The Great Plains Network (GPN) was founded in 1997 by many of the pioneers who brought NSFnet and the Internet to universities in the middle of the United States. These leaders realized that, once again, the needs of the research and education community were on the verge of overwhelming the public Internet. They set themselves, once again, to the task of creating a robust networking infrastructure to support advanced research and education applications. This time, however, the goal was to be certain that the Great Plains Network supported a new network ”and” the scientists and educators who would use that network. Notably, the initial planning meeting for GPN foreshadowed planning for the national advanced research and education network that is now know as ”Internet2”. Appropriately, GPN was the ”first” regional connector to Internet2.
With over 20 leading universities in seven states as founding members, the Great Plains Network Consortium continues to lead in support of research collaboration, education and advanced networking for member institutions. Members trust and rely on the expertise, support, and collaboration of one another. GPN staff actively seek out and help members pool their skills and knowledge across universities and across disciplines. In a host of technical and research areas, GPN participants are recognized leaders in their fields. By partnering with one another, their mutual efforts have attained national and international recognition.