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Our view: Welcome home, UND alumni and friends

Herald editorial board

The five people honored with this year's UND Sioux Awards show what kind of flame can grow from the thousands of incandescent sparks that flicker on campus every year.

Today is UND's homecoming, when alumni, students and the community enjoy all sorts of pomp and tradition. But an event that happened Wednesday is a function as vital to homecoming as today's football game, considered the pinnacle of festivities.

Five alumni were honored with Sioux Awards, the highest honor given by the UND Alumni Association and Foundation for achievement, service and loyalty. The award has been given to leaders in government and business and, according to UND, "high achievers in various professions."

This year's recipients were Tim O'Keefe, Al Royse, Alva "Jeanne" (Kingzett) Pfeiffer, Jack Muhs and Lucy Dalglish. Their stories should serve as motivation for all undergraduates, as well as ongoing proof that UND can be a launching point for success on an international scale.

O'Keefe was a four-year letterman for the UND hockey team. He came back to UND to lead the Alumni Association and Foundation after spending 23 years as a franchisee of McDonald's restaurants and four years as a manager at Alerus Financial. At UND, he was asked to focus the university's fundraising approach; his work helped create the UND Spirit Campaign, which raised more than $324 million.

Speaking of the $324 million fundraiser, Royse had a role in that, too. He spent 34 years with nationally recognized tax firm Deloitte & Touche, retiring as senior partner in 2010. He then was chairman of the UND Alumni Association and Foundation, just as the organization was taking on the Spirit Campaign. In 2015, he was elected to a two-year term as national chairman of the American Heart Association.

Pfeiffer has served on international infectious disease response committees and spent 25 years as director of the infection control program at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. She was national president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and edited textbooks that are used in hospitals nationwide. She also was instrumental in creating the "Cover Your Cough" campaign, which quickly spread from Minnesota into a well-known nationwide effort.

Muhs earned an aviation degree at UND, used that to get an internship with Federal Express and parlayed that experience into a long career with the company. In 2014, he was named president of FedEx Trade Networks, considered to be among the top leadership positions at a company that employees 400,000. He now is president of the company's Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Africa division and is based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Dalglish was a go-getter at the UND student newspaper, graduated from UND in three years and worked at newspapers before earning a law degree at Vanderbilt. She has been a reporter, media lawyer and, for 12 years, was executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. She is now dean of the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland. She also is a former reporter for the Herald.

Welcome home, Sioux Award winners, alumni and friends.