U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to give main address at UND spring general commencement
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will give the main address at UND’s general commencement on Saturday, May 15, at 1:30 p.m. in the Alerus Center. About 1,600 students, including law and medical in separate events, are eligible to cross the stage when UND President Robert O. Kelley presides over his second spring commencement ceremonies. UND annually graduates a total of about 2,700 students in ceremonies in May, August, and December.
"We are extremely pleased that Secretary Janet Napolitano will deliver the commencement address at the University of North Dakota this May,” said President Kelley. “This is an ideal fit for us, given our rapidly growing expertise and programming in Unmanned Aerial Systems and our strong working relationship with the Grand Forks Air Force Base and the U.S. Border Patrol.”
“We thank Senators Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan and Representative Earl Pomeroy for their efforts to secure Secretary Napolitano as our speaker,” Kelley said. “We look forward to having her on campus and to showing her firsthand the important work we are doing that connects to her Department of Homeland Security.”
In addition to the general spring commencement, the UND School of Law will hold its spring commencement ceremony Saturday, May 8, at 10 a.m. in the Chester Fritz Auditorium. Justice Mary Maring of the North Dakota Supreme Court, a 1975 graduate of the UND School of Law, is the speaker.
The UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences holds its spring commencement Sunday, May 16, at 2:30 p.m. at the Chester Fritz Auditorium. Dr. Norman Byers, UND clinical associate professor of surgery and an Altru Health System ophthalmologist, is the speaker.
At the general ceremony, UND will confer an honorary Doctor of Letters on UND alum and Gwinner, N.D., native Howard Dahl. UND also will award its highest honor for faculty—the Chester Fritz Distinguished Professorship—to Holly Brown-Borg, associate professor, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Dept. of Pharmacology, Phsysiology and Therapeutics; Birgit Hans, professor and chair, UND Department of Indian Studies; and Mary Ann Sens, professor and chair, UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences Dept. of Pathology.
U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano
Janet Napolitano was sworn in on January 21, 2009, as the third Secretary of Homeland Security. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Napolitano was midway through her second term as Governor of Arizona. While Governor, Napolitano became the first woman to chair the National Governors Association, where she was instrumental in creating the Public Safety Task Force and the Homeland Security Advisors Council. She also chaired the Western Governors Association. Napolitano previously served as the Attorney General of Arizona and the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona.
Napolitano's homeland security background is extensive. As U.S. Attorney, she helped lead the domestic terrorism investigation into the April 1995 bombing of the Alfrerd Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. As Arizona Attorney General, she helped write the law to break up human smuggling rings. As Governor, she implemented one of the first state homeland security strategies in the nation, opened the first state counter-terrorism center and spearheaded efforts to transform immigration enforcement.
Napolitano also has pioneered the coordination of federal, state, local and bi-national homeland security efforts and presided over large-scale disaster relief efforts and readiness exercises to ensure well-crafted and functional emergency plans.
Napolitano graduated from Santa Clara University in 1979, where she won a Truman Scholarship, and received her Juris Doctor (J.D.) in 1983 from the University of Virginia School of Law. After law school she served as a law clerk for Judge Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit before joining the law firm of Lewis and Roca.
UND will confer an honorary Doctor of Letters degree on Howard Dahl, a native North Dakotan and internationally known businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Dahl will join the ranks of more than 200 recipients, including President John F. Kennedy, famed heart surgeon Michael DeBakey, philosopher Mortimer Adler, and basketball legend and UND alum Phil Jackson.
Howard Dahl, born and raised in Gwinner, N.D., is the founder and entrepreneur leader of Amity Technology, a leading Fargo-based manufacturer and exporter of sugar beet equipment. He graduated from UND in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science in business administration. Upon graduation, he joined the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ at the University of Georgia where he met and married his wife, Ann, in 1972. He and Ann then led the ministry at the University of Florida for three years. Later, Dahl got a Master of Arts in religion at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill.
Dahl was among the first American entrepreneurs to travel to Russia in 1992 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Dahl’s company—Amity Technology—still is doing business there, one of the few foreign companies to survive and thrive through Russia’s post-collapse economic turmoil. Exports to Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, northern China, and Azerbaijan totaled more than $30 million in sales in 2007, about 40 percent of revenue at Amity and its two sister companies.
Dahl serves on the board of the Russian-American Christian University and the board of regents for Trinity International University.
UND held its first commencement on June 14, 1889—the same year North Dakota became a state. Six women and two men received diplomas during a ceremony filled with oratory and reflection on the University's beginnings. In 1909 UND presented its first honorary degree, a Doctor of Laws, to Webster Merrifield, who served the University for 25 years, including 18 as its third president.
Honorary degrees have long been awarded by institutions of higher learning to recognize lives of achievement. Honorary degrees from UND particularly recognize those with an association with the University or with the state and region.