Month: May, 2013

Dakota Wesleyan awards 172 diplomas at commencement

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

MITCHELL, S.D.  — The Dakota Wesleyan University awarded 172 degrees on May 4 during Commencement services at the Corn Palace.

Dr. Robert Duffett, DWU’s president for the past 13 years, gave the Commencement address in which he asked the students to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. Duffett and his wife, Connie, will move to St. Davids, Penn., at the end of May, and he will assume the presidency at Eastern University.

Duffett then conferred degrees on 172 eager graduates. Master of Arts degrees were presented to 13 students; Bachelor of Arts degrees went to 97; Bachelor of Science degrees were given to 11; Associate of Science degrees went to 48; and three students received Associate of Arts degrees.

During the ceremony, an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters was given to Jack Billion. Billion, a native of the Sioux Falls area, and former chairman of the DWU Board of Trustees, who was recognized for his contributions to the health sciences field through his practice in orthopedic surgery, as well has his service to state in country. Billion served two years in the U.S. Air Force. He also served two terms in the South Dakota House of Representatives from 1992 to 1996. Following his legislative career, he was elected vice chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party, and he later served as chairman of the Minnehaha Democratic Party. In 2006, he was the South Dakota gubernatorial candidate for the Democratic Party. From 2006 to 2009, he was the state chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party.

Though his practice was in Sioux Falls, in 1976, Billion became the volunteer team physician for Dakota Wesleyan athletics. He continued in that role for 10 years, near the end of which he was invited to serve on the DWU Board of Trustees and is the longest-serving Trustee until his retirement this year.

In addition to the honorary doctorate, the Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence was given to Dr. Anne Kelley, professor of psychology and psychology department chairman.

Kelly began at Dakota Wesleyan in 2000 and became a passionate advocate for the university’s honors and undergraduate research programs, becoming director of the undergraduate research program in 2003. Numerous students in the psychology program have since presented their original research at the Midwest Psychological Association, earning recognition from psychology professionals across the United States.

The following is a list of degree recipients:

Master of Arts degrees:

(Names followed by + indicates December 2012 graduate; and # indicates will graduate in August 2013)


Costa Mesa – Jeffrey Sanchez, educational policy and administration

Riverside – Jeffrey Holstein, educational policy and administration #


Omaha – Christopher Creal, educational policy and administration

South Dakota

Alexandria -- Jonathon Hart, educational policy and administration +

Canton – Derik Fossum, educational policy and administration #

Mitchell – Jason Glasco, educational policy and administration; Kelsey Hansen, educational policy and administration # ; Joshua Kotecki, educational policy and administration + ; Jesse Kroupa, pre-K-12 principal certification and degree and Curriculum and Instruction; Jenna Morrison, secondary education certification and degree; Stefan Skillman, educational policy and administration +

Other countries:



Rosthern – Heather Ebert, curriculum and instruction

United Kingdom

Great Britain

Essex – Daniel Williams, educational policy and administration

Bachelor of Arts degrees
(names followed by *** indicates Summa Cum Laude, ** Magna Cum Laude; and * Cum Laude; and names followed by + indicates December 2012 graduate and # indicates will graduate in August 2013)


El Monte – Sergio Leon, business administration #

Fair Oaks – Brandi Nekrassoff, multimedia +

Fontana – Rodolfo Barragan, history and criminal justice

Lancaster – Paul Burgess, criminal justice

Los Angeles – Steven Batista, behavioral sciences and communication; Euedell Clayton, human services #

Monterey Park – Andrew Hernandez, sport, exercise and wellness #

San Clemente – Christopher Ferera, history +

Santa Maria – Zachary Turbes**, sport, exercise and wellness +

Woodland – German Madueno, sports management +


Denver – Tamika Irvin, behavioral sciences and fine arts

Littleton – Alexander Hinz, sports management*


Cape Coral – Kari Durham, criminal justice +


Fairfax – Hugo Gonzalez, human services

Heron Lake – Kirk McBreen, sports management

Roseville – Erik Nockleby, sports management


Alliance – Zachary Nelson, criminal justice

Omaha – Dustin Bergmeier, business administration; Sarah Owens*, human services and criminal justice

Scottsbluff – Jordan Lovesee*, psychology


Belmont – Christopher Ciatti, sports management +


Fort Gibson – Kelty Godby***, criminal justice and religion and philosophy

South Dakota

Alexandria – Craig Henglefelt, entrepreneurial leadership # ; Matthew McManus, athletic training

