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NDSU TRiO Programs honors former U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad for support

Published: 26 April 2013

Former U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad was honored for his extraordinary support of NDSU’s TRiO Programs, which help low-income, first-generation and individuals with disabilities gain successful entry to and complete post-secondary education. 

Conrad's wife, Lucy, accepted the Friend of TRiO award on Conrad's behalf on April 26 in the Crary Lounge of NDSU’s Harry D. McGovern Alumni Center.

“TRiO Programs are funded through federal grants. Support for these programs comes from a high level of commitment for higher education and deep understanding of how programs like High School and Veteran’s Upward Bound, McNair Scholars Program and Student Support Services provide access and support to students who may not otherwise be able to meet their educational goals,” said Karla Thoennes, interim director of TRiO programs. “Sen. Conrad has demonstrated this understanding and commitment throughout his tenure in public office. Even in challenging economic times, he has been a leader in fostering financial support for TRiO Programs, recognizing the investment not only in students, but in our nation as well.”

Thousands of students have received encouragement, support and assistance through NDSU’s TRiO Programs since the first program was instituted at the university in 1967.

Conrad was born in Bismarck, N.D., and was orphaned at an early age and raised by his grandparents. He earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford and a Master of Business Administration from George Washington University. He then worked as an assistant to the North Dakota State Tax Commissioner Byron Dorgan, who later became his colleague in the Senate. Conrad succeeded Dorgan as tax commissioner, a position he held until he successfully ran for the Senate in 1986. He served North Dakota until his retirement Jan. 3.

Previous Friend of TRiO recipients include:

  • 2012 – Viet Doan
  • 2011 – Kathy Puhr
  • 2010 – NDSU Bookstore
  • 2009 – NDSU Library Staff
  • 2008 – Dorothy Davis
  • 2007 – Neil Sitz
  • 2006 – Karen Hendrickson

For more information on NDSU TRiO Programs, visit

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

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North Dakota State University
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Last Updated: Sunday, August 25, 2013