On Target with UND
Fighting Hawks’ green and white blended nicely with Minnesota Twins hues for special ‘UND Night’ of Major League baseball
Fighting Hawks abounded in downtown Minneapolis Friday night for the latest rendition of UND Night at Target Field.
About 2,000 UND supporters were a noticeable presence in and around the stadium, helping spur the Minnesota Twins Major League Baseball squad to a convincing victory on their home field. The sea of green and white, wearing specially designed baseball caps with the Twins logo on the front and a Fighting Hawk mark on the side, were treated to a thrilling contest from the start, when Twins’ outfielder Jake Cave robbed Baltimore Orioles’ lead-off batter Tim Beckham of a certain home run. It was all Twins after that, right up to when Minnesota’s star closing pitcher Fernando Rodney sealed the 6-2 victory for the home team.
There was a UND flair to the game from the get-go, as Sean McGarry, grandson of UND benefactor and alumnus Ralph Engelstad, threw the ceremonial first pitch, a strike right down the heart of the plate. Next, UND’s own Associate Dean of Students Cassie Gerhardt and Vice President for Student Affairs & Diversity Cara Halgren, both alumnae, joined fellow alum and star North Dakota educator Kayla Delzer for the raising of the Twins Territory flag.
During the seventh-inning stretch, UND President Mark Kennedy and First Lady Debbie Kennedy, joined by a chorus of alumni, led the nearly 30,000 people in attendance in a spirited version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
Before the game, hundreds of UND alumni and friends of the University gathered at Kieran’s Irish Pub in Minneapolis for a Fighting Hawk-themed meet and greet. Kennedy and the First Lady mingled with high-achieving prospective students from the Twin Cities area, as well as about 30 area alumni of the School of Medicine & Health Sciences.
New UND Director of Athletics Bill Chaves also was on hand for the festivities, as were the UND Cheer Team and a number of past and current UND athletes. The UND Alumni Association & Foundation, with the energy and enthusiasm of its leader, DeAnna Carlson Zink, was the perfect host of the day’s events.
President Kennedy joined another fellow president, Dave St. Peter, president of the Minnesota Twins, in thanking the UND-partisan crowd for their support of the University and the Minnesota Twins. St. Peter, who graduated from UND with a degree in Communication, talked about the success of UND Night at Target Field over the years, and then joked how this year’s might be his last — alluding to his team’s relatively dismal first-half-of-the season record compared to recent years. He then voiced optimism that he strongly believed his team would pick things up in the second half, to which the UND faithful responded with a rousing cheer.
St. Peter, a native of Bismarck and a true Leader in Action, ended by attributing his success in life and his major league career to the years he spent at his alma mater — the University of North Dakota.
Go Hawks! And Go Twins!