UND ROTC cadets to commemorate 9-11 with vigil on Thursday, Sept. 11

The University of North Dakota Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Army and Air Force branches will be commemorating 9-11 with a vigil that will be held outside of the Memorial Union this week.

UND ROTC cadets will take turns standing guard under the flag poles in front of the UND Memorial Union starting Thursday, September 11 at 9 a.m., and lasting until 2 p.m. There will be one member from either ROTC group that will stand for an hour. Each hour will commence with a change-of-the-guard ceremony.

The UND Memorial Union, itself, is a fitting location for the vigil in that it was built and dedicated to UND students and faculty who’ve served and died as members of the U.S. military in times of armed conflict.

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David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator/Writer/Editor
Public Relations Group
Division of University and Public Affairs
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144

701.777.5529 | 701.740.4834 cell | 701.777.4616 fax
david.dodds@UND.edu
UND.edu

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UND Division of University & Public Affairs appoints long time WDAZ TV Sports Director Pat Sweeney as Videographer/Community Relations Coordinator

Pat Sweeney

Pat Sweeney

The University of North Dakota Division of University & Public Affairs has appointed long time WDAZ TV Sports Director Pat Sweeney as Videographer/Community Relations Coordinator in the UND Division of University & Public Affairs.

“With his experience as a reporter and his long standing in the Greater Grand Forks community, Pat will be an excellent addition,” said Peter Johnson, Executive Associate Vice President for University Relations, who directs the Public Relations Group within the UND Division of University & Public Affairs.

An award-winning journalist, Sweeney has served as WDAZ TV’s sports director since 1982.  During that time, he was voted North Dakota sportscaster of the year three times by his peers. His work for WDAZ News in the 1997 flood helped the station win an Edward R. Murrow award. For 28 years, he called play-by-play of UND’s televised football, hockey and basketball games. His work has been seen nationally on ESPNU, NHL Network and Fox College Sports. For more than 20 years, he was host/producer of the UND football coach’s show.

Prior to joining WDAZ TV, Sweeney worked in news and sports at KUMV TV in Williston and KQCD TV in Dickinson. He is a member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He has also served as a lector at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Grand Forks since 1982.

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David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator/Writer/Editor
Public Relations Group
Division of University and Public Affairs
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144

701.777.5529 | 701.740.4834 cell | 701.777.4616 fax
david.dodds@UND.edu
UND.edu

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Public invited to reception for UND’s first Associate Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Sandra Mitchell Tuesday, Sept. 9

The University of North Dakota will hold a special campus and community reception Tuesday, Sept. 9, for UND’s new Associate Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Sandra Mitchell.

The reception will run from 4-6 p.m. at the North Dakota Museum of Art. The public is invited. There will be free parking outside the North Dakota Museum of Art. Refreshments will be served.

Mitchell  is the first person to hold her position at UND. She began her new role on July 14.

Sandra Mitchell:

Sandra Mitchell arrived at UND from Regis University in Denver, where she previously held the position of chief diversity officer. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

In her new position, Mitchell will ensure diversity is integrated in each of the strategic priorities of Exceptional UND (enriching student experiences, encouraging gathering, facilitating collaboration, expanding UND’s presence, and enhancing quality of life). She also will foster collaborations between the UND Divisions of Academic and Student Affairs and strengthen campus-community relationships.

Mitchell will be a member of the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost. From there, she will lead campus-wide efforts to develop, strategize, plan, collaborate and assess with UND community members on various diversity related programs and initiatives.

She also will supervise and support the efforts of existing diversity-related offices.

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David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator/Writer/Editor
Public Relations Group
Division of University and Public Affairs
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144

701.777.5529 | 701.740.4834 cell | 701.777.4616 fax
david.dodds@UND.edu
UND.edu

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UND alum readies for stardom on Norwegian reality TV show

Premier party for Season Five of ‘Alt for Norge’ set for this weekend in Minneapolis

Kent Luetzen, a University of North Dakota (UND) graduate and Minot, N.D. native, recently was chosen along with 11 other Americans to participate in Norway’s No. 1 reality TV show.

The show is called Alt for Norge, which translates to All for Norway, but it is more commonly referred to the “Great Norway Adventure.”

Luetzen will be attending his first show party at the Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis, Sunday, Aug. 31, from noon-3 p.m. The event it is open to the public. All of the show’s contestants will be there, except one, to watch the premiere of Season Five.

