BISMARCK, ND — On Saturday, April 30, the University of Mary will award degrees to 958 graduates at its 2016 commencement. The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. in the Bismarck Event Center, Seventh Street and Front Avenue, Bismarck. The 2016 University of Mary graduation ceremonies can also be viewed through live streaming at www.lifeatmary.com.

Founded and sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery of Bismarck, the University of Mary will award 418 bachelor’s degrees, 295 master’s degrees and 45 doctoral degrees. These students come from 34 states representing 10 countries.

ND Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Hon. Gerald VandeWalle, will receive an honorary Doctor of Leadership degree at the 2016 commencement ceremonies.

North Dakota Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Hon. Gerald VandeWalle

Thirty-three (33) received the summa cum laude designation, 57 earned magna cum laude designation and 88 students received the cum laude designation.

Additionally, 45 students have earned the Certified Schafer Leader designation from the Harold Schafer Emerging Leaders Academy.

Chief Justice Gerald VandeWalle of Bismarck will be presented with the degree Doctor of Leadership, honoris causa, at commencement ceremonies.

North Dakota Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Hon. Gerald VandeWalle was born and raised in Noonan, ND. He attended the University of North Dakota and in 1955 received a Bachelor of Science degree in Commerce with honors from the School of Business. In 1958, he received a Juris Doctor degree magna cum laude from the University of North Dakota School of Law. In his senior year, he edited the North Dakota Law Review.

He was admitted to the State Bar of North Dakota in 1958 and accepted an appointment as Special Assistant Attorney General. In1975 he was appointed First Assistant Attorney General.

During his 20 years in the Attorney General’s office, VandeWalle held the education portfolio for elementary, secondary, and higher education; the North Dakota Industrial Commission oil and gas portfolio, and the State Retirement System portfolio.

In 1978, he was appointed to the North Dakota Supreme Court by Gov. Art Link. In November of that year, he was elected to serve the unexpired term, and was reelected to 10-year terms in 1984, 1994, 2004 and 2014. From 1985 to 1987, he served as first chair of the North Dakota Judicial Conference.

As a faithful supporter of religious vocations to the Catholic Church, VandeWalle has been a member of the Bismarck-Mandan Serra Club for more than 30 years.

He is a past co-chair of the ABA Bar Admissions Committee and past chair of the Federal-State Tribal Relations Committee of the Conference of Chief Justices. VandeWalle is past chair of the Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar of the American Bar Association, past president of the Conference of Chief Justices, past chair of the National Center for State Courts, and past chair of the National Center for State Courts’ Research Advisory Council.

VandeWalle was elected Chief Justice Jan. 1, 1993, and reelected to successive five-year terms in 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015. He remains on the Court as Chief Justice, having served for more than 37 years.

VandeWalle is the recipient of the 2008 American Inns of Court Circuit Professional Award for the 8th Circuit. Honest and straightforward, an active and engaged jurist, he believes that the highest calling for a lawyer is service to others.

His motto is: Much is expected where much is given.

Well-known as a warm and compassionate man, renowned for his quiet dedication to mentoring new attorneys, Chief Justice VandeWalle is respected as an excellent jurist, as well as an excellent human being —intelligent, humorous and considerate, a true gentleman in every sense of the word.

The 2016 University of Mary graduation ceremonies can be viewed through live streaming at: www.lifeatmary.com