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UND's Mark Kennedy encourages grads to add others to their lives during summer graduation

Hundreds of students, dressed in black caps and robes, gathered Friday afternoon in Chester Fritz Auditorium to celebrate their accomplishments and to bid farewell to UND.

More than 500 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students were eligible to walk the stage—some even joined from across the country and across the globe online.

Families cheered with pride as their grads' names were called out, and the ceremony ended with smiles and confetti coming down.

This was the fifth year in a row that summer commencement included more than 500 eligible students, according to the university.

UND President Mark Kennedy presided over the ceremony and spoke to the graduates about the importance of keeping friends and family close. He encouraged them to continually add others into their lives, whether it comes to family or work.

"Life is a game of addition," Kennedy told the graduates. "You must add others into your equation to achieve magic and possibility.

"You will only achieve your destiny to be a UND leader in action if you truly embrace life as a game of addition, whether it be in your family, your workplace or your community," Kennedy continued.

Grand Forks native Dr. Casey Ryan also spoke to graduates on behalf of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education.

"What your degree gives you is opportunity, but it doesn't guarantee success. It just gives you that opportunity to have success," he said. "Success is 90 percent unrelated to how smart you are. What will give you success is how people see you as a person."

Sydney Mook

Sydney Mook has been covering higher education at the Grand Forks Herald since May 2018. She previously served as the multimedia editor and cops, courts and health reporter at the Dickinson Press from January 2016 to May 2018.  She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science in three and half years in December 2015. While at the USD, she worked for the campus newspaper, The Volante, as well as the television news show, Coyote News. She also interned at South Dakota Public Broadcasting and spent the summer before her senior year interning in Fort Knox for the ROTC Cadet Summer Training program. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys cheering on the New York Yankees and the Kentucky Wildcats, as well as playing golf. If you've got an idea for a video be sure to give her a call!

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