University of Minnesota Morris to Celebrate 61st Commencement

Sue Dieter

Approximately 210 University of Minnesota Morris students will receive their degrees at the 61st Commencement on Saturday, May 11. The ceremony will take place at 1:30 p.m. on the campus mall. All are invited to attend or to watch the event streamed online

Student Color Guards  Ella Kauffman ’26, and Riley Tollefsrud ’25 will lead the processional. Thomas Zempel ’27, Bdewakantunwan Dakota from the Lower Sioux Indian Community, is the Eagle Staff carrier. Mace Bearer will be Stephen Burks, professor of economics and business & management. Student Marshals for the ceremony are Alwin Lor ’25, and Johnette Nagbe ’27. Faculty Marshal is Julia Dabbs,  professor of art history.

Chancellor Janet Schrunk Ericksen will provide the welcome and recognition of special guests, and The Honorable Tadd Johnson, University of Minnesota Board of Regents, will give additional remarks. 

As the 2024 recipient of the Curtis H. Larson Award, Kianna Big Crow, ’24, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, will speak on behalf of the graduates. 

University of Minnesota Interim President Jeff Ettinger will give the commencement address. Ettinger was selected as the U of M’s interim president by the Board of Regents in spring 2023 to serve a one-year appointment, which continues through June 30. During his time as interim president, Ettinger has focused heavily on bringing forward the unique attributes of the University of Minnesota as a system of five strong and distinct campuses, highlighting the contributions the students, faculty, and staff on every U of M campus make to improving the lives of Minnesotans.  

In recognition of the campus’s origins as an American Indian boarding school, the Northern Wind Singers (Woodland Ojibwe) will perform a Native American Honor Song to recognize and pay tribute to the Class of 2024. Anishinaabe Language Instructor Gabe Desrosiers ’05, Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada, is the lead singer and composer for the group and the keeper of the drum. 

After the presentation of the candidates and conferring of degrees, University of Minnesota, Morris Alumni Association President Khondoker “Ahnaf” Prio ’19, will welcome the new alumni into the UMMAA. 

A reception will be held in the Student Center’s Oyate Hall following the ceremony. 

Commencement guests are invited to view the 2024 Senior Art Exhibition, Split the Lark, in the Edward J. and Helen Jane Morrison Gallery before or after the ceremony. 

In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be held in the Cougars Sports Center.

Commencement will be streamed online. To learn more, visit