Party like it’s 1883

Annual Founders Day banquet honors faculty and staff for teaching, research and service

Daphne Pedersen

University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott presents the UND Foundation/B.C. Gamble Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research or Creative Activity, and Service to
Daphne Pedersen (Sociology) at the 2018 Founders Day celebration on Feb. 22. Photo by Jackie Lorentz/UND Today.

It began 135 years ago, six years before North Dakota became a state.

Tom DiLorenzo

UND Provost Tom DiLorenzo

The Dakota Territorial Legislature established the University of North Dakota in 1883, marking the first time “North Dakota” officially appeared in print.

That was courageous and fearless, said Provost Thomas DiLorenzo as he opened the annual Founders Day banquet Thursday evening.

“Since that time, the University of North Dakota has educated generations of students,” DiLorenzo said. “Our dedicated faculty and staff make that possible as we celebrate the founding of our University.”

Founders Day, held annually since 1904, celebrates faculty and staff with 25 years of service as well as new retirees, and awards faculty and departments for teaching, research and service.

More than 100 retirees were honored, along with 29 faculty and staff members who have served UND for 25 years. A highlight of the program was the annual presentation of faculty and departmental awards.

UND family

“What a family you have at UND!” said special guest Mark Hagerott, chancellor of the North Dakota University System, who traveled to campus after the State Board of Higher Education meeting in Bismarck. “It’s really wonderful. Your work is so important to the state.”

Hagerott said he hears about UND’s work from Washington, D.C. to the Silicon Valley and everywhere between.

UND and NDSU are bedrocks of a transformational engine, he said, adding that the Governor’s Task Force for Higher Education, the State Board of Higher Education, he and others  are grappling with ways to better help UND prepare the  next generation to adapt to change and prepare for the future.

“Your work forms a chain that goes around the state of North Dakota, the nation and the world,” he said, thanking faculty and staff for their work.

“What makes the University of North Dakota great are the people who work here,” said Joshua Wynne, vice president for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine & Health Sciences as he introduced retirees. The School also won three of the awards.

“More than 100 retirees dedicated almost 3,000 years of effort to UND,” Wynne said. “That’s what makes the University great – our people.”

“I fell in love with UND when I was 18,” said Cara Halgren, vice president for student affairs and diversity, who recognized faculty and staff with 25 years of services. “I came here because of the wonderful faculty and staff who invested their time and talent in me. Tonight we are here because of your support for the University and students.”

UND Marketing Department

Research is much more than publishing, says Connie Bateman (above left), chair of the UND Marketing Department, receiving a departmental research excellence award from University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott (left) at Founders Day 2018 on Feb. 22. Photo by Jackie Lorentz/UND Today.

Celebrating quality 

The highlight of the evening was the announcement of 10 awards that recognize faculty and departments for helping UND succeed in its focus of teaching, research and service. They are funded by the UND Alumni Association & Foundation.

The presentation of a Founders Day award is a major distinction, as exemplified by three of the winners.

Daphne Pedersen, professor of sociology, was honored for her teaching, research and service.

“I’m honored and humbled, and really lucky to be at UND,” Pedersen said. “It’s nice to be at a university that values teaching and research.” Pedersen has worked with graduate and undergraduate students to study health and stress among students. She serves in leadership roles with Alpha Kappa Delta, the international honor society of sociology, and also runs regional teaching and learning workshops for new teachers and graduate students.

“I work with fantastic students, especially in the sociology capstone class,” Pedersen said. “They do phenomenal projects, and it’s exciting to work with students on the cusp of their careers.”

Research is much more than publishing, said Connie Bateman, chair of the marketing department, which received the departmental research excellence award.

“Research elevates the classroom experience and public service outcomes,” Bateman said.  “We are a small and mighty research productive faculty, but this is a team win. Even though this award honors research-productive faculty, we couldn’t do it without amazing instructors and adjuncts to make it all work.”

The department boasts an impressive publication record in the highest top tier journals valued by R01 ranked research universities, and contributes to UND and COBPA Learning, Discovery, and Engagement strategic goals.  Bateman said the department is highly engaged with professional organizations in research-related service, and engages students in research skills and experiential learning, a high-impact practice, adding that faculty are often tapped for media interviews for their expertise.

Crystal Alberts follows her passions, and received the award for outstanding faculty development and service for her work with the Writers Conference and UND 1stG, the UND first-generation project, which serves the more than 1,700 first-generation college students on campus. It’s grown from a college coffee and conversation initiative to a University Life class and a special new student registration day.

“I was a first generation student, and I would never have made it without support,” said Alberts, associate professor of English and director of the UND Writers Conference.

“I teach and publish in contemporary American literature and am a firm believer in open access to the arts. I want to cross the town-and-gown divide, and continue the tradition of giving back.”