May 4, 2021
Mayville State University alumna Michelle (Worner) Kommer will deliver the annual commencement address at Mayville State University Saturday, May 15. The commencement ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. at the Mayville State University Lewy Lee Fieldhouse. Due to safety concerns related to COVID-19 and the need to social distance, officials are asking that members of the public watch via live stream at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/msucomets/, rather than attend the event in person.
Current graduates, Mary Peterson, Willliston, N.D., and Kaitlyn Kuntz, West Fargo, N.D., will speak on behalf of the graduating class.
Mayville State’s graduation day festivities will begin with the traditional graduation brunch, hosted by the MSU Alumni Association. The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Campus Center Luckasen Room. Graduates Abby Kohls from Mayville, N.D., Evan Kritzberger from Hillsboro, N.D., and Frida Garcia Kjelland from Valley City, N.D. will speak on behalf of the MSU Class of 2021. The members of the graduating class will be the guests of honor, and thanks to the generosity of Bell Bank, graduates and their families will attend the brunch free of charge.
Mayville State University Graduation Brunch Student Speaker Biographies:
Frida Garcia Kjelland is a scholarship recipient and has been a very active leader on the Mayville State campus. Her campus roles have included resident assistant, Peer Leader, Student Ambassador, Intercultural Club officer, and Science Club member and officer. Frida has worked as a student researcher in Mayville State’s science department, contributing to important work in the world of science. Frida has earned a Bachelor of Science degree, with a major in chemistry. Her parents are Aldelha and Michael Kjelland of Valley City, N.D.
Abigayle Kohls has been an outstanding leader for Collegiate DECA, not only on the Mayville State campus, but also at the state level. She served as the local chapter president, as well as the state president, in 2020-21, and has been the recipient of numerous DECA awards, including the National Chapter Leadership Award. Abby was named a Mayville State Student of the Year in 2019-20 and 2020-21. In addition, she was named Mayville State’s Outstanding Business Student for 2020-21. She has been an exemplary community volunteer. Abby has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. Her parents are Brent and Jennifer Kohls of Mayville.
Evan Kritzberger has been an active campus participant as a Mayville State student. He was president of the Math Club for two years, and played a key role in organizing and implementing a math meet held on campus for area junior high school students. He has been a member of the Student Education Association, and was a resident assistant and Student Ambassador. He was named a Mayville State Student of the Year in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Evan has earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree, with majors in secondary social science education and elementary education. His parents are Peter and Angela Kritzberger of Hillsboro, N.D.
Mayville State University Commencement Speaker Biographies:
Michelle (Worner) Kommer is the founder and owner of HighRoad Partners, LLC. HighRoad Partners is a full-service health insurance agency specializing in group employer and individual benefit policies. The organization also provides “in-sourced” human resource solutions to businesses.
Prior to the launch of her business, Michelle accepted the invitation from North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum to leave a successful career in the private sector for an exciting opportunity to join, learn, lead, and be a change maker as a public servant. Upon taking office, the Governor appointed Michelle to serve the citizens of North Dakota in his cabinet as Commissioner of Labor. In 2019, Governor Burgum invited her to take on the challenge of serving as the state’s Commissioner of Commerce. In that role, she was responsible for leading efforts to diversify the economy, recruit visitors and new residents, anticipate and address workforce demands, and help equip North Dakota communities for today’s changing environment, while assisting their efforts in preparing for tomorrow’s opportunities. Prior to this, she served as Executive Director of Job Service North Dakota, in addition to her duties as Labor Commissioner, making her the first person to lead two cabinet agencies at the same time.
Prior to her tour in public service, Michelle worked for more than 20 years in the private sector, with her career path including positions leading human resource, operational and legal functions in the financial services, health insurance, and energy/manufacturing industries. She is a licensed attorney, and her practice includes contract negotiation and management, labor, and employment matters, and corporate governance. Her executive experience includes leadership of the strategic planning, human resources, project management, information technology, operations, and legal functions.
Michelle received her undergraduate degree from Mayville State University, her master’s degree from the University of Mary, and her law degree from the University of North Dakota School of Law.
Michelle was named the “Woman of Impact” by the North Dakota Women’s Business Network in 2020, YWCA’s “Woman of the Year’ for Child Advocacy in 2016, and one of the “Top 25 Women in Business” by Prairie Business Magazine in both 2014 and 2015.
Student Commencement Speakers:
Kaitlyn Kuntz is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree and has earned majors in mathematics education and physical education. A four-year Dean’s List student, she was selected as a member of the Larson Leadership Academy as a freshman. On campus, she served as a resident assistant and was a member of the Cru leadership team. Kaitlyn was a Mayville State Peer Leader and served as the West Fargo Sheyenne girls basketball “C” coach in 2020-21. Kaitlyn’s parents are Jason and Sarah Kuntz from West Fargo, N.D.
Mary Peterson is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Education degree, with a major in elementary education and a minor in special education. She has earned her degree as a distance student, working remotely from Williston, N.D. She is a Mayville State Dean’s List student and in her work with the Williston Public School District, she was named Paraprofessional of the Year. She is on the school’s leadership team. Mary is also a member of the PTO and served as the group’s president for two years. She is the daughter of Kirby Brown from Williston. Mary and her husband, Joseph, are the parents of two children.