UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

More than 1,700 to graduate at UND Commencement

Bestselling author, UND alum Chuck Klosterman to receive honorary degree, alongside Bob Mau, Denise Flanagan and Lynn Luckow

Graduates celebrating
UND archival image.

The University of North Dakota will bestow four honorary degrees and honor the University’s two newest Chester Fritz Distinguished Professors as part of its Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 11.

Bestselling author Chuck Klosterman will give the main address for both the graduate degree ceremony at 9 a.m. and the undergraduate degrees ceremony at 2 p.m. at the Alerus Center, just south of the UND campus. UND President Andrew Armacost will preside.

The events will be available both as a livestream and on demand.

More than 600 graduates and 1,100 undergraduates are eligible to participate in this spring’s Commencement ceremonies.

Klosterman will also receive an honorary degree during his return to his alma mater, as will Bob Mau, founder and president of MW Industries; Denise Flanagan, director of budget for the U.S. Department of the Interior; and Lynn Luckow, a business executive and nonprofit consultant.

Also recognized will be Hilyard James Duty, who this year was posthumously awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree, making him UND’s first student-and-graduate of color. Duty, who passed away in 1919, spent five years at UND as a student in the late 1800s.

During the 9 a.m. graduate degree ceremony, two UND professors will be recognized with UND’s highest academic honor — the Chester Fritz Distinguished Professorship. Those professors are Naima Kaabouch, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and Chih Ming Tan, professor of economics and finance.

The School of Law and School of Medicine & Health Sciences will hold Commencement ceremonies at Chester Fritz Auditorium on Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., respectively. Sixty-five students are eligible to graduate from the School of Law, and 65 medical students are eligible at the School of Medicine & Health Sciences.

About Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman is a journalist, bestselling author and 1994 graduate of the University of North Dakota.

Growing up in Wyndmere, N.D., Klosterman majored in journalism with a minor in English at UND while writing for the student newspaper, The Dakota Student. He also wrote as an intern for the Grand Forks Herald while enrolled.

He went on to work as an entertainment writer for The Forum in Fargo, then later as a reporter and critic for the Akron Beacon Journal. It was during this time that Klosterman wrote “Fargo Rock City: A Heavy Metal Odyssey in Rural North Dakota,” which was published in 2001 to critical acclaim.

Klosterman’s success led him to New York City, where he worked as a senior writer and columnist for Spin magazine. He has since had a successful career as a journalist and author writing for publications such as GQ, Esquire, The New York Times, The Guardian, Billboard, The Washington Post and ESPN. Klosterman also served as the Ethicist for The New York Times Magazine for three years.

Klosterman cites his upbringing in North Dakota and experiences at UND as influential in his development as a writer and critic. His 2008 novel, “Downtown Owl,” is about the experience of growing up in rural North Dakota in the 1980s.

His works of nonfiction include “Fargo Rock City,” “Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs,” “Killing Yourself to Live,” “Chuck Klosterman IV,” “Eating the Dinosaur,” “I Wear the Black Hat,” “But What If We’re Wrong? Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past,” “Chuck Klosterman X” and “The Nineties.”

His novels are “Downtown Owl” and “The Visible Man.” He also wrote a collection of short stories published in 2019, titled “Raised in Captivity.”

About Bob Mau

Bob Mau

Bob Mau’s career has spanned more than 45 years of service and commitment to promoting and developing the oil and gas industry in North Dakota.

Born in Kenmare, N.D., Mau grew up on a family farm southwest of Mohall, N.D., and went on to study geology at Minot State College (now Minot State University).

His career in the oil industry started in the 1970s, when he worked on service rigs and pumping wells in the western North Dakota oilfields. From there, he went on to create several businesses, most of which supported oil and gas exploration. These businesses included Eagle Operating, Wolverine Drilling, Eagle Well Service and American Well Service; Mau currently serves as president of MW Industries, a drilling rig manufacturer located in Kenmare, N.D., and another of the companies that he founded.

Mau has served on several state and regional committees and boards in his field, including as chairman of the board for the North Dakota Petroleum Council and as a state representative on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission appointed by then-North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven.

