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Scholarship honoring Wayne Stenehjem established at UND

Stenehjem, the state’s longest-serving attorney general, died unexpectedly at the end of January. Jim Poolman, a former Republican lawmaker from Grand Forks, and who also served as the state’s Insurance Commissioner, reached out to the Alumni Association on behalf of Stenehjem’s family.

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Wayne Stenehjem visits UND law school in this 2016 Herald file photo. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — At the request of family members and friends, the UND Alumni Association & Foundation has set up a memorial scholarship in honor of Wayne Stenehjem.

Stenehjem, the state’s longest-serving attorney general, died unexpectedly at the end of January. Jim Poolman, a former Republican lawmaker from Grand Forks, and who also served as the state’s insurance commissioner, reached out to the Alumni Association on behalf of Stenehjem’s family. Administrators there then worked to quickly set up the scholarship fund.

“We were happy to be able to get it set up as quickly as we were able to,” said Milo Smith, senior director of public relations at UND’s Alumni Association & Foundation. “There's just a lot of testimonials from campus, just a lot of respect for Wayne and everything that he meant to the campus and to the state, so we are happy to be a part of memorializing him that way.”

Smith said Alumni Association staff established the fund on Monday, Jan. 31, then sent out word about it to a group of donors. At present, 30 donations to the scholarship fund have been made totaling nearly $10,000.

Smith said the details of the scholarship will be worked out at a later date, to allow the family some privacy after Stenehjem’s death. Smith said the funds could likely be used for law school students.

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Stenehjem received a bachelor's degree in history from UND in 1974, and he was a 1977 law school graduate. He served two terms in the state House of Representatives and 20 years in the Senate. He was elected attorney general in 2000 and went on to win five subsequent elections to that office.

Information about the scholarship fund can be found at the Alumni Association and Foundation's website at undalumni.org/wayne.

Rob Carolin, former director of alumni and public relations at the law school and current chief of staff in President Andrew Armacost’s office, spoke to the Herald earlier this week about Stenehjem's impact at the law school. From working with the school’s legislative internship program to mentoring students and returning to the school to speak in lectures, Stenehjem was a force in the school’s history since he graduated in 1977.

“He was such a trusted adviser. He was a proud alum,” Carolin said. “He was a person that we looked to for support for the things that we were doing here for our students.”

Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at akurtz@gfherald.com, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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