Nearly 1,600 Eligible To Graduate During UND Spring Commencements May 7, 14 And 15

The University of North Dakota will hold its annual spring commencement on Saturday, May 14, at 1:30 p.m. in the Alerus Center at Grand Forks.

For general commencement, there are 1,456 eligible degree candidates, approximately 364 graduate and 1,092 undergraduates. In addition, there are 79 law school and 55 medical school candidates. For the first time, UND Aerospace will have four students graduate with aviation degrees in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

UND President Robert O. Kelley will preside over his third spring commencement. The University each year graduates about 2,700 students in ceremonies in May, August, and December. U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad, North Dakota’s senior senator, will deliver the commencement address.  Earl Pomeroy, who served as North Dakota’s congressman for 18 years, will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. Pomeroy will join a litany of other illustrious North Dakota politicians, such as, most recently, Gov. Ed Schafer, who’ve also received such a degree.

The UND School of Law will hold commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m. in the Chester Fritz Auditorium. The school will present 79 students with Juris Doctorate degrees. U.S. Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota will be the featured speaker.

Pomeroy will also be the speaker at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences commencement on Sunday, May 15, at 2:30 p.m. in the Chester Fritz Auditorium. 55 students are eligible for MD degrees.

Three University of North Dakota faculty members will be honored as Chester Fritz Distinguished Professors during general commencement. They are Joseph Hartman, professor of geology and geological engineering in the School of Engineering and Mines; Wayne Seames, professor of chemical engineering in the School of Engineering and Mines; and Roxanne Vaughan, professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Vaughan will formally receive the honor during summer commencement.

Law School Commencement Speaker

U.S. Sen. John Hoeven was elected North Dakota’s 22nd senator in 2010 after serving 10 years as governor for the state of North Dakota. Sen. Hoeven was born in Bismarck. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in 1979 and a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University in 1981. He served as executive vice president of First Western Bank in Minot from 1986 to 1993 and established a strong position of service in many civic, community and economic development activities prior to elective office. From 1993-2000 he served as president and CEO of Bank of North Dakota. Sen. Hoeven currently holds positions on the Senate Appropriations and Senate Energy Committees.

General Commencement Speaker

U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad has a long career of public service to North Dakota, starting with his six years as State Tax Commissioner before his successful 1986 bid for the U.S. Senate. Time magazine featured him as one of “America’s Ten Best Senators” and The American magazine ranked him as one of “10 Most Economically Literate Members of Congress.” A fifth-generation North Dakotan, Conrad was born in Bismarck and attended Roosevelt Elementary and Hughes Junior High. During his 20-plus years as an advocate for North Dakota in Washington, D.C. Senator Conrad helped write the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bills, wrote health care policy that ensured continued access to hospitals in rural areas, and fought unfair trade practices that hurt North Dakota’s economy. He is chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Honorary Degree and Medical School Commencement Speaker

Earl Pomeroy served as North Dakota’s congressman for 18 years. A Valley City, N.D., native and UND alumnus, Pomeroy was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992 and served as North Dakota’s only congressman until 2010. He attended Valley City State University before transferring to UND where he earned a BA in political science and his law degree in 1979. He practiced law in Valley City for five years before embarking on his political career. Pomeroy was elected to the North Dakota state legislature in 1980. He was elected state insurance commissioner in 1984 and re-elected to that post in 1988. Pomeroy is currently a counsel in Alston & Bird’s Washington, D.C., office, where he focuses his practice on health care, regulatory and legislative matters.

Chester Fritz Distinguished Professors

Joseph Hartman, professor of geology and geological engineering, is one of the world’s leading experts for fossil freshwater mollusks. He often works with international teams that establish the fundamental knowledge base for their discipline. His research achievements are recognized regionally, nationally and internationally. He has published 35 papers in major international peer-reviewed journals and hundreds more in other venues. Hartman has conducted field research from the badlands of North Dakota and Montana to India and Madagascar, as well as museum research in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and London. He teaches, serves as a student mentor and advisor, and chairs four thesis committees.

Wayne Seames, professor of chemical engineering, excels in the areas of teaching, research and service, involving students in all aspects of his pioneering and innovative bio fuels research. He played a lead role in establishing the Sustainable Energy Research Infrastructure and Supporting Education (SUNRISE) program, which he now directs. It is a multi-university and multidisciplinary research and outreach program with 36 participants, having received more than $32 million in funding since 2004. With three patent awards and five patents pending, Seames is the lead inventor of technologies to convert crop oils, algae oils and animal fats into renewable fuel and chemical products.

Roxanne Vaughan, professor of biochemistry at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences, has been instrumental in building an internationally recognized research program and is known for her collaborative efforts. She is an expert in the biochemistry of the dopamine transporter and its role in drug addiction. Continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1999, Vaughan recently accepted an invitation to serve as a member of the agency’s Center for Scientific Review (CSR) Molecular Neuropharmacology and Signaling Study Section. The NIH noted her scientific achievements, as well as the quality of her research accomplishments, journal publications and honors.


Useful links:

UND commencement information 

U.S. Senator Kent Conrad:

U.S. Senator John Hoeven:

UND School of Law Commencement information:

UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Commencement Information:

Listing of UND’s Chester Fritz Distinguished Professors

Contact information:

Patrick Miller, writer/editor
UND Office of University Relations