UND Spring Commencement To Be Held Saturday, May 17; Medical And Law Schools To Hold Graduation Events May 10

Honorary degrees will be presented to longtime newspaperman Mike Jacobs and Father William Sherman

The University of North Dakota’s general spring commencement ceremony will be at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, May 17, at the Alerus Center. It is expected to be the largest commencement ceremony in the school’s history.

The number of eligible candidates for the spring general commencement event, this year, is 1,915 students.

UND’s School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) and the Law School will hold separate commencement events on Saturday, May 10.

The School of Law will confer the degree of Juris Doctor (J.D.) on 58 of its students at 10 a.m. in the Chester Fritz Auditorium. The ceremony will be officiated by UND President Robert Kelly and UND School of Law Dean Kathryn R.L. Rand. The Law School class of 2014 is honored to have Daniel L. Hovland, federal Judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota, deliver this year’s commencement address. Hovland is a 1979 graduate of the UND School of Law.

The SMHS will confer the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree during commencement at 2:30 p.m., on Saturday, May 10, also at the Chester Fritz Auditorium. Sixty-four degree candidates will participate in the ceremony. The graduates will have completed four years of medical education to earn their Doctor of Medicine, beginning with two years of instruction at the UND campus in Grand Forks.

At the general commencement event May 17, UND also will honor two distinguished alumni with honorary degrees during the ceremony: Former Grand Forks Herald editor and publisher Mike Jacobs and Honorary degree and Father William Sherman. Also, Santhosh Seelan, professor of Space Studies and a noted expert in satellite remote sensing, will be officially named a UND Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor.

Live broadcast and recordings

The ceremony will be broadcast live on Grand Forks Cable Channel 3 and rebroadcast on the same channel May 20-23 (Tuesday – Friday) 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.

Santhosh Seelan

Seelan was appointed chair of space studies in 2010 and holds the positions of director of the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium and director of North Dakota National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research).

Seelan, a native of Cuddallore, a town in Tamil Nadu, India, became a part of the Space Studies faculty in fall 2005. He first was chair of the UND Department of Earth System Science & Policy. He came to UND in 1998 to work at the Upper Midwest Aerospace Consortium (UMAC) where he helped establish a sophisticated geospatial lab and lead a NASA-sponsored project.

Prior to joining UND, Seelan worked as a land information consultant and with India’s remote sensing program for seventeen years.

Seelan has won nationwide recognition and a nomination for a National Mineral Award in India and has authored or co-authored more than 150 articles, conference papers, technical reports, books, book chapters and abstracts.

Mike Jacobs

Jacobs, a 1970 graduate of the University of North Dakota and publisher of the Grand Forks Herald was nominated by the UND Communication Program faculty.

Jacobs, a Mountrail County, North Dakota native, has been publisher of the Grand Forks Herald since 2004. He was vice president and editor of the Herald from 1984 until 2004. He originally joined the newspaper in 1970 as the Bismarck correspondent.

While Jacobs was editor of the Herald, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, was named one of America’s best small newspapers by the American Society of Newspaper Editors and won the General Excellence Award from the North Dakota Newspaper Association (NDNA) 15 times.

Jacobs was named editor of the year by the National Press Foundation and won  the American Society of News Editors’ Distinguished Writing Award for editorial writing in 1998. He was also a distinguished lecturer at the University of Main at Presque in 2009.

He has held the positions of president of the NDNA and of the North Valley Arts Council, as well as assistant governor for District 5580 for Rotary International.

Jacobs has accumulated a number of public service contributions and achievements including but not exclusive to, serving as a member of the board of directors of ASNE and NDNA. He also has served on many nonprofit boards and currently serves on the Alumni Advisory board for the College of Arts & Sciences at UND.

Father William Sherman

Father Sherman, military veteran, University of North Dakota graduate and Roman Catholic priest was nominated by the Department of Sociology.

Sherman was born in Detroit, and attended school in Oregon, North Carolina and North Dakota. After high school, he joined the Army serving in the Philippines and Japan. He graduated from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN with a B.A. in sociology and philosophy in 1951 and a Divinity Degree in 1955 and a Master of Arts degree in sociology from the University of North Dakota in 1965.

He taught Sociology of Religion and Sociology of the Great Plains at the North Dakota State in Fargo from 1971 to 2001, and is now a professor emeritus at NDSU.

He was ordained a priest in 1955 and most recently served the Fargo Diocese’s largest parish, at the time, St. Michael’s of Grand Forks, from 1976-2003.

Sherman, a respected educator and priest, is also recognized for his interest in North Dakota’s ethnic history. He has written many books on the subject and others, including Prairie Mosaic: An Atlas of Rural North Dakota, Plain Folk: North Dakota’s Ethnic History, African Americans in North Dakota, Prairie Peddlers: Syrian-Lebanese in North Dakota, Valerian Paczek: Polish Priest, War Hero, Scattered Steeples: the Fargo Diocese, A Written Celebration of Its Centennial, Wagons North: Minnesota to Oregon, and Selz, Russia: Home Colony.

Further contributions to public service and achievements include, an honorary doctorate of Leadership degree from the University of Mary, the North Dakota State Historical Society’s Heritage Profile Award, Service to Mankind Award from the Greater Grand Forks Sertoma Club, and a stint as the National Chaplain for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.


David L. Dodds
Media Relations Coordinator
Public Relations Group
Division of University & Public Affairs
264 Centennial Drive Stop 7144
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7144
701.777.5529 | 701.777.4616 fax