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Earl Pomeroy to receive honorary degree at UND's spring commencement May 14

Posted on 4/25/2011

Earl Pomeroy
Former U.S. Congressman Earl Pomeroy

Earl Pomeroy, who served as North Dakota's congressman for 18 years, will receive an honorary Doctor of Letters degree during the University of North Dakota's Spring Commencement at 1:30 p.m. May 14 in the Alerus Center.

Pomeroy was nominated for the honor by Mark Jendrysik, chair of the UND Department of Political Science and Public Administration, and Kathryn Rand, UND School of Law dean. Pomeroy will also be the speaker at the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences commencement Sunday, May 15 at 2:30 p.m. in the Chester Fritz Auditorium.

A Valley City, N.D., native and UND alumnus, Pomeroy was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992 and served as North Dakota's only congressman until 2010. After the 1997 Grand Forks flood, he helped secure nearly $500 million in disaster relief and was instrumental in securing federal funding for the city's $300 million flood control system. He has helped UND secure federal funding for research.

Jendrysik wrote in his letter of nomination that Pomeroy "is an outstanding example of commitment to public service and represents the values of leadership that we seek to teach in our students."

In her nomination letter, Rand called Pomeroy "one of our most notable alumni." She added, "Beyond his reputation as a public servant, he has been a staunch supporter of the School of Law and UND, generously offering his time and talent to our students, staff and faculty."

In approving Pomeroy's nomination, the University Senate said, "…he used his influence in the agriculture and tax policy areas to shape the most recent farm bill to provide benefits for farmers and ranchers in the state. His work made him one of the nation's most respected advocates for producers and for rural America. He also served as co-chair of the bipartisan Rural Health Care Coalition, where he worked to policies that strengthen rural hospitals."

Pomeroy was born in Valley City on Sept. 2, 1952. He attended Valley City State University before transferring to UND where he earned a BA in political science and his law degree in 1979. He practiced law in Valley City for five years before embarking on his political career.

Pomeroy was elected to the North Dakota state legislature in 1980. He was elected state insurance commissioner in 1984 and re-elected to that post in 1988. He served as president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

During his time in the U.S. House of Representatives, Pomeroy served on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which gave him influence over key policy decisions on taxes, trade, Social Security and Medicare. He also sat on the House Agricultural Committee and was one of the few House members allowed to serve on two committees.

Pomeroy is currently a counsel in Alston & Bird's Washington, D.C., office, where he focuses his practice on health care, regulatory and legislative matters. He advises clients on health policy and legislative strategies for health care delivery.

Useful link:

UND Commencement website:



Patrick Miller, writer/editor
UND Office of University Relations

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