UND Alumni Magazine Summer 2023

Page 1

Summer 2023 | Volume 106 | Issue 3


• Applied Statistics (M.S.)

• Chemical Engineering (M.Eng.)

• Civil Engineering (M.Eng.)

• Counseling (M.A.)^

• Criminal Justice Studies (M.S.)

• Earth System Science & Policy (M.E.M.)

• Electrical Engineering (M.Eng.)

• Elementary Education (M.Ed.)*

• Energy Engineering (M.Eng.)

• Environmental Engineering (M.Eng.)

• Geological Engineering (M.Eng.)

• Higher Education (M.S.)*

• Instructional Design & Technology (M.S. or M.Ed.)

• Kinesiology (M.S.)

• Mechanical Engineering (M.Eng.)

• Petroleum Engineering (M.Eng.)

• Public Administration (M.P.A.)

• Reading Education (M.S. or M.Ed.)*

• Space Studies (M.S.)

• Special Education (M.S. or M.Ed.)*

• Systems Engineering (M.Eng.)*

• Teaching & Leadership (M.S.)*

• Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (M.Ed.)*

From UND school news and Fighting Hawks sports coverage to local news and community events, you can easily stay connected. UND! grandforksherald.com FOR THE LOVE OF THINKING OF A GRADUATE DEGREE? GET
^ Only eligible for on-campus format | *Only eligible for online format Not stackable with any other discounts. Offer good for UND alumni starting Spring, Summer or Fall 2024. UND alumni get discounted tuition on these select programs. Learn more about the UND Alumni Discount UND.edu/alumni-discount


“UND is a close-knit community where I made lifelong connections. That focus on connections and relationships, plus an entrepreneurial spirit also fostered at UND, have remained important throughout my professional career. It’d be my honor to help fellow alumni achieve their larger life milestones for retirement or financial flexibility.”

3 UNDalumni.org/magazine
Deposit and loan products are offered through Bell Bank, Member FDIC. Bell Insurance Services, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bell Bank. Products and services offered through Bell Insurance or Bell Bank Wealth Management are: Not FDIC insured | No Bank Guarantee May lose value | Not a deposit | Not insured by any federal government agency. www.bell.bank 39604


Comfort, healing, inspiration, adventure: UND degrees open doors to fascinating –and sometimes wild – careers.




Karol Santistevan, ’17, ’18, includes four-legged therapists at her clinic.


Tami Jollie-Trottier, Ph.D., ’02, ’05, brings Mickinock Mishkiikii to her Native people.



4 UNDalumni.org/magazine
Lauren (Vad) Smith, ’13, rescues big cats at South African animal sanctuary.
Angela Disrud, ’94, opens a cat-centric business in Nashville.
12 16 20 24 6 11



Celebrating UND’s most distinguished alumni. CLASS
Updates from alumni and friends around the world. 38 46 48 29 50 36 26 28
what’s inside
Illustration by Heather Schuler, ’17 UND Aerospace Network



VOL. 106 NO. 3 SUMMER 2023


Chief Executive Officer

DeAnna Carlson Zink, ’86

Vice President of Marketing & Communications

Sarah Prout, ’07



Alyssa Konickson, ’06, Associate VP of Marketing & Communications

Lead Designer

Jenny Wolf, ’03, Director of Creative & Brand Strategy

Associate Editor

Stephanie Schultz, ’91, Associate Director of Storytelling & Content Strategy

Senior Writers

Milo Smith, Senior Director of Public Relations & Videography

Jenn Lukens, Director of Stewardship & Donor Appreciation

Contributors, UND Alumni Association & Foundation

Sara Titera, Graphic Designer & Social Media Coordinator

Jeannie Tvedt, Senior Database Coordinator

Melissa Garceau, Associate VP of Operations

Ana Wilebski, ’19, Associate Director of Campaign Writing

Chad O’Shea, ’20, Associate Director of Stewardship Communication

Contributors, University of North Dakota

Shawna Schill, ’06; Mike Hess; Adam Kurtz, ’00; Janelle Vonasek, ’89; Heather Schuler, ’17



Jim Poolman, ’92

Vice Chair Darla (Kleven) Adams, ’84, ’85


Troy Bader, ’85

Lisa (Schmitz) Barnes, ’88

Twylah (Butler) Blotsky, ’93 Kelly (Keeler) Caruso, ’91

Chris Cooper, ’05, ’08

Scott Fredericksen, ’74

Randy Gershman, ’84

Kaleb Dschaak, ’20

Angie (Hovland) Freeman, ’91

Mike Hamerlik, ’84, ’88

Jonathan Holth Dr. Michael LeBeau, ’02

Chuck MacFarlane, ’87 Karen (Borlaug) Phillips, ’77

Lara (Olsen) Prozinski, ’90

Jodi Thompson Rolland, ’92

Dave St. Peter, ’89 Pat Sogard, ’82, ’86

Karen (Dean) McLennan, ’89 Kathryn Uhrich, ’86

Chad Wachter

Ex Officio

Andrew Armacost Karla Mongeon-Stewart

Dr. Joshua Wynne Eric Link

Nancy Pederson, ’90 DeAnna Carlson Zink, ’86


Did you know that you can opt to receive your Alumni Magazine electronically instead of in the mail? If you’re interested in going green, email your request to AlumniMag@UNDalumni.net.

Dear alumni and friends, Animals add so much to our lives. They bring us joy, comfort and a deeper connection to the world around us. From the loyal companions who greet us with wagging tails and purring contentment to the incredible creatures that we encounter in the wild, animals hold a special place in our hearts. They possess an innate ability to touch our souls, reminding us of our shared existence and the beauty of the natural world.

In this issue, we embark on a journey into the realm of animals, where they inspire some remarkable careers. Prepare to be immersed in stories that unveil the transformative power of animals and the passion-driven work of our alumni. My own personal love of animals can be traced to my upbringing on a northwestern Minnesota farm. My family had a registered Holstein herd and I would groom and show cattle at 4-H shows all over the region. I fondly remember my first show Holstein, Mona, and the countless hours I dedicated to meticulously grooming and preparing her and others throughout the years for fairs and competitions. Mona and I won a lot of blue ribbons!

The show ring is where I learned valuable lessons in responsibility, perseverance and the rewards that come from nurturing a bond with animals. That bond features prominently in the stories you’ll find in this issue.

6 UNDalumni.org/magazine
The UND Alumni Magazine (ISSN 26896753) is published four times a year by the University of North Dakota Alumni Association & Foundation 3501 University Avenue Stop 8157, Grand Forks, ND 58202-8157 Periodical postage paid at Grand Forks, ND 58201 and other offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: UND Alumni Magazine 3501 University Avenue Stop 8157, Grand Forks, ND 58202-8157 For inquiries about advertising, additional copies, submissions, or general comments, contact 800.543.8764, 701.777.5819 or AlumniMag@UNDalumni.net.

Spirit Award

It was my honor this spring to present Dr. Joshua Wynne, Dean of the School of Medicine & Health Sciences and Vice President for Health Affairs, with the UNDAAF’s Spirit Award. The Spirit Award recognizes those with uncommon dedication to the success of the University and its students.

Dr. Wynne is so deserving of the award for all that he did for UND while serving as interim President during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did he guide us through a very difficult period, but he became a trusted advisor to the governor during this time as well.

We surprised Josh with the award at a board of directors’ dinner during our May meeting and he could not have been more humble or more appreciative. Read more on p. 39.

Alumni Honors

The UND Alumni Magazine consistently showcases the extraordinary accomplishments of our alumni. Each summer issue, we highlight the best of the best when we share the biographies of those who will be recognized during the Alumni Honors Banquet at Homecoming. You can read about our Sioux Award for Distinguished Achievement & Leadership and Young Alumni Achievement Award recipients starting on p. 28.

These exceptional alumni embody the true spirit of our University, demonstrating unwavering dedication, remarkable achievements and a profound impact on their respective fields. Each honoree has not only excelled in their chosen paths but also exemplifies the values and work ethic that our institution instills. Their stories inspire us all and serve as a testament to the transformative power of a UND education.

I hope you’ll be able to join me for the Alumni Honors Banquet on Thursday, October 5, during Homecoming 2023.

I hope you will also join us at 1:30 p.m. Friday, October 6, for a very special announcement. While I want to maintain an element of suspense, I can assure you that the announcement will reverberate far beyond our campus. Together, we will embark on an extraordinary journey, bound by an unwavering belief in our collective potential to do good and the opportunities that lie ahead. Together, we will change the trajectory of the University of North Dakota and declare a new era for our beloved alma mater.

Make plans now to attend Homecoming 2023 on October 2-7.

As you curl up with your pet to read this issue of the UND Alumni Magazine, allow me to thank you for all that you do to make UND a special place for those who follow in your footsteps.

Together, we make a difference in the lives of UND students.

7 UNDalumni.org/magazine
DeAnna grew up with animals on the farm, from her beloved show Holsteins to her dogs and cats. Today, she finds a connection with her “grand-doggies,” Stevie, a golden retriever puppy, and Rizzo, a Boston terrier mix.


UND’s Varsity Esports Team has an official campus home. It’s in the corridor that connects the Memorial Union to Swanson and will help shape the identity of the team.



For more, subscribe to UND Today at blogs.UND.edu/UND-today.


The Memorial Union will soon have a Veterans Honor Wall, a tribute to the members of the UND community who were prisoners of war, missing in action or who died while in U.S. military service. It will be installed during the upcoming academic year and dedicated on Memorial Day 2024. Learn more at UND.edu/ student-life/union/honor-wall.


The NASA Space Grant Consortium, a NASA effort to increase interest and engagement in STEM and space studies in K-12 and university students, invited students with visual impairments from North Dakota Vision Services/ School for the Blind to tour UND’s comprehensive Space Studies facilities.


Joshua and Cheryl Hunter, associate professors in UND’s College of Education & Human Development, created UND.GRO, a classroom learning garden. The professors say the real bounty of the greenhouse classroom is the shared sense of place to connect and learn about others and the process of growing food from seed to compost.

50 years of the Indians Into Medicine program was celebrated at UND this year.

160 meals were provided to students in the first two months of UND’s Catering Leftovers Program.

Of note
“It’s great to know things, but I think the best reporters aren’t the ones who know the most; they’re the ones who can learn the most.”
Brad Schlossman, ’04 Grand Forks Herald reporter & keynote of the 2023 Jack Hagerty Lecture Series

The UND campus said goodbye to three longtime oncampus dormitories this summer. Walsh and Squires Halls, and the Conference Center at the other end of University Avenue, have been demolished to make way for improved facilities for students.

Other significant changes to campus housing areas include:

• The “new” McVey Hall was built on the site of the “old” McVey Hall, and opened last October.

• A “new” West Hall opened to students this fall.

• Brannon Hall completed a major renovation.


Dr. Virginia Clinton-Lisell’s research goes digital.

Dr. Virginia Clinton-Lisell has a tough problem to solve: How can students learn better using electronic devices?

Clinton-Lisell’s previous research showed that people comprehend what they read on paper better than on a digital screen. But as the education system embraces free online learning, teaching and research materials, known as open education resources (OERs), she has shifted the focus of her research. Now, she is digging into ways to help students increase their comprehension of the information they read in a digital format.

“When I got interested in open educational resources, and switching from expensive commercial textbooks, which are usually paper, to these freely available online resources, I started thinking about how we can improve reading from a screen.”

Discovering an answer to that question is a key part of ClintonLisell’s work, which is funded by the Rose Isabella Kelly Fischer Endowed professorship.

Bernadine Greenwood established two professorships in honor of Rose. Dr. Clinton-Lisell has been able to use the funds from her endowment to pay for resources, such as biological sensors, books and tablets, to conduct her experiments. The endowment also funds a graduate student assistant.

“Holding an endowed position is a huge honor in academics. It means that somebody is viewing my work as valuable enough and influential to society, the students and the community of UND for them to want to financially support me. So that’s a big deal,” Clinton-Lisell said. In an experiment with Grand Forks elementary school students, Clinton-Lisell used heart rate monitors and skin sensors to measure the students’ emotional responses as they read on different formats. Fluctuating heart rates and sweaty hands indicated student interest levels in what they were reading.

$38 million

was awarded to UND’s EERC for a major U.S. Department of Energy carbon capture and storage project.

“Life goes on as UND does!”

From Andy


The theme of this issue of the UND Alumni Magazine, animals, got me thinking about a stunning new wildlife documentary film that features a UND scholar and some of her students.

Susan Ellis-Felege, a professor of biology, has appeared in these pages before, with good reason. She invites students from her wildlife management class to participate in duck banding activities as part of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service program that tracks migration patterns to maintain duck populations and habitats.

