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Commencement speaker to encourage graduates to be role models

Published December 9, 2016

Nathan Kurtti plans to emphasize the importance of service when he addresses classmates, family and friends during NDSU’s winter commencement, scheduled for Friday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m., in the Sanford Health Athletic Complex.

Kurtti’s message will focus on service, volunteering and setting a good example. “My message is anyone can be a positive role model if they are willing to put in the effort and they have the motivation to help others,” said Kurtti, who is from Hazen, North Dakota. “No matter who you are, if you put in goodness, you will get goodness out. You’ll get what you give, and that’s essential to positive role modeling.”

Kurtti’s comments are based on his own life experience. He was born with a speech impediment that required surgery and long hours of speech therapy. His mother convinced him to join theater and speech in high school, and Kurtti’s confidence blossomed.

Kurtti developed a passion for writing and the English language. He majored in English education and turned his focus to assisting others. He wanted to help them to communicate better.

It’s tradition for a graduating senior to deliver the commencement address. Nathan Kurtti, an English education major, has been selected to be the commencement speaker on Dec 16. His message will focus on service, volunteering and setting a good example.

He was a tutor for the NDSU Center for Writers, Academic Collegiate Enhancement, or ACE, Tutoring and the Red River Valley Writing Project. He also is a volunteer at the Wellness and Empowerment Center, working closely with New Americans to help them improve their English and communication skills. 

Kurtti is an active member of the Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society for English and English education majors. He also directed the Sakakawea South Shore Community Theater production of “Oliver!” in summer 2015.

“I do what I do because I noticed a positive impact,” he said. “No matter the size of the work I’m doing, I hope I have a lasting impact on people.”

His experiences as a college student helped him prepare for career and life. “NDSU pushed me to go outside my comfort zone,” he said, praising the sense of comradery he feels on campus. “NDSU gave me a chance to always look to improve, and it taught me to never lose what I want most in life – whether it’s pursuing my degree or having a positive impact on the community. At NDSU, people really care about getting to know one another and hearing each other’s stories.”

After graduation, Kurtti will begin his teaching career at the high school in Beulah, North Dakota. He eventually plans to seek his master’s degree, and then to possibly teach abroad or run for public office.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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North Dakota State University
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Last Updated: Friday, December 09, 2016 11:38:40 AM
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