Heart – and hearth – of UND

Founders Day banquet celebrates UND’s 136th anniversary, faculty and staff and the Memorial Union

Celebrating 136 years of UND, this year’s Founders Day honored faculty, staff and the Memorial Union, which will be replaced by a new campus hub. Archival image.

On a cold night during a long winter, a hearth and good company warmed UND’s premier awards event, the annual Founders Day banquet. The Feb. 28 event celebrated the 136th anniversary of UND’s founding and recognized the outstanding service of faculty and staff.

About 250 honorees and guests were welcomed by President Mark Kennedy, who presented more than a dozen awards and recognized retirees and those with 25 years of service to the University.

This 1967 image shows the Memorial Union after then-recent additions to the original construction. Archival image.

The program paid tribute to the Memorial Union, which will be replaced by a new building that is expected to be even more central to campus life.

“The Memorial Union is the heart of campus,” said Cassie Gerhardt, associate dean of students, who addressed the gathering. “It is where the campus community gathers and it is where the campus community learns. The thing I have always appreciated and loved most is that the Memorial Union has always been about the students. It is not the bricks and mortar, it is the people – students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends – who have made the Memorial Union such an important part of this campus community and our UND experiences.”

President Kennedy presented Frank White, associate professor of sociology, the first award of the night for undergraduate teaching excellence. Photo by UND Marketing & Creative Services.

Teaching and research excellence

Frank White, associate professor of sociology, received the first award of the evening for undergraduate teaching excellence.

“What an incredible honor,” White said. “To be nominated by students, validated by your colleagues, and celebrated by family and friends is a truly humbling experience. This award tells me that I’m still connecting with today’s students. I cannot think of a higher honor.”

The Research Institute for Autonomous Systems (RIAS) received the interdisciplinary research collaboration award.

“Our grand capability across multiple colleges and disciplines enables us to push forward on our Grand Challenge,” said Mark Askelson, professor of atmospheric sciences and executive director of RIAS. “Our greatest strength is our people. We are blessed with not only tremendous experts in their fields, but also with people whose character is every bit as great as their skill set. This is an exciting time for UND.”

The Department of Mechanical Engineering, which received the departmental excellence in teaching award, has increased enrollment by more than 60 percent in the last 10 years, and is now the second-largest department on campus and the largest distance-education department, said Will Semke, professor and chair of mechanical engineering.

“Throughout this growth, the department has maintained a high level of hands-on activities and experiential learning opportunities for students,” said Semke. “Our dedicated faculty and staff give students strong support on campus as well as those in distance engineering and our military personnel who are stationed overseas.”

The Research Institute for Autonomous Systems received the interdisciplinary research collaboration award during this year’s Founders Day celebration. Focus area leads for RIAS are left to right: Jason Jensen, Prakash Ranganatha, Jeremiah Neubert and Mark Askelson. Photo by UND Marketing & Creative Services.

And the winners are. . . .

Following are the award winners.

  • The UND Foundation/McDermott Faculty Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
    Frank White, Associate Professor of Sociology
  • The UND Foundation/Lydia & Arthur Saiki Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
    Hsuan-Ying Liu, Director of Chinese Studies Program, Languages
  • The UND Foundation/McDermott Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate or Professional Teaching
    Krista Lynn Minnotte, Professor of Sociology
  • The UND Foundation/Lydia & Arthur Saiki Award for Excellence in Service
    David Schmitz, Professor of Family and Community Medicine
  • The UND Foundation/B.C. Gamble Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research or Creative Activity, and Service
    Othman Ghribi, Professor of Biomedical Sciences
  • The UND Foundation/Robert O. and Marcia B. Kelley Award for Excellence in Collaborative Governance
    Odella Fuqua, Director of Resource Planning and Allocation
  • The UND Award for Departmental Excellence in Teaching
    Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • The UND Foundation/Thomas J. Clifford Faculty Award for Excellence in Research
    Marc Basson, Senior Associate Dean for Medicine and Research at the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS); and Professor of Surgery
  • The UND Foundation/Thomas Clifford Faculty Award for Excellence in Research
    Thomasine Heitkamp, Professor of Nursing
  • The UND Award for Departmental Excellence in Research
    Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC)
  • The UND Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Research or Creative Work Award
    Research Institute for Autonomous Systems (RIAS)

