From University Relations, North Dakota State University, Fargo
North Dakota State University alumnus Gen. Charles F. Wald is scheduled to receive an honorary doctorate during commencement ceremonies at 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, in the Fargodome. The State Board of Higher Education approved Wald's nomination on Nov. 18.
As deputy commander of the U.S. European Command Headquarters, Stuttgart, Germany, Wald is responsible for the nation's defense interests across a major part of the world. He handles operations of a command structure that includes 21 million square miles and 93 countries throughout the western world, southern Asia and western Africa.
A native of Minot, N.D., Wald was a 1971 graduate in political science with a pre-law option. While a student, he was a member of the 1969 Bison national champion football team. He also set school pass receiving records in a game, season and career.
After graduating from NDSU, Wald completed squadron officer school at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. He served as a forward air controller, an instructor pilot, F-15 flight commander, assistant squadron operations officer, operations officer, chief of the U.S. Air Force Combat Terrorism Center, assistant executive officer for the Air Force Chief of Staff and in several positions with the allied air forces' Central Europe headquarters. Prior to his current position, he commanded the 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.
"When he left NDSU I am sure that neither Charles Wald nor the faculty and staff who mentored him here could imagine that he would one day have direct operational response for the defense of much of Western Europe, Southwest Asia including Afghanistan, and West Africa as his responsibility," wrote Thomas Riley, dean of arts, humanities and social sciences, in a letter of nomination. "We are proud of his successes over the decades since his graduation, and we are extremely proud that he can be numbered one of us."
Wald also received a master's degree in political science at Troy State University, completed training at the National War College and completed the program for senior officials in national security at Harvard University. A command pilot, Wald flew more than 3,200 hours, including in excess of 450 combat hours over Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq and Bosnia.
"'Chuck' Wald is a North Dakota native that has and will continue to bring great credit to our state and NDSU," wrote Keith Bjerke, vice president for university relations, in a letter of support.
"He has been a credit to both the university and the nation," wrote Denis Isrow, professor emeritus of health, nutrition and exercise sciences. "He has all the presence of a leader."
Wald's many honors include the Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster and Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters.