WILLISTON, N.D. - Dr. Raymond Nadolny, president of Williston State College, is pleased to announce that local artist and former UND-Williston student David Njos will receive a honorary degree at commencement exercises on May 13.
Njos, a native of Williston, also attended the Colorado Institute of Art in Denver, Colo., and served one tour in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division, after which he returned to his hometown to raise his family. "This just blows me away, " Njos said when asked about receiving the degree.
His artwork, which includes sculpture and landscaping, is a testament to his love for and commitment to his hometown. He was commissioned by the Williston Centennial Committee to design and construct the 30-foot high wheat monument to honor the pioneers of agriculture in Williston, which stands in Davidson Park, across from the Williston Community Library. He created a community veteran's monument honoring the Korean and Vietnam veterans, which is located on 9th Avenue West on the eastern edge of the St. Joseph Cemetery. He did an etched woodcarving that hangs at WSC, and created an iron sculpture of two life-sized coyotes for the Williston High School/Middle School campus. He was also commissioned by the North Dakota State Historical Society to do a sculpture of Sakakawea for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. His work has also been featured in the North Dakota Horizons magazine.
In a recommendation to the State Board of Higher Education, which approved the honorary degree, it was stated that "in thinking about awarding an honorary degree, we think of someone who has provided a high level of service and commitment to the college and to the community."
The history of WSC has many stories that involve Njos and his contributions to the institution, from designing the logo which is still featured on the floor of the school's old gym to the recently completed college seal.
"Whenever he has been asked to serve in whatever way, he has agreed without hesitation," Nadolny said. "He involves himself 110 percent and because of what he has done for WSC, he's not only made the college a better place, but he has also strengthened our image in the community."
WSC Bookstore Manager Andrea Heller said that Njos is not an artist who is out for personal profit or recognition. "All that he has done for us here at Williston State College has been done at no charge. He loves art and he loves his community, and he does what he can to make it a better place for all of us.
"It is a privilege to be able to honor Mr. Njos for his service and his many contributions to our college and our community," Nadolny said.