News Release

Commencement Exercises at the U of M Crookston on Saturday, May 7, 2011; Campus welcomes the community to celebration honoring the Class of 2011

By ltollefs on
Friday, April 29, 2011

Commencement exercises for the Class of 2011 at the University of Minnesota Crookston will take place on Saturday, May 7, 2011. The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. in Lysaker Gymnasium when more than 190 students, including more than 10 international students and some 20 online students, will participate in the largest commencement exercises in campus history.  A reception in the Northern Lights Lounge, Sargeant Student Center, will precede the commencement ceremony from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is welcome to attend both events; no tickets are required.

Thumbnail image for Torkelson_K_headshot124.jpgA reception from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. will honor Kari Torkelson (at left), O.D., ex. '91, who will be receiving the U of M Alumni Service Award. This reception, taking place in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center, will include the signing of a proclamation declaring Saturday, May 7 as Dr. Kari Torkelson Day in Crookston. She will be recognized with the award during commencement exercises that afternoon.

At 2 p.m., the formal procession of faculty, candidates for degrees, and platform guests will begin from the Sargeant Student Center to the gymnasium led by Mace Bearer William Peterson, professor in the Math, Science, and Technology Department. The procession also includes Faculty Marshal W. Daniel Svedarsky, Ph.D., professor and director of the Center for Sustainability on the Crookston Campus.

Bringing greetings from the University of Minnesota Board of Regents is the Honorable Clyde Allen, who will also assist with the conferring of the degrees.  The commencement address will be given by University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks (at right), 15thBruninks_Hagstrum.jpg president of the University of Minnesota who will be stepping down from the role at the end of June 2011. He has served the university for more than 40 years, formerly as a professor, dean, and executive vice president and provost. Susan Hagstrum (at right), Ph.D., wife of President Bruininks will join Senior Vice President for System Academic Administration Robert Jones as special guests at the ceremony.

Lopez_Juanita 0396.jpgUniversity of Minnesota Crookston Alumni Association (UMCAA) Board President Juanita Lopez (at left), will bring greetings from the UMCAA and welcome the new graduates to the alumni association.

Graduating senior Shawn Friedland (at right), Crookston StudentFriedland_Shawn.jpg Association (CSA) president, will speak on behalf of the Class of 2011 and pass the torch of education, a Crookston campus tradition, to Junior Alisha Aasness, the incoming CSA president. Aasness, from Fergus Falls, Minn., is a double major in horticulture and business management. Friedland, from New Bern, N.C., is graduating with a degree in biology.

The U of M Crookston choir, under the direction of George French, and the string ensemble, A Touch of Brass will perform as part of the graduation ceremony. The choir will sing two selections: "Wings!" by Carl Strommen and "I Leave With A Song" by Cristi Cary Miller.

The 2011 commencement exercises mark the 103rd graduating class to be recognized on the Crookston campus. A live audio stream of the commencement exercises will be available.

For more information, visit the commencement Web site at

Today the University of Minnesota Crookston delivers 29 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and more than 40 concentrations, including several online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of about 1,400 undergraduates from more than 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit

Photo of President Robert Bruininks and Susan Hagstrum, Ph.D., by Patrick O'Leary, University Relations, U of M, Twin Cities.