Former NDSU Extension Director to receive honorary degree

Farm Forum

Former North Dakota State University Extension Service Director Myron D. Johnsrud will receive an honorary doctorate of Agriculture at this spring’s commencement.

Johnsrud, a Watford City area native, received a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Mechanization from NDSU in 1957 and began his tenure with the NDSU Cooperative Extension Service in 1965 as an assistant county agent in Williams County. He took study leave to complete master’s and doctorate degrees at the University of Wisconsin, then returned to NDSU in 1969 as director of personnel and program development for the Extension Service.

In 1971, he went to Washington, D.C., as director of staff development for Extension Service USDA. He returned to NDSU in 1973 as associate director of Extension and became director the following year. Johnsrud remained as NDSU Extension director until 1986, when he returned to Washington, D.C., as administrator for the Extension Service USDA, a position he held for more than seven years.

He then joined the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, where he served as director of Extension and outreach. He retired in 2002, concluding a 37-year career in Extension.

Johnsrud served on the National 4-H Council’s board of trustees from 1985 to 1993. In 1990, at the end of the Cold War era, he was commissioned by the secretary of agriculture to establish the first major adult education program in Poland on managing a business in a market-driven economy.

Among the many awards Johnsrud has received are the Meritorious Executive Award from President George H.W. Bush, NDSU Alumni Achievement Award, NDSU Harvest Bowl Agri-business Award and Epsilon Sigma Phi National Distinguished Service Ruby Award, and induction into the International Adult and Continuing Education and National 4-H halls of fame.

“Dr. Johnsrud had an exceptional career in leading Extension at NDSU and nationally at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges,” wrote nominators Chris Boerboom, NDSU Extension Service director, and Ken Grafton, vice president for Agricultural Affairs, director of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station and dean of the College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources. “The impacts of his leadership are present with us today.”

NDSU’s spring commencement ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday, May 14, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Fargodome.

Additional information about the NDSU commencement ceremony is available online at The ceremony will be streamed live, with an archived video available the week following the ceremony.