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Bulldog Update, Parents and Family Edition is published eight times in the academic year (September, October, November, December, January, February, March and April)

A Milestone Topped with a Cap and Gown

There are many moments in life that we celebrate with parents and families. Walking across the stage to receive a
first, second, or third college degree is definitely one of them. It’s a much-anticipated day by many people who arrive from many walks of life.

At the 2014 commencement ceremonies, there were 29 countries represented during the May ceremonies; 29 states within our national borders; and, 77 counties in Minnesota. The story of each graduate links with another and completes the full spectrum of our campus.

During the commencement ceremonies, musical selections, artistic renditions in the printed program, and the variety of colorful medallions, tassels, and stoles reflect the journey where students began, achieved, and will continue to build their lives.

Each year, student speakers are selected and honored with the gift of time by sharing a message with their class during the ceremony. Throughout the years, student speakers have paid homage to their families, their friends, and their professors who have inspired them to reach for a degree, and succeed. In recognition of the faculty members for their excellence in teaching and research endeavors, commencement officials announce the professors who have received additional awards for their dedication.

The UMD commencement ceremonies are more than a graduation. It is a day we celebrate. It is a day we say farewell. It is a day we look toward the future and ask ourselves, how do I make the future an even better place? It is the end of one thing and the start of something altogether incredible and exciting. And it all starts with students, families, alumni, faculty, staff, and the Twin Ports community saying yes; let’s learn and teach with this generation for the benefit of the generations to follow.

Christiana Kapsner
Assistant Alumni Director
Office of Alumni Relations

Calendar of Events & Important Dates

Academic Link

Mid—Spring is a time when some 1st year students toy with the idea of transferring, stopping out, or dropping out.  By the end of Spring semester most of these students decide to stay.  Some leave and it works out well for them.  But some students leave and the decision turns out to be a mistake.  Some students start down the path of what is known as “swirling” where they repeatedly transfer from one institution to another – losing credits, money, and time along the way.  Often these “swirlers” never earn a degree, and end up with a lot of loan debt along the way.

How can parents, family members, and advisors help students in making a good decision on this topic?

1.         Determine the real reason that is at the root of “transfer talk”.

There are a few factors that may contribute to this:

  • Entering the Mental Isolation stage of the W-Curve of transition to college life and instead of moving forward through the stage, seek to go back to the “honeymoon” stage of excitement and newness by going somewhere else.  They may not realize that  at a new school they will start the W-Curve all over again and be right back at this same point next year.
  • It’s the time of the semester when they register for Fall classes, so that prompts consideration of if they are committed to coming back next year. It is a normal part of college transition to think about this, and most students re-commit to their school by the end of Spring semester when they reach the “Integration” stage of the W-Curve.
  • Friends and/or significant others may be thinking of transferring and a student considers transferring for the sake of the relationship.
  • Student has identified a major not offered at UMD that they wish to pursue at another school.
  • On-going homesickness and wanting to be closer to home as an attempt to resolved these feelings.
  • If considering stopping out or dropping out, it may be due to a lack of commitment at this time for earning a college degree.  They may not have found a sense of purpose of motivation yet for pursuing a degree at this time.
  • May not have fully engaged academically and/or socially on campus and are feeling a lack of fit and sense of belonging.
  • Is experiencing financial difficulties.
  • Has run into academic success difficulties (low GPA) and assumes this will be better at a different school.

2.         Discuss the reason(s) more holistically – have all of the potential consequences and outcomes of             transferring been taken into account to determine if this is the best choice?

  • How will this affect a student’s financial situation? 
  • Will they lose credits in the transfer?
  • Will this transferring prolong the time to graduation?
  • Has the student joined a club or organization?
  • Has the student met with an advisor or other staff/faculty member to discuss choice of major, or changing majors? To discuss purpose and motivation? Academic success strategies?
  • Is the student aware of where they might be in the W-Curve?
  • Does the new school that a friend or significant other is transferring to have the major the student wants to pursue?   Have they visited that school? Is it a good fit for them?
  • Does the student know the deadlines for applying and transferring to a new school?
  • Has the student applied for scholarships?  Met with a financial aid counselor?

There may be many more questions to ask and helpful conversations to have in making a decision about transferring, stopping out, or dropping out.   At the end of the day, it is not automatically right or wrong to transfer.  The question lies in if the decision is well thought out and for good reasons.  A final question might be, does transferring increase the student’s ability to achieve their educational and life goals?

Susan Darge Lombardo
Director of Advising & Academic Services
College of Education and Human Service Professions

Career Corner

Summer is a Great Time for Your Students to Work on Their Careers!

Encourage them to:

Career & Internship Services is here to help your students from freshman through senior year and beyond.

Encourage them to visit us! We’re open all summer from 8:00am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday!

Contact us at or 218-726-7985, or stop by 22 Solon Campus Center.

Ask Champ

Q: What is The Upgrade and how will our access to my student's account change after the Upgrade?

 UMD is upgrading the University's student, financial and human resources systems.  You can check out how this will effect your access to your student's accounts here

Got a burning question for Champ?  Click here to submit a question!

Dollars and Sense

Completion of a college degree requires a strong commitment from both students and their families.  From the freshman through the senior year, there are varying highs and lows that can lead a student to ask, “Is a college degree really worth the time, work, and expense?”  The evidence is clear that it is worth it.

From a return on investment standpoint, a college degree increasingly shows significant value over a lifetime.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median wage of Minnesota adults age 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree is $20,000 more than their high school graduate counterparts.  A September 2014 Huffington Post article highlights an analysis conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank showing individuals with a bachelor’s degree earn around $300,000 more over their lifetime than those with a high school education.  This indicator has tripled since 1980 when the difference was $80,000.

A 2013 report published by College Board also demonstrates the range of individual and societal benefits of a college education.  Their research found that college-educated adults are more likely to receive health insurance and pension benefits from their employers, are more likely to volunteer in their communities, lead healthier lifestyles, and report overall higher satisfaction with their work.  We are fortunate to regularly hear the success stories of UMD graduates, which bring all of these positive statistics to life.

Cost is often a concern for students and can deter some from continuing to graduation.  Students encountering financial challenges are encouraged to meet with a One Stop counselor in order optimize aid eligibility.  UMD’s financial literacy counselor also assists students in creating a budget plan, reducing ongoing expenses, and calculating loan repayment.  Finally, decreasing the number of semesters needed to graduate is one of the best ways to reduce the cost of a degree. The 30-60-90 Student Success Roadmap guides student progress toward timely graduation.

So the next time the “is it worth it” question comes up, say YES!

Niki Pechinski,
Financial Literacy Educator
Office of Financial Aid 

Story Harbor

Lorry Walsh,  UMD Recreational Sports Outdoor Program (RSOP)

This month Story Harbor spent time getting to know Lorry Walsh from UMD's nationally acclaimed Recreational Sports Outdoor Program (RSOP). Over 90% of UMD's student body participate in RSOP activities and programs. Lorry happily celebrated her 15 year anniversary at UMD last September. She provides administrative support to RSOP.

Lorry is a Duluth native, and has always had a passion for physical education, recreation and coaching. She began her career after college working with youth in the Duluth School District. Her first experience at the collegiate level was with Lake Superior College. When the position in RSOP opened up, she jumped at the chance to get back into education, recreation and sports! The fact that the university had excellent benefits was also very important to Lorry and her family. Over her years working at UMD, Lorry has been able to nourish her passion for sports and the outdoors. She noted that through her role in RSOP, she and her son discovered a love for kayaking through a waterfront kayaking tour.

Lorry shared her reasons for enjoying her work at UMD.
UMD has given me the ability to grow personally and professionally with the various courses, training and informational offerings for staff both within Student Life and campus wide.  I love working with the students!  Their energy and enthusiasm is so contagious.  Students get involved with RSOP because of their love for the outdoors and keeping active and engaged with recreation.

As a native Duluthian, Lorry loves living in her hometown. Having lived away from Duluth for brief periods of time, there are a number of things that make Duluth special for Lorry.
I love experiencing the changing seasons with fall being my favorite.  We have some of the best national parks and trails to explore in any direction you want to go and of course the lakes.  I have always enjoyed my summers at the cabin and have been blessed to give that same experience to my kids.

Lorry is the mother of one college graduate and another a month away from graduating. Lorry provided Story Harbor with really great advice for parenting, and she's well qualified based on the combination of parenting and RSOP experience!
I feel it is important for parents to "let them spread their wings".  It is amazing what your student is capable of when given the chance.  Let them know that you are there to support them and that you are their biggest fan.  Coach them through their journey and don't try to live it for them.  Your kids are amazing and I feel so blessed to get a chance to know so many of them through our program. Make sure that their student checks out all that RSOP offers the throughout the year.  We are a great avenue for relieving stress and making friends.

UMD is very fortunate to have staff like Lorry Walsh!