University Letter

UND's faculty and staff newsletter

Winter Commencement ceremonies are Dec. 14, 15

Nearly 900 students will be eligible to cross the stage during 2023’s Winter Commencement ceremonies at the University of North Dakota, with UND President Andy Armacost presiding.

Ceremonies on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 14 and 15, will take place at the Chester Fritz Auditorium.

The Professional & Graduate Degrees Ceremony is Thursday at 3 p.m., and two Undergraduate Degrees ceremonies will take place Friday starting at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Eligible to graduate are 632 undergraduates and 250 graduate students.

The Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Engineering & Mines, Nursing & Professional Disciplines and School of Medicine & Health Sciences will be part of the Friday, 1 p.m. ceremony. The Nistler College of Business & Public Administration, the College of Education & Human Development and the John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences will follow, starting at 4 p.m.

All three ceremonies will be viewable via livestreaming as well as available on-demand through UND’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Mark Pfeifle

Mark Pfeifle
Mark Pfeifle

UND alum Mark Pfeifle will be the commencement speaker for this year’s winter proceedings. A former White House advisor and founder of Off the Record Strategies, Pfeifle earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from UND in 1997.

At Off the Record Strategies, founded in 2011, Pfeifle and his company assist governments, corporations, universities and nonprofit groups in building long-term relationships by providing superior service and innovative problem solving.

In the private sector, Pfeifle has led initiatives for the U.S. Space Command’s X-37 spaceplane; for law enforcement during COVID-19 on behalf of the Department of Justice COPS Office; for the U.S. State Department; to make communities safer after the 2020 killing of George Floyd with jail reform efforts in a dozen communities; to prepare local communities for potential improvised explosive attacks on behalf of the Homeland Security Department’s S&T Human Factor Division; and to fight terrorism in association with U.S. Central Command.

He leads media training and crisis management training seminars for foreign governments, the U.S. Marine Corps, local and national law enforcement offices, trade associations, nonprofits and corporations.

Pfeifle was deputy national security advisor for strategic communication and global outreach at the White House from 2007 to 2009. He was interagency coordinator for national security and communication implementation, leading the successful effort to promote the “surge” of U.S. forces into Iraq in 2007 and initiatives to de-legitimize al Qaeda while advocating for freedom, liberty and human rights.

Pfeifle was one of the first advisors sent by the White House to New York City after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been awarded an Edward R. Murrow Award for radio news reporting. He is also a recipient of a Polly Award for Best Overall Internet Strategy Campaign and the U.S. Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Award.