Category: News

100 year anniversary of Mark Payne’s world’s record drop kick

Thursday, October 8, 2015

On Oct. 9, 1915, history was made at Dakota Wesleyan. The following is taken from “Dakota Wesleyan University Memory Book: 1885-2010,” By Dr. James D. McLaird:


Dakota Wesleyan University had an outstanding football season in 1915, defeating teams from Madison, Aberdeen, Spearfish, Sioux Falls and Huron, as well as highly touted Morningside College. Its only losses were to Vermillion and Brookings. However, in later years, what was most remembered was Mark Payne’s drop kick in the second game of the season (Oct. 9, 1915).


Mark, a 160-pound halfback from Lake Andes, had shown speed and strength in his first year at Wesleyan. However, it was Mark’s punting that was most impressive. His high spirals sailed, giving the ends time to get under them.


By 1915, Mark was becoming well known for his long drop kicks. In the game against Northern Normal and Industrial School of Aberdeen, Wesleyan led 17-0 at halftime, thanks to a field goal by mark and two touchdowns by his teammates. Toward the end of the second half, Mark kicked once again, this time for 63 yards. That was one yard longer than the 1898 record set by Pat O’Dea of the University of Wisconsin. It is likely to stand permanently in the record books since the drop kick has been abandoned. Mark later recalled that when he kicked he didn’t know there was a Pat O’Dea and did not realize that his name “now would take his place in the record books.”


Over the years, stories about Mark’s memorable kick improved with each telling, or, in his words, “the distance seems to get longer with each passing year.” In one published account, the score was tied 14-14 and the clock was winding down. Then Mark sent the ball sailing 63 yards, and Wesleyan won the game.


Mark later became an executive in the purchasing department of the American Petroleum Company in Los Angeles. He returned to Wesleyan several times, and in 1945 was the featured speaker at the Blue & White Days banquet.


Speakers announced for DWU’s McGovern Hunger Summit

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University’s second McGovern Hunger Summit will bring speakers to campus to discuss food security within the state, as well as ways to support it.


The McGovern Hunger Summit is set for Thursday, Nov. 12, in the Sherman Center at Dakota Wesleyan University. The conference begins at 9 a.m. and is free and open to the public, though registration is encouraged. Register at


 In addition to the speakers, the summit will also include an Empty Bowls luncheon, sponsored by the Mitchell High School art students. For a suggested $10 donation, participants will receive a bowl of soup, bread, and a handmade pottery bowl – register online.


 This will also be the day the McGovern Center announces the second McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award. The McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award will be given to a South Dakotan who goes above and beyond to provide food security to the people of South Dakota – a nomination form is online.


In addition to a dialogue session with members of South Dakota State University, the summit includes two speakers.


“We are looking forward to bringing these two speakers to DWU to share awareness concerning food-related issues in our state,” said Dan Churchwell, program coordinator for the McGovern Center. “I think many people are passionate about helping to solve hunger insecurity and this is a great opportunity to bring those people together to discuss the issues, ideas and to network.


“We at the McGovern Center are equally excited to partner with the Mitchell High School students again for Empty Bowls and add a new partner this year with SDSU’s nutrition program students. This free event brings people together from all walks of life, including age groups, it’s going to be a great day full of exchanging ideas.”


Keynote speaker Matt Gassen has served as the executive director of Feeding South Dakota since 1999. With the hard work of a dedicated staff, they distribute more than 12 million pounds of food annually to 250 member agencies and reach tens of thousands of South Dakotans in need of food assistance. In 2004, he successfully coordinated the merger of South Dakota’s two affiliate food banks in Rapid City and Sioux Falls, creating a single, statewide organization. In May of 2010, he facilitated the addition of a third food bank location in Pierre to meet the hunger needs in central South Dakota, while at the same time overseeing a highly successful organizational rebranding process. 


Prior to becoming a food bank director, Gassen spent 23 years in the U.S. Air Force. During this time, he spent 15 years in aircraft maintenance and culminated his career as a First Sergeant, providing discipline, direction and support to hundreds enlisted personnel.