Professor Ellis-Felege appears in the IMAX film “Wings Over Water,” which describes the epic migration of three different bird species across North American waterways. I’m grateful that her conservation efforts are included in the film, and I’m confident that it will inspire audiences to help protect the birds’ habitats. The film is narrated by the award-winning actor Michael Keaton and is being shown through early September at the Science Museum of Minnesota, along with dozens of other locations across the country. I hope you will have the chance to see it!

A lot of work happening on campus focuses on the natural world, from the macroscopic to the microscopic. Our research contributes to both the world of ideas and the sum total of human knowledge, and our scholars are working hard to open that door of discovery for our students.

That’s why UND students and faculty are on a constant quest to explore and learn. In fact, anyone who sets foot on the UND campus should feel a palpable sense of wonder and curiosity that arises through countless opportunities to create, to discover and to invent.

And we now have a new way to communicate that knowledge with the world.

For more than a year, UND has partnered with The Conversation. According to its website, this unique nonprofit is “dedicated to unlocking the knowledge of experts for the public good.”

The Conversation publishes “trustworthy and informative articles written by academic experts for the general public” that are edited by the organization’s team of veteran journalists. Since partnering with The Conversation, UND scholars have contributed 13 articles on topics including how food sensitivities might be related to mood changes, why history grades for the nation’s eighth graders have declined, how American Indian boarding school trauma impacts long-term health and why NASA is correct to be extremely cautious before starting the countdown to space launches. Hundreds of thousands of people across dozens of nations around the world have read these articles. Our UND scholars, long recognized as experts in their fields, are now sharing their expertise with readers worldwide through this easily accessible channel. I hope you’ll take the time to seek out and read the stories written by our faculty members, which you can find by searching online for “The Conversation UND.”

Discovery is a critical part of what we do at UND. It’s one of five pillars of our new UND LEADS strategic plan and vision. It’s also the source of tremendous pride at UND, because contributing to the world of ideas allows us to create a better campus and a better world.

President Andrew Armacost presents U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg with a UND hockey jersey. Buttiegieg was on campus in June to announce that Grand Forks is a recipient of a federal grant program that aims to eliminate unsafe train crossings nationwide. An underpass at 42nd Street and DeMers Avenue is expected to be completed next year.


NICK HOUGE, ’19, ’25

Nursing is a calling often transmitted through experience. Many nurses credit seeing medical care administered up close or being asked to assist in an emergency procedure as inspiration for their career choice. Nicholas Houge is in that group.

The son of an occupational therapist, Nick had an interest in serving others through health care.

“I enjoy helping people,” he said. “And then I’ve always had this draw to working within a hospital.”

But it was job shadowing a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist that helped him turn the corner.

Having decided nursing would be his future, Nick needed a place to study. UND quickly rose to the top of his list. The outstanding reputation and location helped, but the remarkable outcomes for nursing students sealed the deal.

“UND has a nearly 100% board pass rate for the NCLEX and nearly 100% of students who start the program complete the program,” he said.

He came to campus for a tour, experienced the simulation lab and spoke with a few instructors.

“I knew I was in the right place.”

While at UND, Nick got involved in the Nursing Student Council, eventually becoming the treasurer. He helped organize events and fundraisers. But his passion was always nursing.

Nick loved the hands-on experience in the nursing undergraduate program. Most of all, he enjoyed sharing clinical learning experiences with like-minded people.

Nick’s hard work and preparation paid off when he landed a job in an ICU right after graduation, a position usually reserved for nurses with a few years of experience.

“It highlights UND’s preparedness, getting to be an ICU nurse right out,” he said.

COVID hit shortly after and had Nick, among many other health care workers, putting in extra time. But, true to form, Nick was eager to give back to UND when the opportunity arose to be a clinical instructor for a pharmacology lab while he took graduate classes.

Looking back, Nick is most proud of the work he did to be accepted into UND’s nurse anesthesia program. He was one of 22 accepted out of more than 100 applicants. With years of demanding work still ahead, Nick is focused on his mission and making the most of the time. He loves UND’s commitment to producing quality nurses and its evidence-based practice approach as it pushes for better patient outcomes.

“It’s not just about whatever grade we get or passing a class,” he said. “It’s really preparing us to be the nurses able to take care of patients the right way. The instructors would say, ‘Would I trust you taking care of my family, if that was my mom, or my dad, or my son or my daughter? I don’t care about what grade you get on the paper. I want you to understand that enough to be able to take care of them competently.’”

Nick recommends UND for both its rigorous academics and close community.

“I would say you’ve picked the right school, and don’t give up. UND prepares you.”



11 UNDalumni.org/magazine LEADER IN ACTION
Scan with your phone’s camera app to meet more UND students.



lions life

Lily is a 20-year-old lioness who lives at the Simbonga Game Reserve and Sanctuary in South Africa.

The view from Lily’s enclosure is straight out of a National Geographic film. Giraffes and zebras saunter by; herds of wildebeests, waterbucks, antelopes and impalas gallop across the grassy terrain; a variety of birds flies overhead, and occasionally a monkey climbs into Lily’s space.

But life wasn’t always picture-perfect for Lily. UND grad Lauren (Vad) Smith, ’13, co-manager of Simbonga, recalls the operation to save Lily’s life.

Lily was rescued from a South African predator park that was shut down after a

handler fatality, Lauren said. The younger animals were quickly rehomed, but because of Lily’s age, 19 at that time, it was risky to transport her. The life expectancy of lions in captivity is 20.

The staff at Simbonga welcomed Lily, saving her from euthanasia. But shortly after arriving, Lily got very sick and tests showed she was vitamin B12 deficient. “B12 comes from red meat. A lion should never be lacking it,” Lauren said.

A vet determined that someone at the park Lily was rescued from had fed her rotten meat, which impaired her neurological functioning.

At her sickest, Lily allowed Lauren to hand-feed her. “This big, huge, bold, very

UND grad opens South African sanctuary that’s home to 14 lions and a tiger. Lauren (Vad) Smith, ’13, her husband, Keegan, and their dog, Layla, pose for a family photo. Lily is pictured above.

independent lioness allowed me to work with her in that capacity after years of neglect. That was it for me.”

While Lauren said picking a favorite animal at Simbonga is like picking a favorite child, she admitted that “Lily has a special place in my heart; she is the apple of my eye.”


Originally from Bottineau, North Dakota, Lauren completed her education degree at UND in 2013 and thought teaching children would be her vocation. After college, she took a volunteer trip to a South African animal rescue. She expected to stay three to six months, but her ability to lead educational tours led to an internship working with lions and tigers. That’s when she veered in another direction.

“I’ve always had a passion to help. Other than kids, I love animals, especially those in need. I ended up at a volunteer project that had a lot of big cats.”

Lauren learned about the challenges lions and tigers face in captivity. Wildlife trafficking ranks as the world’s third-largest illegal trade; U.S. Customs and Border Protection says smuggled goods are valued at $10 billion annually. Traffickers exploit wildlife and their products for purposes ranging from medicine and fashion to food and pets.

South Africa’s wildlife industry often exploits lions, native to the area. “Many people see dollar signs when they look at the animals,” Lauren said. “Hunters pay to come over and shoot these completely captive hand-raised animals; they become a trophy on one’s wall.”

Lauren said lions are bred in zoos or used in circuses, calling them high-priced photo

opportunities for tourists. Their bones are illegally traded, sometimes used in medicinal products. “These animals are used like toys. And when they get too big, they are released into the wild and killed because no one wants to look after them anymore.”

After spending time in captivity, lions are unfit to be released back into the wild. After learning that, Lauren realized she could be their advocate. “I was someone who would speak up for these animals.”

As her love for lions grew, she met her eventual husband and Simbonga Sanctuary co-manager, Keegan Smith, who she said is equally compassionate.

Lauren and Keegan connected with Lionel de Lange, founder and director of Warriors of Wildlife (WoW), who helped them establish a sanctuary.

“We wanted to ensure we were rescuing these animals for their future,” Lauren said. “WoW’s goal is to bring the rescued animals to the most species-appropriate place.”

For lions, native to South Africa, the Simbonga Sanctuary and Reserve is ideal.

13 UNDalumni.org/magazine
“I didn’t grow up on a farm, just in a community where we had more gravel than paved roads.”


Sanctuary construction began in January 2021, and on April 28, Simbonga took in its first four lions from Ukraine. That first rescue, Lauren said, was an “emotional roller coaster” as the team of three worked to prepare the sanctuary.

They secured accreditation to handle abused and neglected animals. Then, they tackled the logistical work of constructing and organizing Simbonga.

Meanwhile, the trio needed to secure a strong network of wildlife advocates from around the globe. “Every country, state and province has its own set of regulations concerning wildlife, and they often change,” Lauren said. “Since it is nearly impossible to know all of them, we rely on local experts.”

Lionel, with previous experience in Ukraine, spearheaded the first rescue. “We needed to move quickly because the more time we took, the longer the animals had to wait and more harm could be done,” Lauren said.

Simbonga welcomed two females who had been sold as pets in Ukraine and two males who had lived their entire lives in a zoo. Three of the four first arrivals had never experienced the feel of grass or even soil beneath their paws.

“That rescue solidified everything. It was the most impactful because it was the first,” Lauren said. “As much as it was exciting, it was also a relief. So much went into it. I cried for two weeks straight afterward. I kept pinching myself: ‘We did it!’ I’d wake up in the night and go check on them.”


Two years later, in mid-May 2023, the sanctuary prepared for its first Israeli rescue. The team planned to transport a lion cub named Zion, who had been illegally smuggled into the country. After a few TikTok videos showing the cub in an apartment went viral, Israeli police and Israeli Nature Authority agents tracked and rescued the cub. A mutual Israeli acquaintance suggested Simbonga as its home. This is typical; Lauren said the WoW team learns of potential rescues by word of mouth 90% of the time.

Israel has a strong and communicative Nature and Parks Authority, so Lauren was confident the cub would be well cared for. Though their plan seemed airtight, Lauren said anything can happen. And in this case, something did.

“We’re flying Saturday,” Lauren said on Wednesday of the same week. “The airline we booked for the domestic connection transports large-breed dogs and was confident our crate would fit. Today, I got a call that the flight is no longer available. It was quite a nightmare. And an example of the problem-solving we do to get these animals to safety.”

Lauren was able to secure an alternate flight, but it increased Zion’s travel time by eight hours. “We try to make the animal journeys as short as possible to keep them comfortable.”

Keegan met the cub at the Johannesburg airport, while Lauren stayed at the sanctuary to care for the animals. “It’s hard to get house sitters when you have big cats,” she said.

14 UNDalumni.org/magazine
Caesar and Alex roam the sanctuary. Zion arrived at Simbonga after a long journey from Tel Aviv.
“Our lions are like royalty. They look at us like peasants.”


Lauren and Keegan manage the sanctuary and provide lifelong care. Every morning and evening, they check on the animals. “It’s very much like waking up and taking your dog out,” Lauren said.

They feed the lions red meat two or three times a week, which mimics wild habits. They also conduct enrichment activities to engage the lions’ senses and keep them mentally stimulated.

Because the sanctuary is located on a game reserve, Lauren and Keegan monitor the free-roaming animals and do regular maintenance, like fixing fences. “It’s like being on a farm; it’s just lions instead of cows, so we have a slightly different safety protocol,” Lauren laughed.

Topping the list of Simbonga safety rules is no hands-on interaction with the animals. “A lion will always be a wild animal. We don’t want to get complacent and forget exactly what these animals are designed to do and who they are,” Lauren said. For example, the lion enclosures are open at the top and occasionally, the lions get visitors, like monkeys. “If a monkey gets in, it is fair game to be hunted.”


Lauren is often asked how to pursue a job like hers. “I’m not the best person to ask because I didn’t do an animal-based degree. Life just kind of steered me in this direction.”

Though not in the ways she expected, Lauren leans on her UND teaching degree – for instance, she still provides educational information and tours to guests and volunteers.

“Many of my professors at UND were so good at teaching how to be in the world. They taught us to think on our feet and be prepared because we’re working with living beings. As much as I’m not in a classroom, I’m using the skills – collaboration, teamwork, and networking – that were reinforced in every class I took.”

While teachers generally get summers off, not so for Lauren. “Days off don’t exist. When we started the sanctuary, we very much knew we were starting a lifelong project.”

The project means a rather primitive living environment. Lauren and Keegan essentially live in a tent, which means that uninvited guests sometimes drop by. Earlier that day, she said, a venomous snake had dropped from the ceiling. The couple captured it with a bucket lid.

“If you live amongst the animals, you live amongst them all,” Lauren said.

And while that includes an occasional visit from a poisonous reptile, it also includes 15 big cats – 13 adult lions, one lion cub and one tiger – who are like family.

15 UNDalumni.org/magazine
Gina, picture before and after her rescue, is the lone tiger at Simbonga.




Angela Disrud, ’94, finds her passion in feline photography.