Alt for Norge is a reality show where Americans of Norwegian heritage that have never been to Norway, compete three times a week in activities that their ancestors may have done as well. Luetzen calls the show “a mixture of Survivor and Big Brother. Some participants are eliminated each week, and the winner gets to meet their Norwegian relatives.

Luetzen first heard about the show from his mom, who is 100 percent Norwegian.

“I was really bored during Christmas break — so I just applied,” said Luetzen.

He had to go through a three-part interview process, the first being a homemade video of himself, next an online “FaceTime” interview, and the final being a trip to Chicago where he had to go through what he describes as an intimidating spot-lit interview by a panel of Norwegians.

Once all of the contestants were chosen, Luetzen was dubbed the “college kid,” and was the youngest of the group, which ranged from 22 to 65 years old.

The contestants Luetzen competed against came from a variety of backgrounds — from models to pastors to pilots.

“Every day was basically an adrenaline rush,” said Luetzen.

The contestants traveled throughout Norway.  They would film for two weeks and then get three days off.

“It was difficult to always be ready to compete and to always be aware of your surroundings,” said Luetzen.

Throughout filming, the show would release tidbits about each contestant’s heritage as a sort of teaser for the grand prize.

“Learning about where you come from and your roots really grounds a person,” said Luetzen. “In college, I studied abroad in Australia — but then I went to Norway and it just felt like home.”

He is back in the states now, but intends on returning to Norway.

“I didn’t think I would miss being on a reality show, but I do.”  Luetzen continued, “I don’t blame the Kardashians.”

Luetzen maintains pride in his Norwegian heritage and in his alma mater, UND, as well.

“I’m glad that I went to school at UND.” Luetzen continued, “It’s a unique place to put on a resume.  It sticks out and it’s something to be proud of.”

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David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator/Writer/Editor
Public Relations Group
Division of University and Public Affairs
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144

701.777.5529 | 701.740.4834 cell | 701.777.4616 fax
david.dodds@UND.edu
UND.edu

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UND’s first couple joins Grand Forks mayor in Ice Bucket Challenge

Some heavy hitters at the University of North Dakota and in Grand Forks got a cold shower Wednesday, all for the sake of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) awareness.

UND President Robert Kelley and First Lady Marcia Kelley joined Grand Forks Mayor Michael Brown in an ice-cold soaking as part of the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” fundraiser that has gone viral in America and around the world. It all went down in front of the Memorial Union with hundreds of witnesses on hand during the annual UND Involvement Expo.

Flanked by cadets from the UND Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) battalion, President Kelley and Marcia pledged to take the challenge but not before issuing a list of new challenges of their own. President Kelley called out the commanders of UND’s Air Force and Army ROTC units, Lt. Cols. Anthony K. Nishimura and Lt. Col. Clarence L. Carroll IV, respectively, to take the challenge. President Kelley also challenged all of his senior vice presidents: Thomas DiLorenzo, provost and vice president for academic affairs; Alice Brekke, vice president for finance and operations; Lori Reesor, vice president for student affairs; Susan Walton, vice president for University and public affairs; Dr. Joshua Wynne vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences; and Barry Milavetz, vice president for research and economic development.

After the Kelleys and Mayor Brown offered up their challenges, ROTC cadets dumped large coolers with freezing water over their heads. The dousing seemed to take the Kelleys by surprise.

Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown, left, looks on with pleasure as the Kelleys take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Photo by Jackie Lorentz.

Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown, left, looks on with pleasure as the Kelleys take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Photo by Jackie Lorentz.

Marcia Kelley, whose professional career has focused on speech language pathology, publically asked her fellow members of the Grand Forks Community Violence Intervention Center (CVIC) Board of Directors to take the Ice Bucket Challenge. Marcia currently is president-elect of the CVIC board.

“I have certainly known many clients who have had ALS, and there is a great deal of impact on the family, of course, and on all of us – all of the community,” Marcia said. “So it with some personal feeling that I take on this challenge to help raise money for research for this cause.”

As part of the challenge, the Kelleys also contributed monetarily to the ALS cause.

Mayor Brown, who also works as a physician at Altru Health System, challenged members of the Grand Forks Economic Development Corporation staff, Keith Lund and Klaus Thiessen, as well as his counterpart in East Grand Forks, Mayor Lynn Stauss.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in just few weeks has raised several million dollars for ALS research to fight the debilitating disease.

Others at UND who have taken the Ice Bucket Challenge include UND Chief of University Police Eric Plummer and several member of the UND College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines.

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Contact:
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
david.dodds@UND.edu
UND.edu

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UND scientist receives grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation

Colin Combs

Colin Combs

Professor Colin Combs, Ph.D., Department of Basic Sciences at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences, has been awarded $88,200 from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The Rapid Response Innovation grant is for a project titled “Defining the Contribution of Neuroinflammation to Parkinson’s Disease in Humanized Immune System Mice.”

Inflammation is a defensive response by the body’s immune system to an injury, infection, or allergy. In the central nervous system — the brain and spinal cord — the immune response is performed by specialized cells called microglia, which patrol the central nervous system and clear it of cellular debris and dead neurons. Overactivation of microglia during the immune response has been associated with neuroinflammation and the cellular degeneration that occurs in Parkinson’s disease.

“This suggests that brain inflammation may influence the course of disease and that anti-inflammatory therapies might be useful,” said Combs. “However, it is difficult to answer this question with the typical lab approach of using rodents to study the disease since the rodent immune system may differ quite a lot from that of a human.”

Combs and his lab team will overcome this limitation by using a unique model with a “humanized” immune system to test whether specific inflammatory changes in the brain contribute to degeneration during disease. The mice that Combs will use in his study have been “humanized” with stem cells derived from the bone marrow of human adults. Adult bone marrow stem cells form all the types of blood cells in the body.

“The mice have a compromised immune system already,” said Combs. “The adult human stem cells in the mice subsequently develop into mature immune cells essentially replacing the mice’s deficient immune cells. This allows laboratories like ours to ask questions regarding how the human immune system works although the model remains a mouse.”

Laboratory mice, Mus musculus to scientists, have been bred for generations to be genetically identical. Because mice are genetically and physiologically similar to humans (mice and humans share 95 percent of their genes), scientists find mice to be incredibly valuable experimental tools for research into the genetic basis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Scientists have developed a vast knowledge bank of lab mouse DNA that they can use to study how the effect of changes in specific genes may underlie certain diseases.

“An immediate next step will be to verify that the immune changes in the mice also occur in human patients,” said Combs. “We will then need to check whether broad anti-inflammatory drugs or targeted immunomodulatory drugs are most effective in slowing disease in the mice to provide candidate drugs for human trials.”

The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which was founded in 2000, is the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s disease research. With no endowment, MJFF rapidly deploys non-dilutive capital as well as intellectual and other resources with one goal in mind: to accelerate development of improved therapies and, ultimately, a cure for those living with Parkinson’s today. Their internal team of experts and ever-evolving funding strategy allow the foundation to invest in research that will have the greatest impact and potential to change patients’ lives.

More information about Combs’ project and the Michael J. Fox Foundation can be found at https://www.michaeljfox.org/foundation/grant-detail.php?grant_id=1357.

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Contact:
Denis F. MacLeod
Assistant Director, Office of Alumni and Community Relations
University of North Dakota
School of Medicine and Health Sciences
501 N Columbia Road, Stop 9037 | Room 1106 | Grand Forks, ND 58202-9037
701.777.2733 direct | 218.779.3107 cell
denis.macleod@med.UND.edu
med.UND.edu/

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UND scholars team up to co-author second edition of Indian gaming book

UND's Kathryn Rand and Steven Light

UND’s Kathryn Rand and Steven Light

University of North Dakota’s own Kathryn Rand and Steven Light recently completed an update to their book on Indian gaming law and policy.

Rand, dean and professor at the UND School of Law; and Light, UND associate vice president for academic affairs and a professor in the College of Business & Public Administration; are both co-directors of the UND Institute for the Study of Tribal Gaming Law and Policy.

In the book, titled Indian Gaming Law and Policy, Second Edition, Rand and Light explore the changing landscape of the Indian gaming business. The book features legal, political and policy debates that will determine tribal gaming’s future. Its wide-ranging account can be suitable for courses in law, public policy and public administration, business and marketing, or contemporary issues.

The second edition incorporates updates such as The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Carcieri v. Salazar, the spread of online gaming, the Great Recession, the Obama administration’s stance on tribal recognition, land acquisition, and “off-reservation” casinos and tribal-state politics.

