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The University of Minnesota Duluth

BRIDGE - Fall 2006, Volume 24, #2

UMD's Commencement
Harry Oden and Jim Brandenburg Receive Honorary Degrees

Two honorary degrees were awarded by UMD Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin and Dr. Anthony Baraga, chair, U of M Board of Regents during the 2006 UMD Bachelor's Degree Commencement in May. An honorary Doctor of Laws degree for public service was given to youth worker, education leader, and 1964 UMD graduate, Harry Oden, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters was awarded to world-famous nature photographer and filmmaker, Jim Brandenburg.

Jim Brandenburg (left) and Harry Oden (right)
are hooded as part of the cemermony

Harry Oden has tirelessly advocated for hundreds of students, enabling them to reach their educational goals, and has   inspired students across the country to give back to their communities. At UMD, he personally nurtured hundreds of students, helping them excel, a role he continues today after retirement.  

In 1990, Oden received the UMD Distinguished Alumni Award and delivered the commencement address. His devotion to education and community service inspired the establishment of the UMD Harry Oden Scholarship for minority and disabled students in 1994. More than 150 students have received financial help, many over four years, from the endowed scholarship.

Currently he is an educational consultant for various school districts and a motivational speaker for several organizations, including the YMCA and Boys' and Girls' Club.

Jim Brandenburg is one of America's premier wildlife photographers, whose photographs have won many prestigious national and international awards. A Minnesota native, he began his award-winning career as a natural history photographer and filmmaker while majoring in studio art at UMD. He was twice named "Magazine Photographer of the Year" by the National Press Photographer's Association, as well as "Kodak Wildlife Photographer of the Year" by the Natural History Museum-London and the BBC's Wildlife Magazine . In 1991, Brandenburg received the World Achievement Award from the United Nations Environmental Programme in Stockholm, Sweden, in recognition of his using nature photography to raise public awareness for the environment.

In 1996, Brandenburg received the UMD Distinguished Alumni Award and delivered the commencement address. He and his wife, Judy, have demonstrated a high commitment to conservation and preservation efforts through their support for the Trust for Public Land and Friends of the Boundary Waters. The nonprofit Brandenburg Prairie Foundation was established in 1999 to educate, promote, preserve and expand native prairie in southwestern Minnesota.


New Leaders in Advocacy and Politics

The first Masters of Advocacy and Political Leadership (MAPL) graduating class, 13 students from the Twin Cities, Duluth, and the Iron Range, received their degrees in May. The MAPL Program, which began at UMD in 2004, is an applied degree, designed for people interested in ethics and in changing public policy. Eleven MAPL students have already put their degrees to work, receiving new positions such as a state-wide policy administrator, legislative caucus campaign coordinator, and state-wide campaign field director. Wy Spano, Minnesota political analyst and former lobbyist is the program's director.



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BRIDGE, the UMD Magazine, 1049 University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812

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