Our love affair with dogs is well documented. Search #pets on Instagram and it’s no surprise that 20 of the first 24 images on the social media site feature canine companions. But amidst this dog-centric world, Angela Disrud, ’94, stands out as a cat person. Angela has combined her passion for photography with her love for cats to create Boudoir Kitty-Cat Photography in Nashville, Tennessee.

“I love photographing them,” said Angela. “I feel like cats never take a bad picture.”


How Angela went from a UND freshman from small-town North Dakota to starting a cat-centric photography studio is a textbook example of how to follow your passion.

Angela graduated with a degree in International Studies. She did not take a photography class at UND; in fact, she would not take a class on photography until she was 28 years old. But she does remember being inspired by an on-campus exhibit of the works of famed Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado.

Before embarking on a study abroad trip to Norway, Angela purchased her first camera. “I just started like a lot of people – as a hobby,” she said. “And the more you go down that rabbit hole, I just realized I wanted to learn everything about it. I just fell in love and I knew I wanted to take it as far as I could.”

A couple of years removed from college and Angela’s obsession with her hobby led her to quit her job at a Nashville international freight forwarder to work at a camera shop. She started taking photography classes, began working in a commercial film lab and eventually “took a leap” to start her own wedding photography business.

“I really enjoyed the storytelling aspect of that one momentous day in a person’s life,” said Angela of the nearly 15 years she spent as a wedding photographer. “It was meaningful work, and it was hard work, but I really enjoyed it.”

17 UNDalumni.org/magazine


During a point in her life when she was looking for purpose, Angela volunteered to take photos of cats at a rescue shelter.

“The organization was really struggling to promote the adoption of their cats. They didn’t really have good pictures, so I thought I could help them out. They just needed a second chance and a new start.”

Angela says she was moved to do the work by her own cats.

“They were my children for so long and I photographed them a lot. They were the inspiration. I realized just how much I loved photographing them.”

If she has one regret, it is that she didn’t start volunteering earlier in life. “I think people would be amazed [at the joy you receive from volunteering].

If you find a subject that you are passionate about, you get so much more back in return than what you give. There really is a wonderful sense of purpose and it’s such a great way to give back to the community.”


While snapping candid photos of one of her own cats, Sheba, Angela got the idea for the name for a cat-centric photo business.

“She was just such a beautiful cat and I joked to my boyfriend at the time that ‘I just did her boudoir session.’ At the time, boudoir photography had become a thing with people. Sheba had this regal walk and she had this thing for shoes. She would rest on them, and it was just really funny and quirky. So that’s where the name Boudoir Kitty-Cat came from.”

In hindsight, Angela says she worried that people might think the name was off-color. “Because it’s not, it’s cat photography, nothing beyond that. I just thought it was funny. Cats love cozy spots and they love pillows and things like that. And so, it just seemed like a natural fit.”

Angela also knew that the name would help her differentiate her business by letting potential clients know that she was all about cats.

“When it came to rescues in the area, the attention was really focused on dogs. And cats were just sort of forgotten. And even with pet photography, it’s largely of dogs. And I just made this decision that I wanted to just focus on cats. I speak ‘cat’ and I felt like I was the perfect person to fill that need.

“And after photographing weddings, photographing cats was easy for me. We always used to joke that shooting weddings was like herding cats. And honestly, I think herding cats is easier sometimes.”

“And after photographing weddings, photographing cats was easy for me. We always used to joke that shooting weddings was like herding cats. And honestly, I think herding cats is easier sometimes.”
Cat photos © Boudoir Kitty-Cat Photography


• Look for an area with appealing light.

• Do what you can to entice kitty to the area by placing a blanket to make them want to rest in the spot. You may use cat toys or treats to entice a cat to an area as well.

• Get down to (or below) the level of the cat.

• Get the cat to look at you. Cat eyes are so beautiful and show their personality and soul. Gently using a cat toy works well.

• Timing is everything. Know how to access the energy of a cat. If you want quiet relaxed photos, wait for the time when kitty is resting or about to nap. If you want playful energized photos, photograph the kitty when in that mode.

• Have fun and snap away.


Catering to cats comes with its own set of challenges. It’s not as if you can take a cat to the park to capture candid photos, so Angela brings her equipment to the cat’s lair.

“I photograph them in their environment where they feel most comfortable. They are with their favorite things. It helps set the session up for success. Because the last thing I want is for the cat to feel like they’re going to the vet.”

To Angela, cats are not merely pets; they are cherished members of the family. “They’re like children,” she asserts. “Just as people feel that affection towards their dogs, people who are cat lovers feel the same.”

Cats are the second most popular pet in the U.S. – behind dogs and slightly ahead of fish – perhaps due to multiple-cat households. The American Humane Society found about 46% of cat-owning households have two or more cats. Angela says that’s not surprising. “I think that’s probably because if you love cats, it’s kind of like potato chips; one is just not enough.”

Angela’s love for cats has been eclipsed by the birth of her first child. Having her daughter later in life led her to step back from her photography business for the time being.

“I’ll always be a photographer. It’s in my blood, but I reached the point where I realized I need to prioritize my child. I’ve been with her full time and documenting her life as obsessively as I’ve documented cats.” \\\

Boudoir Kitty-Cat

Scan this code for a video featuring Angela, Cleo, and Sheba.

Angela’s beloved cat, Sheba, was the inspiration behind the name of her business, Boudoir Kitty-Cat.

Clinical psychologist integrates culture, faith, art and storytelling to help bring healing to her Native people.

Turtle Medicine (“Mickinock Mishkiikii” in Ojibwe) is an approach of posttraumatic healing created by Tami Jollie-Trottier, Ph.D., ’02, ’05.

The method combines Westernized psychological practices and the traditional teachings of Tami’s Anishinaabe people. It also incorporates her Catholic faith, art, writing and storytelling.

“They’re supposed to conflict, and they do,” Tami said of these diverse methods. “But integrating them started as my individualized way I had to heal, and sharing Turtle Medicine with others has been healing for them, too.”

Tami, or “Dr. Tami” as her patients call her, is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, a licensed clinical psychologist and one of the first in the nation to open a private mental health practice on tribal lands.

But before her practice came to be, a near-death experience during childbirth in 2011 left her traumatized. Coming out of that, she knew she had to take time to recover both physically and mentally. But she struggled.

“I was a psychologist and I had no idea how to do it. What I had learned wasn’t working,” Tami said.

That was the start of her journey that led to Turtle Medicine. The turtle serves as her method’s symbol because, in Anishinaabe culture, the turtle holds a strong connection to Mother Earth, representing truth and the creation of the Anishinaabe people.

Early on, Tami sketched an outline of a turtle that became the logo for her clinic and the cover art for her memoir with the same name. She weaves the symbol into all her art pieces, adding other natural elements like feathers on her clinic’s logo and butterflies on her book cover.

“There’s meaning behind all of it. There’s certain pieces of my artwork that expand way beyond the symbol,” she said.

21 UNDalumni.org/magazine
“I couldn’t get to a healing place until I started beading. It brings me back to our history – the artwork of our people and what our elders are trying to teach us.”

Indigenized Behavioral Healing

When Tami started at the University of North Dakota, her goal was to be a researcher, not a clinician.

She earned her master’s degree in psychology, a doctorate of clinical psychology, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Indigenous Health Psychology Research from UND. She took a residency with the Neuropsychiatric Institute in Fargo to study health psychology, specifically around eating disorders.

“All that was me saying, ‘I don’t want to deal with trauma’ without knowing it. I was good at research, but everyone was telling me, ‘You’re a people person. How could you not be a therapist?’”

At the same time, Tami had growing concern for the needs of her people, specifically intergenerational trauma and lack of access to behavioral healthcare.

Tami moved home to the Turtle Mountains to work with the Indian Health Service in Belcourt, North Dakota, and eventually opened her own mental health clinic, Indigenized Behavioral Healing, in 2015. At the time, there were few – if any – private

mental health practices in Indian Country. She continued conducting research, but now had patients to apply it to. As an adjunct faculty member with UND’s Department of Psychology, she brought on post-doctorates from UND, providing an avenue for Indigenous professionals to get licensed and work within their Native communities.

“It was difficult starting as an Indigenous female in my field, so I began looking for ways I could elevate others,” she said. Tami has also mentored young leaders outside of the clinic to pass down what tribal elders have taught her.


As a clinical psychologist, Tami leans on her training in the Westernized approach to mental health, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychological monitoring and motivational interviewing. But she acknowledges it’s not enough for Indigenous populations.

“[Psychologists] have been trying to treat Indigenous people using a Western model that hasn’t been fully tested on our people. It doesn’t mean it’s ineffective, but it’s missing the mark in some ways,” she explained. For Tami, art became a way to process trauma. She started with oil pastels, then beading. “I couldn’t get to a healing place until I started beading,” she said. “It brings me back to our history – the artwork of our people and what our elders are trying to teach us.”

At her clinic, Tami uses art to help patients feel more comfortable disclosing personal information. She’s researched the textures, colors, scents and visuals that evoke relaxation. Scripture on her walls offers hope, sketch books and markers are available for doodling, and trauma patients make journey sticks.

For four years, Tami hosted workshops for various groups at her GenerationArt studio in Belcourt as part of her Bush Fellowship (above). The space provided a therapeutic environment where visitors learned skills like beading, sewing and, ultimately, healing through art (below).

Dr. Tami’s memoir, Turtle Medicine, goes deeper into her journey of healing. The book is now in press.

In 2016, Tami was named a Bush Fellow, a prestigious regional award that recognizes extraordinary accomplishments and develops leaders. With the funds, she opened an art studio in Belcourt called GenerationArt. For four years, it provided a therapeutic environment for Native art without direct therapy services.

“It was all in a creative exchange of community building and multigenerational interaction in a safe, healing place to have conversations about cultural historical trauma,” Tami explained.


Dr. Tami is not one to keep her methods within the confines of her clinic. She’s taken Turtle Medicine on the road to medical facilities, schools, nonprofits and tribal groups beyond her own.

In schools, she trains educators in trauma-informed care. She offers compassion fatigue training for those working in Indigenous health and home care. For rising leaders, she gives professional coaching and consulting.

Her latest endeavor brings psychology principles to the digital world. In the fall of 2022, she took up podcasting. PsychologistSay shares Indigenous and modern-day psychological practices to apply to everyday life. Since COVID, internet searches about mental health have skyrocketed.

“A lot of people searched information from noncredentialed people,” Tami explained. “And a lot of psychologists are stepping up to try to help others navigate this. I felt that as an Indigenous psychologist, it’s important for our voice to be a part of that conversation.”

Titles like, “When to Worry About Your Worrying,” “The Reality of Fake It to Make It,” and “Revenge Sleep Procrastination” are meant to give listeners an introduction to psychology with practical advice on relatable topics.

Turtle Island

In the Anishinaabe story of Earth’s creation, a turtle volunteers her back to bear the weight of a piece of earth that grew into North America. Because of her selfless act, Indigenous peoples hold special reverence for the animal.

The full story of “Turtle Island” has been passed down in oral tradition from generation to generation. With each rendition, the storyteller draws out aspects relevant to their own journey in life. Tami does the same. Her rendition includes the importance of sacrifice to carry those around us through their traumas. In the end, she is glad she chose to come home.

“Doing the work I am supposed to, with my own people, has been so fulfilling,” she said. \\\


Scan to hear Dr. Tami share her rendition of the Anishinaabe creation story of Turtle Island. hellodrtami.com

“Doing the work I am supposed to, with my own people, has been so fulfilling.”



Buck, Daisy, Deuce, Gabby and Huckleberry are horses with jobs. These four-legged creatures, however, aren’t working the rodeo or providing transportation. They’re therapy animals, along with Mitch the dog, Thomasina the cat, and a few other furry coworkers at Ropes and Roses Therapy Clinic in Casper, Wyoming.

In 2018, UND grad Karol Santistevan, ’17, ’18, founded the clinic where she and her team of therapists provide occupational therapy with a focus on mental health. They use direct OT services and therapy horses – as well as dogs, goats and sheep – to engage patients’ sensory, neuromotor and cognitive systems to improve their everyday activities.

“My approach is holistic, nature-based and gives clients the chance to realize who they are in a truly authentic way,” Karol said.

While many Ropes and Roses patients have mental health concerns, the team provides services for clients of all ages and numerous diagnoses, including autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, cerebral palsy and post-traumatic stress disorder, among others.

Working with this wide range of patients requires a calm presence – for people and animals. “If the animal doesn’t like interacting with people, this isn’t the job for them,” Karol said.

grad includes animals in her therapy practice.

Horses are used in two types of OT. In hippotherapy, therapists treat patients using movement. Riding a horse improves patient strength and balance, as well as circulation and breathing. These horses must demonstrate medical-grade movement and desensitization to various stimuli, Karol said.

In equine-assisted therapy, patients learn horsemanship skills such as basic care, grooming and handling. Because this often involves group work, horses must be responsive to multiple people giving many non-verbal cues.

“This helps patients further develop patience, empathy and self-confidence,” Karol said.

This type of therapy can reduce anxiety, depression and stress, improve social skills, and promote physical activity, Karol added.

Karol’s connections to the mental health community motivated her to create these services. “I have clients who come to me for therapy who have difficulties and struggles every day, and yet they get out of bed to come see me, the horses and other animals, even on their most difficult days.”

Making A Difference

Karol is a certified Special Olympics equestrian coach who has been helping people with intellectual disabilities since 2002. She founded Reach 4A Star Riding Academy, a Premier Accredited Therapeutic riding center, in 2004. Encouraged by her students and coworkers, she went back to school, completing her bachelor’s degree in 2017 and her master’s degree in OT in 2018, both at UND.

“I do have a pretty unique setup and seem to be doing all sorts of interesting things,” Karol said of the clinic, which is on a 36-acre campus with four buildings and a lodge to accommodate multi-day retreats. Those “things” include offering teen girls’ camps and a kids’ grief camp.

“My clients and animals inspire me to do what I do. Knowing I have the possibility to help and make a difference in people’s lives motivates me,” she said. “For me, this isn’t a job but my purpose in life.” \\\

“It is important to me to know the animals can trust me with their safety in all situations,” said Karol Santistevan, ’17, ’18, pictured at far left with Buck, a therapy horse. Ropes and Roses Therapy Clinic covers 36 acres, offering space for animal-assisted therapies, and unique camps and retreats.

25 UNDalumni.org/magazine
Photos by Cindy Schneider, Angel Mountain Media.


The annual Air Race Classic, featuring 42 teams and 100 racers, started from the Grand Forks International Airport for the first time in its 46-year history.

Hosted by the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences. the all-woman teams raced through 12 states and covered 2,684 miles over four days, finishing in Homestead, Florida.

The UND 2023 ARC team, one of the 17 from colleges and universities, successfully completed the long trek. Members of the “Frozen Force” (pictured left to right) included: navigator Tracy Mitchell, pilot Grace Heron, ground coordinator Ashley Almquist, and co-pilot Sadie Blace.

26 UNDalumni.org/magazine




10 a.m. – 4 p.m.




4:30 - 6 p.m.



6 p.m.




5:30 p.m. social | 6:30 p.m. dinner



7 p.m.




1:30 – 2:30 p.m.



9 a.m.



10:30 a.m.



1 p.m.



6:07 p.m.


28 UNDalumni.org/magazine

Honors Alumni

The Sioux Award for Distinguished Achievement & Leadership is the highest honor given by the UND Alumni Association & Foundation for achievement, service and loyalty. Since its inception in 1962, this distinguished award has been presented to leaders in government and business, high achievers in various professions and alumni who have dedicated their lives in service to others.

Young Alumni Achievement Award recipients are role models for those who follow them on campus, as they prove that success can come to those with focus, drive and a willingness to work hard.

This year’s Sioux Award for Distinguished Achievement & Leadership honorees are:

● Monica (Schmidt) Musich, ’82

● Arlen Nordhagen, ’78

● Dr. Robert Boyd, ’74, ’79

● Don Schmid, ’61

● Marilyn (Koble) Vetter, ’88

This year’s Young Alumni Achievement Award winners are:

● Josh Brandsted, ’08

● Sally (Opp) Miskavige, ’07, ’08

29 UNDalumni.org/magazine
This year’s awards banquet will be held on Thursday, October 5, at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks. UNDalumni.org/events/alumni-honors

Monica (Schmidt) Musich, ’82, was often invited on a “wives tour” when she attended convenience store trade shows in the early 2000s. As CEO of Valley Dairy, she had other things to focus on.

“It was nice to be women in the very maledominated industry,” she said. She and Valley Dairy Vice President Kathy Cumming were a dream team, proving to the industry that women belonged there.

Monica, named Valley Dairy CEO in 2000, said UND gave her a firm foundation, preparing her for the challenges of the convenience store and car wash industries. “There’s a lot you need to learn when you go out in the real world, but my education prepared me,” she said. “UND opened up my world.”

In many ways, Monica opened her industry’s world to what she called a “softer” side. “We were women running the stores. I think we saw things differently.”

That softer side included introducing cafes and gifts to the nine convenience stores and four car washes, which employed 200 people.

The Team

People were key to Monica’s success. “I had a fantastic team,” she said. “The buck stopped with me, but it had gone a long way before it got there.”

Valley Dairy store managers and office employees “just didn’t leave,” Monica said. But Monica, who grew up in Grand Forks, did leave after college, working for a mortgage company in positions of increasing responsibility in


Former Valley Dairy CEO credits her UND education, and her team, family and faith to her success in a male-dominated convenience store industry.

Denver, Dallas and Phoenix. Five years later, Monica realized she had a great opportunity with her father’s business in Grand Forks.

Monica was happy to keep Valley Dairy in the UND family. She is also proud of her own UND family. She and her husband, Mark, ’83, ’86, as well as daughters Megan, ’20, and Madison, ’22, ’23, are all UND graduates.

Growing up, the girls watched their mother forge a path in the convenience store industry and often benefited from the trade show swag Monica collected. “There’s nothing more fun than a trade show in the convenience store world,” Monica said. “Everything in a convenience store is represented in the show – gum, candy bars, pop; most sell beer and wine. You walk the aisles, and the vendors keep handing you stuff.”

Her father, Frank Schmidt, welcomed her home in 1988. Frank, then CEO, acquired Valley Dairy in 1964, as part of the purchase of VALDAK Corporation. Monica, who had worked in the stores growing up, was again learning from her dad. Just three years after she returned, Frank died. “I was thankful I went back when I did. I felt like God led me home so I could have that time with my father.”

The Family

In 2016, Monica sold the business to Petro Serve USA, owned by Farmers Union Oil Company of Moorhead and based in West Fargo. The president, Kent Satrang, ’80, is a UND graduate.

The Community Under Monica’s leadership, Valley Dairy continued to serve the local community working with charitable causes and providing jobs and internships for UND students. Monica and her husband gave to the Nistler College of Business & Public Administration, and set up endowments for the Nistler School and the College of Engineering & Mines.

“UND has always been so supportive,” Monica said. “I wanted to give back; I want it to be a win-win.”

A win for Monica was being named a recipient of the Sioux Award for Distinguished Achievement and Leadership. “I don’t even know how to put it into words,” Monica said. “It’s such an honor.” \\\

30 UNDalumni.org/magazine
“There’s a lot you need to learn when you go out in the real world, but my education prepared me. UND opened up my world.”


Entreprenuer leans on advice of UND professors to create a lifetime of business success and philanthropy.

Even though Arlen Nordhagen, ’78, already had a plan for his college education, he agreed to tag along with his friends on their summer tour of UND.

Arlen, a kid from Williston, North Dakota, “knew” he would attend Kansas State University and study nuclear engineering. What he didn’t know was that the tagalong tour to the University of North Dakota would lead to a chance interaction with Professor Don Severson.

engineering conference changed his course. “Owens said, ‘Have you ever considered other types of things, like business?’ He thought the combination of chemical engineering plus an MBA was great for longterm career advancement,” Arlen said. “And, of course, that ended up changing my life. Because three years later, I ended up starting my MBA studies.”

After a short stint working for DuPont, Arlen attended Harvard Business School, where he graduated with high distinction and was named a George F. Baker Scholar. After five years in various management positions back at DuPont, Arlen moved with his family to Colorado, where he worked as an entrepreneurial consultant for American Business Advisors.

Arlen lives by the personal core values of integrity, accountability, compassion and humility. “Truthfully, compared to what others have contributed to society, I don’t know that I feel worthy,” he replied when asked what receiving the Sioux Award for Distinguished Achievement & Leadership meant to him. “But when I was a kid, I lived in a house that didn’t even have indoor plumbing. And to see where I am now gives me hope that the American Dream is still alive, so I want to show that with hard work, even humble beginnings can grow into great success. And it’s just something I wish my parents were here to see.”

Severson asked him about his college plans. When Arlen replied, the professor’s reaction surprised him: He told Arlen not to study nuclear engineering and that chemical engineering was a better choice with broader career opportunities. He also told Arlen to study at UND. Arlen took that advice to heart.

Graduating with a degree in chemical engineering, Arlen never thought he would end up in the business world. However, a conversation with department chair Tom Owens while traveling to a chemical

That’s when he was approached with the idea for SecurCare self-storage. “My area of specialty was in analyzing industries and developing business plans. After I studied the self-storage industry, I realized it was a fantastic industry to be in.”

Arlen co-founded SecurCare Self Storage in 1988 and became president in 1999. In 2013, Arlen created National Storage Affiliates, which today encompasses more than 1,100 self-storage properties in 42 states and Puerto Rico and is valued at $10 billion. Arlen is also a co-founder of MMM Healthcare, Inc., the largest Medicare advantage provider in Puerto Rico, and is the founder and principal of more than a dozen real estate and investment companies.

Despite his business success, Arlen hasn’t forgotten his humble upbringing. “I’ve really been blessed in my life. And, as a result, I really feel that I’m in a position of being blessed in order to be a blessing to others. So that’s the personal motto I try to keep at the top of my mind.” \\\

31 UNDalumni.org/magazine
“I really feel that I’m in a position of being blessed in order to be a blessing to others.”

Dr. Robert Boyd, ’74, ’79, who spent much of his career at UND in various student-focused roles, has nominated people for the UND Alumni Association & Foundation’s highest honor. He never expected he would be chosen to receive a Sioux Award for Distinguished Achievement & Leadership himself.

Bob, who long served as the Dean of Continuing Education and Vice President for Student and Outreach Services, was driving when he received a call from DeAnna Carlson Zink, CEO of the UNDAAF, about his selection. He says he called her back because he feared that the shock of the moment had prevented him from expressing his full appreciation.

“I’m just very humbled,” said Bob. “I must tell you very honestly I can think of several names that would be more deserving and some I’ve even nominated, but I’m just very appreciative and tremendously honored by it.”

Dubbed “Mr. UND” by President Robert Kelley – one of four presidents he worked with during a 32-year UND career – Bob was widely known for his fierce passion for UND and his advocacy for students.

Whether bringing technology to bear on higher education, creating opportunities for parttime students, focusing on student health and wellness, advocating on behalf of minority students, or improving student financial knowhow, Bob’s tenure saw great improvements in the student experience on the Grand Forks campus and beyond.


‘Mr. UND’ spent a long career as Vice President for Student and Outreach Services hyperfocused on what was best for students.

Bob also stressed the importance of all classes, and he bristled at students who felt they just had to “get through their generals.”

“I used to tell students, ‘Remember that the liberal arts are liberating. They are the ones that liberate your mind from prejudices.’”

Following completion, he was offered the position director of the Extension at UND. Six months after taking that position, the dean of Continuing Education resigned, and Bob was hired after a national search. In 1998, he was named Vice President for Student Services and Outreach Services, a position he held until 2010 when he accepted a presidential assignment, and then fully retired in 2011.

It is futile to ask Bob to pinpoint one highlight from his 30-plus-year career, but he did boil it down to a handful of things that stood out, including improving access for parttime learners, utilizing technology for remote education, advocating for Native American students (establishment of the American Indian Student Services Center), promoting holistic wellness (development of the Wellness Center), and chairing two task forces related to the move to Division I athletics.

Bob took his studies seriously as a teen growing up in Rock Lake, North Dakota. He became the first in his family to receive a 4-year college degree. After earning undergraduate degrees in mathematics and chemistry from Minot State University, he taught high school math. In 1973, he was named assistant principal at Minot High School and began taking master’s degree classes in Grand Forks. He then was named principal in 1976. After two years, he returned to UND to complete his doctorate.

Bob said he had made it a personal policy to always say “yes” to a presidential ask. That “always say yes” policy also led him to a leadership role in one of the most pivotal moments in the University’s history. After the Flood of 1997 forced students and faculty to flee Grand Forks while causing $75 million in damage to campus, Bob led the effort to get summer school up and running and then set a goal for enrollment growth.

As was often the case when “Mr. UND” was put in charge, they succeeded. \\\

32 UNDalumni.org/magazine
“Remember that the liberal arts are liberating. They are the ones that liberate your mind from prejudices.”


Former director of North Dakota Children and Family Services serves as “conductor,” bringing specialties together to improve opportunities for families across the state, region and nation.

When Don Schmid, ’61, was a junior studying social work at the University of North Dakota, he took a UND internship with the Benson County Social Service office. Part of that internship was spending time on the Spirit Lake Reservation. That summer, Don said, “I grew up. I learned so much about poverty, injustice, and the lack of services, the lack of good medical care, and the problems of justice systems. These things shaped my whole career.” This experience, Don said, solidified his mission to improve the lives of others, especially Native Americans. After earning a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University in New York, Don served over three decades in the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 12 as director of Children and Family Services. He has been an integral part in shaping the way social services are carried out and funded in North Dakota.