Rand has published more than 40 articles, essays and book chapters on Indian gaming as well as other subjects such as sex equality, affirmative action, and environmental racism.  She is co-author of three books: Indian Gaming and Tribal Sovereignty: The Casino CompromiseIndian Gaming Law and Policy, and Indian Gaming Law: Cases and Materials. Rand has twice testified on Indian gaming regulation before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and was featured on C-SPAN’s Book TV. She is a member of the International Masters of Gaming Law and the editorial board of the Gaming Law Review. Rand writes a regular column on tribal gaming in Casino Lawyer, and with Steven Light, blogs on Indian gaming at Indian Gaming Now.

Light is widely recognized as a leading expert on Indian gaming, federal Indian law and policy, and tribal-state-federal intergovernmental relations. His 50 publications include three books on tribal gaming, the first of which, Indian Gaming and Tribal Sovereignty: The Casino Compromise, was featured on C-SPAN2′s Book TV. Light has testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and is a regular commentator in such media as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal. He and regular collaborator Rand have delivered invited lectures at numerous institutions, including American University, Boston University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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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
david.dodds@UND.edu
UND.edu

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Foundation launched by UND’s Dave and Jo-Anne Yearwood donating more computers

Effort thrives on support from regional companies such as Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota and Gate City Bank

A Grand Forks-based foundation with ties to the University of North Dakota is ready to bolster educational opportunities in areas lacking technology by providing donated computers and software to schools and organizations.

Since 2013, “The Jewel and Randolph Education Technology Foundation” has donated 245 computers to areas in North Dakota and abroad. Two UND employees started the foundation: Dave Yearwood, a professor and chair of UND’s Technology Department, and his wife, Jo-Anne, director of the University Children’s Center and an instructor in UND’s Teaching & Learning Department. The foundation is named in honor of Dave’s parents.

The foundation is set to make its next round of donations to areas that lack sufficient modern electronic tools with the hope that the donated equipment will provide access to 21st century technologies. The foundation works with area businesses to provide items to enhance educational opportunities in K-12, after-school programs and adult learning centers in the state and around the world.

This marks the second year that Fargo-based Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND) has donated outdated computers and technology to the foundation.  In 2014, the company will donate 106 desktop computers and 22 notebook computers that have reached the end of their business lifecycle.

“Working with the Yearwood Foundation allows us to go green with computers that are no longer useful in the workplace, but can still provide meaningful educational opportunities for others,” said Renay Rutter, vice president of enterprise administration at BCBSND.

This summer, the foundation will deliver 40 desktop and 11 laptop computers, donated by BCBSND, to schools in Rolette, N.D. The Rolette Public School District serves a growing population of American Indian students. School officials contacted the foundation after a donation of 55 computers to the Devils Lake Native American Educational Advisory Committee in 2013.

In addition, the island nation of Jamaica will receive 66 desktop computers and 11 laptop computers donated by BCBSND, as well as 11 computer monitors donated by Gate City Bank of Fargo. The technology will assist educational efforts at a theological college, a community homework and reading center, and a high school in Jamaica.

Last year, the foundation donated 50 computers to Liberia and 20 desktop and five laptop computers to Ghana for educational use in a community college, after-school programs, primary and secondary schools and community centers.

The foundation also hopes to being providing computers to Dave Yearwood’s homeland of the Island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean.

If anyone is interested in helping the Foundation, please call 701.772.2873.

About Foundation

Dave and Jo-Anne Yearwood established the Jewel and Randolph Education Technology Foundation in honor of Dave’s parents, who not only supported the educational aspirations of their children and grandchildren, but also believed in volunteerism.

The foundation’s goal is to provide computer-related technologies to teachers, educational institutions ranging from preschools to colleges, and organizations that work with educational institutions and adults.

The foundation is currently registered with the State of North Dakota and is seeking 501(c)(3) status. In addition to monetary funds for packaging and shipping, the foundation accepts donations of electronic technologies and software.

The following are current members of The Jewel and Randolph Education Technology Foundation:

  • Founding member and co-director Dave Yearwood, professor and chair of the UND Technology Department.
  • Founding member and co-director Jo-Anne Yearwood, instructor and director of the UND University Children Center.
  • Permanent member Danny Mastre, director of IT infrastructure and desktop support at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.
  • Dennis Elbert, former dean of the UND College of Business & Public Administration and current Professor in the UND Department of Entrepreneurship.
  • Tim O’Keefe, chair of UND Information & Systems Business Education.
  • Lori Swinney, director of the UND Center for Instructional & Learning Technologies.
  • Nancy Dutot, principal of South Middle School of the Grand Forks Public Schools System.
  • Gwendolyn Puckett, of the University Children Center.
  • Dean Gorder, executive director of the North Dakota Trade Office.
  • Christyne J. Vachon of the UND School of Law.