He currently serves as a board member for South Dakota’s Partners Against Hunger, Destiny Family Medical Clinic and his church Sioux Falls First. He is also a member of the Downtown Rotary in Sioux Falls. Matt has been married to his wife Charlene for 42 years and they have three grown sons and 10 grandchildren.


The second speaker for the day, Bob Reiners, will give the talk “The Importance of Bees in the 21st Century.” Reiners is an agriculture program specialist with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.  At the Department of Agriculture, Reiners serves as the State Apiarist where he oversees the apiary registration and inspection program.  He graduated from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture and has worked with the department since 1984. Since Reiners enjoys working with his own bees, he shares that passion with other beekeepers. His other hobbies include gardening, woodworking, auto mechanics and bicycling. He and his wife Collette have two children.


The McGovern Hunger Summit is organized by the McGovern Center and The Third Freedom – the DWU student chapter of Universities Fighting World Hunger. Partners for the event include the DWU McGovern Center and South Dakota State University Nutrition program. A full itinerary is available at


Songs of ‘Saints and Sinners': Fall choral concert set

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music at Dakota Wesleyan University announces its first choral concert of the semester with “Songs for Saints and Sinners” at 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 11, at the First United Methodist Church, Mitchell. This concert is free and open to the public.


The Wesleyan choir, Highlanders, Singing Scotchmen and Women’s Chamber Choir will also be joined by the Wesleyan Bells. The Wesleyan Choir is 40-strong, which is the largest the DWU choir has been in 20 years.


The concert will be in five parts with pieces performed by all groups; some of those pieces include “Amazing Grace,” “Ave Maria,” “come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy,” “Ring of Fire,” and “Daemon irrepit callidus.”


“This will be a very interesting program,” said Dr. Clinton Desmond, choral director. “We have programmed a very eclectic mix of music from Gregorian Chant to vocal jazz that will take audiences through a full range of emotions. Our ‘Tragedy of King David’ section features music that will tug on the audience's heartstrings, while the ‘Devil’ section is very creative, energetic, and will leave audiences humming and tapping their feet.”


Johnson named to S.D. Advisory Panel for Children with Disabilities

Monday, October 5, 2015

Donna Johnson, an assistant professor at Dakota Wesleyan University in the department of special and elementary education, has recently been appointed to serve on the South Dakota Advisory Panel for Children with Disabilities. The board meets four times a year.


Johnson’s role will be as a representative of institutions of higher education who prepares special education teachers.


“I welcome any opportunity to serve children with disabilities and to encourage my students to do so,” she said about the appointment. “Last year (DWU) connected with South Dakota Special Olympics on the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign; DWU students in special education courses distributed literature and collected signatures on campus.”


Johnson has also tutored elementary students who struggle with reading, and serves on a regional board of the International Dyslexia Association.


“Serving on this state level advisory panel is an opportunity to work with parents, special education directors, and others from across South Dakota to help students with disabilities,” she said about the South Dakota advisory panel. “It will also make me more aware of special education issues so that I can better prepare my students for their future jobs.”


McGovern Center is seeking nominations for the McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award

Friday, October 2, 2015

The McGovern Center at Dakota Wesleyan University is seeking nominations for the McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award, which will be announced at the McGovern Hunger Summit on Nov. 12.


Nominations will be accepted up to Oct. 29. An online nomination form is available here.


The McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award will be given to a South Dakotan who goes above and beyond to provide food security to the people of South Dakota.


Last year, John Lushbough of Vermillion, was named the McGovern South Dakota Hunger Ambassador Award.


Lushbough is the founder and coordinator of Vermillion Welcome Table, a free weekly meal for underprivileged, and the head of the Vermillion Weekend Backpack Program, a program that provides easy-to-prepare meals for area youth. He has been serving his community for 25 years.

Homecoming king, queen announced for DWU Blue & White Days

Friday, September 25, 2015



Dakota Wesleyan University crowned its homecoming royalty Friday night during the Blue & White Days pep rally and coronation. Trae Bergh and Kelsey Newman are this year’s king and queen.


