|President Kelley takes part in first commencement|
President Robert O. Kelley will take part in his first commencement exercise as president of the University at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 1, at the Chester Fritz Auditorium.
About 500 candidates for degrees are eligible to participate in this summer's commencement. Typically, between 50 percent and 60 percent of eligible candidates participate in the summer ceremony.
Kelley will be joined by Norway's Steinar Opstad, an international communication, business and education expert known as UND's greatest ambassador in Europe. Opstad is scheduled to deliver the commencement address, as well as receive an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from UND, his favorite American university.
Opstad joins the ranks of more than 200 UND honorary degree recipients over the last 99 years, including Crown Prince Olav of Norway in 1939, President John F. Kennedy in 1963, journalist Eric Sevareid in 1970, philosopher Mortimer Adler in 1983 and famed cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Michael E. DeBakey in 1990. UND presented its first honorary degree in 1909 to Webster Merrifield who served the University for 25 years, including 18 as its third president.
In 1991, Opstad founded the American College of Norway, which is UND's sister college in that country. More than 1,000 Norwegian and American students and 20 faculty members have taken part in the educational exchange opportunity made possible by Opstad.
Opstad has been a lecturer at UND several times, most often, on communications, business and peace studies. He's been an active participant in the "Nordic Initiative," which has brought 88 delegations and prominent leaders from Norway to America. Many of those connections with UND and Grand Forks were personally sparked by Opstad.
He is trained in pedagogy (science of teaching), sociology and business with bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism and communication from the University of Oslo. He received a Ph.D. in communication technology in 1984 from Columbia University in New York.
Early in his career, he was a journalist, editor and publisher with the Norwegian Broadcasting Company, as well as vice president of Fred Olsen & Co., which did shipping for Timex Corp. He's known for his efforts to bring Internet access and other communication technologies to parts of Asia and other places around the world that were lacking such services. He's also a prolific author of books and pieces on communication, business and education, as well as some fictional works.
Opstad currently lives with his wife, Gudveig, near Sarpsborg, which is Grand Forks' newest sister city. The sister-city designation with Grand Forks was Opstad's idea. A highlight of that relationship took place when more than 100 students from Grand Forks Red River High School marched in the Norwegian Constitution Day parade in Sarpsborg on May 17, 2007. Opstad also was named an "honorary" citizen of Grand Forks.
Kelley, who officially began his duties UND president on July 1, also will be joined at the summer commencement by Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology Jon Jackson, who currently is the North Dakota University System faculty representative on the State Board of Higher Education. The NDUS Council of College Faculties (CCF) elected Jackson faculty advisor to the state board for a one-year term beginning July 1.
Jackson is in his 11th year as a faculty member at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He has served two terms on the CCF and currently is president of the University Senate.
Jackson is the only American anatomist who serves in a leadership capacity with all three major North American anatomical science organizations (American Association of Anatomists, Human Anatomy & Physiology Society and the American Association of Clinical Anatomists). He currently teaches human anatomy to undergraduate, graduate and medical students, as well as courses in scientific writing, responsible conduct of research and the history of science.
Jackson earned bachelor's degrees in chemistry and biology from Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, and master's and doctoral degrees from UND. He did a postdoctoral fellowship in cell biology/biochemistry at Vanderbilt University and served on the medical faculty there before pursuing teaching and business opportunities in the San Francisco area.