    • RIAS Leads:
      •              Mark Askelson, Professor, Atmospheric Sciences
      •              Jeremiah Neubert, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
      •              Prakash Ranganathan, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, SEEC
      •              Jason Jensen, Professor, Political Science & Public Administration
  • The UND Foundation/Karleen Home Rosaaen Award for Excellence in Academic Advising
    Mojdeh Mardani, Lecturer, Department of Electrical Engineering
  • The VPAA Award for Outstanding Professional Academic Advising
    Tammy Mulske, Advisor, Department of Music

UND’s Department of Mechanical Engineering received the departmental excellence in teaching award. The past 10 years have seen a 60-percent increase in enrollment for the department, which is now the second-largest on campus. Photo by UND Marketing & Creative Services.

The following faculty and staff members were honored for 25 years of service:

  • Cynthia Carlson, Minot Center for Family Medicine
  • Clara Johannah Chambers, EERC
  • Katherine Norman Dearden, Music
  • Tami Gene DeSautel, Economics
  • Dale Duane Drake Jr, Facilities
  • Gerri Marie Dunnigan, Mathematics
  • Dee Ann Hetland Ellingson, Accountancy
  • E Marie Fontaine, Facilities
  • Lavonne F Fox, Occupational Therapy
  • Suzanne Fricke Gandrud, Vice President for Student Affairs & Diversity office
  • Debrah Rae Glennen, Disability Services for Students
  • Terry L Hagen, Economics
  • Timothy Mark Heinley, Student Health Services
  • Mark Jensen, Surgery
  • Anne Victoria Kelsch, Teaching Transformation and Development Academy
  • Sandy Krom, Pediatrics
  • Michelle LaBrecque, Physical Therapy
  • Tobe Michael Larson, EERC
  • James David Mochoruk, History
  • Patti Jo Reimer, EERC
  • Orlynn Rosaasen, Dining Support Services
  • Sara Elizabeth Schempp, Dining Support Services
  • Shannon Mary Joy Smidt, Dean’s Office, College of Business & Public Administration
  • Kristi Rae Swartz, Teaching Transformation and Development Academy
  • Kathryn A. Thomasson, Chemistry
  • Melissa Anne Walski, Administrative Support Services
  • Doris Wang, Nutrition & Dietetics

The following retirees were honored:

  • Harmon Abrahamson, Chemistry
  • Julie Abrahamson, Chemistry
  • Patti Alleva, School of Law
  • Mary Bauer, English Department
  • Virgil Benoit, Languages Department
  • Mike Blake, Music
  • Dawn Botsford, Office of Ceremonies & University Events
  • Alice Brekke, Finance and Operations
  • Daniel Daly, EERC
  • Loretta Gothberg, Facilities
  • James Haselton, Biomedical Sciences
  • Susan Haugen, Internal Medicine
  • Joan Hawthorne, Teaching Transformation and Development Academy
  • Kathleen Hiller, Minot CFM
  • Sherry Johnson, Physical Therapy
  • Arthur Jones, Art & Design
  • Kathleen Jones, Management Department
  • Debbie Krause, Human Nutrition Center
  • Dennis Kyle, EERC
  • David Martin, Facilities
  • Donald McCollor, EERC
  • Peggy Mohr, Physical Therapy
  • David Morstad, Mathematics
  • Gail O’Connell, Flight Operations
  • Catherine Perry, Medical Laboratory Science
  • Allison Peyton, Business Service Center
  • Cindy Purpur, Geography
  • Eloise Robertson, Management Department
  • Kelly Sander, Aviation
  • Lori Sannes, Dean’s Office, School of Medicine & Health Sciences
  • Linda Skarsten, Multicultural Student Services
  • Richard Steinke, Flight Support Services
  • Guy Tangedahl, Bismarck Center for Family Medicine
  • Cynthia Veitch, Dining Support Services
  • Wanda Weber, Information Resources, School of Medicine & Health Sciences