From the Dean: Remembering Earl Strinden
We lost a true UND champion earlier this week with the death of Earl Strinden. He passed away at age 90, only a few months after the death of Jan, his beloved wife of 68 years. Earl’s life was one of giving, whether to the people of North Dakota when he served in the legislature or UND where he was the long-time head of what is now the UND Alumni Association and Foundation (UNDAAF). I came to know Earl soon after I first arrived in North Dakota in 2004, and even though he had retired from the leadership of the UNDAAF, he still found time and had the inclination to provide perspective, insight, and advice to me. He didn’t have to do it, and he provided help without being intrusive or overbearing. His gentle counsel as someone who was North Dakota through and through was greatly appreciated! I, along with many others, will miss him. UND and North Dakota are better as a result of his efforts.
Earlier this week, we had this semester’s triannual financial update meeting with Karla Mongeon-Stewart, UND’s vice president for finance and operations, and her colleagues. I was joined in the discussion by Namil Choi, our associate dean for Administration & Finance/chief operating officer (COO), and Terry Nelson, director of Budget and Facilities Management. Central administration holds these meetings periodically with each UND academic unit, and we review the financial status of our operations, plans for the future, and items of concern. I’m pleased to indicate that the financial status of the UND SMHS continues to be solid, with revenues exceeding expenditures (“positive variance/margin”). We are doing better than our budget projections in most categories, and there were no danger signs evident. We reviewed our plans going forward, especially regarding the funding that will be required for the various initiatives and leadership searches that are ongoing. Karla and her colleagues had no concerns regarding the proposed funding for these plans, so we were gratified with the overall tenor of the meeting.
Finally, the recent discovery of Native American ancestors on our campus has caused tremendous pain for our Indigenous colleagues and students. I have had multiple discussions with Indigenous members in SMHS, and their pain and disappointment are real and palpable. In my next column I will address the direct connection between SMHS and repatriation and my commitment to making necessary changes in the school. We must first allow President Armacost and the UND repatriation committee to provide their respectful update to the tribal representatives who are guiding our campus efforts.
Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH
Vice President for Health Affairs, UND
Dean, UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences