Greg Page and Carolyn Becraft Receive Honorary Degrees at 2016 Spring Commencement


Averi Haugesag

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Business & Public Administration


It’s that time of year again. A time when a portion of the University of North Dakota’s 1,900 eligible graduates will walk across the Alerus Center stage and be handed their diplomas. Undergraduate and graduate students have worked hard over the past few years, however, they will not be the only ones receiving degrees this Saturday (May 14, 2016). UND College of Business and Public Administration Alumni, Greg Page, and Nursing/ Home Economics Alumni, Carolyn Becraft will be receiving honorary degrees.

CoBPA Assistant Dean, Pat O’Neill says honorary degrees are “A way to recognize alums who have been very successful in their career and given a lot back to the University.”

Since graduating from UND, Page has reached the highest level of accomplishment in business serving as CEO at Cargill, the largest privately held corporation in the United States in terms of revenue. Page has also been a great friend to the CoBPA. “Greg has given time to various events, he’s a Sioux Award winner from a few years ago and he also has both in his own name and his family’s name, given a lot of financial support to the college,” says O’Neill. Thanks to Page, the CoBPA has been able to remodel a first floor conference room, provide dozens of student scholarships and hire outstanding employees. “We have an endowed chair of applied economics named after Greg Page because of his donation, as well as Page Endowed Dean, Margaret Williams. We’ve been able to get outstanding faculty and deans here because in large part, his generosity to the college,” says O’Neill, “He was a phenomenally successful graduate.”

Carolyn Becraft, a Fargo native, also saw a great deal of success. Since graduation in 1966, Becraft has held a number of political positions. She was the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Military Community and Family Support in the Defense Department. Then, she worked as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy and Manpower and Reserve Affairs. Becraft also worked with women’s rights groups and coordinated the efforts that lead to the repeal of the combat exclusion laws. “These were the only laws in the U.S. code that specifically discriminated against women. And in this case, it was against military women. So, I lead the efforts that resulted in the repeal of those laws,” says Becraft. On top of her military involvement, Becraft became highly involved with the UND, especially the CoBPA. Becraft was a chair of the UND Alumni Association for nine years. She frequently speaks to public administration classes, has established endowments to send students to world affairs conferences, and is a part of the CoBPA advisory council. Despite her involvement, Becraft says she was stunned when President Ed Schafer called her to say she would be one of this year’s honorary recipients. “I was totally honored. And humbled,” says Becraft.

Becraft, who graduated with a food and nutrition major, does have a bit of advice for both graduating and current students. “There’s a poem by Robert Frost, “two paths diverged in the woods and I took the one less traveled and that made all the difference.” If I had to sum up how I started from being a dietitian and ended up where I was, I guess that has to be it. I think you have to take risks. You have to work hard but you have to take risks and I think if the opportunity presents itself and you really want to do it, and then you decide that you don’t do it because maybe it’s too scary, you’ll always regret it.” While risks can be nerve-racking, Becraft attributes her successes to the unplanned, unexpected path she took.