“I looked at my job almost like an orchestra leader. I would say, ‘OK, you have this specialty, so I need you to get a little louder, please, and partner with us to be part of the solution.’”

As “conductor,” he brought together other state and private agencies specializing in education, social services, juvenile services, and mental and behavioral

health. He provided leadership in starting many programs in North Dakota to help strengthen and support families, influencing federal laws and a series of best practices modeled by other states.

One example started in 1984, when he and Dr. Kenneth Dawes, then chair of the UND Department of Social Work, jumpstarted the UND Children & Family Services Training Center for child welfare service providers, including social workers and foster and adoptive families. This university/state partnership has been duplicated in over 30 states. The current UND director, Amy Oehlke, was a recipient of the Don Schmid Child Welfare Leadership Scholarship established by the Schmids 25 years ago.

After retiring from HHS in 1997, Don started a consulting business to help states develop and improve children’s service programs, and uncover and maximize unspent funding. In every one of the 29 states, 9 universities and nearly 60 Native tribes where he’s consulted, Don has taught best practices from North Dakota. For anyone working in children’s services, there is risk of burnout. What’s kept Don going is Sylvia, an orchestra conductor in her own right. “She’s the rock. She’s the one who connects everything together,” he said.

Optimism has also helped. “The hope that things can change, things can get better. Sometimes it takes a long time, but then you can reflect on what’s changed.”

“My career began with UND, and I have a responsibility to give back and support students who are seeking a master’s degree,” Don said about his scholarship. He and his wife, Sylvia, recently established another for students from a Midwest Indian tribe seeking a graduate degree through the College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines (CNPD).

Throughout his career, Don has kept UND at the forefront and vice versa. This spring, Don was asked to speak at the CNPD Master of Social Work hooding ceremony, recently named the Don Schmid MSW Hooding Ceremony. After learning he is also a recipient of the Sioux Award for Distinguished Achievement & Leadership, Don said he felt honored, appreciative and surprised.

“How lucky can a person get?” Don said of both his awards. “UND means everything to me. It gave me these opportunities. If I wouldn’t have gone to UND … my career probably would have gone a different route.” \\\

33 UNDalumni.org/magazine
“Sometimes it takes a long time, but then you can reflect on what’s changed.”

At the start of 2023, Marilyn (Koble) Vetter, ’88, was named President and CEO of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, founded 40 years ago in Minnesota, with an annual $100 million budget and a staff of nearly 500.

It’s a dream job for a hunter who grew up an outdoorsy farm kid outside the small town of Anamoose, North Dakota.

Marilyn says she always had a curious streak, but it was at UND that she saw the world of possibilities available to her. She was originally determined to go to law school but discovered a love of journalism through her undergrad studies.

“What UND taught me was that it’s OK to have a path, but you can take the fork in the road,” said Marilyn. “It allowed me to be a bit more spontaneous and not so predetermined.”

Marilyn carried that lesson into her career where she started as a television news reporter and anchor in Bismarck before shifting to the pharmaceutical industry. She moved from sales to government affairs to executive roles as she rose to Group Vice President, U.S. Access Strategy with Horizon Therapeutics before being named to lead Pheasants Forever.

Marilyn recently lived out her childhood dream of becoming an author. She collaborated on “Brave Women at


A lifelong love of the outdoors has culminated in UND Arts & Sciences grad becoming the first woman to lead the nation's leading upland habitat conservation organization.

Work: Stories of Confidence,” telling her personal conflict with confidence meant to empower others on the difficult journey of professional and personal growth.

In addition, Marilyn and her husband, Clyde, own Sharp Shooters Kennel, a German shorthaired pointer breeding and training business in Wisconsin.

there is one thing that keeps her awake at night – what she calls the existential crisis in volunteerism.

“I worry that people are eager to write a check and not get engaged,” said Marilyn as the keynote speaker at the 2023 UNDAAF Women for Philanthropy Luncheon. “Treasure is super important but think about the times you’ve written a check; it’s because you are connected. If people don’t volunteer, they don’t build that connection. It’s short sighted if we think only about getting the check and don’t worry about them being engaged because some day, they won’t be engaged.”

For Marilyn, the importance of volunteering was instilled early. Her parents, she says, didn’t always have money to donate, but they gave freely of their time and talent throughout their community.

Marilyn had a Pheasants Forever membership for more than 20 years before becoming a member of the nonprofit’s national board of directors in 2015. Upon her selection as CEO, board chair Matt Kucharski said, “Her history as a dedicated volunteer, a lifelong bird dog lover, and a wingshooter who is passionate about our habitat mission and long-term success will resonate with members, donors, conservation partners and staff in pheasant and quail country.”

The state of the organization is strong with the recent completion of a $565 million fundraising campaign, but Marilyn says

“If you have time, talent, and treasure to give — and we all have different points in our life where we have more of one than the other — those create more than just rewarding experiences. The closest relationships I have in my life have come from those volunteering opportunities.”

Marilyn says she is humbled to receive the Sioux Award for Distinguished Achievement & Leadership from her alma mater. She says it is outside her character to get too excited about recognition, but in this case, she was over the moon, calling her sister to say, “You won’t believe this!” \\\

34 UNDalumni.org/magazine
“What UND taught me was that it’s OK to have a path, but you can take the fork in the road.”

Josh Brandsted, ’08, was offered a job in March 2008. Greco Properties, LLC wanted him to start right away. At the time, Josh was finishing his degree in managerial finance and corporate accounting and working five nights a week managing a downtown Grand Forks bar. He wasn’t sure he was interested in the real estate industry.

But the economy was precarious, and he needed a job upon graduation.

Josh made a plan. He worked with his professors to complete his classwork on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. He took an overnight train to Minneapolis on Thursdays, arriving Friday in time for Greco’s 9 a.m. marketing meeting. He’d work until Monday night, take the night train back to Grand Forks and arrive for class on Tuesday morning. He continued managing the bar on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

“It was the most grueling time in my life,” Josh said. “My professors were willing to be flexible and I had great support from my (now) wife, Kelsey (Messner, ’08).”


Vice president of Grand Forks-based construction company mixes love of accounting, art and asphalt to jumpstart community-wide philanthropy.

Fast forward 15 years. Josh is now owner and president of Greco Properties, LLC. He’s held numerous roles at the company, becoming president in 2015. He acquired 50% of Greco in 2019 and fully took over in 2022.

His UND experience – both in the classroom and on the football field – provided valuable lessons.

“I use everything I learned in the accounting and finance department every single day,” Josh said. “Without that degree, I don’t think I would even be close to as successful as we’ve been here.”

As a UND football player, he learned how to manage schedules and multiple demands, and to put in the work.

Josh credits his success to his professors, coaches, mentors, friends and family. “I was a contributor on a lot of successful teams,” he said. “This (Young Alumni Achievement) award is a nod to all the opportunities that have been presented to me from people that believed in me and helped me along the way.” \\\

Sally (Opp) Miskavige, ’07, ’08, was already at a professional crossroads right out of college. She could work at an accounting firm in Minneapolis where she interned or become the next human resource manager at Opp Construction, the Grand Forks-based company her father started in 1978. She took the latter offer and is glad she did.

“I truly love all of these employees,” she said. “A lot of them I grew up with and have known my whole life. They’re like family,” Sally said. As a manager right out of college, Sally helped implement many culture changes like reorganizing the safety committee, replacing upper-level managers with field employees to provide more engagement when changing safety policy.

“These were small changes, but it really gives employees a voice,” Sally said. She’s seen the payout as they’ve reached goals like zero powerline hits last year and brought home multiple national awards for safety excellence.

Sally is known as a “starter” not only at Opp but throughout the greater Grand Forks area. “I accidentally start stuff,” Sally laughed. Her eagerness to make a good idea a reality for someone else’s benefit has turned into community-wide endeavors.

She co-founded TAG, “The Art of Giving,” an annual art exhibition and sale that has raised $375,000 for local charities and “Full STEAM Ahead,” a STEAM-themed exhibit that debuted last year. It featured displays from UND’s rocketry and robotics clubs, among others. Sally is also spearheading a project with the Grand Forks Children’s Museum to offer adaptive, interactive learning experiences for children across the region.

“We need to invest in our community and our children. They are our future,” Sally said. “It doesn’t take long for 18 years to go by, and those little kids are now members of our workforce.” \\\

35 UNDalumni.org/magazine



Hometown: Bismarck, N.D.

Area of study: Business Economics


Why UND? I have family ties to UND. My Grandpa, Robert Eaglestaff, played basketball here. I thought it would be amazing to play at the same college where he played. My grandpa came from such a small and unknown place. At that time, it was very hard for Native Americans to make it off the reservation. He overcame very challenging circumstances throughout his life to leave behind a great legacy, and I look up to him as a great inspiration.

Lessons from freshman year: College has taught me to have a better work ethic in my studies. My sister attends UND and has been a great influence on me by consistently encouraging me to work hard at everything that I do.

Community involvement: I train kids around Grand Forks to help them improve their basketball skills. Our team does a great amount of community service, especially in the off-season.

Career goals: Since I was a kid, I have always had a dream of playing professional basketball after college. I’m also interested in starting my own business to train youth basketball or even pursue a coaching career in the future.

Favorite UND memory so far: I have two memories that stand out from my first season. First, we played Elon University early in the season and that was the first time I had scored in double figures. The second memory was when we played Kansas City (University of MissouriKansas City) and the team broke the UND record for most 3-point field goals in a game with 18.

Note: Robert Eaglestaff is Treysen’s great uncle, but he refers to Robert as his Grandpa to honor his Lakota tribal culture.

“UND is a great community that feels like the perfect fit for me. It’s such a welcoming place and the people I have met have been so friendly and supportive.”
Robert “Bob” Eaglestaff was an educator, a cultural icon, and a friend to many. In 2004, his family, friends, and UND basketball teammates established a scholarship endowment to continue his vision for what American Indian students can accomplish. To continue Bob’s legacy by supporting students studying education at UND, give to the Bob Eaglestaff Endowment at UNDalumni.org/give.

The biggest factor, he said, is the locker room camaraderie between teammates. “The teams that win it all usually have a good core group of guys that want to play for each other.”

The former standout goaltender for UND Hockey recently became a champion again as the Everblades finished at the top of the ECHL, capturing back-to-back Kelly Cup titles in 2022 and 2023.

Cam was named the June M. Kelly Playoff MVP in both seasons. The awards are a nice touch, but Cam says his teammates deserve credit. He has maintained a strong team-first mindset dating back to his days at UND.

During his sophomore season, his first as the top goaltender, he played a vital role in the net as UND captured its most recent National Championship. He finished with a school record .933 save percentage and a 33-save performance in UND’s championship victory over top-ranked Quinnipiac.

“We understood the situation and the drought that existed since the last UND title,” Cam said.

“Everybody got along well and contributed when it was their time to step up.”




As a goalie for both the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and the Florida Everblades, UND hockey alum Cam Johnson has experienced championship glory multiple times and sees similarities in each title run.

Cam finished his UND career as one of the best goaltenders in school history, ranking among the top in average goals allowed, career shutouts, winning percentage and save percentage. That success launched him into a professional career with opportunities in the AHL, NHL and ECHL.

Through all of Cam’s accomplishments, he fondly remembers UND. “My biggest appreciation from being a student is how nice the people were and how passionate they are about UND Hockey. I would go out in public and get recognized, and that would turn into interesting conversations about their UND history. It was a really cool experience in North Dakota,” said Cam.

While he remains in touch with most of his UND teammates and coaches from the 2016 National Championship run, Cam is focused on continuing his championship success in Florida. “I just love it in Florida. I have a good situation going down there and I’m enjoying myself and enjoying life.”

Photo by Tyler Center, Florida Everblades
“It was a really cool experience in North Dakota.”


Updates from UND alumni around the world. Want to share news with your fellow alumni? Email your updates to AlumniMag@UNDalumni.net or mail them to 3501 University Ave Stop 8157, Grand Forks, ND 58202.


John Runberg, ’67, runs his own income tax practice following a 44year career as a CPA and CFO for several insurance companies. He has hiked over 600 miles on the Arizona Trail and to the highest summit in 44 states. He lives in Scottsdale, Ariz., with his wife Karen.


Marian (Johnson) Lehnherr, ’74, ’75, and her husband, Rick, were recognized as outstanding supporters by the Benedictine Living Community in Garrison, N.D., where they have volunteered for more than 20 years.


James (Bob) Hagerty, ’78, retired from The Wall Street Journal after more than four decades in various positions around the world.

Denise Lajimodiere, ’78, ’96, ’06, has been appointed North Dakota Poet Laureate. Lajimodiere is from Belcourt and will serve a two-year term. She delivered the commencement address at UND this spring.