Trae Bergh, of Crooks, was crowned homecoming king. Bergh is majoring in athletic training at DWU. He is a member of the DWU men’s basketball team and Athletic Training Club. He has served as the AT Club president, Phi Kappa Phi vice president, men’s basketball captain, and is an Emil S. Liston Award winner. Following graduation, he plans to attend physician’s assistant school. He is a Tri-Valley High School graduate and the son of Troy and Cyndi Bergh, Crooks.


Kelsey Newman, of Columbus, Neb., was crowned queen. She is majoring in athletic training and minoring in psychology. She is a member of the Athletic Training Club, is a student ambassador and the athletics’ student representative in Student Senate. She has also helped with Children’s Miracle Network, and played on the DWU softball team for two years. Following graduation, she plans to work as a professional athletic trainer in a college setting before applying for physician’s assistant school. She is a Scotus Central Catholic School graduate and the daughter of Amy and Jordan Newman, Columbus.


The following were also candidates for homecoming queen: Sammy Fluck, Becker, Minn.; Mallory Jark, of Warner; Hailey Unger, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; and Sarah Zaiser, Dawson, Minn. The following were also candidates for homecoming king: Stetsen Eriksen, Presho; Sawyer Gibson, Jasper, Minn.; Sterling Hubbard, Jamestown, N.D.; and Jonah Johnson, Kerkhoven, Minn.


Blue & White Days continues Saturday, Sept. 26, with the homecoming parade at 10 a.m. on Main Street, followed by tailgating at 11:30 a.m. and the football game at 1 p.m. at Joe Quintal Field. The women’s and men’s soccer teams will also play at home at 3 and 5:30 p.m. at the Pepsi-Cola Soccer Complex, and the DWU volleyball team plays at 5 p.m. at the Christen Family Athletic Center. The DWU production of “Always … Patsy Cline” also opened this weekend and times and tickets can be found online here. For a full list of Blue & White Days events, click here.




DWU announces 2015 homecoming royalty candidates

Monday, September 21, 2015


Dakota Wesleyan University has announced the royalty candidates for this year’s homecoming king and queen.


Blue & White Days is Friday through Saturday, Sept. 25-26, with the pep rally and coronation taking place at 9:30 p.m. on Friday in the Christen Family Athletic Center. For a full list of alumni events, please click here; for a list of student activities, please click here.


The following are candidates for homecoming queen:


Sammy Fluck. Sammy Fluck, Becker, Minn., is majoring in athletic training with a minor in allied health. She is a member of the DWU volleyball team, Athletic Training Club and participates in chapel. She is also a student ambassador and admissions caller. Following graduation, she plans to attend physical therapy school. She is a Becker High School graduate and daughter of Lonnie and Katey Fluck, Becker.


Mallory Jark. Mallory Jark, of Warner, is a secondary mathematics education major. She is involved in volleyball, student senate, Future Teachers Organization, the Math Club, and New Student Orientation. She is a member of Sigma Zeta national science honor society, the Mathematics Honor Society, and DWU dean’s list. Following graduation, she plans to pursue a career teaching middle school mathematics. She is a Warner High School graduate and daughter of Val and Nancy Jark, Warner.


Kelsey Newman. Kelsey Newman, of Columbus, Neb., is majoring in athletic training and minoring in psychology. She is a member of the Athletic Training Club, is a student ambassador and the athletics’ student representative in Student Senate. She has also helped with Children’s Miracle Network, and played on the DWU softball team for two years. Following graduation, she plans to work as a professional athletic trainer in a college setting before applying for physician’s assistant school. She is a Scotus Central Catholic School graduate and the daughter of Amy and Jordan Newman, Columbus.


Hailey Unger. Hailey Unger, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, is an elementary education major. She is a member of the DWU softball team, Future Teachers Organization, and Rotary Club. She has been named to the NAIA First Team All-Conference 2013-2015, the DWU dean’s list 2012-2015, and a NAIA Scholar Athlete 2013-2015. Following graduation, she plans to return to Manitoba to teach, coach, and eventually pursue her master’s degree. She is a graduate of Oak Park High School and the daughter of Bob and Wendy Unger, Winnipeg.


