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Jack McDonald – North Dakota

Liberty Bell Award Winner

Road to Greatness

Jack McDonald, North Dakota ’62 received the State Bar Association of North Dakota’s Liberty Bell Award for lifetime career work on First Amendment issues, those who promote the understanding of the United States’ form of government, encourage greater respect for the law and courts, and stimulate a greater sense of responsibility to a citizen’s duty and his rights.

Brother McDonald is a senior partner with the Wheeler Wolf Law Firm in Bismarck where he does First Amendment and communications law work, corporate and bankruptcy law and lobbies.

A native of Bismarck, McDonald graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in journalism and where he served as chapter president to the North Dakota Alpha Chapter. He went on to earn a master’s in journalism from American University in Washington, DC.

McDonald also earned a law degree from the UND School of Law, and he taught journalism at Southern Illinois University as a graduate assistant and at UND.

In addition, McDonald worked for a number of North Dakota newspapers and media outlets, including United Press International in Fargo. McDonald’s work as a lobbyist is where he remains a steadfast proponent for the open access of government.

McDonald acknowledged that fighting to defend the First Amendment is challenging and he credits a foundational speech by President Franklin Roosevelt that set out four freedoms — freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want and freedom from fear. McDonald noted that Floyd Abrams, a famous First Amendment attorney, has pointed out that two of those four freedoms are enshrined in the First Amendment.

McDonald shares that his “two terms as president of North Dakota Alpha in 1960 and 1961 gave me invaluable leadership experience that has helped throughout my career. And my years as Scroll Editor, from September 1967 to September 1971, taught me more about work discipline under pressure and ethics than I can ever say.”


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