In 2007, he received the Pioneer Award from UND’s Energy & Environmental Research Center, an award that honors outstanding service to carbon capture, utilization and storage.

In 2013, Mau was inducted into the North Dakota Petroleum Council Hall of Fame. The Council’s citation hails him as “one of the greatest supporters, leaders, and innovators of the Petroleum Council as it has transformed into the organization it is today.” He is also the recipient of the Minot State University Alumni Association’s Golden Award and has served on the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

Mau and his wife, Kathy, have four children and nine grandchildren.

About Denise Flanagan

Denise Flanagan

Denise Flanagan, director of budget for the U.S. Department of the Interior, is a North Dakota native and 1990 graduate of the University of North Dakota.

Flanagan grew up in Fargo, N.D., and went on to study public administration at UND. While enrolled, she worked in the Bureau of Governmental Affairs and was selected as a Harry S. Truman Scholar in 1988.

Flanagan went on to earn graduate degrees at Syracuse University and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at National Defense University. In 1998, she returned to UND to participate in the Hultberg Lectureship Series.

Her federal career started as a 1991 Presidential Management Intern, and she has served her nation with pride over more than 30 years in the Department of the Interior, the Department of the Navy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Defense Mapping Agency and the Office of Personnel Management. She is a Defense Leadership and Management Program Scholar and a Certified Defense Financial Manager and has been awarded two Superior Civilian Service Awards.

As director of budget since 2010, Flanagan leads the process of assessing the Department’s resource needs while taking into consideration program performance, enterprise risk, legislative direction and funds control for $32 billion annually in current and permanent funds, and for $23 billion in revenues.

Her office publishes the Interior Budget in Brief and 19 congressional budget justifications a year to assist Congress and the public in understanding the details of the president’s budget request.

Flanagan also served as director of financial management for the Office of Naval Research in the Department of the Navy, where she managed a research and development budget of $2.6 billion that included the Navy’s Science and Technology program.

During her tenure, the Financial Management Office received 11 awards from the Department of the Navy, the Department of Defense and the American Society of Military Comptrollers.

About Lynn Luckow

Lynn Luckow

Lynn Luckow is a nationally known senior advisor with a consulting practice that emphasizes nonprofit governance, strategy, impact, fundraising and philanthropy.

Luckow has previously served as president and CEO of Jossey-Bass Publishers, Craigslist Foundation and Northern California Grantmakers.

A native of Hettinger, N.D., Luckow graduated from UND in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in German, English and Creative Writing. As an undergraduate and following graduation, he worked in several roles for UND, including Assistant Director of High School Relations, Assistant Registrar, Academic Advisor and Director of Conferences & Institutes.

Luckow went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Higher Education Leadership & Student Development at Indiana University, Bloomington.

In his professional career, Luckow has served on or consulted to more than 50 nonprofit boards, including chairing the national boards of Chanticleer, the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University, Project Open Hand and the National 4-H Council.

In 2000, he received the Award for Excellence in National Board Leadership presented by the National Assembly of Health and Human Service Organizations.

Currently, Luckow serves on the board of the North Dakota Delta Upsilon Education Foundation and is co-chair of Delta Upsilon Fraternity’s $8 million “Honoring Our Legacy, Building Our Future” capital campaign, which has resulted in a new chapter house located at 421 Princeton Street on UND’s campus.

As an advocate for youth leadership during high school years, Luckow is executive director (pro bono) of the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy for his San Francisco Bay Area Rotary District, hosting an annual weeklong camp for 200 students from 40 schools.

He received UND’s Maxwell Anderson Award for Excellence in Arts & Letters in 1994 and has received Honorary Doctor of Human Letters degrees from Golden State University, Manhattanville College and Fielding Graduate University.

About Hilyard James Duty

Hilyard James Duty was born in 1875 in Cook County, Ill., to Sarah and James Duty.

He and his family moved to St. Paul, Minn. when he was a young child.  In 1885, his family was located in Fargo, N.D. In 1890, Hilyard enrolled at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., where he attended school for three years.

Then in 1894, Hilyard matriculated as a student at the University of North Dakota, where he took classes until 1900. During his time at UND, Hilyard was a member of the University band, the football team and the track team. During an intercollegiate field day at Wahpeton, N.D., in the spring of 1897, Hilyard place first in the one-mile run with a time of 5 minutes and 3 seconds.

In addition, during his time at UND, Hilyard advanced from private to corporal to sergeant in the University’s military battalion. He left UND after five years of schooling with no awarded degree. Following their extensive research, UND staff members Stacey Borboa-Peterson and Shelby King set out to rectify this historical injustice. In February 2024, President Andrew Armacost, Provost Eric Link and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Brad Rundquist retroactively awarded Hilyard James Duty a Bachelor of Arts degree, making him UND’s first student and graduate of color.

Hilyard went on to marry Jessie Adams of Fargo, N.D., and worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad. He passed away in July 1919.

About the Chester Fritz Distinguished Professors

This year, two professors were awarded the title of Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor: Naima Kaabouch, professor of electrical engineering and computer science, and Chih Ming Tan, professor of economics and finance.

The professorship, UND’s highest academic honor, is bestowed upon professors who have made significant achievements in research, teaching and service, as well as received acclaim or national recognition for their work.

It was established with an endowment gift from the late UND benefactor Chester Fritz (1892-1983). Each year, revenue from the endowment provides cash stipends to one or more full-time UND faculty members, who thereafter may use the title Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor.

About Naima Kaabouch

Naima Kaabouch

Naima Kaabouch is the director of the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute for the UND College of Engineering & Mines and leads the Cybersecurity & Data Chain group for the Research Institute for Autonomous Systems.

Since 2006, Kaabouch has taught electrical engineering courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She helped develop UND’s Ph.D. programs in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, as well as M.S. programs in Data Science and Cybersecurity. These programs helped create the substantial enrollment growth that established the School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science as the largest department in the College of Engineering & Mines.

Kaabouch has won awards in teaching, research and service at UND, including the 2016 Outstanding Faculty Scholar award and a Presidential Scholars Star Faculty award in 2010.

Several of her projects involving undergraduate engineering students have won awards, including four in the NASA Robotics Competition dating back to 2011.

As a researcher of artificial intelligence, wireless communications, cybersecurity and autonomous systems, Kaabouch is the principal, co-principal investigator and investigator on several federal and state grants, including projects supported by the Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, Federal Aviation Administration and NASA, among other entities.

Her work in these fields has secured more than $35 million in research funding for projects bridging theoretical research with practical applications.

Across her career, Kaabouch has authored or co-authored more than 230 peer-reviewed journal and proceedings papers, as well as 13 book chapters, one patent, two provisional patents and five research handbooks.

Kaabouch served as chief editor of the Journal of Electrical and Electronic Engineering as well as the International Journal of Embedded Systems. She also served as the guest editor for several journals, including the Journal of Future Internet and the Journal of Drones, and an associate editor of the Journal of Handheld Computing Research.

About Chih Ming Tan

Chih Ming Tan

Chih Ming Tan is the Page Endowed Chair in Applied Economics at the Department of Economics & Finance, as well as the Associate Dean for Research at the Nistler College of Business & Public Administration. From 2016 to 2022, he also served as the director of the Master of Science in Applied Economics and Predictive Analytics program.

Since joining UND in 2013, Tan has taught macroeconomics and econometrics courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Tan’s research in applied econometrics examines income inequality and mobility, economic growth and global health.

Regarded as a seminal expert in his field, Tan has authored 20 peer-reviewed journal articles during his time at UND, half of which have been published in the highest-quality journals concerning economics, including the Annual Review of Economics, The Economic Journal, Journal of Business & Economic Statistics and Journal of Health Economics. His citations from these and other journal publications number in the thousands.

Tan has been a principal investigator on several grants and received a Meritorious Research Award from the Nistler College of Business & Public Administration in 2016.

Since 2018, Tan has served as associate editor for the China Economic Review. He is an affiliate scholar of the Stone Center for Research on Wealth Inequality and Mobility at the University of Chicago, a network member of the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group at the University of Chicago, and a senior fellow of the Rimini Center for Economic Analysis in Italy.

Tan is a referee for numerous journals and has evaluated proposals for grant agencies including the National Science Foundation, the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada).