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Sanford, Blais, Beal, Guy to receive UND alumni awards

Posted on 5/2/2011

Dean Blais
Dean Blais

A retired superintendent, a school president, a winning hockey coach and a mental health consultant and veteran will receive alumni achievement awards on Thursday, May 5!

UND's College of Education and Human Development will be honoring four alumni: Mark Sanford, '66, '76, Marilyn Guy, '69, '71, '76, Earl Beal, '87, and Dean Blais, '82.

The dinner and program will be held on Thursday, May 5, at "A Touch of Magic." The social begins at 6 p.m., with the dinner and program at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $15 apiece. To register or send a note of congratulations, please contact Jena Pierce, Director of Alumni Relations and Development at (701) 777-0844 or e-mail

"Every year I am inspired to see what our graduates have done with their lives," said Dan Rice, Dean of the UND College of Education and Human Development. "It is such an honor to have these individuals come back to campus and let the departments and our faculty recognize their outstanding work!"

Having served as the Grand Forks Superintendent of Schools from 1981-2007, Mark Sanford has been the longest serving superintendent in the history of Grand Forks Public Schools. Sanford received a Master of Education in Educational Administration from UND in 1933 and a Doctor of Education Degree in 1976. Over the span of his administration, many changes were introduced. Among the most noteworthy were All Day Kindergarten, Head Start, middle schools for grades 6-8, technology integration, Reading Recovery, increasing programs for adult learners, Community High School and development of a collegial partnership with the Grand Forks Air Force Base.

Sanford was the recipient of the 2001 NDEA Presidential Award for Outstanding Administrator. He also served on several community and state boards, including 15 years on the North Dakota State Investment Board and the Teachers' Fund for Retirement Board of Trustees. In 2010, Sanford was elected to the North Dakota Legislature. In 2011, Grand Forks Public Schools renamed its administrative building the Mark Sanford Education Center in honor of this legendary educational leader.

Marilyn J. Guy is currently serving as Oak Grove Lutheran School's interim president. For more than 30 years, Guy has been a professor in the department of education at Concordia College in Moorhead; she is taking a leave of absence from Concordia College to serve as president at Oak Grove. In her time at Concordia, she supervised student teachers, served as the chair of the education department, and was an assistant academic dean. Guy received three degrees from UND. She earned a Bachelor of Education in elementary education in 1969, a Master of Education in education in 1971 and a Doctor of Education in 1976.

Since 1994, she has been a team chair and member of the Readers Panel with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, working to accredit K-12 schools and schools of higher education. She was a board member and the president of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, whose members include 800 colleges and universities with teacher education programs. She was a founding member of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council and also served as its vice chairperson. Guy is the first female to serve in the capacity of president in Oak Grove's 104-year history. She and her husband, William L. Guy III, have two grown children and one grandchild.

During his first season as the head coach at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Dean Blais led the Mavericks to just their fourth 20-win season in school history during 2009-2010. He stepped away from his UNO duties for a magical two weeks in which he led the U.S. Junior Team to a gold medal at the 2010 IIHF World Championship in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. As a college coach, Blais won NCAA Division I national championships as the head coach of the University of North Dakota in 1997 and 2000. Overall, the native of International Falls, Minn., guided UND to seven NCAA appearances, five regular season WCHA titles and two WCHA playoff championships. Blais is a two-time winner of the Spencer Penrose Memorial Award given to the Division I coach of the year.

Blais received a Master of Education in physical education from UND in 1982. He served as head coach and general manager of the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League. He also worked for the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League from 2004-2007. In April of 2010, Blais signed a contract extension with UNO taking him through the 2014-2015 season. Accepting the award on Blais' behalf is Jeff Bowen.

Earl Beal is a consultant on mental health issues related to victims of trauma with specific emphasis on military and veteran populations. He recently retired as an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling Psychology and Community Services at UND. Prior to that, he served as a research analyst developing Department of Defense health and family programs. He also established the Airman and Family Readiness Center at Grand Forks Air Force Base and served as its first director. A disabled Vietnam combat veteran with over 36 years of both military active duty and federal service, he retired from the Department of the Air Force in 2005.

Beal has been involved in providing family education, counseling and consultation in a variety of settings for more than 40 years. This has included positions as a youth advisor, juvenile court consultant, veteran service counselor, victim/witness advocate and court appointed domestic abuse counselor. Beal earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Counseling from the University of North Dakota. He has been married for 47 years. He has two sons, three grandsons, and a granddaughter.

The UND College of Education and Human Development has more than 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students in six departments including Counseling Psychology and Community Services; Educational Foundations and Research; Educational Leadership; Physical Education, Exercise Science and Wellness; Social Work; and Teaching and Learning. The mission is fostering healthy human development and learning across the lifespan.


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