College of Engineering & Mines

Updates for students, alumni, supporters and constituents

Coming together to foster North Dakota’s future civil engineers

A group photo of representatives between AGC and UND.
Associated General Contractors of North Dakota (AGC) leadership meets with civil engineering faculty and students to honor this year’s scholarship recipients. Top row (left to right): Paul Diederich, Ryan Kunz (Walter Swingen Scholarship), Spencer Rousseau (John Jardine Scholarship), Katherine Steffl (UND Lindberg Scholarship), Russ Hanson, Dave Zavoral, and Mahmut Ersan. Bottom row (left to right): Sherif Gaweesh, Will Semke, Daba Gedafa, Bruce Dockter, and Yeo Howe Lim.

Civil engineering professionals across North Dakota come together at UND to support the next generation of leaders in their field

On Wednesday, September 13, 2023, the Associated General Contractors of North Dakota (AGC) visited the UND College of Engineering & Mines to extend congratulations and awards to three exceptionally talented students from the Department of Civil Engineering.

The AGC of North Dakota’s tradition of awarding scholarships to UND students spans over half a century. Among these prestigious scholarships, the John Jardine Scholarship, established in 1964, holds the distinction of being the oldest scholarship in North Dakota and is still awarded annually. Alongside it is the Walt Swingen Scholarship, both of which offer full-tuition support.

This year’s event carried an added layer of uniqueness as it witnessed the AGC’s first-ever scholarship award to a UND student studying abroad, thousands of miles away. Spencer Rousseau, currently pursuing his studies in Australia for a year, was able to participate in the scholarship presentations via Zoom. Despite the considerable time difference, Spencer expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the AGC representatives.

A person pretends to shake the hand of a Zoom meeting participant.
“That’s a first!” During their visits to UND, AGC representatives personally shake the hands of all scholarship recipients; this year, Paul Diederich, President of Industrial Builders Inc. and Spencer Rousseau pulled off a 7000+ mile-long handshake.

“As a recipient, I promise to be a good student and to continue to strive to be a future engineer that you would want to represent your organization,” Spencer remarked. “Thank you all for this incredible honor.”

Several other representatives from the college were present at the event, echoing the students’ profound gratitude. Daba Gedafa, Chair of the Civil Engineering department, and Will Semke, Associate Dean, extended their appreciation for the AGC’s generosity and commitment to nurturing the next generation of engineering professionals.

“I want to thank everyone for coming and handing our students these very generous scholarships,” said Associate Dean Will Semke. “They’ve worked very hard to earn these. These students are going to do very well in their careers, helping make the industry even more successful – all while showcasing the talents that come out of UND.”

Students with their congratulatory certificates.
From left to right: Ryan Kunz (Walter Swingen Scholarship), Spencer Rousseau (John Jardine Scholarship), and Katherine Steffl (UND Lindberg Scholarship).

These generous scholarships not only ease the financial burden for students but also play a pivotal role in nurturing the legacy of civil engineering professionals in North Dakota. The AGC’s unwavering support ensures that future engineers are well-equipped to contribute to the industry’s success and uphold the high standards set by their predecessors.


Written by Paige Prekker  //  UND College of Engineering & Mines