Avon – Matthew Dykstra, elementary education

Belle Fourche – Michael Barnaud, history +

Canistota – Zachary Anderson, behavioral sciences; Alexa Townsend, human services #

Corsica – Faith Menning**, human services; Leah Miiller***, biochemistry

De Smet – Abby Hubbard, athletic training

Dimock – Moria Mathews, English with creative writing

Elkton – Milton Glover, sports management +

Emery – Jamon Harberts, criminal justice and business administration; Kara Schweitzer**, leadership and public service

Ethan – Joshua Endres, business administration

Faulkton – Kayleen Gupman, psychology and biology

Gregory – Raeanne Klein, business administration; Lacey Reuer, English with creative writing +

Hot Springs – Jesse Monfore, multimedia # ; Emilie Palo, history education

Humbodt – Tara Van Hofwegen, entrepreneurial leadership

Kimball – Trent Wookey, sport, exercise and wellness

Lake Norden – David Elliott*, psychology #

Lead – Joshua Thompson**, biology

Menno – Kate Herrboldt, athletic training +

Miller – Mikayla Davis, criminal justice +

Mitchell – Chelsea Boddicker, corporate homeland security management; Nathan Bowman**, multimedia; Erika Cobb*, psychology; Veronica Ford, accounting # ; Alli Fredericksen, sport, exercise and wellness + ; Chase Fredericksen, business administration; Stephen Gunnell, entrepreneurial leadership # ; Martin Haehn, music; Amy Honomichl***, elementary education; Traci Loecker, business administration; Alicia Odland, criminal justice; Joel Reinesch, criminal justice; Travis Salmonson, criminal justice and human services; Lori Thomas, human services and behavioral sciences; Angela Van Pelt*, accounting + ; Ashley Wagner, elementary education; Trever Wagner, athletic training (June); Kyler Way, accounting; Stephanie Wescoup*, psychology

Montrose – Joshua Cleveland, business administration and biology +

Mount Vernon – Tracy Hargens, accounting

Onida – Elizabeth Lamb***, accounting and criminal justice

Parkston – Timothy Weidenbach, leadership and public service #

Philip – Kayla O’Connell, mathematics education

Pierre – Yutzil Rodriguez, human services #

Plankinton – Natia DeGeest**, elementary education; Daniel Keney, criminal justice # ; Travis Olsen, athletic training

Platte – Caitlin DeGroot** # , elementary education; Joshua Wagner, human services

Rapid City – Jared Batman, business administration; Aaron Foss, sports management # ; Jonathan Holsworth, sport, exercise and wellness; Kasha Roberts, sports management and sport, exercise and wellness; Nicholas Tadlock, sport, exercise and wellness

Sioux Falls – Denet Christopher, accounting; Darryl Greene, accounting + ; Tara Hagen, psychology; Joshua Krause, sport, exercise and wellness; Bobbi Larson, elementary education and special education; Cecily Swenson, behavioral sciences # ; Marcus Watson, sport, exercise and wellness #

Spearfish – Carrie Swanson*, English and religion and philosophy

Summit – Brittany Hills**, elementary education

Volin – Brittaney Schroeder, human services

White Lake – Sara Konechne, athletic training


Copperas Cove – Anthony Pakutka**, business administration

Lewisville – Jose Lopez Rojo, criminal justice #



North Battleford – Cara Chomey, criminal justice

Bachelor of Science degrees
(names followed by *** indicates Summa Cum Laude, ** Magna Cum Laude; and * Cum Laude):


Clackamas – Skyler Swan, nursing

South Dakota

Aberdeen – Kirk Bunkers, nursing

Cavour – Meghan Hauck, nursing

Corsica – Desiree Bultje, nursing

Hitchcock – Kaylyn Gross, nursing

Madison – Marti Schoeberl, nursing

Mitchell – Natalie Muckey*, nursing

Sioux Falls – Jesse Bennett, biology

Tea – Christopher Engeseth, nursing

Woonsocket – Jenna Olson*, nursing

Yankton – Chynna Mikkelsen, nursing

Associate of Arts degrees

Heather Banister, Grand Junction, Colo., A.A. in general business

Maximum Shower, Waterloo, Iowa, A.A. in criminal justice #

Emily George, Woonsocket, S.D., A.A., general business

Associate of Science-Nursing degrees (* indicates graduated with honors; all nursing A.S. degrees will be official in June)


