2019 Grand View University Commencement and Baccalaureate

March 27, 2019

Grand View's 2019 Commencement will be held on April 27 at 2:00 p.m. at Hy Vee Hall in the Iowa Events Center, 730 3rd Street, downtown Des Moines. This year's commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient is The Honorable Christopher L. McDonald ’97, Justice of the Supreme Court of Iowa. The Honorable David R. Danilson, Judge of the Iowa Court of Appeals, will also receive an honorary degree. Both will receive the Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Grand View. 

Born overseas into a military family, Justice McDonald was raised in Des Moines.  He earned his undergraduate degree from Grand View University in 1997 and his law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2001, where he graduated with highest distinction and received the John F. Murray Award and Order of the Coif recognition.  

After graduating from law school, Justice McDonald served as a law clerk to the Honorable David R. Hansen, United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Judge McDonald then worked in private practice in Central Iowa for a number of years prior to being appointed to serve as a Judge of the District Court, Fifth Judicial District of Iowa.  In 2013, he was appointed to the Iowa court of Appeals.  In 2019, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Iowa. 

Judge David R. Danilson was born in 1954 and was raised on a farm north of Woodward in Boone County, Iowa. He earned his undergraduate degree from Iowa State University in 1976. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from Creighton University School of Law in 1979.

Judge Danilson practiced law for seven years in Boone, Iowa. During this time, he served approximately five months as a Judicial Hospitalization Referee and six years as a Judicial Magistrate in Boone County. In 1987 he was appointed District Associate Judge for Boone and Hamilton Counties. In 1997 he was appointed to the District Court bench by Governor Terry Branstad. For two years, he served as the Assistant Chief District Judge for the Second Judicial District. He served on the District Court bench until 2009 when Governor Chet Culver appointed him to the Iowa Court of Appeals. In December 2013, he was selected Chief Judge of the Iowa Court of Appeals. He is the third longest serving Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals.

During his judicial career, Judge Danilson served on numerous committees and the Board of Directors for the Iowa Judges Association. He also served as a faculty member at the National Judicial College and as a member of the Board of Trustees for the National Court Reporters Foundation. He has presided over Adoption Day proceedings and officiated over 600 weddings.  He has also volunteered time to the Scenic Valley Railroad, Boone County Fair, and Veterans’ History Project, and he has coached and judged mock trial teams.

Judge Danilson is married to Jane Fitzgerald and has five children: Elizabeth Danilson (Nadav Epstein), Sarah (Alex) Versackas, Jennifer (Cody) Palmer, Andrey, and Aelita.  He has four grandchildren: Everett, Tessa, Gleason, and Nolan. Judge Danilson has four siblings and is the son of the late Dale and LaRue Danilson. 

Graduating seniors will find a complete schedule of all tasks and activities leading to graduation on myView > Academics > Graduation.

Live-streaming of commencement will be available.