After graduating from high school in Columbia Falls, MT, Ray attended the U.S. Air Force Academy for a year and a half before transferring to Montana State, where he received a BS Degree in Math and Teaching in 1969. He earned an MS Degree in Guidance and Counseling from UND in 1979.
Ray’s early career included assignments in Chehalis, WA (1969-71), where he taught math and coached football, basketball, and baseball; Conrad, MT (1971-75), teaching math and history along with head basketball and golf; Poplar, MT (1975-76), serving as head basketball coach and Title I Coordinator. In the fall of 1976, Ray moved to Grand Forks, ND, where he taught math, was the head cross country and assistant basketball coach at Red River HS, until he began his tenure at North High School in 1979.
During his 31 year tenure at North High, Ray taught in the math department, including service as the Department Chair and a member of the FPS Math Study Committee. Ray was also a member of the FPS Coaches’ Council; and was recognized as the North High Teacher of the Year for the 2008-09 school year. His 19 year head basketball coaching career included a 1985 State Championship and ND Coach of the Year. Ray’s 31 year tenure as head golf coach included two State Titles, several State Coach of the Year selections, and a nomination as National Golf Coach of the Year.
JILL MELICHER LARSON
Jill graduated from North High School in 1996, where she had enjoyed success during three years in basketball and tennis, including selection as a senior captain in each, and as a place-winner at the region and state levels. Academically, she was an Honor Student, ﬁnding the sciences as her passion and springboard into the ﬁeld of medicine as a career.
Following graduation from high school, Jill attended St. Olaf (1996-97), before transferring to Concordia College (Moorhead, MN), where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with Honors in Biology and Chemistry in 2000. She attended the UND Medical School from (2000-04), during which time she lived and worked in Nepal, as part of the Himalayan Cataract Project. Jill completed her Residency in Ophthalmology at the University of Minnesota (2005-08). Her next training came as a Fellow in the Ophthalmic Plastics, Orbit and Reconstructive Surgery program at the University of Iowa (2008-09); and then as a Fellow with the same emphasis at the Cincinnati Eye Institute (2009-10).
In addition to her partnership with the Minnesota Eye Consultants in Minneapolis, Jill serves as Clinical Assistant Professor at the U of MN and Hennepin County Medical Center, and a Clinical Faculty at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. She has co-authored a book on clinical application within the industry, has been a lecturer, and has inﬂuenced practicing colleagues at both the national and international levels.
Chris graduated from North High School in 1987, where he was a letter-winner in hockey and tennis; and was a team captain and member of the 1986 State Hockey Championship team.
After leaving high school. Chris attended NDSU, where he earned a BS Degree in Sociology, with an emphasis in Criminal Justice, in 1992. He then attended Drake University in Des Moines, IA, where he studied at the College of Business and Public Administration; and during the same time, studied at the Drake University Law School. In 1995, Chris received concurrent degrees with a Masters in Public Administration and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence.
Chris possesses a strong base and progression of experiences in the ﬁeld of criminal justice, and law enforcement. He has been a Special Agent with the ND Attorney General’s Oﬃce (1996-97), served as Assistant States Attorney in Cass (ND) County (1997-98), and from 1998-2002 was the Chief Assistant in the Clay County Attorney’s Oﬃce. During the period 2002-2013, Chris was an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and lead prosecutor for the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement division of the oﬃce. Chris became the First Assistant U.S. Attorney in 2013; and in 2015, became the lead U.S. Attorney for the District of North Dakota.
Chris has taken the lead with the Anti-Opiate Community Forums across the state of North Dakota; and been a key person in the Bakken Organized Crime Strike Force.
ARTHUR (ART) PHILLIPS
Art graduated from North High School in 1972, where he had been very active in band, and music, in general. He, along with three classmates, formed a rock band, Stonehenge, and sought venues in the tri-state region, to perform and share their love for music. Art was also a regular columnist for the Spartan Scroll, and contributed periodic music reviews for newly released albums. After leaving North High, he attended NDSU, graduating in 1977.
After college, Art served as the Creative Director for KTHI (now KVLY), until he and his wife, Mary Ann, started the Video Arts Studio in Fargo in 1982. Their company produces television and radio commercials, corporate communications, along with television shows and documentaries. Their eﬀorts have led to numerous local, regional, and national forms of recognition. Art was a founding member of the Fargo Film Festival group, and has been a member of the Fargo Theatre board and North Dakota Film Commission.
Among the most notable of Art’s masterpiece eﬀorts have been work as Producer/Director of the 2013 documentary, “Road to Little Rock”; and in the fall, 2017, release of a second documentary, “The Mission of Herman Stern”. Both of those productions have/will provide valuable, historical insights into signiﬁcant events related to American history.
Art has been recognized for his professional eﬀort with Emmy Awards, and numerous ﬁlm festival awards (including New York, Houston, South Dakota, Long Island, and Global Peace).