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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
david.dodds@UND.edu
UND.edu

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UND alum’s work published in undergraduate journal

Alexandra Ciaccio

Alexandra Ciaccio

Alexandra Ciaccio’s play on breaking stereotypes in regard to women in sport stemmed from senior capstone project

Recent University of North Dakota graduate and former student athlete Alexandra Ciaccio already is a published author.

Ciaccio, a native of Minnetonka, Minn., had her original play published in latest edition of Skyline-The Big Sky Undergraduate Journal.  The entry is titled “Entering the World Stage.”

Ciaccio graduated from UND with a French Language bachelor’s degree in May and had written the play as part of her language capstone final project.

“With a little help and encouragement from my advisor, Amanda Hajdu, and professors Dr. Mellissa Gjellstad and Dr. Colleen Berry, my project took off,” said Ciaccio.

“I was excited for Alex when she sent me the news of her play being published,” Hajdu said. I remember having a brain-storming session with her about her final project, and her face lighting up a little more as the discussion started leaning toward this option.  I’m so happy she went for it!”

The play takes place in 1970’s France, focusing on a time when women in sports were trying to make a break through. It looks at what is happening worldwide as events unfold within France. The play highlights various themes, such as creating a “norm” away from men in sports and breaking stereotypes of lesbianism.

“I struggled to develop a topic at first,” said Ciaccio. “But after deciding to research what was happening globally for women in soccer, I came to the decision of focusing on the 1970’s as this was a major time for women worldwide.”

Ciaccio submitted the play to Skyline under the encouragement of professor Gjellstad.

Encountering research on gender and sports was a pivotal moment for Alex in the capstone course, according to Gjellstad.

“It fueled her independent investigation of women and soccer, enhanced her own understanding of personal past experiences, and inspired her creative synthesis of that information,” Gjellstad said. “It was a pleasure to work with Alex as she wove these threads into a play for her final project, and the publication is an admirable achievement at the culmination of her undergraduate career.”

“I am very honored that it made it to publication,” said Ciaccio. “As of right now, I do not know if I will continue to write more plays, but there is always a possibility.”

Ciaccio currently is an assistant soccer coach at Finlandia University in Michigan. She was a goal keeper for UND’s soccer team from 2010-2012, garnering conference player of the week honors her sophomore year. In high school, Ciaccio was a four-year letter winner and received all-conference honors. She also led her team to an Under-17 Premier League championship, before enrolling at UND.

About ‘Skyline-The Big Sky Undergraduate Journal Skyline’:

Skyline is dedicated to providing a forum for undergraduate students to develop and share research and writing in any discipline. Its goals are to provide a connection between athletics and academics and showcase the academic prowess of undergraduates in the Big Sky Conference, one of the major athletic conferences in which UND athletes compete. It also provides a forum for students to publicly share their research and creates an opportunity for students to expose their work to potential graduate programs.

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By Amy Halvorson, University & Public Affairs student writer

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
david.dodds@UND.edu
UND.edu

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UND sociologist presented with honors for service

UND Professor Curtis Stofferahn was recently recognized for his outstanding service to the Rural Sociological Society (RSS) at its awards banquet held in New Orleans.

At the banquet, Stofferahn, a full professor in the UND Sociology Department, was presented with a plaque and certificate for his stellar service to the RSS organization.

Stofferahn served as RSS Secretary for three years, and, as secretary, he was also a member of the organization’s executive committee. He had also served a two-year term as an elected member of the RSS Council, chaired the group’s Professional Communication Committee and co-chaired its 75th Anniversary Committee.

Former RSS President, Michael Schulman, had the following to say about Stofferahn:

“Organizations need collective memory and Curt was our collective memory for three years, helping the executive committee, RSS Council and all the member of the RSS perform our roles and functions. Curt did all this with grace, good humor and dedication to serving our Society.”

The RSS is a professional social science association that promotes the generation, application and dissemination of sociological knowledge. The Society seeks to enhance the quality of rural life, communities and the environment.

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David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator/Writer/Editor
Public Relations Group
Division of University and Public Affairs
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144

701.777.5529 | 701.740.4834 cell | 701.777.4616 fax
david.dodds@UND.edu
UND.edu

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