UND Law Women’s Caucus celebrates Helen Hamilton Day
Helen Hamilton Day highlights Trailblazing Women, bringing pioneers from the boardroom, bench, and public office to UND.
Helen Hamilton was the first woman to graduate from the UND School of Law. She was a member of the Class of 1905, the only woman in the senior class, and the class president. The UND Law Women’s Caucus (LWC) student organization annually hosts Helen Hamilton Day, an event designed to honor not only UND’s first female law graduate, but all people who have made contributions to women in the law. This year, UND’s LWC celebrated the 41st annual Helen Hamilton Day with the theme, Trailblazing Women.
The annual two-day celebration kicked off with a dinner on Thursday evening at the Gorecki Alumni Center. The dinner was a tribute to the late Justice Beryl Levine, the first woman appointed to the North Dakota Supreme Court and a member of the UND School of Law Class of 1974. Distinguished, keynote speakers at the dinner included Justice Lisa Fair McEvers; Kathryn Rand, Professor of Law and former UND School of Law Dean; and David Levine, the son of Justice Beryl J. Levine.
Friday’s symposium consisted of three panels that focused on trailblazers in three specific areas – the boardroom, bench, and public office. The panelists shared their journeys of how they advanced in their careers, guidance they received from mentors, barriers women face and how to overcome them, and personal advice. Among the panelists were Justice Lisa Fair McEvers, North Dakota Supreme Court, Heidi Heitkamp, former U.S. Senator, North Dakota Attorney General, and Tax Commissioner, and Alana Bassin, Managing Partner at Nelson Mullins Minneapolis.
This year’s Helen Hamilton Day celebration was coordinated by second-year law student, Erica Solberg.
Helen Hamilton Day Dinner Keynote speakers — Kathryn Rand, Professor of Law and former Dean, UND School of Law; David Levine, son of Justice Beryl J. Levine; and Lisa Fair McEvers, North Dakota Supreme Court Justice.
Trailblazers in public office panelists included Erin Oban, former North Dakota Senator and current U.S.D.A. Rural Dev. Director; Heidi Heitkamp, former U.S. Senator, North Dakota Attorney General, and Tax Commissioner; and Leann Bertsch, former North Dakota Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation Director and Labor Commissioner.
Trailblazers in the boardroom panelists were Alana K. Bassin, Partner at Nelson Mullin in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Michelle Kommer, Owner and Founder of HighRoads Partners, LL; and Shannon Full, CEO of the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo Chamber of Commerce.
Trailblazers on the bench panelists included Lisa Fair McEvers, North Dakota Supreme Court Justice; Justice Carol Kapsner, Retired North Dakota Supreme Court Justice; and Judge Shon Hastings, Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of North Dakota represented the judiciary.