Minneapolis Archbishop Hebda to give address and school honors two North Dakota entrepreneurs

BISMARCK, ND — On Saturday, April 29, the University of Mary will award degrees to nearly 900 graduates at its 2017 commencement. The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. in the Bismarck Event Center, Seventh Street and Front Avenue, Bismarck.

Founded and sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery of Bismarck, the University of Mary will award close to 500 bachelor’s degrees, 324 master’s degrees and 68 doctoral degrees. These students come from 41 states representing 8 countries.

Forty-five (45) received the summa cum laude designation, 68 earned magna cum laude designation and 111 students received the cum laude designation. Additionally, 58 students have earned the Certified Schafer Leader designation from the Harold Schafer Emerging Leaders Academy.

Archbishop Hebda 2016 for WebCommencement Speaker 

The son of Bernard and the late Helen Clark Hebda, the Most Reverend Bernard A. Hebda was born on September 3, 1959 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Bernard Hebda attended Resurrection Elementary School in Brookline, Pennsylvania and graduated from South Hills Catholic High School in Pittsburgh in 1977. He continued his education at Harvard University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1980 followed by a Juris Doctor degree from the Columbia University School of Law in 1983. He was admitted to the Bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1983 and worked as an associate in the law firm of Reed, Smith, Shaw and McClay.

In 1984, he enrolled at St. Paul Seminary in Pittsburgh and studied philosophy at Duquesne University before being sent to North American College in Rome, where he earned his S.T.B. from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1989.

He was ordained a deacon in 1989 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and was ordained to the priesthood in 1989 in St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh.  After his ordination, he served briefly as Parochial Vicar Pro Tem at Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Elwood City, Pennsylvania, before returning to Rome to complete his licentiate in canon law, which he received in 1990 from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Upon returning from Pittsburgh, Father Hebda served in the bishop’s office as Master of Ceremonies, in team ministry at Prince of Peace Parish on Pittsburgh’s South Side, and as director of campus ministry at the Slippery Rock University Newman Center. He also served on the Canonical Advisory Council, the Priest Council and the Priest Personnel Board of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

In 1996, he was appointed to work in the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts in Rome. In 2003, St. John Paul II named him Undersecretary of the Council.

In Rome, he also served as an adjunct spiritual director at the North American College and as a confessor for the postulants of the Missionaries of Charity and for the Sisters of that community.

He was named Fourth Bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.

On September 24, 2013, Pope Francis named Bishop Hebda Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark.

On June 15, 2015, Pope Francis named him Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.


Honorary Degree Recipients 

William "Bill" Marcil, publisher of The Forum Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

William “Bill” Marcil, publisher of The Forum
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

William C. Marcil is chairman of the board of directors of Forum Communications Company, a family-owned, fifth generation regional multimedia company.

Under Marcil’s leadership, Forum Communications Company has grown to include 10 daily and 23 community newspapers across North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin; a radio station, four television stations, six commercial printing operations and an interactive media group.

William Marcil was born March 9, 1936, in Rolette, North Dakota and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks in 1958.

His wife is the former Jane Black, the daughter of Norman Black, owner and publisher of the Fargo Forum newspaper. In 1969, Marcil became the president and publisher of the Forum.

Marcil’s many professional affiliations include past chairmanships of the United States Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Newspaper Association of America, the Greater North Dakota Association, the North Dakota State University Development Foundation, and the North Dakota Vision 2000 Committee. He is also past president of the North Dakota Professional Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, Junior Achievement Board, Fargo Chamber of Commerce, and Fargo Rotary.

Among his honors are the Silver Beaver Award given by the Boy Scouts of America, the Greater North Dakotan Award for outstanding business leadership by the North Dakota State Chamber of Commerce, and the North Dakota National Leadership Award of Excellence given by the State of North Dakota. Marcil also received the Schafer Excellence in Enterprise Award from the University of Mary in 2003. He was inducted into the Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2005, and received the Legacy Leadership Award from the Fargo Moorhead Chamber of Commerce in 2007. He is a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha, Epsilon Zeta Chapter Alumni Hall of Fame.

In 2006, Marcil was presented with the State of North Dakota’s highest honor, the Rough Rider Award.

Marcil retired as the publisher of the Forum on December 1, 2010.


George Ehlis for WebGeorge Ehlis is the President and Chief Financial Officer of American Bancor Ltd. of Dickinson, North Dakota.

George F. Ehlis was born April 23, 1941 in Stark County. He was raised and educated in the Dickinson area and has lived there all of his life. George married Patricia Herauf in 1963 in Belfield, North Dakota. They have eight children, 25 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

From 1960 to 1990, George was a farmer and rancher in southwestern North Dakota. George also owned SunCo Grain Inc. in New England and served as treasurer on the board of directors from 1977 to 1984. George is also a general partner in Southwest Dakota LLLP, an investment partnership with investments in agricultural real estate in southwestern North Dakota.

In 1977, George was asked to serve on the board of directors for American State Bank & Trust of New England, North Dakota. It was from this involvement his career in banking emerged. In 1980, he was elected chairman of the board. George became Chief Executive Officer of American State Bank & Trust of Dickinson in 1990; at that time his sons took over farming and ranching.

American Bancor, Ltd. was formed as a three-bank holding company in 1984. George was appointed President/CEO and chairman of the board in 1990. Today, American Bancor, Ltd. is a privately held company headquartered in Dickinson, North Dakota. Its subsidiaries have 22 locations in 16 communities across western and central North Dakota, and eastern Montana, employing more than 430 people and having 224 shareholders. The organization provides banking and non-banking financial services and products through four business segments: Consumer and Commercial Banking, Personal and Commercial Insurance, Trust and Retirement Services, and Investments and Wealth Management.  George currently serves on the board of directors for most of these entities.

From 2000-2004 Ehlis served on the board of directors for the North Dakota Bankers Association, as well as the agricultural committee for the North Dakota Bankers Association. From 1996-19967, Ehlis served as chairman of the board for Fisher Sand & Gravel Company and its subsidiaries in Dickinson and continued to serve on its board of directors until 2001.

Since 2001, Ehlis has served as a board member and treasurer for the Domestic Violence & Rape Crisis Center in Dickinson. He is actively involved in the St. Mary’s School Foundation in New England, North Dakota, and has served as a member of its board of directors for over 30 years. He is actively involved in St. Mary’s Church in New England and with Catholic affiliations such as the Knights of Columbus, parish council, trustee and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Ehlis was also a member of the board of directors for the New England Farmers Union Oil Company from 1974 to 1980. In 2004 he was elected to the University of Mary Board of Trustees and currently serves on its Investment Committee.

The 2017 University of Mary graduation ceremonies can be viewed through live streaming at: www.lifeatmary.com.

Also, as you are capturing the big day, we encourage you to get social! Please use the #UMaryGrad17 and #LifeAtMary hashtags on Twitter and Facebook. We will also have some special Mary commencement filters for Snapchat, which will be available to anyone within range of the Bismarck Event Center during CommencementLastly, please follow us @umary for tweets from commencement.