Sarah Zaiser. Sarah Zaiser, Dawson, Minn., is a majoring in biology in the pre-med track. She is a peer tutor, has conducted research under Dr. Paula Mazzer, and is a member of LyricWood Orchestra. She is an honor student and a South Dakota BRIN fellow. Following graduation, she plans to pursue her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion. She is the daughter of Tom and Joan Zaiser, Dawson.


The following are candidates for homecoming king:


Trae Bergh. Trae Bergh, Crooks, is majoring in athletic training at DWU. He is a member of the DWU men’s basketball team and Athletic Training Club. He has served as the AT Club president, Phi Kappa Phi vice president, men’s basketball captain, and is an Emil S. Liston Award winner. Following graduation, he plans to attend physician’s assistant school. He is a Tri-Valley High School graduate and the son of Troy and Cyndi Bergh, Crooks.


Stetsen Eriksen. Stetsen Eriksen, Presho, is an elementary education major with an emphasis in coaching. He is a member of Future Teachers Organization, Children’s Miracle Network-DWU chapter, and is an Action Ambassador, as well as DWU dean’s list. After graduation he plans to pursue a master’s degree in counseling. He is a Lyman High School graduate and the son of Marty and Carol Eriksen, Presho.


Sawyer Gibson. Sawyer Gibson, Jasper, Minn., is a criminal justice major with a minor in human services. He is a resident assistant and a member of the Student Activities Board. Gibson is a Garretson High School graduate and son of Lance and ReNae Gibson, Jasper.


Sterling Hubbard. Sterling Hubbard, Jamestown, N.D., is an athletic training major. He is a member of the DWU men’s soccer team, Wesleyan Choir, Student Diversity Club, and works as a student ambassador. He has been named to the DWU dean’s list, as a NAIA Scholar Athlete and Daktronics Scholar Athlete. Following graduation he plans to attend physical therapy school. He is a graduate of Jamestown High School and the son of Charles Hubbard and Susan Lippert.


Jonah Johnson. Jonah Johnson, Kerkhoven, Minn., is a chemistry major, minoring in coaching. He is a member of the DWU baseball team and participates in the Big Brother program. He is a Carhart Prize in Science Endowed Scholarship winner, and has been named a baseball all-conference honorable mention. He is a graduate of Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg High School and the son of Larry and Paulette Johnson, Kerkhoven.


Blue & White Days schedule of events

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Dakota Wesleyan University turned 130 last spring and will carry the celebration through Blue & White Days next week with reunions, the Legacy Banquet, parade and much more.


Friday, Sept. 25

The homecoming festivities begin Monday, Sept. 21, with student events planned throughout the week. Community and alumni events kick off Friday morning with campus tours at 10 a.m. and then 2 p.m., followed by a 3 p.m. Authors Talk with Penny Fritze-Tietz, class of ’65, who published several books, including a work of fiction, a mystery novel centered around campus. Characters in the story are based on her fellow DWU choir members from the mid-1960s. The talk will be in the McGovern Library and is open to all.


At 6 p.m., Friday, the campus will host the Legacy Banquet, to honor donors, alumni and friends of the university. Distinguished Alumni Awards will be given to Dorothy Alexander Collins, class of 1936, from the College of Arts and Humanities; Don Hafner, class of 1965, from the College of Leadership and Public Service; and Don Thayer, class of 1967, from the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences. It is $30 to attend, RSVP to the DWU alumni office at or 605-995-2603. Or register online here.


The Blue & White Days Pep Rally and coronation ceremony will begin at 9:30 p.m., Friday, in the Christen Family Athletic Center, with the crowning of the king and queen and burning of the “W.” All are welcome to attend.


Saturday, Sept. 26

The Blue & White Days parade begins at 10 a.m. on Main Street with the theme of “The ’70s.” Alumni are welcome to the alumni tent in the CorTrust Bank parking lot, North Main Street, for coffee and donuts beginning at 9:30 a.m.


Tailgating will begin at 11:30 a.m. at Joe Quintal Field, followed by the homecoming football game, DWU vs. Hastings College, at 1 p.m.


There are three more teams playing homecoming games Saturday: the women’s soccer team plays Doan College at 3 p.m. at the Pepsi-Cola Soccer Complex, north of Mitchell, followed by the men’s team at 5:30 p.m. The DWU Tiger volleyball team takes on Midland College at 5 p.m. at the Christen Family Athletic Center.



Nursing alumni and their families are welcome to the “Celebrating 40 Years of DWU Nursing Graduates” reunion from 4 to 6 p.m., Saturday, in the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center. Preregistration is required.


The Class of 1965 Golden Reunion is set for 6 p.m., Saturday, at Wild Oak Golf Course. Preregistration is required.


The Class of 1975 40th Reunion will take place at 6 p.m., Saturday, at the Scoreboard Pub & Grill in Mitchell. No registration required.


And Dave and Deanell Backlund will host a late’ 60s to early ’70s reunion at their home, 41131 Backlund Place, beginning at 6 p.m., Saturday.



The Dakota Wesleyan University Department of Theatre will also open its first production of the season, “Always … Patsy Cline,” Friday through Sunday, Sept. 25-27, in the Patten-Wing Theatre, Hughes Hall. Tickets are $12 general admission and available at the door or online here. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. The show continues Oct. 2-4.


Distinguished alumni to be honored during homecoming’s Legacy Banquet

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dakota Wesleyan University will recognize three alumni with Distinguished Alumni Awards during the annual Legacy Banquet next week.


Receiving distinguished alumni awards this year are Don Hafner, from the College of Leadership and Public Service; Dorothy Alexander Collins, from the College of Arts and Humanities; and Don Thayer, from the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences.


The Legacy Banquet is set for 6 p.m., Friday, Sept. 25, in the Sherman Center. The banquet is by reservation only; contact the DWU alumni office at, or 605-995-2603, to purchase a ticket. A full list of events can be found online here.


Don Hafner, Aurora, Colo., formerly of Ethan, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Leadership and Public Service.


Hafner, the youngest of eight children, grew up on a farm just outside of Ethan, S.D., and can vividly remember the day he was completing his farm chores when Dakota Wesleyan University coaches Gordon Fosness and Gordon Zapp drove into the yard to recruit him to play Tiger athletics. 


Desperately wanting to continue his education, he accepted the challenge and was a four-year basketball standout for DWU along with playing two years of Tiger football.  He graduated in 1965 with a business degree and an emphasis in accounting.  After graduation, he accepted a position working for Rollie Kelley, another Dakota Wesleyan alumnus, at the Colorado Container Corporation, a manufacturer of corrugated paper boxes and products in Denver.  


He began his career as an accounting clerk, followed by a supervisory position in manufacturing operations, and he was later named executive vice president.  After 17 years with the company, he began a career in financial consulting.  In 1985, he became the owner and president of InterFinancial Services Inc. Five years later, he sold the firm and accepted the lead position of president at Omnivest Financial Services Inc., where he coordinated the successful merger of two financial planning and consulting firms.  Upon completing that task, he once again chose to work independently with a focus on structured settlements and planning for persons with disabilities.  He served as the Colorado State Director of the National Organization of Estate Planning for Persons with Disabilities.  Don’s experience in accounting, taxes, finance, investment counseling and business management led him to establish Settlement Partners LLC, a company providing settlement services to fill a niche in the marketplace of helping people with catastrophic injuries and special needs.  He is the recipient of the Partner of the Year Award from the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association.  In addition to his corporate office in Denver, Don has offices in two locations in Texas and conducts business nationwide.   He does extensive pro bono services for families in need, including several families who were victims of 9/11. He is a founding member of the Society of Settlement Planners, and a member of the National Structured Settlement Trade Association.


Don’s list of service is long. In addition to holding leadership positions in numerous organizations connected to his career, he served as a member of Civitan International, holding various positions, including Distinguished President. He also has been a longtime volunteer with Special Olympics supporting all aspects of the organization. He has shared his leadership skills with this faith community by serving as head elder and head usher for many years, and he served as Sunday school superintendent.


