Dawn_Cruff.jpgMayville State graduate Dawn Cruff, Fargo, N.D., will deliver the annual commencement address at Mayville State University Saturday, May 13. The commencement ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. at the Mayville State University Lewy Lee Fieldhouse. The event is open to the public.

Current graduates Kristin Reinowski, Anamoose, N.D., and Anthony Stockfish, Murrieta, Calif., will speak on behalf of the graduating class. Greg Stemen, Oakes, N.D., member of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education, will bring greetings on behalf of the Board; and Pastor Randy Mortenson from Ebenezer Lutheran Brethren Church in Mayville will deliver the invocation.

Mayville State’s graduation day festivities will begin with the traditional graduation brunch, hosted by the MSU Alumni Association. A sit-down meal and program will begin at 11 a.m. in the Campus Center Luckasen Room. Graduates Taylor Benneweis from Enderlin, N.D., Erin Olson from Grand Forks, N.D., and Louis Bongiovanni from Woodend, Victoria Australia will speak on behalf of the MSU Class of 2017. The members of the graduating class will be the guests of honor at the event. The brunch is also open to MSU faculty and staff and friends and family of the graduates. 

Following the commencement ceremony, Mayville State faculty, staff, and administration will host a reception to honor of the graduates. The reception will be held gymnasium at Mayville State’s Wellness Center. The reception is open to the graduates and their guests.

Mayville State University Graduation Brunch Student Speaker Biographies:


Taylor Benneweis has been involved in numerous organizations and activities while at Mayville State University. She has been a member of Student Senate and has served in the roles of vice president and president or the organization. She has also served as administrative assistant of the North Dakota Student Association. Taylor has been a Student Alumni Ambassador, student orientation coordinator, Residence Hall Assistant, and participant in the Larson Leadership Program. She was named to Who’s Who Among Students in Colleges and Universities in 2015 and was MSU’s homecoming queen in that year as well. Taylor participated in the university band and choir, and was a member of Alpha Phi Sigma honor society, Student Education Association, National Education Association, Cometeers, Newman Club, Comet Committee for Gender Equality and Safety, Title IX Advisory Committee, Science Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Peer Leaders, and Kappa Delta Pi. Volunteer activities have included Mayville State Relay for Life, Big Comet Little Comet, Common Time, STEM carnival, Nepal backpack project, and the May-Port Food Pantry. Taylor is graduating with a Bachelor of Education degree, earning a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Early Childhood Education. She has earned cum laude honors. She is the daughter of Kathy Benneweis and Darren and Shalon Benneweis.

Louis Bongiovanni has been a member of the varsity men’s basketball team throughout his career at Mayville State University. A Dean’s List student, he was named an NAIA Academic All American and an NJCAA Academic All American. He has been involved with youth basketball camps and the youth swimming program. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree at the end of the fall semester of 2016, pursing a major in fitness and wellness and a specialization in fitness pedagogy. He has earned cum laude honors. He is the son of Karen Martin and Paul Bongiovanni.

Erin Olson is a scholarship recipient and member of the Alpha Phi Sigma honor society. She has been involved on campus with the Larson Leadership Program, as well as with the Student Education Association and Students North Dakota United. She has volunteered with the local Awana program, as well as her church’s youth group. Erin will student teach at Hatton, N.D. next fall and will complete the requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree in Education at the end of the fall semester of 2017. She is pursuing majors in elementary education and special education, and has earned cum laude honors. Michael and Nanci Olson are her parents.

Mayville State University Commencement Speaker Biographies:


Keynote Speaker

Dawn Cruff is a real estate agent with more than 16 years of experience, specializing in both existing and new home construction in the Fargo-Moorhead area. She is a 1991 Mayville State graduate who played varsity women’s basketball as an MSU student. She is a member of the MSU Foundation board of directors and the Mayville State University Athletic Hall of Fame. She was presented with the Mayville State University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012.

Dawn is very involved in her community, serving on several committees with the Fargo-Moorhead Area Association of Realtors and Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead. She was named the F-M  Home Builders Associate of the Year in 2016 in recognition of her dedication to the industry and her behind-the-scenes volunteer efforts. She is active with Prairie Heights Community Church, YWCA of Cass Clay, Homeward Animal Shelter, and the Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity.

Student Speakers

Kristin Reinowski is a Dean’s List student and scholarship recipient. She was a nominee for Mayville State’s Student of the Year in 2016 and 2017. An active campus leader, Kristin has been a Student Alumni Ambassador, Student Education Association secretary, and member of the Mayville State choir. She has been a volunteer with the Common Time program, as well as with Relay for Life. She will complete the requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Education degree at the conclusion of the fall semester of 2017. She is pursuing a major in elementary education and a minor in early childhood education, and has earned magna cum laude honors. Her parents are Kevin and Deb Reinowski.

Anthony Stockfish came to Mayville State University as a community college transfer student. During his two years at Mayville State, he has been very involved in numerous activities. A two-time student of the year nominee, Anthony has been a member and state and national award-winner in Collegiate DECA. He has been a member of the Student Senate and has spent time assisting with the activities of the Mayville State football team, developing and managing the team’s Facebook presence. He has been employed with MSU Dining Services and was awarded their scholarship. He has also been instrumental in the efforts of the Coffee Time project at Mayville State. Anthony will complete the requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration at the end of the fall semester of 2017. He is the son of Jean Obermeyer.