First live ceremonies since 2019 will feature Armacost, speaker Mike Jacobs and Marilyn Hagerty
University of North Dakota President Armacost will preside over his first general commencement ceremonies on Friday, Aug. 6, with nearly 500 graduates eligible to cross the stage.
This will be UND’s first live general commencement since December 2019. Commencement ceremonies were moved online with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The graduate degree ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 6, at the Chester Fritz Auditorium, followed by a reception at the new Gershman Graduate Center.
The undergraduate ceremony is set for 3 p.m. that day, also at the Auditorium with a reception at the Gorecki Alumni Center prior to the afternoon ceremony. Both receptions will be hosted by the UND Alumni Association & Foundation.
Mike Jacobs, retired editor of the Grand Forks Herald, will deliver the commencement address at both ceremonies. Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald columnist and reporter, will receive a Doctor of Letters honorary degree at the 3 p.m. ceremony.
UND expects to confer 218 graduate and 257 undergraduate degrees. In addition, all 2020 and spring 2021 graduates have been invited back to campus to participate in the in-person ceremonies. They graduated online during the pandemic.
Mike Jacobs retired from the Grand Forks Herald after 36 years as its state capitol reporter in Bismarck and St. Paul, editorial writer, city editor, managing editor, editor and publisher. He continues to write two weekly columns, one about North Dakota events, mostly political, and one about North Dakota’s bird life. Before joining the Herald in 1978, Jacobs published a “sporadical” called The Onlooker, and also worked for The Forum, the Dickinson Press, The Morning Pioneer of Mandan and the North Dakota Farmers Union. He is the author of three books about the state, the last a history of the Bank of North Dakota.
The Herald won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for its coverage of the 1997 Red River Flood, and Jacobs was named editor of the year by the National Press Foundation. In 2014, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters by the University of North Dakota, his alma mater. The North Dakota Bar Association presented its Liberty Bell Award to him in 2020.
Marilyn Hagerty has been the voice of Grand Forks for more than half a century as a journalist and columnist for the Grand Forks Herald. Throughout that time, Hagerty has earned a reputation as a tireless supporter – a fan of athletics and friend of academics – of the University of North Dakota.
Growing up in Pierre, S.D., Hagerty’s career in journalism started in high school, when she wrote for Pierre’s Capital Journal. While attending the University of South Dakota, Hagerty became editor for the student newspaper, The Volante, where she hired late USA Today founder Al Neuharth as a sports writer. Years later, in 2012, Hagerty was presented the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in the Media by her alma mater, and Neuharth himself.
Hagerty also penned articles for some time at the Aberdeen American News, following her 1948 graduation from USD with a degree in journalism.
Hagerty’s writing career in Grand Forks began shortly after her husband, Jack, became news editor at the Herald in 1957. Over the years, Hagerty held titles including feature writer, education reporter, features editor and columnist.
Three collections of Hagerty’s stories and columns have been published during her decades-long Herald career: Grand Forks: A History of American Dining in 128 Reviews, Echoes; a Selection of Stories and Columns by Marilyn Hagerty and The Best of The Eatbeat with Marilyn Hagerty.
Perhaps most famous for her weekly local and regional restaurant reviews, Hagerty has written as many as 2,000 reviews since her first Eatbeat column in 1976. As former Herald columnist Ryan Bakken noted in 2012, none of her write-ups “caused as much stir” as her matter-of-fact assessment of Grand Forks’ Olive Garden. Her earnest commentary on the national chain restaurant’s menus, décor and amenities set the internet ablaze with what Buzzfeed called “arguably the most viral restaurant review ever written.”
Not long after the review’s publication on March 7, 2012, Hagerty was being interviewed by NBC’s Today Show and reviewed a New York street-vendor hot dog for The New York Times. Her thoughts on Olive Garden, and the raucous social media response, garnered the attention of late chef and TV presenter Anthony Bourdain, who went on to edit and write the foreword to American Dining in 128 Reviews.
“This is a straightforward account of what people have been eating — still ARE eating — in much of America,” Bourdain wrote. “As related by a kind, good-hearted reporter looking to pass along as much useful information as she can — while hurting no one.”
Hagerty has received numerous awards and honors related to her service for the State of North Dakota and beyond, including a Distinguished Service Award from the North Dakota Newspaper Association. Other distinctions, more locally, include her own Girl Scout badge and a Grand Forks lift station named for Hagerty.
Grand Forks bestowed the latter honor with good humor in 2002, after Hagerty had noted UND’s habit of naming buildings after people. She’d be honored to be so honored, Hagerty noted; “but I didn’t want anything big, so I thought a lift station would be good.”
When the UND women’s basketball team unveiled the Marilyn Hagerty Lift Station No. 8 plaque, they did so in front of Hagerty, Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown, the UND dance team and a crowd.
Just as the basketball team once cheered for Hagerty, so has Hagerty herself long been a fan of UND athletics. She’s been quoted as saying there’s “no night too long” when watching women’s and men’s basketball. Cold November days in the stands of Memorial Stadium watching UND football stand out as fond memories, she has said.
Through her work at the Herald, Hagerty has reported on many other aspects of UND’s mission of education and research, from following students through their medical-school careers at the School of Medicine & Health Sciences to interviewing Chinese student pilots at the Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences.
From her time at The Volante in college all the way through her national notoriety, Hagerty has been a staunch supporter and mentor for those pursuing careers in communications and journalism. She established the Marilyn Hagerty Scholarship Endowment at the UND Alumni Association & Foundation to support female athletes and women studying in those fields.
In 2017, Hagerty received a UND Alumni Association & Foundation Spirit Award, and has served as a member of the UND Boosters and on the UND College of Arts & Sciences Advisory Board.