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Commencement 2017

May 2, 2017

AMSOIL Arena is being readied for Bulldogs to walk across its stage during UMD’s commencement ceremonies this Saturday, May 6.

AMSOIL Arena is located at 350 Harbor Drive.

The schedule is as follows:

10 a.m. - Graduates and Undergraduates from the Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) and the Swenson College of Science and Engineering (SCSE)

3 p.m. - Graduates and Undergraduates from the College of Education and Human Service Professions (CEHSP), the School of Fine Arts (SFA) and the College of Liberal Arts (CLA)

A total of 1,861 undergraduates, 189 graduate students, and eight doctoral students are graduating from UMD this spring.

Military Honors

New this year– red, white, and blue Military Honor Cords will recognize 53 UMD graduates who are honorably discharged U.S. veterans, currently serving in the U.S. military, or will be commissioned into the U.S. Air Force upon graduation.

Of the 53 who are being honored, 44 undergraduate students served in the U.S. Military, four graduate students served in the U.S. Military, and five are Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) participants who will be commissioned following the commencement ceremonies.


EVAO Fernando DelgadoThe speaker at both ceremonies is UMD’s Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Fernando Delgado, who started in July 2016.

Dr. Delgado serves as the Chief Academic Officer for the UMD campus and oversees all academic functions. He previously served as the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost at the University of Wisconsin River Falls. Dr. Delgado has also held administrative positions at Hamline University and Minnesota State University Mankato. He holds a Ph.D. and Master of Arts in communication studies from the University of Iowa and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from San Jose State University.

The student speakers are Jireh Mabamba, at the morning ceremony, and Nevada Littlewolf in the afternoon.

Jireh Mabamba
Labovitz School of Business and Economics

Marketing and Organizational Management

Jireh Mabamba’s UMD story began in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where he was born. When rebel leaders in the DRC began recruiting children to be soldiers, his parents spoke out against the movement. Death threats forced the family to flee. They eventually ended up in Durban, South Africa, where his family was still at risk from xenophobic attacks. Jireh received a scholarship to attend a prestigious South African high school. There he excelled academically and in sports.

After graduating, he received a Rotary International scholarship to come to Duluth as an exchange student at East High School.  

After graduating from East, Jireh enrolled at UMD where he double majored in marketing and organizational management.

Jireh was not only involved in his studies, but was also the founder and former president of the UMD Rotaract Club, which is dedicated to giving back to the community. He was a Resident Advisor in UMD Housing and Residence Life for three years, and recently was the director of the UMD Entrepreneurship Conference, which seeks to connect students and community members with successful entrepreneurs locally and nationally.

When Jireh is asked why he does what he does his reply is, “I am passionate to serve others. I feel that there is no better reward than the satisfaction of knowing that you have made a difference in someone's life.”

Nevada Littlewolf
 School of Fine Arts

Graphic Design

Nevada Littlewolf’s UMD journey began 20 years ago; then she took time off to raise her family. When she returned to UMD last year to complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, she arrived with considerable experience in political leadership, public policy, civic engagement, and the arts.

A member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Nevada is an elected official on the Virginia City Council. Most recently, she served as a member of the Visual Quality Committee for the Highway 53 Bridge Design and consulted on the Virginia Mural Committee’s Ojibwe-themed public art piece.

Her background in art informs her leadership work. “Creativity and innovation are needed in all aspects of life. They are valuable in any profession,” she says.

Nevada was a 2016 Bush Leadership Fellow and is the founder and executive director of Rural American Indigenous Leadership (RAIL) an organization dedicated to supporting, training, and networking rural women leaders.

Her next goal is to earn a master’s degree in public policy.

She and her partner Todd live in Virginia, Minnesota, with their two children, Mika and Kira.

More information about the 2017 UMD commencement ceremonies.

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