Father, Sons And UND Spirit

Gordon Iseminger
Gordon Iseminger

Three generations of Isemingers will be represented on stage at this year’s spring commencement ceremony, set for 1:30 p.m., Saturday at the Alerus Center

By Kate Menzies, University & Public Affairs student writer

While most students will have their families in the audience at this spring’s commencement ceremony, longtime University of North Dakota Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of History Gordon Iseminger will have his family up front and center.

Three generations of Isemingers will take part in the 2014 spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 17, at the Alerus Center. Gordon, who has taught more than 100 straight semesters at UND, dating back to the early ‘60s, will be there as the honorary faculty flag marshal. His son, Carl, will be receiving his Bachelor’s degree in General Studies at the day’s events and his grandson, Colt, will be on hand to represent the UND Aviation faculty of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.

Gordon was chosen to lead the procession from the elite group of Chester Fritz Distinguished Professors, holders of the school’s highest faculty rank who traditionally carry UND’s colors at commencement events.

Gordon is completing his 52nd year of teaching in the UND History Department. He has been the department’s director of graduate study since 1993, and has been at UND since 1962.

Since he began teaching, Gordon has witnessed the transformation of UND into a premier research institution. He lauded the amount of Ph.D. degrees that UND faculty members currently hold.

Even though Gordon has participated in “a good many” commencement ceremonies, this one may be the most memorable.

“I’m very proud to have my son and grandson there with me,” he said.

This year Gordon will get to witness his son receive his diploma.

“It’s very exciting that my son and father will both be there for me on my special day,” said Carl.

UND legacy

Carl is the 10th Iseminger to graduate from UND.

The uniqueness of actually seeing a parent graduate from college isn’t being lost on Carl’s son, Colt.

“Many Children never get to see their Parents Graduate, yet alone, take part in graduation as a Faculty member,” Colt said. “I am very proud of my father finishing his degree.”

As with past ceremonies, Gordon will sit atop the stage overlooking the graduates. He spoke of his love of “looking through the programs and seeing what these young people have accomplished.”

He attributes some of these achievements to the vast array of degrees that UND has to offer. The rest is a result of the determination of students.

“I love seeing these young people make it to the finish,” Gordon said. “I don’t think it’s the speeches or music that make the ceremony, rather it’s the atmosphere of accomplishment.

However, students wouldn’t make it to the finish without dedicated professors like Gordon, whose devotion to UND is evidenced by his longevity here.

“Teaching at UND has given me the opportunity to see these people develop, both as students and individuals,” he said. “Being with these young students is helping me stay young.”


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