a stroke in 1976. His wife, Julia, then moved to California to be closer to family. In 1979, Stevens died surrounded by family. NDSU will forever be grateful for his research in the botany field for his research and academic contributions. [2]


  1. NDSU Archives, "Finding Aid to the O.A. Stevens Papers." Accessed November 2, 2016.
  2. North Dakota State University. "Stevens Hall." Accessed November 2, 2016.
  3. Photo by NDSU Archives.
  4. Photo by NDSU Archives.

This point of interest is part of the tour: North Dakota State University Walking Tour


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