For Your Health
For Your Health

News from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences

From the Dean: Remembering Judy DeMers

It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Judy DeMers. Judy retired from the School in 2010 after spending 27 years as the associate dean for student affairs and admissions at the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences. In addition, she devoted years to serving as a legislator in both the North Dakota House and Senate. She loved her work here but decided to retire so that she could spend more time with her son Bob and grandson Tyler. It was a reminder of the continuum of life when Bob told me earlier this week that Tyler will be graduating from law school just two weeks from now!

I last saw Judy at a Fighting Hawks hockey game in January. When I chatted with her, I thought of the very first time I spoke with her – it was back in 2003 when she chaired the search committee for then-Dean David Wilson who was looking for a “second in command.” I knew nothing about North Dakota then – and Judy knew everything! Given her deep attachment to North Dakota, she was a superb mentor as I learned from her the culture, ways, and customs of the state. And was she ever dedicated to UND, the SMHS, and the Fighting Hawks! In fact, years ago, Judy established the Judy L. DeMers Scholarship Endowment. In recognition of her phenomenal generosity and support of the UND SMHS, we named our Office of Student Affairs and Admissions in her honor.

When Judy retired in 2010, this is what I had to say: “Judy embodies the best of the North Dakota ethic, and all that is good at the School of Medicine & Health Sciences. She is honest, hard-working, smart, helpful, and dedicated to her students. As chair of the executive associate dean search committee, she was responsible for attracting me to UND almost six years ago. So, in no small measure, I owe Judy a debt of gratitude for my appointment as dean. She has given extraordinarily outstanding service to our students for decades, and while she will be irreplaceable, she has earned her retirement. Knowing Judy, though, her ‘retirement’ likely will be anything but retiring, and I suspect she will continue to find ways to serve, as she has for decades. All of us wish her the best in the next phase of her illustrious career.”

Judy was the valedictorian and summa cum laude graduate of the UND College of Nursing in 1966 who also earned an M.Ed. from the University of Washington in 1973. Judy joined the UND faculty in 1969 as an instructor in public health nursing and was the associate director of, and instructor in, the MEDEX project (later our physician assistant program) in the SMHS Department of Family and Community Medicine from 1970 to 1972. She then spent time as a research associate in the Office of Research and Medical Education at the University of Washington’s medical school through 1977 before returning to UND as assistant professor and director of the Family Nurse Practitioner Program, where she served until 1982. From 1982 through 1983, Judy served as the associate director of the SMHS Office of Rural Health and was promoted to the rank of associate professor. Judy was appointed the associate dean for student affairs and admissions in 1983, a position she held until her retirement.

With the permission and endorsement of Bob DeMers, Susan and I invite you to join us in providing a contribution to the Judy L. DeMers Scholarship Endowment that obviously supports student scholarships. This can be done by going to this web address and selecting “Click here to select your fund.” Then you just type in “DeMers” when asked to “Search for your designation here.” Click “Search” and Judy’s endowment will appear!

If you have any questions or would like additional information, feel free to contact Jeff Dodson, Senior Director of Development for the School of Medicine & Health Sciences, at or 701.777.5512.

Joshua Wynne, MD, MBA, MPH
Vice President for Health Affairs, UND
Dean, UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences