|Sherry O'Donnell to give summer commencement address|
Nearly 600 students are eligible to cross the stage when the University celebrates its summer commencement at 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4, at the Chester Fritz Auditorium. President Charles Kupchella will preside at the ceremony, and Sherry O'Donnell, UND professor and department chair of English, will be the commencement speaker.
A native of Decatur County, Iowa, Dr. O'Donnell received her B.A. in English from Marycrest College in Davenport, Iowa; her M.A. in English from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio; and her Ph.D. in English from the University of Arizona in Tucson. She taught at Dayton Community College and at New Mexico State University before joining the UND faculty in l979.
O'Donnell has taught more than 150 undergraduate and graduate courses in British literature, literary theory, and women studies at UND. She regularly hears from former students who are using their English degrees to work in business, the arts, non-profit organizations, public relations, medicine, law, education, publishing, and haute cuisine. A few of O'Donnell's students have followed her interest in the discourse of agriculture and the effects of current economic crises upon rural life. One of her recent talks, "Don't Wait Till Your Funeral to Order Our Buns: The Social Semiotics of a Small-Town Bakery," explores how and why rural people used a commercial bakery to transform authoritarian church, school and family systems to suit their own more democratic purposes.
O'Donnell and Virgil Benoit, a UND French professor, live on a farm near Red Lake Falls, Minn., where she keeps a flock of natural colored sheep. She markets the wool to handspinners and weavers, and sells grass-fed lamb and breeding stock to other growers in the region.