BISMARCK-The State Board of Higher Education on Thursday approved UND's request to give honorary degrees to three people who have been influential in the state of North Dakota.

The board signed off on the university's request to award the degrees to former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Continental Resources CEO Harold Hamm and aviation legend Clay Lacy.

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Heitkamp graduated from UND in 1977.

The university named the School of Geology and Geological Engineering after Hamm in 2012.

And a scholarship bearing Lacy's name is available to UND pilots.

UND will announce at a later date when those degrees will be awarded.

The university will give actor Josh Duhamel an honorary degree in May.

Other board business

The board briefly discussed changes to its board structure. Earlier this year, the board discussed changing the board structure within itself.

Last month, the North Dakota House rejected a bill backed by Gov. Doug Burgum to split the board into two panels.

After the bill failed, a resolution was introduced to increase the number of people serving on the board. The resolution, as amended Thursday, would increase the number of board members from seven to 15 members, with an additional student serving on the board.

The original version of the resolution, which increased the number of board members to 11, passed the Senate by a vote of 29 to 11.

The House has yet to vote on the amended version of the resolution.

If the resolution passes the Legislature it then would be placed on the 2020 ballot for approval by the voters.

The SBHE Governance Committee has recommended additional committees be created under the state board, including a committee for community and polytechnic colleges, one for regional or dual-mission institutions and one for the research universities.

The proposed changes are in line with recommendations made last year by Burgum's Higher Education Task Force but could be done within the board without legislative or voter approval.

Currently, there are multiple subcommittees under the SBHE: budget and finance, audit, academic and student affairs and governance.

Board members discussed how the new structure could work.

North Dakota University Chancellor Mark Hagerott, who helped the SBHE Governance Committee with the restructure, said final passage of the new board model could be ready by the May meeting and implemented for the board's retreat in June. The restructure would not need to be voted on by the public.

The topic of the board's structure will continue to be discussed over the coming months.