More than 1,450 students are eligible to cross stage this year; North Dakota Chief Justice Gerald Vandewalle and Farm Rescue Founder Bill Gross – both UND alums – to receive honorary degrees
The University of North Dakota will hold General Commencement at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 16, at the Alerus Center, where President Robert O. Kelley will preside over his seventh spring ceremony.
The School of Law and the School of Medicine& Health Sciences (SMHS) held separate ceremonies May 9 at the Chester Fritz Auditorium. In the past year, UND graduated approximately 3,500 students in ceremonies in May, August, and December.
For General Commencement, there are 1,451 eligible undergraduate-degree candidates and 485 graduate-degree candidates, totaling 1,936. In addition, there are 59 law students and 55 medical students eligible to graduate this spring.
UND faculty and administrative staff are encouraged to march in the General Commencement Ceremony, and are asked to wear academic regalia.
Live streaming and broadcasts:
The General Commencement ceremony will be broadcast live on Grand Forks Cable Channel 3 and rebroadcast on the same channel May 19-22 (Tuesday – Friday) at noon and 8 p.m.
UND also provides a live video stream of commencement to allow family and friends to participate in commencement, even if they cannot attend in person. This feed is provided in Adobe Flash Video format, so users may need to download the Free Flash Player at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/
To enter the event, go to http://www.und.edu/dept/webcast
If users have trouble seeing the video, they should contact UND tech support at http://techsupport.UND.edu and chat with a representative, or call 701.777.6305.
DVDs of the ceremony are available at the UND Bookstore. To purchase a copy, contact the bookstore at 701.777.4980.
UND also will honor two distinguished alumni with honorary degrees during the general commencement ceremony: North Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle and Farm Rescue President and founder Bill Gross.
VandeWalle has been described as “perhaps the most accomplished graduate of the UND School of Law.”
The Noonan, N.D., native received his bachelor’s degree in commerce and law degree from UND in 1955 and 1958, respectively. He served in the attorney general’s office for 20 years before being appointed to the Supreme Court in 1978. VandeWalle has served on the North Dakota Supreme Court for more than 36 years and was re-elected last fall to his fourth 10-year term. He has serves as the North Dakota Supreme Court’s Chief Justice since 1993
With more than 20 years in that post, he is the longest-serving Chief Justice not only of the North Dakota Supreme Court but also among all Chief Justices in the United States. In recognition of his record and his extensive contributions to the justice system in the state and nation, VandeWalle was presented with the state’s highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, in January 2015.
In 2014, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple named Chief Justice Gerald W. VandeWalle the 41st recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, the state’s highest commendation for its citizens.
Throughout his career, VandeWalle has made important contributions to the North Dakota Supreme Court and the state court system. He played an integral role in the unification of the court system, establishing a unified, statewide approach to court proceedings and the administration of justice. He was instrumental in redefining North Dakota’s judicial districts and increasing the number of judges to accommodate growth in the state’s economy and population. He also promoted the establishment of a mediation program for family law cases and created a trial court administration system to place administrators within the judicial districts to oversee court procedures.
Gross, the founder and president of Farm Rescue, is a man who’s made a living soaring through the clouds, but he’s always done it with his feet rooted firmly in the ground.
Born and raised in North Dakota, Gross grew up on the family farm near Cleveland in Stutsman County. There he learned all about the risk, the adversity and the struggles that come with making a living off the land.
With a dream to fly, Gross eventually enrolled in the UND Aerospace program, and also became very active in the campus community. A skilled pilot while still a student, he often was chosen to fly the UND president at the time back and forth from important meetings in Bismarck. The shuttle flights doubled as approved training runs for Gross.
After graduating from UND’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences in 1988, Gross started flying professionally in Seattle. He embarked on a career flying for Pan American Airlines. He then joined United Parcel Service and continues to fly for them. While in the Pacific Northwest, he never forgot about his North Dakota farming roots. Those fond memories spawned an idea that would allow Gross to help farmers who suffered unexpected challenges in their lives that prevented them from earning a living. In 2006, he founded Farm Rescue, a nonprofit organization that has helped farmers in the Upper Midwest who, because of debilitating injuries, are unable to either plant or harvest crops. Farm Rescue coordinates volunteers and machinery to help these farmers remain financially viable.
In the fall of 2014, Farm Rescue provided help to its 300th farm family. CNN News recognized Gross in 2008 on its inaugural CNN Heroes Show.
Chester Fritz Distinguished Professors:
Two UND faculty members—Cindy Juntunen, in the College of Education and Human Development, and Sharon Carson, Department of English — have been awarded Chester Fritz Distinguished Professorships, the University’s highest academic honor. Both will be accepting their award at this year’s spring General Commencement.
A 21-year veteran at UND, Juntunen was named associate dean of research and graduate studies at the College of Education and Human Development in 2006. In 2008, Juntunen was elected chair of the prestigious Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs, a national organization that aims to advance all aspects of counseling psychology training and teaching. Also, since 1994, Juntunen has worked in the UND Department of Counseling, where she is a past chair.
Over the years, Juntunen has conducted research and published on topics such as counseling psychology training and supervision, vocational psychology, and American Indian career development.
Juntunen, a native of Rocklake, N.D., earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology at UND, and received a master of arts degree from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. She completed a pre-doctoral internship at the University of Missouri, and received her Ph.D., in counseling psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Carson, a UND English professor, received her associate’s degree in emergency mental health/crisis intervention from Seattle Central Community College in 1977, her bachelor’s degree in communication/editorial journalism from the University of Washington in 1982, and both her master’s (1986) and Ph.D. (1990) degrees in English from the University of Washington.
Carson’s academic specialties include American literature, black literature and interdisciplinary black studies, comparative religions and literatures; Bibles as literature, cross-national and comparative study, literature of the American left, Homeric epic; narrative journalism, audio documentary and audio drama.
David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator/Writer/Editor
Public Relations Group
Division of University & Public Affairs
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144
701.777.5529 | 701.740.4834 cell | 701.777.4616 fax