Mark Peihl, ’78, retired from his job as senior archivist for the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County after 38 years. Peihl lives in Fargo.


Dave Molmen, ..’79, received the Klaus Thiessen Impact Award from the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corp. for his role in creating Altru Health System in 1997, and his leadership within the organization for more than 40 years.


Corey Cleveland, ’80, was recognized by the North Dakota Bankers Association for his retirement. He spent 42 years of his career in the banking industry, the last eight as a senior vice president of United Valley Bank in Grand Forks.

Phil Johnson, ’80, ’82, ’84, ’85, received the Excellence in Safety Award from USA Hockey. Johnson is medical supervisor with the International Ice Hockey Federation.


Tom Arnold, ’82, ’84, retired from CHI St. Alexius Health in Dickinson, N.D. Arnold, an obstetrician and gynecologist, worked for 35 years and delivered almost 8,000 babies.

George Connelly III, ’82, retired from American Airlines/TWA after 34 years. Career highlights include flying with son, George Connelly IV, ’06, at American, his selection for the papal charter in 1999 with Pope John Paul II, and being UND Flight Instructor of the Quarter in summer 1979.


Jeffrey Randorf, ’83, retired after a 40-year career with the U.S. Government in Washington, D.C. Most recently, Jeffrey was a senior engineering advisor.

Dean Wilson, ’83, was inducted into the North Dakota Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame. He coached hockey at various levels in the Fargo Metro area for over 30 years and led teams to three state hockey titles.


John Hoganson, ’85, was grand marshal at the 2023 North Dakota State Fair Parade in Minot. Hoganson was North Dakota’s first state paleontologist.

Brad Olson, ’85, retired after 38 years as an elementary school teacher in North Dakota and Minnesota. Olson was also a high school coach for 26 years.

Paul Traynor, ’85, ’88, a visiting assistant professor of law at UND, contributed to two articles about health insurance to MoneyGeek.


Michael Meyer, ’86, is director of philanthropy at Hospice of the Red River Valley.


Odella Fuqua, ’87, ’02, was named associate vice president for finance at UND. She has served as interim associate VP since July 2022.

Keith Millette, ’87, ’90, retired from medical practice after caring for patients at the Altru Family Medicine Center in Grand Forks for 32 years.


More than 100 alumni found the flame hidden on the cover of the last issue of the Alumni Magazine. (Maybe reading the story about our forensic science program prompted more people to put their investigative skills to work to find the flame!) Three alumni – Sue (Steffen) Kost, ’83, ’03, Wally Lang, ’73, and Lisa (Geschwill) Shay, ’05 – were drawn from the pool of correct answers to win our prize pack.

They found the hidden flame on the upper lefthand side of the right shoe print. Have you found the flame hidden on the cover of this issue? If so, email its location to alumnimag@UNDalumni.net for your chance to win.


Joel Johnson, ’89, ’93, received two prestigious healthcare awards. He was named the 2023 National Rural Health Association’s Rural Health Practitioner of the Year. He also received the Outstanding Rural Health Provider award from the Center for Rural Health in North Dakota. Johnson practices at Park River’s First Care Health Center.


Donna (Herman) Brown, ’91, ’95, ’02, was appointed a member of the National Advisory Council on Indian Education by President Joe Biden.

Michael Shea, ’91, ’00, was named principal at Meadowlark Elementary School in West Fargo.


Kristine (Voxland) Quanbeck, ’92, ’95, is assistant vice president, senior accounts payable specialist at Gate City Bank in Fargo.

Heath Webber, ’92, is chief financial officer for Black Gold Farms in Grand Forks.


Kathleen Coudle King, ’93, wrote “Retail Therapy,” a play about 700 years of mental health care. It premiered at the Theatre Without Walls at the Empire Arts Center in Grand Forks in May.

Nikki (Mathison) Polum, ’93, was selected Grand Forks Public Schools’ 2022-23 Teacher of the Year. She is a 6th grade teacher at South Middle School.


Brent Sanford, ’94, joined the Cornerstone Bank Corporate Board of Directors. He lives in Bismarck.

38 UNDalumni.org/magazine



Dr. Joshua Wynne, Vice President for Health Affairs and Dean of the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences, was presented with the UND Spirit Award by the UND Alumni Association & Foundation (UNDAAF) Board of Directors.

The award is not given annually, but instead bestowed upon those who go above and beyond, providing vision, tenacity and service to help shape UND.

“I want to emphasize that this isn’t about me. This is about us. This is about what we can do for the University, for our students, for our research efforts, for service to the people of North Dakota,” Wynne said upon accepting the award. Wynne has a long list of achievements. His work with the University, the City of Grand Forks, regional health partners and the State Legislature was instrumental in the funding and eventual construction of UND’s $124 million School of Medicine & Health Sciences. He helped lead the North Dakota Workforce Initiative, which, said UNDAAF CEO Deanne Carlson Zink, “is transforming healthcare delivery and the health of everyday North Dakotans.”

Wynne served as UND interim president in early 2020. UND President Andrew Armacost is thankful for that leadership. “Josh was at the helm of our response to the pandemic, leading an amazing team across the campus to make sure that we got through it and at the same time, ushering in the rookie president.” (Armacost was named president in December 2019.) Wynne, who has been at the University since 2004, said it is an honor to be part of the work at UND. “I do have a passion for what I do,” he said. “That passion is fueled by the team that we have all around us.”

Recipients of the Spirit Award, first given in 1985, are approved by the UNDAAF Executive Committee.


Mary (Marthe) Hoff, ’95, is a certified physician assistant at the Carrington (N.D.) Medical Clinic and Urgent Care, and the Family Clinic in New Rockford. She also provides care at Golden Acres Manor and the Lutheran Home of the Good Shepherd.


Millie (Fournier) Baird, ’96, was named deputy forest supervisor of the USDA Forest Service Chippewa National Forest.

Todd Hebert, ’96, has five new paintings in the Mark Moore Gallery in Southern California. Hebert lives in Los Angeles.

Jonathan Warrey, ’96, received the Living Gold Award, which honors a Marco Technologies employee who embodies the company’s gold standard of employee engagement, client satisfaction, community support and vendor partnerships. He has worked for Marco since 1996.

Ryan Zerr, ’96, ’98, was named associate vice president for strategy and implementation at UND. Zerr, a UND mathematics professor, has served as a faculty member for the last 20 years.


Jodi (Anderson) Dodson, ’97, ’20, was named associate principal at Discovery Elementary School in Grand Forks.

Jon Ness, ’97, was named associate editor of The News and Advance in Lynchburg, Va.

Paul Sanderson, ’97, ’01, was named vice president, chief legal officer and secretary of MDU Resources. He has served as outside counsel for MDU Resources’ companies since 2011.


Josh Christianson, ’99, is senior philanthropy officer for Hospice of the Red River Valley in Fargo.


Robert Aitken III, ’00, is executive director of Leech Lake Financial Services, which offers financial education and large loan opportunities in north central Minnesota. Aitken lives in Bemidji.

Adam Kurtz, ’00, is the strategic communications editor for the UND Division of Marketing & Communications.

Lara (Blubaugh) Storm, ’00, is a Me Coach leader and a FranklinCovey education consultant. She lives in Los Osos, Calif.


Karl Goehring, ’01, made his international coaching debut as an assistant coach of the Under 18 Men’s Select Team in the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Goehring is assistant coach of UND men’s hockey.

Christopher Knutson, ’01, is executive vice president, corporate controller for Graco. Knudson lives in Minneapolis.

Jason Triplett, ’01, was named head coach of boys hockey for the West Fargo High School Packers.


Louis Varricchio, ’02, is an adjunct professor of astronomy at the Community College of Vermont at Bennington. Louis lives with his wife, Marilyn, in Middlebury, Vt.


Toby Haugen, ’04, is director of human resources for the Florence Unified School District. He lives in San Tan Valley, Ariz.

Amie Miller, ’04, a boardcertified plastic surgeon, opened a clinic in El Dorado Hills, Calif.


Ryan Hanson, ’05, principal of Devils Lake High School, was named North Dakota Principal of the Year by the North Dakota Association of Secondary School Principals.


John Burrow, ’06, is the first-ever fire marshal for the Savage (Minn.) Fire Department.

Josett Monette, ’06, ’09, has been named general counsel of New Mexico’s Indian Affairs Department.

Jason Palmer, ’06, is vice president of design and engineering at VERITA Telecommunications in Plymouth, Mich.


Heidi (Clark) Bennett, ’07, was inducted into the Harding High School Athletic Hall of Fame. She competed in swimming, cross country and track at Harding in Marion, Ohio.

Peter Brehmer, ’07, is a family medicine nurse practitioner at the Pine Island/Wanamingo Clinic in Minnesota.

Elly (Jamsa) DesLauriers, ’07, was named executive director of the Minot (N.D.) Park District.

Ryan Duletski, ’07, was promoted to lieutenant of the North Dakota Highway Patrol and began work as the northwest regional commander in Minot.

Corey Samuelson, ’07, is a physical therapist and rehab manager for the McKenzie County Health Center Rehabilitation Department. He lives in Watford City, N.D.

Kirsten Yeado, ’07, is a safety specialist at American Crystal Sugar Company’s Hillsboro factory.

39 UNDalumni.org/magazine




Katherine “Katie” Dachtler, ’19, Hillary (Davis) Kempenich, ’18, and Marie Zephier, a Ph.D. student, have been named 2023 Bush Fellows.

This annual award is given to 24 leaders from diverse backgrounds in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share this geographic region. The Bush Foundation, based in St. Paul, provides grants of up to $100,000 to the Fellows, which they can use to develop their leadership skills.

Katie, a Korean adoptee, aims to foster a more inclusive community in the Grand Forks area. A former member of the Grand Forks City Council and the Grand Forks School Board, Katie plans to pursue a Ph.D. in change leadership for equity and inclusion.

Hillary, a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, is an Anishinaabe artist, storyteller and knowledge keeper. Having long advocated for the well-being and rights of Native youth in educational settings, Hillary’s objective is to enhance accessibility in places like libraries and museums. She is actively involved in creating a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) museum that incorporates reconciliation, repatriation and decolonization practices into its programming.

Marie Zephier, a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, is currently working on her Ph.D. in Indigenous health at UND. Her focus is to enhance the recognition and significance of traditional practices. Marie advocates for the integration of Indigenous culture into Western health systems’ research and practices to build trust, increase access to cultural healing methods and alleviate health inequities.


Jack B. Riedel, ’97, published “The Roaming Rebels.” In the 5th millennium, a teacher named Zade Theraman crosses the solar system determined to fulfill his resolution. Zade tells his story of nail-biting adventures, stunning planet fly-bys, desperate lows and everything in between. Along the way, he draws inspiration from a legendary and enigmatic vanguard known as The Roaming Rebels.

Check out more great reads from alumni authors at UNDalumni.org/authors.


Danny Freund, ’08, ’13, was named associate head coach of the UND football team.

Florija (Adjari) Naas, ’08, has been hired by the Red River Regional Council to be the Destination Red River Project Manager and the Nelson County (N.D.) Job Development Authority Director.


Matthew Anderson, ’09, is Arts in Education Director for the North Dakota Council on the Arts.

Codi (Gates) Feland, ’09, was named an assistant principal of Century High School in Bismarck.


Travis Dahl, ’11, is a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial Services LLC, in Bismarck. He obtained the Behavioral Financial Advisor professional designation from Kaplan University and think2perform.

Chay Genoway, ’11, played defense with his former UND teammate, Andrew MacWilliam, ’13, for Salzburg, a hockey team that won the championship in Austria’s top league.


Angelle (Van Oploo) French, ’12, ’17, was hired by the Red River Regional Council to be director of the Pembina County (N.D.) Job Development Authority.

Amanda (Krieger) Strahm, ’12, ’14, is an environmental engineer with KLJ Engineering LLC. She lives in Bismarck.

Alyssa (Nagle) Merriman, ’12, ’14, was named the first ever AVID Summer Institute Teacher Speaker for North Dakota. Merriman teaches at Lincoln Elementary School in Bismarck.


Jacob Johnson, ’13, was promoted to major in the U.S. Air Force. Johnson is doing a residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Walter Reed National Miliary Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.


Jenna Jorgensen, ’14, was promoted to assistant commissioner for strategic communications and brand enhancement at the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in Bloomington, Minn.

Peter Rakowski, ’14, is first officer with United Airlines on 757/767 aircraft.

Callie Ronkowski, ’14, ’16, a broker for Newmark, received the Power Broker Best of the Best award in the commercial real estate industry. She lives in Minneapolis.

Amanda (Vogl) Tomlinson, ’14, has been named principal at Mandan (N.D.) Middle School.


Jordan Kopp, ’15, is a factory engineer at American Crystal Sugar Company in Drayton, N.D.

