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NDSU commencement to feature student speakers, honorary doctorate

Photo of Jackie Schluchter

Jackie Schluchter

A total of 1,373 graduating seniors are planning to participate in NDSU spring commencement ceremonies scheduled for Saturday, May 12, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Fargodome. Approximately 2,300 students are eligible to participate.

“Commencement gives us the opportunity to celebrate the academic achievement of our students,” said Jackie Schluchter, associate registrar. “The exciting day is a significant milestone for our seniors, their families and friends, and the entire NDSU campus.”

The 10 a.m. ceremony is for the College of Agriculture, Food Systems and Natural Resources; College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; College of Human Development and Education; and Interdisciplinary Studies. The 2 p.m. ceremony will recognize graduates of the College of Business, College of Engineering, College of Health Professions and College of Science and Mathematics.

Senior Christopher Eggen, from West Fargo, North Dakota, has been selected as the class representative to address fellow graduating seniors and the audience during the 10 a.m. ceremony. Senior Lauren Singelmann of Fargo will be the student speaker at the 2 p.m. event.

Eggen will receive his bachelor’s degree in the crop and weed sciencewith an emphasis in agronomy, and minors in agribusiness and botany. Prior to attending NDSU, he served eight years as an active-duty Marine across the globe. He has been active in the NDSU Ag Ambassadors, NDSU Agronomy Club, Bison Pullers, NDSU chapter of Ducks Unlimited and NDSU American Legion Post #400. He was a three-time recipient of the Harry and Lillie Seidel Agriculture Scholarship and received TRIO Offices’ Veteran Education Training Student Achiever award in 2015. He was a member of the 2017 NDSU Homecoming Court and was selected as one of the top 10 seniors in the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources. He has accepted a position as a research specialist working with corn and soybeans for WinField United in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Singelmann will receive her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, with a minor in biomedical engineering. She was NDSU Society of Women Engineers president, a College of Engineering Ambassador and a member of the Blue Key Honor Society. She earned the North Dakota Scholars Program Scholarship, National Merit Scholarship, North Dakota Academic Scholarship and NDSU Presidential Scholarship. She also received first place in oral presentations at the NDSU EXPLORE undergraduate research competition, third place in oral presentations at the 2017 Rocky Mountain Bioengineering Symposium and second place in the service track of the 2017 NDSU Innovation Challenge. Singelmann will work as the NDSU College of Engineering outreach coordinator as she pursues her master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering.

Karly Ritland has been selected as commencement soloist. She is an aspiring opera singer from Grand Forks, North Dakota, who will receive her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance. While at NDSU, Ritland studied voice under Virginia Sublett, professor emerita, and Mariane Lemieux-Wottrich, assistant professor of voice. She was a four-year member of the NDSU Concert Choir and a frequent soloist in the choral department’s annual production of Handel’s “Messiah.” She also was a member of the BisonArts Singers and the NDSU Madrigal Singers. Ritland has performed as a soloist nationally and internationally through association with NDSU Performing Arts and other companies such as the Summer Performing Arts Company, the Franco-American Vocal Academy and the Austrian American Mozart Academy. 

NDSU alumnus John Klai is set to receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters. A visionary in architectural design, practice and education, the Osnabrock, North Dakota, native earned his Bachelor of Science in architectural studies in 1977 and Bachelor of Architecture in 1978. 

Klai’s early professional accomplishments include the North Dakota American Institute of Architects Medal for academic excellence in 1978. He moved to Las Vegas after graduation and started his career expanding Caesars Palace and its signature brand. In 1995, Klai and fellow NDSU alumnus, Dan Juba, founded their firm, Klai Juba Architects, and led the design, development and expansion of Las Vegas icons, such as Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Luxor, Hard Rock, Planet Hollywood and the LINQ, as well as projects that expand the economies of communities across the country. 

Klai is a deeply engaged NDSU alumnus. His firm mentors and employs many NDSU graduates, helping advance the university and Fargo community around the country and beyond. He became a trustee of the NDSU Foundation and Alumni Association in 2003 and received NDSU’s Alumni Achievement Award in 2006. In 2007, he committed support to Klai Hall and the expansion of NDSU’s downtown campus, breaking ground to repurpose and expand the former Lincoln Mutual building. In 2008, he joined the 1862 Society and dedicated Klai Hall with its Klai Juba Wald Architectural Studies Library. Klai received the NDSU Green and Golden Globe Diversity Award in 2015 and established the John Reynolds Klai II Endowed Scholarship in 2016. He is enrolled in NDSU Foundation’s Heritage Society for his planned legacy gift. 

Klai also was recognized for his professional and public service by the American Institute of Architects, and was elevated to membership in its College of Fellows in 2015. 

More information can be found on the NDSU Commencementwebpage.

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Vice President for University Relations
North Dakota State University
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