UND ROTC students commissioned as officers, others soon set to follow

The ceremony saw Anton Alvestad, from Devils Lake, and Colten Demant, from Becker, Minnesota, commissioned as second lieutenants on Friday morning in the Memorial Ballroom.

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Anton Alvestad, left, and Colten Demant take the oath of office commissioning them as second lieutenants from Col. Jason Mathre during a ceremony Friday at the UND Memorial Union.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS — Two UND students, members of the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps, received their commissions as officers at a ceremony on Friday, May 13.

The ceremony saw Anton Alvestad, from Devils Lake, and Colten Demant, from Becker, Minnesota, commissioned as second lieutenants on Friday morning in the Memorial Ballroom. The ceremony was attended by about 50 family members and friends of the new officers, as well President Andrew Armacost and officers involved with the ROTC program at UND. Brig. Gen. Jackie Huber, also a graduate of the ROTC program at UND, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.

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Colten Demant, right, gives his first salute to his grandfather, Donald Mullins, a Vietnam veteran, during Friday's commissioning ceremony.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

In her congratulatory remarks, Huber, who is responsible for the administration of more than 4,200 soldiers and airmen in the North Dakota National Guard, told ceremony attendees that “Anytime I can make it back home to the campus of UND, it’s a great day.”

She spoke of honesty and integrity, and told the new officers to make ethics the foundation of their characters. The ceremony signifies them as leaders, people who are trusted and respected for the obligation they have agreed to accept. She said she was proud of them, and they should be proud of themselves.

“Each of you have been tested and assessed throughout your time in this ROTC program,” Huber said. “You've worked really, really hard. You've challenged yourself, you've challenged each other, and you're ready to enter this new career path, this new chapter, and I want you to know I'm proud of both of you sitting here.”


Preceding Huber’s speech was a video presentation that showed photos of the officers as children growing up, and on campus in uniform. Some of the photos drew chuckles of laughter from attendees; others gasps of emotion.

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Anton Alvestad, right, gives his first salute to his cousin, SPC Dawson Kraft, during Friday's ceremony.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Before delivering the oath of office, Col. Jason Mathre, a professor of military science at UND, told the soon-to-be former cadets that the eyes of every soldier in their unit will be on them, from senior officer to enlisted soldier.

“Your challenge is to become the leader that our soldiers need and deserve,” he said.

Alvestad will be staying in Grand Forks, where he will serve with the North Dakota National Guard. Demant will go on to serve on active duty.

Other cadets were set to take the oath of office as well Friday, but their participation in the ceremony had to be delayed, so they could complete educational commitments. The ceremony for Tristan Carlson, Matthew Cornelius and Cassidy Huesers will take place in August.

A large group of Air Force ROTC cadets will have their commissioning ceremony on Saturday morning. The group of cadets includes: Patrick Delle, Davis Feehery, Addison Harper, Jason McSweeney, Jared Schultz, Casey Toavs, James Vrtis and Hannah Wieber.

The ROTC program is an officer training program for branches of the U.S. military. Cadets who join the program take elective courses at UND to learn about leadership and ethics, among other subjects needed for service in the military. Cadets do not technically serve in the military until they graduate, and service is not mandatory for those undertaking the program, unless they accept a scholarship to do so.

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, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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