UND alumni to be honored

The UND Alumni Association will honor three distinguished alumni with its highest honor, the Sioux Award, at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, in the Alerus Center Ballroom in Grand Forks. Those accepting the award are: Tom Hamilton, U.S. Senator Byron L. Dorgan, and Dale F. Morrison. Three others, Cindy Blikre-Roche, James Mehus, and Carla Christofferson, will receive the Young Alumni Achievement Award.

Sioux Award recipients

Tom Hamilton,’67, ’70, HON ’93, originally from Greenfield, Ohio, made his career in the oil and gas industry. He began with Exxon after earning an undergraduate degree from Capital University in Ohio, followed by a master’s degree and Ph.D. in geology from UND. He later joined Aminoil as executive vice president. In 1985 he was named senior vice president of Standard Oil of Ohio, which was soon bought out by British Petroleum and Tom was moved to London. Within BP, Tom became chief executive of all oil, gas and liquefied natural gas operations outside Europe and North America.

In 1991 Tom was approached by Pennzoil and joined the company’s management team as head of their oil and gas company. By 1997, he became chairman and chief executive officer of EEX Corporation. He led the company until December 2002.

Hamilton is an involved volunteer and advocate for work in mental health. He has been a trustee of the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County Texas since 2000. He served on the UND Alumni Association and UND Foundation board of directors for a full nine-year stint, leading as president of the Foundation in 2002-03.

He and his wife, Carolyn, live in Houston.

U.S. Senator Byron L. Dorgan, ’65, HON ’02, a Regent, N.D. native, earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the UND College of Business and Public Administration. He went on to graduate with a master’s of business administration from the University of Denver in 1966.

Re-elected to a third term in the U.S. Senate in November 2004, Sen. Dorgan received nearly 70 percent of the vote after serving two previous terms in the Senate and six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Throughout his career in both the House and Senate, Dorgan has worked to advance the interests of rural America. Sen. Dorgan’s public service career began at the age of 26, when he was appointed to the office of State Tax Commissioner in North Dakota. He was the youngest constitutional officer in North Dakota’s history.

He and his wife, Kim, are residents of Bismarck. They have four adult children.

Dale F. Morrison, ’71, HON ’99, originally from Milton, N.D., graduated from the UND College of Business and Public Administration with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. In 1999, UND awarded him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Morrison is a veteran of the consumer products industry. He began his career at General Foods where he spent 10 years in sales and marketing positions of increasing responsibility. He then spent 14 years with PepsiCo in general management assignments around the world. In 1995, he joined the Campbell Soup Company as president of the Pepperidge Farm division and shortly thereafter assumed responsibility for Campbell’s International business. In 1997, he was promoted to president and chief executive officer, a position he held until 2000. Morrison joined McCain Foods Limited as president and chief executive officer in 2004.

He is a board emeritus member of the UND Alumni Association and UND Foundation. He has returned to campus several times to provide professional coaching to business students. He was also national chair of the Creating Business Leaders Campaign within the UND College of Business and Public Administration, which raised more than $20 million to enhance education.

Morrison and his wife, Barbara (Rolland), ’70, ’71, reside in Princeton, N.J., and are the parents of two grown children, Andrea and Mark.

Young Alumni Achievement Award recipients

Cindy Blikre-Roche, ’91, originally from Wahpeton, N.D., graduated summa cum laude from UND with a bachelor’s degree in public relations. She continued her education at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., where she earned a master’s degree in integrated marketing communications.

She began her career at Ameritech’s corporate headquarters in Chicago as manager of brand communications. She later joined the J. Walter Thompson and Ammirati Puris Lintas advertising agencies. In 1999 she joined Leo Burnett Chicago. Over the years, she worked on several high profile accounts including: Morgan Stanley, the United States Postal Service and Sara Lee Foods.

Today, Blikre-Roche is a senior vice president and account director at the Chicago office of Leo Burnett Worldwide. She is responsible for running a portion of the agency’s North American Procter & Gamble business. Leo Burnett Worldwide is one of the world’s largest agency networks.

She and her husband, Richard, live in Wilmette, Ill. They have one daughter.

James Mehus, M.D./Ph.D., ’00, a Hatton, N.D., native, graduated first in his class from the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Along with a medical degree, Dr. Mehus also earned a doctoral degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University. He was only the fourth student in the school’s history to complete the dual degree program.

While still a medical student, Mehus was on a team of researchers and doctors who discovered four out of the eight known genes from the nm23 gene family. Following graduation, he and his family moved to Wisconsin, where he completed residency training. In 2004, he became board certified in internal medicine and pediatrics.

Following his research accomplishments at UND, Dr. Mehus was sought after by medical facilities throughout the nation. However, his plan to one day return to North Dakota had not changed. He and his family moved back to their home state, and, today, Dr. Mehus is a physician at Meritcare Clinic in Mayville, N.D.

He and his wife, Wendy (Garret), ’95, live in Mayville. They have five children.

Carla Christofferson, ’89, originally from Tolna, N.D., graduated summa cum laude from UND with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a minor in psychology. In 1989 she was crowned Miss North Dakota. She continued her education at Yale University and graduated with a law degree in 1992.

Christofferson has spent the past 15 years as a litigation attorney with the law firm of O’Melveny & Myer. She is currently a partner in O’Melveny’s Los Angeles office and was recognized as a Southern California “Super Lawyer” in 2005 and 2006. In 2001 she served as the firm’s first female national hiring partner, and in 2002 she served on the firm’s executive committee. From 2004-06, she was the talent development partner for O’Melveny. In that position, she developed and oversaw initiatives designed to better recruit, train, mentor, and evaluate attorneys at the firm.

In 2006, Christofferson and her business partner formed Gemini Basketball, L.L.C., which then purchased the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks in December 2006.

She is a member of several non-profit boards of directors, including the Los Angeles Public Library Foundation and the Women’s Care Cottage, an organization serving homeless women and children in the Los Angeles area.

The Sioux Award dates back to 1949, when it was known as the Service Award. It is given to UND alumni who have distinguished themselves in their chosen fields of endeavor and who are selected by the Citations Committee based on achievement, service and loyalty. -- Alumni Association and Foundation.