May 8th, 2020 @ 3:15 pm | Author: Greg Vanney
To honor its 2020 graduating class, Valley City State University will hold a virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16, starting at 10 a.m. At the ceremony, VCSU will recognize 299 graduates — 261 candidates will receive bachelor’s degrees and 38 students will receive master’s degrees.

The VCSU virtual ceremony will be played on the university’s YouTube channel, VCSUVikings (www.youtube.com/user/VCSUVikings). The event will appear on the YouTube channel that Saturday morning.

“COVID-19 has changed much of how we do things in 2020,” said VCSU President Alan LaFave. “Unfortunately, responding effectively to the coronavirus requires us to alter our plans for one of the most hallowed of university traditions, the commencement ceremony. Although we wish we could honor the Class of 2020 with an in-person ceremony, we trust that this virtual ceremony will provide a way to honor our graduates and their accomplishments.”

President LaFave will preside over the commencement exercises. Audience members will also hear from Nick Hacker, chair of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education (SBHE), along with graduating senior Brandi Aranda and Steven King, professor of social science.

Alan LaFave has served as president of Valley City State University since December 2018. He previously served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D.

In addition to his SBHE service, Nick Hacker is CEO of Guaranty and Title Company, which provides title insurance and real estate closing services across North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Montana.

A VCSU senior from Hitterdal, Minn., Brandi Aranda will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training. She has served the university as an R.A. and a Viking Ambassador, and also as a student athletic trainer and leader in the Athletic Training Club. Aranda, who served as homecoming co-chair last fall, received a Viking Pilot Award in 2019 in recognition of her passion for and contributions to the student body and campus community.

Steven King began teaching at VCSU in 1998 and secured a tenure track position in 2005. In 2019, he was recognized at the Dakota Conference at Augustana College with the Distinguished Contribution to the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage of the Northern Plains Award. Campus adviser for the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, King was honored by VCSU’s Student Senate as its 2020 Teacher of the Year.

VCSU has invited all spring 2020 and fall 2019 graduates to return to campus to participate in one of its next in-person commencement ceremonies in December 2020 or May 2021.