For years he has provided volunteer tax preparation services for low- to moderate-income families and conducted seminars both in person and via video instruction for retiring employees of U.S. West and other corporations.  One of his greatest joys comes from serving his community as a volunteer elementary basketball coach. 


Although he has been in the work force for more than 50 years, Don states, “I am far from retirement as I love what I do and know that God isn’t finished with me yet.  I’ve been richly blessed to live a life of service to others.”


Don and his wife, Jill, have been married for 32 years and are still living in Colorado. They have four children and two grandchildren.


Don Thayer, Brodhead, Wis., formerly of White Lake, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Science.


Don Thayer grew up on the family farm near White Lake, S.D., surrounded by farm animals, including a few baby calves and lambs that spent the night near the kitchen stove during cold winter nights. The seeds of his future career were planted there.


His desire to become a veterinarian was fueled by both his encouraging mother and the love of a Shetland pony named Danny, who broke his front leg when Don was in the third grade.  After rushing the pony to the veterinarian, only to realize the doctor did not have either the proper tools or training to treat it, the pony had to be put down.  That experience led Don to think, “There must be a better way for a more desirable outcome.”


Don came to DWU in the fall of 1961 following his brother, Bill, already a student here.  His twin sister, Donna, entered the Methodist Hospital nursing program.  Don briefly considered engineering before focusing on the sciences with the goal of veterinary medicine. He was a student-athlete and played Tiger football.  In Dr. Linn’s biology class, he met the love of his life, Judy DeWitt.  They married in August 1965 and had four children. Don took additional classes at both SDSU and Iowa State University, officially graduating from DWU in 1967.


“(DWU) started me on my life’s path and gave me confidence to dream big and believe in myself,” he said. 


He then attended Iowa State University School of Veterinary Medicine and graduated in 1970.  Shortly after graduation, Don and a fellow vet school classmate traveled to Wisconsin, and he decided to move there to begin his career. He joined a four-man mixed animal practice near Brodhead, Wis.


Yet, while Don was developing his practice, he had a personal desire to share his Christian faith through his veterinary work. He became connected to Christian Veterinary Mission, a sister organization of World Concern, and took the first of what would become 11 mission trips to Haiti, where he educated locals on animal care.


“The Haitians taught me about unconditional love, gratitude, living one day at a time; they were so happy and made do with what they had,” he said.


Don’s 38-year career included 17 mission trips to Haiti, India, Ecuador, Kenya, Romania and Nicaragua.  On many of the mission adventures, his family members were able to accompany him. 


“Conducting mission work with my family was really a dream come true,” he said. “A person learns so much about themselves when serving others. It was the opportunity to grow, learn and bond as a family, all the while we were serving Christ around the world.”    


Although officially retired from the clinic he helped build, Don now pours himself into his family, his church and many other Christian causes.  His focus is to encourage others to a life of service in Christ.


He and Judy are especially grateful to Dakota Wesleyan for providing a firm foundation for their life of service.


Dorothy Alexander Collins, Columbiaville, Mich., formerly of Redfield, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Arts and Humanities.


Dorothy Elizabeth Alexander Collins celebrated her 100th birthday on March 19, 2015. 


From the time she was a little girl growing up in Redfield, Dorothy was surrounded by music and the arts. She began piano lessons in first grade, and as a teenager accompanied the church choir and all of the music ensembles at school. On Sunday mornings, the church choir rehearsed in her family’s living room, and Dorothy dreamed of someday being an accompanist to a famous soloist.


She graduated from DWU in 1936 with majors in music and English and minors in math and history. The Great Depression meant that jobs were few, but she found jobs at Hazel, Roscoe and McIntosh, S.D. In 1941, Dorothy spread her independent wings, bought her own car and accepted a teaching position in Columbiaville, Mich. The superintendent was aghast that any mother would have allowed her daughter to travel so far alone.


In 1943, she enrolled in library classes at the University of Illinois and continued her teaching career. Just one year later, she met her future husband, Chet Collins. They married in August at the Methodist church in Redfield and raised two children together.


