1,700 UND graduates to receive degrees on Saturday

North Dakota Poet Laureate Denise Lajimodiere to deliver commencement address

UND graduates celebrate at the end of summer commencement at the Chester Fritz Auditorium in 2019. Eric Hylden / Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS – Approximately 1,700 UND students — 1,000 undergraduates and 600 graduate students — will receive their diplomas at the university’s spring commencement ceremonies on Saturday at the Alerus Center.

UND President Andrew Armacost will preside over both the graduate and undergraduate ceremonies, set to take place at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively.

Denise Lajimodiere, North Dakota poet laureate, will deliver the main address for both ceremonies. A member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, Lajimodiere is the state’s first Native American to hold the title. She has earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from UND in the field of educational leadership.

Werner Nistler, namesake of UND’s Nistler College of Business and Public Administration, will be awarded an honorary degree. A 1968 UND graduate, Nistler has spent the past 35 years as CEO and chairman of Touchmark, a company he founded in 1980 that develops and operates community retirement homes in 10 states and the Canadian province of Alberta. He and his wife, Colleen, were the lead donors for the the College of Business and Public Administration that opened on campus in the fall. The Nistlers donated $20 million to support the building.

UND will also present its annual Chester Fritz distinguished professor award to Steven Light, professor of political science & public administration, and Kathryn Rand, law professor. The award — UND’s highest academic honor — is given to professors who have made significant achievements in research, teaching and service, as well as have acclaim or national recognition for their work.


For those unable to attend in person, UND will be live streaming the event via the following link

Banish covers news pertaining to K-12 and higher education, as well as county commission coverage.
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