|William 'Bill' Marcil to deliver commencement addresses, receive honorary doctorate|
William "Bill" Marcil, CEO of Forum Communications and a University of North Dakota alumnus, will deliver commencement addresses at both the undergraduate and graduate winter commencement exercises set for Dec. 19, at his alma mater.
Marcil also will receive an honorary degree from UND for his long, distinguished career in the fields publishing, media and journalism.
The undergraduate commencement ceremony is set for 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19, at the Chester Fritz Auditorium. The Graduate School will hold its graduation event at 10 a.m. the same day, also at the Chester Fritz Auditorium. The ceremony will be broadcast live on Grand Forks area Cable Channel 3, as well as Web-streamed. The Internet video feed will be available on the UND home page, www.und.edu beginning 30 minutes before each ceremony, as will the program on Channel 3.
The video of the ceremonies will be archived, allowing online viewers to watch it later, and will also be rebroadcast on Grand Forks area Cable Channel 3, from Dec. 23 to Dec. 26, each at noon, 8 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.
The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education approved the Honorary Doctorate of Letters degree for Marcil last month. President Robert Kelley will confer the honorary degree on Marcil during the 10 a.m. commencement ceremony, and it also will be acknowledged during the 2 p.m. event.
There have been more than 200 UND honorary degree recipients over the last 99 years, including President John F. Kennedy in 1963, Crown Prince Olav of Norway in 1939, 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.
Marcil will join other notable recent honorary degree recipients from UND including Phil Jackson, legendary National Basketball Association coach of the L.A. Lakers and former coach of the Chicago Bulls (August 2008); U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer (May 2008); Jean Kiesau, a long-time Grand Forks business and community leader who was president of Home of Economy (May 2008); and Steinar Opstad, an international communication, business and education expert known as UND's greatest ambassador in Europe (August 2008).
The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education will be represented at the graduation ceremonies by Grand Forks' own Duaine Espegard.
A native of Rolette, N.D., Marcil graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in business administration in 1958. He started a career in newspapers in 1961, when he joined The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead as a retail advertising salesman. He would move up within The Forum organization, holding positions, such as classified advertising manager, promotion director, production manager and assistant to the publisher.
In 1969, Marcil was named president of The Forum Publishing Co., and publisher of the newspaper upon the death of his father-in-law, Norman D. Black Jr. The move made Marcil a fourth generation family owner of the newspaper. He was 33 at the time and had experience in every department of the newspaper except editorial.
Under Marcil's 37 years of leadership, the company has experienced significant growth and change. Marcil formed Forum Communications Co., adding news and printing operations in four states: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. In 1997, Marcil joined the news gathering powers of The Forum newspaper with WDAY Television on the Web, creating online synergies and collaboration between two once fierce competitors in the news business. The move was hailed as ground-breaking and innovative in the region and has proved to be a successful partnership. More recently in 2006, Forum Communications acquired the Grand Forks Herald, the Duluth News Tribune, The Daily Telegram in Superior, Wis., and weekly newspapers in Cloquet, Minn. and Two Harbors, Minn. Today, the company owns 35 newspapers, seven commercial printers, two interactive Web sites, and is the licensee of television stations in North Dakota's four largest cities. It is the third-largest media company in Minnesota and the largest in North Dakota, employing about 2,200 people.
Marcil served as chair of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce from 1994 to 1995, helping to promote the chamber's "grassroots communication program" for effectively lobbying support from the federal government.
Marcil also has been committed to building a strong future for North Dakota and helping to advance economic development in the state. He has chaired both the Greater North Dakota Association and the North Dakota Vision 2000 Committee. In 1990, he received the Greater North Dakotan Award from the Greater North Dakota Association for his outstanding business leadership. That same year, he received the Sioux Award, the highest honor given by the UND Alumni Association.
In 1992, Marcil was presented with the North Dakota National Leadership Award of Excellence by the State of North Dakota.
Marcil was inducted into to the North Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame by the North Dakota Newspaper Association, and a year later, he became the 35th North Dakotan honored with the Theodore Roosevelt Roughrider Award, the states' highest honor of life achievement.