Dorothy resumed her teaching career in Columbiaville in 1956. During her tenure at Columbiaville, she taught chemistry, mathematics and English, and served as interim principal for one year, as well as supervising the library move to the new high school in 1969. By the late ’70s, she was solely responsible for the elementary, middle school and high school libraries. In addition to her many responsibilities within the district, Dorothy was the yearbook adviser for almost 20 years, and in 1957, began making an official school district scrapbook for each year. For more than 50 years Dorothy archived community events and information, which now serve as a historical document for the school.   


Dorothy retired from the LakeVille Community School District in 1981, but remained actively involved with the music department where she accompanied student musicians at competitions and played in the pit band for all of the musicals. She also initiated and organized a church library and provided private piano lessons for hundreds of students over the years. She shared her musical gifts and played the piano for the local Rotary Club long before women were allowed to join; however, when that statute was lifted, she was the first female welcomed into the local chapter.    


In 1990, Dorothy was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Great Teachers Foundation, and the Edgar A. Guest Masonic Award for Community Service in 1991. The Village of Columbiaville proclaimed it Dorothy Collins Day in October 1997, and in 2007, she was presented with the Michigan Lily Festival Association Volunteer of the Year Award.  Just this past year, the Valley Area Agency on Aging of Michigan recognized her as one of three centenarians, and her life was chronicled in a video by the agency. In 2012, the LakeVille Board of Education honored her by naming the library media center the Dorothy Collins Media Center. 


Dorothy has played the organ at the Columbiaville United Methodist Church for more than 60 years, and at 100 years of age, continues to richly bless the congregation with her beautiful music every Sunday. 


“They’re amazed that I can still play. I said, ‘Well, the brains and the fingers still connect, so I continue to play,’” she said. “I really enjoy life.”


‘Always…Patsy Cline’ to open DWU theatre season

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Dakota Wesleyan University Department of Theatre has released its schedule for the 2015-16 school year, which opens next weekend with “Always … Patsy Cline.”


“Always … Patsy Cline,” by Ted Swindley, will be performed Friday through Sunday, Sept. 25-27 and Oct. 2-4, in the Patten-Wing Theatre on campus in Hughes Hall. Times for the shows are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets are $12 general admission and can be purchased at the door, or online here. DWU students, staff and faculty tickets are $5 with DWU I.D. and can be purchased at Diana Goldammer's office on campus.


“Always ... Patsy Cline” is based on the true story of  a unique friendship between Patsy Cline, played by DWU alumnus Jenna Miller ’15, and Houston housewife Louise Seger, played by DWU senior Madi Miller. Having first heard Cline on the “Arthur Godfrey Show” in 1957, Seger became an immediate and enthusiastic fan of Cline’s and she constantly hounded the local disc jockey to play Cline’s records on the radio.

In 1961, when Cline went to Houston for a show, Seger and her friends arrived about an hour-and-a-half early and, by coincidence, met Cline. The two women struck up a friendship that lasted until Cline’s untimely death in a plane crash in 1963.


The play focuses on the fateful evening at Houston’s Esquire Ballroom when Seger hears of Cline’s death in a plane crash. Seger supplies a narrative while Cline floats in and out of the set singing tunes that made her famous – “Anytime,” “Walkin’ After Midnight,” “She’s Got You,” “Sweet Dreams,” and ”Crazy” – to name a few.


The rest of the DWU season includes:


“Spiders in the Night,” original drama by James Van Oort, of Mitchell, a 1999 DWU alumnus, Nov. 11-15, Patten-Wing Theatre, Hughes Hall.


“Women of Lockerbie,” by Deborah Brevoort, Feb. 25-28, Equitem Theatre-in-the-Round, Hughes Hall.


“Godspell,” the musical, music by Stephen Schwartz, book by John-Michael Tebelak, April 8-10, April 15-17, Sherman Center.

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Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Dakota Wesleyan University is proudly affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Members of any and all faiths are welcome and encouraged to experience an education based on learning, leadership, faith and service.
Dakota Wesleyan University has been honored as a College of Distinction through demonstration of excellence in these areas: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.
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