Portrait of International Music Camp founder Merton Utgaard unveiled Friday

The portrait hanging in the North Dakota Capitol was created by Minot-based artist Vern Skaug

Al Jaeger and Burgum Rough Rider Award.jpg
North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger and Gov. Doug Burgum unveil the portrait of Merton Utgaard. Utgaard was posthumously honored as the 47th recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award. (Photo courtesy of Gov. Doug Burgum's office)
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BISMARCK — The official portrait of International Music Camp founder Merton Utgaard, who was posthumously honored in July as the 47th recipient of the North Dakota Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award, was unveiled Friday afternoon in Bismarck.

The Rough Rider Award, which is North Dakota’s highest commendation for its residents, was presented to Utgaard’s children in July at the International Music Camp that Utgaard and his wife founded in 1956 at the International Peace Garden. Merton Utgaard served as the camp’s full-time director for more than 25 years. The music program gained international recognition.

Utgaard died Dec. 19, 1998, at age 84.

The portrait hanging in the North Dakota Capitol was created by Minot-based artist Vern Skaug, according to a press release from Gov. Doug Burgum’s office. Since 1970, Skaug has painted many of the portraits hanging in the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Hall of Fame.

The portrait features multiple images of Utgaard at various stages of his career in music education, including an image of him leading a high school marching band in Carrington, N.D.


“Under Dr. Utgaard’s guidance, and with the support of his wife, Noella, the International Music Camp blossomed into an internationally recognized center for education and performance, bringing students, directors and their families to North Dakota for more than 66 years,” Burgum said in the release. “From Dr. Utgaard’s vision, and thanks to his personal commitment to the success of the International Music Camp, he gifted North Dakota and our citizens with a unique asset that provides opportunities to our students and elevates North Dakota on the national and world stages.”

Related Topics: DOUG BURGUM
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