Meet the Armacosts: President Armacost and his wife, Kathy, welcomed in West

Andy and Kathy Armacost embraced by alumni and friends in Bismarck, Dickinson; next up: Watford City and Williston

The home of Chad and Stacy Wachter, good friends of UND ( (the Wachters are left in photo with Andy and Kathy Armacost and Alumni CEO DeAnna Carlson Zink), was the perfect stage for the Capital City’s “Meet the Armacosts” event on Tuesday, July 21. About 75 people came to the Wachter’s residence, along the Missouri River. Photo by David Dodds, UND.

Andy Armacost is well into his second year as the 13th president of the University of North Dakota.

But after a worldwide pandemic kept him mostly confined to Grand Forks for the better part of his first year, he’s making up for it now, getting familiar with his new home state. President Armacost and his wife, Kathy, took to the road last week for a swing across the state into western North Dakota. Among the stops were Hazelton, Bismarck and Dickinson. This week, they’re slated to visit Watford City and Williston.

These “Meet the Armacosts” events, as they are billed, are coordinated and supported by the UND Alumni Association & Foundation (AA&F), with AA&F CEO DeAnna Carlson Zink and her team on hand for every stop along the way. The events are as much a treat for the President and Kathy as they are for the friends and alumni they meet along the way. Earlier this summer, “Meet the Armacosts” events were held in Grand Forks and Fargo, among other stops.

UND President Andy Armacost and Kathy Armacost tour the farm of Mike and Linda Appert near Hazelton, N.D., on July 21, 2021. Pictured in the photo are (from left) President and First Lady Armacost; Dan Muus, of the UND Foundation; Mike Appert and DeAnna Carlson Zink, CEO of the UND Alumni Association & Foundation. Photo courtesy of Milo Smith, AA&F.

Last week, the Armacosts started out with a visit to Hazelton, southeast of Bismarck in Emmons County. There, they toured the Mike and Linda Appert farm. Mike Appert, a financial management alumnus of UND, even put the UND President to work, so to speak, with a ride in his combine.

Next, it was off to Bismarck and the home of Chad and Stacy Wachter, good friends of UND, for the Capital City’s “Meet the Armacosts” event. About 75 people flocked to the Wachter’s residence along the Missouri River. The guests included the Apperts,  North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger, former North Dakota Supreme Court Justice Dale Sandstrom and wife, Judge Gail Hagerty (ret.), and former UND Football Coach and Athletics Director Roger Thomas and wife, Dorothy, to name a few.

There was another couple in attendance that stole some of the spotlight — the National Collegiate Hockey Association’s (NCHC) Penrose Cup, presented each year to the NCHC’s regular season champ, and the NCHC Frozen Faceoff Tournament Trophy (both most recently won by UND). The trophies also attracted many of the photo opportunities.

President Armacost highlights points of pride about UND and other campus updates for alumni and friends of UND at the “Meet the Armacosts” event in Bismarck on July 21. Photo by David Dodds, UND.

As he as done at all of the “Meet the Armacosts” stops, the President addressed his audience with campus updates and other current points of pride about UND before taking questions. He also shared his personal philosophy on leadership:

  1. Love your people. (Take care of them. Allow them to grow and provide them the support they need to be successful).
  2. Always remember that we are here for our students.
  3. Treat everyone with dignity, respect and kindness.
  4. There’s always something to learn. (Create lifelong learning habits. The more you learn the more humble that you become. Appreciate the opinions, beliefs and experiences of others).
  5. Remember that everyone is great at something. (Our job is to foster that sense in every student. Success begets success).

(From left) DeAnna Carlson Zink, UND Alumni Association & Foundation CEO; Mike Appert, UND alum, farmer and businessman from Hazelton, N.D.; and President Armacost and Kathy Armacost enjoy a pontoon ride on the Missouri River near Bismarck on July 21, 2021. Photo by David Dodds, UND.

After the President and Kathy Armacost made their rounds to each guest in attendance, the perfect evening concluded with a pontoon ride up and down the picturesque Missouri River between Bismarck and Mandan.

Alumni and friends of UND in Dickinson have a conversation with UND President Armacost during the “Meet the Armacosts” event on Wednesday, July 22, at the 701 Social, part of the Blue 42 Sports Grille & Bar. Photo by David Dodds, UND.

On to Dickinson

The next day, the Armacosts were at it again: this time 90 miles west in the Mountain Time Zone city of Dickinson — North Dakota’s Queen City. The Dickinson event took place at the 701 Social, inside the Blue 42 Sports Grille & Bar, along the city’s main east-west drag.  Here, as was the case in Bismarck, the Dickinson alumni and friends of UND got a rare chance for long personal conversations with the UND leader and First Lady. A common theme at each stop has been how UND can continue to increase its presence across the state and build even more awareness of the UND experience and the attributes of a UND education.

(From left) DeAnna Carlson Zink; Josh DeMorrett, UND alum who hosted the Dickinson “Meet the Armacosts” event; and Kathy and Andy Armacost pose for a photo with two special guests of honor —  the National Collegiate Hockey Association’s (NCHC) Penrose Cup, presented each year to the NCHC’s regular season champ, and the NCHC Frozen Faceoff Tournament Trophy. Photo by David Dodds, UND.

The “Meet the Armacosts” event in Dickinson was hosted by UND alumnus Josh DeMorrett, who currently serves as State Government Affairs Director at ConocoPhillips. DeMorrett also served on the UND Presidential Search Committee that ultimately selected Armacost to helm the University.

This week, the Armacosts are heading west again, to the McKenzie County hub of Watford City, where the “Meet the Armacosts” event will be hosted by Steve and Gretchen Stenehjem. Then they’ll travel a few miles west and north of Lake Sakakawea to Williston for another event, this one hosted by Pat and Tammy Sogard. All are welcome at the Watford City and Williston events; please RSVP here.