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'Keep learning': UND’s Mark Kennedy advises graduates to commit to lifelong learning

Atle Alexander Berglie Johansen of Norway gives UND President Mark Kennedy a hug after receiving his Bachelor of Accountancy degree Saturday. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald1 / 6
Betty and Si Robin become the first husband and wife to receive an honorary doctor of letters degree from UND. Presenting the award are President Kennedy and Paul Lindseth, Dean of the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald2 / 6
Flag Marshal Dr. Michael Mann carries the UND flag and leads the commencement procession Saturday. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald3 / 6
Hunter Eslinger reacts after receiving his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at Saturday's UND Commencement. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald4 / 6
UND graduates process into the Alerus Center for Saturday's Commencement. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald5 / 6
A UND graduate displays a message for her parents at Saturday's Commencement. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald6 / 6

UND President Mark Kennedy had one piece of advice for graduating students as they prepare to enter a workforce with ever-changing technology: "Keep learning."

"No longer can we be in a world where it's one degree and you're finished," he said Saturday during the spring commencement ceremony in Grand Forks. "You have to be committed to lifelong learning because things are just changing that fast."

Thousands watched from the stands at the Alerus Center as young adults received their diplomas from the university. More than 2,000 students graduated this spring from UND, including 1,372 undergrads who were honored Saturday afternoon.

Master's and doctoral degrees were handed out Saturday morning. The School of Medicine and Health Sciences will hold its commencement Sunday.

Kennedy's speech for soon-to-be-alumni focused mostly on the changing landscape of careers, the world and life in general. Technology is continuously changing and creating new careers, Kennedy said, adding it's possible today's graduates will work in a job that doesn't exist yet.

"What's it going to be like for you 20 years from now?" he asked. "Will you be communicating with relatives from Mars through some kind of 3D prototype?"

Casey Ryan, a member of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education from Grand Forks, echoed Kennedy's sentiments about continued learning. He told graduates the keys to being successful are to smile, listen, have a good attitude and be nice, fair and honest while applying the knowledge they gained from UND.

"UND has given you opportunity, but it can't guarantee your success," he said. "You have to do what you need to do to become more successful."

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

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