Grant Kraft, ’15, has been elected to a two-year term as president of the Fargo Education Association, the local union of educators serving students in Fargo Public Schools.

Taylor (Schlenk) Simon, ’15, ’17, a mathematics instructor, was named the 2022-23 recipient of the Jeff Sieg Award for Teaching Excellence at Mayville (N.D.) State University.


Bryn Chyzyk, ’16, ’20, was named the United States Hockey League General Manager of the Year for the 2022-23 season. Chyzyk is GM of the Waterloo Black Hawks in Waterloo, Iowa.

40 UNDalumni.org/magazine

In October 2022, I had the pleasure of meeting Katrina Brekke, ’11, and Moire (Dunn) Layden, ’17, ’19, when I was in Las Vegas for UND alumni events surrounding the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame game.

I was touched by their palpable energy, passion for their field, and obvious love for the children and teachers they served. It was a moment in time, when two UND alumni found themselves together, working at a school far from home. In their off time, they found themselves meeting for book club and socializing along with their husbands, both helicopter pilots. Together, they made an immense impact.

Since our meeting, both have moved on. Moire has moved to New York City, where she works as the Community Wellness Program Manager for the YMCA of Greater New York. Katrina recently relocated to Bemidji, Minnesota.

“I can’t express how much I have missed working with Moire,” Katrina told me in an email. “We were aligned in our beliefs and were able to make a larger impact by working together to implement best practices. Our bond and the support we provided each other made the hard days bearable. We now have a life-long friendship that I will forever cherish.”

Their stories continue and they will undoubtedly continue to make an impact in their communities. This is a snapshot from their time together in Nevada.



In meeting with Katrina Brekke and Moire Layden, it’s clear that the pair spends a lot of time together. “I couldn’t do this job,” begins Moire, “without her,” finishes Katrina.

At Whitney Elementary School in Las Vegas, Katrina is a school counselor and Moire works as a Safe Schools professional, a social worker by trade. It’s fall 2022, and they’re two of three mental and behavioral health professionals at Whitney. With 400 students, it’s one of the smallest schools in the Clark County School District – the fifth-largest district in the nation.

They joined the district in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Las Vegas, schools maintained distance learning longer than many areas of the nation, and children were not physically in school for the entire 2020-21 school year. When

they returned in the fall of 2021, “We really saw some serious skills deficits,” Katrina said, “especially in our kindergarten class.”

After being away from a school setting for over a year, teachers and staff witnessed a lack of socialemotional skills (“How do I play and communicate with other peers my age?”), perseverance (delaying gratification), and foundational academic abilities (writing and fine motor skills). “We all need those to be successful,” Moire said. “So seeing that was really hard at the beginning of the year.”

At Whitney, where students were chalking up a 40% chronic absenteeism rate, teachers were finding themselves stretched to the brink. Not only were they implementing a full curriculum, but they also had to handle an inordinate amount of classroom management – modeling appropriate play, for example.

“We’re seeing the social-emotional health of our teachers really take a hit,” Katrina said. “Expectations are so high, and they are not being compensated.”

Seeing a need, they put their own spin on Coffee with the Counselors, a monthly meeting started during COVID to provide mental health support to staff and teachers. Katrina and Moire partnered with local businesses for food donations, led discussions on mental health topics, and kicked off their biggest hit: music trivia.

“I love supporting teachers as well, and being able to deliver some of that professional mental health development is wonderful,” Katrina said. “It was a small thing, but our aim was to allow staff time to connect, provide soul nourishing food and drinks, and show some appreciation to teachers understanding how much burden they carry.”

41 UNDalumni.org/magazine ALUMNI IN ACTION

Vicki Crowe, ’16, is director of the Burrier Child Development Center, an early childhood lab school program in Richmond, Ky.

Colten St. Clair, ’16, was named head coach of the Minnesota Wilderness junior hockey program.


Jill Anderson, ’17, retired from a 35-year career in education, which included 25 years as a sixth grade teacher and 10 as a school counselor in the Hillsboro, N.D., school district.

Nicholas Cilz, ’17, is a field technology transfer specialist for the Department of Veteran Affairs in Minneapolis.


Eugene “Geno” Crandall, ’18, played his fourth professional basketball season in Europe and his first with BG Goettingen in Germany’s Basketball Bundesliga.

Brady Oliveira, ’18, received the Cal Murphy Heart of a Legend Award, the community service award given by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Candadian Football League. He has received worldwide recognition for his work as a dog rescuer.


Zach Muckenhirn, ’19, was called up to the New York Mets professional baseball team. The pitcher is the first UND alum to play in the Major League.


Kinzie Grinde, ’20, was selected a 2023 Caregiver Award recipient from the North Dakota Long Term Care Association. Grinde works at Valley Senior Living in Grand Forks.

Sherry Lawdermilt, ’20, has been selected to serve Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, Tenn., as associate vice president and chief information officer.

Andrew Samuel, ’20, is a multimedia communications specialist with the city of Stafford, Texas.

Shane Schellpfeffer, ’20, was named UND’s Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation.


Turki Ali Alrashid, ’21, is an assistant professor at the Institute of Public Administration in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudia Arabia.

Kendall Brekken, ’21, is marketing and communications lead at the North Dakota Autism Center in Fargo.

Christian Forsberg, ’21, ’22, is an embedded software engineering manager at Northrop Grumman in Baltimore, Md.

Garett Maag, ’21, has signed with the Minnesota Vikings. Maag was a wide receiver at UND.

Hunter Pinke, ’21, spoke at UND’s Delta Gamma Lectureship in April. Pinke, who attends Arizona State University, played football at UND before suffering a spinal cord injury.


Hannah Freese, ’22, is coach and owner of North Dakota Cheer Tech in Grand Forks. Two of her teams recently competed in an invite-only national competition.

Danielle Tretbar, ’22, is a physician assistant specializing in family medicine at Sanford Health in Park Rapids, Minn.

Priscila Ulloa, ’22, is an associate attorney on SW&L’s family law team in Fargo.


LEE, ’70

“Mellow out, Robyn!”

That was the message from the bandmates of Robyn Lee, ’70, when he got overly intense arranging music. Robyn played the organ and the flute in a band that accompanied Olivia Newton-John on tour from 1974-76.

Shortly after Robyn and the band explained how the word was used in the U.S., Newton-John’s English music producer John Farrar wrote “Have You Never Been Mellow,” which hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Robyn played the flute on national television when Newton-John performed the song on “The Midnight Special” in 1975.

Music wasn’t how Robyn thought he’d fill his workdays. After graduating from UND with a teaching degree, he moved to Minneapolis and sought a job in education. Instead, he got “bit by the music bug.”

Robyn joined a band and when an unknown singer from Down Under came to the U.S. in need of an organist, her people contacted Robyn. He turned them down. He hadn’t heard of Olivia Newton-John and was unwilling to leave his band. Eventually, the entire band got hired. After one all-night practice, the band headed to the University of South Dakota for what they assumed would be their only gig. Instead, it was the first of many.

“I’m from Leeds, North Dakota. If I played in front of 100 people, I was lucky. With Olivia, we played in front of 54,000 at the Houston Astrodome. We played at the Hollywood Bowl in L.A., the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, at Radio City Music Hall in New York.”

One of the most fun concerts was at the Chester Fritz Auditorium in the spring of ’74. After touring with Newton-John for two and a half years, she cut back on her roadwork to film the movie “Grease” and the band found other work.

Back in the Twin Cities, Robyn went into real estate and construction, and played with a house band where he had regular gigs. He married and had three children.

“Every day of my life, I leaned on my UND education,” Robyn said. “The classes I took, the interaction with all the different ideas and minds; it was tremendous. My eyes were opened!”

Through everything, Robyn said, “Music has been a thread that has held my whole life together. It’s given me an immense group of friends and my family.” \\\

42 UNDalumni.org/magazine ALUMNI IN ACTION
Robyn, far left, is pictured with Olivia Newton-John and the band.


The UND Alumni Association & Foundation’s Board of Directors is composed of true philanthropists who’ve given their time, talent, and treasure to the University of North Dakota. They are elected every three years and serve a maximum of three terms.


Founder and CEO, Fenworks

“My favorite memory at UND was our first-ever esports tournament held at the Wellness Center,” said Kaleb, who helped with the logistics. Students made friends, exercised and gamed all in the same day, he said. Today, he provides a similar opportunity for younger students. Fenworks offers after-school programs for K-12 students to learn about esports and drones.

CHRIS COOPER, ’05, ’08

Director of Regulatory Affairs, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)

“Serving as a UND tour guide and camp counselor provided great memories of meeting prospective students,” said Chris. He credits the educational, extra-curricular and leadership opportunities at UND with providing the confidence to be successful. Chris uses those skills every day, developing aviation regulatory and operational policy to advocate for APOA’s 300,000 members.


President and CEO, Butler Machinery

North Dakota hockey games and meeting her future husband were UND highlights for Twylah, the third-generation owner of Butler Machinery. Education and lifelong learning are core values Twylah learned growing up and are part of the business.

“I firmly believe in developing young individuals to unlock their full potential and prepare them to become future leaders and catalysts for positive change,” she said.

From the board

Inspired! After being on campus to see University of North Dakota graduates cross the stage to receive their degrees, that is how so many of us feel. These students have accomplished so much and have so many great things ahead of them. UND has provided the foundation for success, and it’s going to be great to watch.

That inspiration drives the UND Alumni Association & Foundation (UNDAAF) as we strive to create long-term impacts to build an even better University.

I am inspired to take the helm of a fantastic group of leaders as the new chair of your UNDAAF Board of Directors. These wonderful alumni are ready to roll up their sleeves and work together to provide opportunities for faculty, students and the UND Community. Together, working with DeAnna Carlson Zink and her awesome team, the UNDAAF is charging full steam ahead.

There are so many ways to share the inspiration and help create an even better UND experience for students. We can all give back to the university that created such great foundations for all of us. From attending an alumni event to recruiting a new student to giving monetarily through the Foundation, each action helps create a longlasting impact. Because at UND, today’s actions create tomorrow’s results.

Join me in giving back!

I am looking forward to working with all of you over the next two years as your UNDAAF Board Chair.

43 UNDalumni.org/magazine
These directors began their term on July 1:

Dr. Erin Haugen, ’01, ’03, ’06, received the Jack Weakly Award for Lifetime Distinguished Service for her outstanding contributions to the sports medicine field. She accepted the award at the annual Athletic Training Association’s National Convention in Indianapolis in mid-June.

The first mental health professional to receive the award, Erin said she is “shocked and honored.” She credited the athletic trainers she works with. “It’s a team award,” she said.

A Grand Forks sports psychologist, Erin sees individual patients and serves as the director of continuing education and training at Assessment and Therapy Associates of Grand Forks (ATAGF) PLLC and is founder and CEO of Haugen Performance Consulting PLLC. She is also an adjunct faculty member in the UND Department of Psychology.

“The award is virtually impossible to receive,” said Chuck Welke, an ATAGF colleague. “It has not been awarded in over five years, and has never gone to a mental health professional.”



ERIN HAUGEN, ’01, ’03, ’06


Road to Sports Psychology

Erin has been a licensed psychologist since 2007. Early in her career, she received many referrals for student-athletes dealing with mental health and performancerelated concerns. “I realized pretty quickly the performance psychology piece was missing.”

In 2010, Erin presented about mindfulness to a group of athletic trainers. “I was able to help the trainers understand that they were navigating a huge mental health performance psychology piece.”

That presentation motivated Erin to add another credential, Certified Mental Performance Consultant, to her already impressive resume.

Mental Health Milestones

During her years working in the field, Erin has witnessed a shift in the public perception of mental health. A milestone was the NCAA’s 2014 publication of Mental Health Best Practices. And every time a prominent athlete shares their story, she said, it decreases the stigma.

“I would love to get to the point where we see mental health and physical health as just health,” she said.

To that end, Erin educates athletic trainers and sports medicine professionals about mental health by speaking at conferences and is writing a book on the topic. She’s on campus weekly to share her mental

health and sports performance expertise with student-athletes and UND Athletic Department coaches, staff and administrators.

In her consulting business, she treats all levels of athletes, works with athletic and sports medicine departments, and consults with teams, organizations and professionals.

“Mental health and performance concerns are part of the athletic experience,” Erin said. “That mental part, that performance psychology part – that piece really starts to separate people at the top.”

A Sporty Nerd

Erin described herself as a “sporty nerd;” a triathlete who recently took up gravel biking. “It’s fun to practice and use some of the skills I encourage athletes to use. It helps me problem-solve the different obstacles that they might run into.”

And while she enjoys clearing those hurdles with athletes, Erin focuses much of her time on athletic trainers. “I am passionate about doing everything I can to help athletic trainers thrive in their roles because they are often the first point of contact for mental health concerns for student-athletes,” she said.


