Former Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown was among those honored at the annual UND Sioux Awards banquet on Thursday night, Oct. 21.

Brown, the former mayor of Grand Forks who served for 20 years, is a graduate of the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He retired from Altru Health System in 2019 as director of the OB/GYN Department, and his career in medicine spanned 30 years.

Of being named as one of the Sioux Award recipients, Brown said: “It's quite an honor. I owe UND quite a bit because education is the key that opens doors to your future. I really appreciate what they invested in me and I appreciate what I was able to do with it.”

Brown joins a long list of people receiving the award this year, including:

  • Colleen and Erwin Martens, who graduated from UND in 1984 and 1985, and 1983 and 1985, respectively. Erwin, who played hockey at UND and then professionally in Germany, is a former risk manager for TIAA-CREF, and Colleen, a speech pathologist.

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  • Werner Nistler, 1968. Nistler and his wife Colleen were the lead donors of the new Nistler College of Business & Public Administration, now under construction on campus. Nistler is the founder and chairman of Touchmark, which operates 14 full-service retirement communities in 10 states and one Canadian province.

  • Terry Severson, 1965. After a 27 year military career, Severson founded Trace Systems Inc., in 2006, a telecommunications services and systems company that employs 350 people around the world.

  • Lisa Wheeler, 1977 and 1982. Wheeler was the owner of The Title Company and a law firm when she retired in 2015. She became the owner of the independent escrow and closing company, which grew to have more than 30 employees by the time she sold it to family and employees.

The 2021 Young Alumni Achievement Award recipients are:

  • Lu Jiang, 2012. Jiang is pro bono manager for the Legal Counsel for Youth and Children. Previously she worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she focused on providing a student-centric approach for the U.S. Education Division.

  • Peter Stenehjem, 2007. Stenehjem is the president of First International Bank & Trust, a community bank with assets of about $4 billion and 700 employees in 28 locations in North Dakota, Minnesota and Arizona.

The sold-out Sioux Awards ceremony was held on Thursday evening at the Alerus Center. The ceremony is one of several held throughout homecoming week. On Friday, homecoming events include:

  • Tour of the Nistler College of Business and Administration building beginning at 8:30 a.m.. There will be a beam signing and time capsule ceremony at 1:15 p.m.

  • An open house and tours of the Gershman Graduate Center, beginning at 10: a.m.

  • The UND Law School will hold its homecoming from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • The Chester Fritz Library reopening celebration will take place at 3 p.m. followed by the dedication of the Memorial Union at 4 p.m.

The full list of Friday’s events can be found on the UND Alumni Association and Foundation’s website, along with contact information for those wishing to attend events.