Ian Geller, ’23, is a GIS technician at Ackerman Estvold’s Minot, N.D., office.

Tyler Kleven, ’23, is a defenseman for the Ottawa Senators professional hockey team.

Ben Reznicek, ’23, founded RezBats, a South Dakota company that makes training bats often used by professional baseball players.

44 UNDalumni.org/magazine


Through our premier travel partner Go Next, we are excited to offer these exclusive travel opportunities to alumni and friends in 2024. Book your next getaway today by visiting UNDalumni.org/travel.

May 15-25, 2024

Marvelous Mediterranean

Hosted by Sarah & Tom Prout

July 13-23, 2024

North Sea Escapade

Hosted by Jeff & Jodi Dodson

September 11-21, 2024

Courtyard & Colonnades

Hosted by Steve & Desilee Brekke

September 12-21, 2024

Delightful Douro with Lisbon

Hosted by DeAnna Carlson Zink & Wayne Zink


Did you get married, have a baby, get a new pet, meet up with classmates, or travel somewhere great? Share it with your UND family. Send a high-resolution photo to AlumniMag@UNDalumni.net to be included in the next UND Alumni Magazine.

46 UNDalumni.org/magazine
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

1. Katherine Moore, ’17, and Steve Almer, ’19, met at UND in 2014. They will marry in October.

2. Ashley Davis, ’07, and Kevin Baggett were married on Jan. 21, 2023. The Baggetts live in Peachtree City, Ga. Ashley is a NICU and adult oncology nurse, and Kevin is a Peachtree City fire chief.

3. Bernie Berntson, ’61, an avid UND Hockey fan, was thrilled to meet Kelly DeRidder, the aunt of UND Hockey goalie, Drew DeRidder, at a game this past season.

4. Pat (O’Brien) Henry, ’67, ’68, is pictured outside the newly named Henry Family Ballroom in the Memorial Union. Pat’s husband, Gordon Henry, ’66, ’70, served UND from 1965 to 1998, retiring as vice president for student affairs. Gordon’s parents, Arline and Howard Henry, ’33, were also UND supporters.

5. Brandon ’11, and Renae (Slater) Heider, ’11, ’19, welcomed Chloe on Dec. 9, 2022.

6. Shae (Samuelson) Carlson, ’11, and Justin Carlson welcomed their son, Henrik Alvin Carlson.

7. Amanda Scurry, ’99, ’01, met Amy Ross, ’06, a NASA space suit designer, at a Women in Space event at the Space Museum and Grissom Center in Bonne Terry, Mo.

8. Scott Seglem, ’09, and his wife, Kelly, celebrated the birth of Lena Marie Seglem on March 30, 2023.

9. Zachariah Palmer, ’23, celebrated earning his degree in Mechanical Engineering with his grandmother, Muriel (Behl) Folson, ..’51. Muriel, who worked for years as a secretary in the UND College of Engineering & Mines, died in May. All four of her daughters, including Zach’s mother, Laurel (Folson) Palmer, ’88, were UND graduates. Zack works at Collins Aerospace in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

10. Tyler Graybill, ’10, is married to Sarah Graybill, sister of Nathan Bush, ’11. They have four kids: Esme (7), Madeline (5), Isaac (2) and Josiah (born March 2) and live outside of Chicago. Tyler is an Executive Jet Management captain.

11. Alpha Phi alumnae gathered at UND Night at Target Field on June 20.

12. David McCallum, ’16, and his wife Darbie (Claus) McCallum, ’15, welcomed Dollia Jo in December. They live in Enderlin, N.D., with big sisters Doriana (7), and twins Doretta and Dalayna (3).

13. Sarah (Jackson), ’17, and Lukas Drayna, ’18, were married on Oct. 7, 2022, in the Twin Cities. UND alumni attending included the bride’s mother, grandmother and two brothers: Kathy (Hentges) Jackson, ’83, Lynn (Graham) Hentges, ’59, Tony Jackson, ’19, and Jake Jackson, ’19. The UND Hockey goal scoring song, “Chelsea Dagger,” played while taking this picture.

14. Lisa Nydahl, ’85, a Delta A350 Captain, and Leigh Meyers, ’93, Delta A350 First Officer, stopped for a photo op before flying together from Incheon, Korea, to Minneapolis in March 2023.

15. Daphne, the dog of UNDAAF administrative assistant Barb (Cooper) Vigen, ’95, shows off her UND bandana.

47 UNDalumni.org/magazine
10 11 12 13 14 15

Bruce A. Sanford, ..’79

Grand Forks


Steve M. Agnes, ..’80


Bernard C. Brandon, Jr., ..’80

Mesa, Ariz.

Karen (Nelson) Brayton, ..’80


Ann K. Burgess, ..’80

Cavalier, N.D.

Mary Kay (Christensen) Klein, ’80

Cass Lake, Minn.

William J. Vaudrin, ..’80

Crookston, Minn.

Arlyne (Robinson) Forsberg, ’81

Thief River Falls, Minn.

Michele R. Jenkins, ’81

Newhall, Calif.

Scott M. Lyche, ’82

Spring, Texas

Kay S. McCarthy, ’82

Colby, Kans.

Robert V. Mihulka, ’82

Maple Grove, Minn.

Todd C. Neumann, ’85

Seattle, Wash.

Michael J. Rathke, ’85

Rochester, Minn.

Ruth A. Coleman, ’86


Keith E. Hardt, ’86

Bemidji, Minn.

Lois (Dunnigan) Jackson, ’86

Rapid City, S.D.

Daniel J. Molden, ’86

Miami, Fla.

Christopher E. Fleege, ’87

Duluth, Minn.

Lavonne (Sjule) Johnson, ’87

Fergus Falls, Minn.

Michael T. Kirby, ’88

Mankato, Minn.


Laura (McDonald) Flynn, ’92, ’97, ’00

Grand Forks

Nicole (Johnson) Jagodinski, ’92

Andover, Minn.

G. David Porter, ’92

Grand Forks

Dennis J. Loff, ’93

Grand Forks

Linda (Nelson) Sund, ’95

Grand Forks


Stacy L. Erickson, ’01, ’04 Ardoch, N.D.

George Drago, ..’02

Tacoma, Wash.

Jared B. Johnson, ’02

Los Angeles, Calif.

Deborah A. Fisher, ’07

Riverside, Wash.

Matthew E. Avramis, ’09

Plymouth, Minn.

Jean L. Lengowski, ’09

Omaha, Neb.


Travis J. Hoovestol, ’20

Flagstaff, Ariz.

Faculty & Staff

Judson L. Crow, MD Fargo

Sonja S. Ganyo

Grand Forks

Tamar C. Read

Ruston, La.

Ann M. Yurcisin

Johnstown, Pa.

give like Grace

1,000. That’s the number of scholarships made possible by the generosity of Grace Bowen.

Grace (class of 1917) created the Grace Bowen Endowment in 1996 to provide scholarships for hard-working, high-achieving North Dakotans. That first year, one student received the Grace Bowen Scholarship.

Grace wanted to do more.

Before she died in 1998, she left a gift to UND in her will. Today, Grace Bowen’s endowment provides scholarships for 50 students every year. Her legacy lives on in the impact these students go on to make in the world.

1,000 scholarships 50 students per year 1 generous heart

To give like Grace, contact: giftplanning@UNDfoundation.org |


Gift planning can be easy. Simply name the UND Foundation in your will and let us know by filling out a gift intention form.

“Scholarships allowed me to become the first person in my family to complete a bachelor’s degree. They opened doors to me that I did not know existed for someone from my background, and ultimately took me to places beyond my wildest dreams.”

Brielle Van Orman, ’19

Current Ph.D. in chemistry student at the University of California, Riverside with a focus on Alzheimer’s Disease research

49 UNDalumni.org/magazine


The UND Alumni Association & Foundation sincerely thanks all alumni and friends who have made gifts and commitments to support students, faculty, programs, and places at UND.

The following donors reached a new giving circle in the Eternal Flame Society between April 1, 2023 and June 30, 2023. *indicates deceased


$100,000 - $499,999

John B. Buchwitz

Sara Garland & Kim Uhl

Petro Serve USA

Lawrence E. Summerfield*

Kathryn E. Uhrich & Jeffrey D. Holmes


$10,000 - $99,999

John & Mary Ann* Anthony

Joseph & Maureen Banavige

Bully Brew Coffee House

Susan Tharinger Cahill

Endeavor Air, Inc.

Freedom Forum

Brian & Necole Johnson

Jesse & Tamara Kirchmeier

Dr. James F. Knutson

Joni & Mike McEnroe

Patrick McGrath

Doug Mattson & Penny Miller

Terrence & Susan Mulligan

Petro-Hunt, LLC

Rock Flow Dynamics

Paul M. Sailer

Donovan R. Tschider

United Airlines

Dr. Robert & Barbara Veitch

Michael G. Wastvedt

James M. Wehmann

Wings Insurance


The 1889 Legacy Society honors alumni and friends who have made a commitment for the future support of the University of North Dakota with estate, planned, or deferred gifts through the UND Foundation.

E. Dean & David M. Schroeder Trust

Michael Grandall

M. Brian Hartz, M.D.

Shane Hersch

Joseph F. Nemec

W. Brian & Susan Poykko

Steve & Robin Turner



How many people can claim that their first UND hockey game at Ralph Engelstad Arena was enjoyed from the comforts of their very own suite?

Dan Bauer holds that bragging right as a longtime fan and supporter of UND Athletics. When the arena was under construction, he joined the waitlist to purchase a suite. He secured a spot and has been enjoying the suite life ever since.

Dan sees this as a reward for the sweet journey of hard work to grow his beekeeping business, Bauer Honey, in Fertile, Minnesota. Beekeeping has been in the Bauer family since the 1950s when Dale Bauer, Dan’s father, moved to Fertile and purchased a local beekeeper’s operation.

Dan spent most of his life working alongside his father. Shortly after his father passed away in 2017, the family sold the original business. A few years later, Dan revived the Bauer Honey name by starting a new company. He now manages over 3,600 beehives, transporting them between Minnesota and Texas to navigate the seasons.

Dan’s passion for UND Athletics has also grown. The proud Champions Club member started the Bauer Family Scholarship Endowment to support student-athletes. “Not everybody has the means to go to school, so if I can help somebody in any way, I would like to,” Dan said.

Although Dan did not attend UND, he feels compelled to support the University that has brought him so much joy as a fan. This is his way of giving back. He remembers how a Fertile supermarket supported his father, providing him with groceries as he worked to achieve success with his beekeeping business.

He hopes to carry on the legacy his father started and pass it down to his children, Isaiah, a recent UND graduate, and Dominic, who is interested in attending UND after high school. Both help on the bee farm, and that makes Dan proud.

For more information about the Eternal Flame Society, visit go.UNDalumni.org/eternal-flame.

“You want to give the next generation more than you had, and that’s what I want for my sons. That’s the reason I keep thriving forward.”

50 UNDalumni.org/magazine
51 UNDalumni.org/magazine Kevin Pifer UND Alumni - Class ‘81 kpifer@pifers.com 701.238.5810 Bob Pifer Grand Forks Broker bob@pifers.com 701.371.8538 Jack Pifer UND Alumni - Class 21’ jack@pifers.com 701.261.4762 Pat Traynor UND Alumni - Class 20’ ptraynor@pifers.com 701.371.8679 Pifer’s strives to provide you with the best buying and selling experience possible! SIOUX FALLS, SD BISMARCK ND JANESVILLE, WI EAU CLAIRE, WI GRAND FORKS, ND MOORHEAD, MN (Corporate O ce) STEELE, ND BOWMAN, ND ND SD MN WI BOZEMAN, MT MT AZ GOLD CANYON, AZ LINCOLN, NE NE 877.700.4099 www.pifers.com 1506 29th Ave. S Moorhead, MN 56560 997 47th Ave. S, Unit #3 Grand Forks, ND 58201 “One of America’s Top Brokerage & Auction Companies” - Land Report Magazine Licensed in ND, SD, MN, MT, WI, NE & AZ EQUIPMENT AUCTIONS LAND MANAGEMENT COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL LAND AUCTIONS LAND SALES 10395 E Trailhead Ct. Gold Canyon, AZ 85118 Your Land, Equipment, Land Management & Real Estate Experts in the Midwest & Arizona! AMERICA’S LAND AUCTIONEER RADIO SHOW KFYR • BISMARCK, ND | WDAY & THE FLAG • FARGO, ND THE FLAG WEST • TIOGA, ND | APPLE PODCASTS | SPOTIFY TUNEIN EVERYSATURDAY AT7:00AM!

You’re invited:


Friday, October 6 | 1:30 p.m. | UND Memorial Union

Join us on campus for a special announcement that will change the trajectory of the University of North Dakota and declare a new era for our beloved alma mater.
See page 28 for more Homecoming events.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.