Cypress – Emily Mizrahi


Hawarden – Crystal Millikan


Balaton – Lori Lima

Taconitt – Jobi Troumbly


O’Neill – Jody Parks

South Dakota

Alexandria – Lindsey Kayser

Armour – Krissa Wermers

Baltic – Alexis Howe; Deborah Koopman; Holly Kraft; Glenn Scotting

Beresford – Melissa Marty

Bridgewater – Tracy Hofer

Canton – Jessica Pederson

Corsica – Angela Cleveland

Dell Rapids – Kylie Kommes; Lindsay Merry

Ethan – Vicki Kranig

Freeman – Jonilyn Rinehart

Geddes – Jessica Vanderham*

Harrisburg – Kelli Harmer

Hoven – Jamie Gunderson

Huron – Elizabeth Johnson; Ashley McHugh; Katie Miner; April Moeller; Shova Parajuli; Miranda Regnier*; Jennifer Warren

Lesterville – Ashley Fischer

Mitchell – Tiffany Hogen; Andrea Paul; Natalie Roth; Ashley Thurman

Montrose – Andrew Townsend #

Mount Vernon – Kalla Renken

Parker – Heather McKenney

Parkston – Amber Friedel; Samantha Mogck

Sioux Falls – Seth Barck; Jennifer Chau; Joseph Johnson; Kimberly Johnson; Sarah Teeslink

Tripp – Brittany Fischer

Tulare – Kelsey Frost

Yankton – Tiffany Fiechuk; Jo Stanage

Employees honored, retirees recognized at DWU luncheon

Monday, May 13, 2013

MITCHELL –Dakota Wesleyan University took time to honor and recognize several employees for their years of service, their credit to the university and to say farewell to those moving on to the next phase in their lives.

During the employee recognition banquet, DWU awarded Professional Excellence Awards for spring; the winners are Christine Mauszycki, accounting instructor, and Ross Cimpl, head football coach.

Mauszycki was announced as the winner of the Professional Excellence Award for faculty in recognition of her work in the accounting department, involvement in the community and willingness to assume new duties.

“Christine has single-handedly turned the DWU accounting program around in her two years here as a faculty member,” states her nomination letter. “Students now remark on their clarity of understanding of the content of accounting as well as her passion in engaging teaching, applied learning, and up-to-date practices – all vital components of an accounting degree.”

In addition to volunteering to take on adviser duties for the student group, Enactus (formerly known as SIFE), Mauszycki is also active both on and off campus.

“From her advocacy work for cystic fibrosis, her involvement in summer advising, the planning and budget committee, and the SIFE group, Christine models a commitment to sacrifice and service at the institution.”

Cimpl was chosen for the Professional Excellence Award for staff. Cimpl assumed the position of head football coach spring 2012 and “has excelled in his role as football coach for the university this year,” states his nomination letter. “Ross has worked tirelessly to develop a strong, disciplined team committed to excelling in the classroom as well as on the field.  Ross recognizes that through athletics a student can develop strong leadership skills which have a life-long application. He has nurtured an outstanding group of young men, helped them focus their energies on productive outcomes, and built a program already being recognized throughout the region.”

Cimpl has also doubled the previous fundraising done by the football team, assisted in fundraising for the DWU student ministry’s mission trip this spring, and has led his team in a variety of community service initiatives ranging from clean-ups to support for cancer patients.

“Under Ross Cimpl’s leadership the team GPA has dramatically increased, retention is the highest it has been in the last seven years, and more students than ever are excited about joining the DWU football program in the fall of 2013,” states the nomination.

Other Professional Excellence Award winners this year were: Kim Mohr and Pat Belling for summer, and René Pruitt and Nathan Hofer for fall.

The Presidential Award for Outstanding Service was awarded to Brandon Vetter, campus pastor. This award is chosen through special nomination to the president.

“Brandon Vetter has been instrumental in transforming the spiritual and religious experience on our campus,” states his nomination. “Since Brandon’s arrival, he has quadrupled the attendance at the weekly worship service, expanded outreach ministries, doubled the mission trip experiences, and led the development of a Sunday worship service on our campus.”

The nomination also pointed out that Vetter is a challenging instructor who integrates relevant and contemporary issues into the classroom and is highly respected by his students.

“Brandon has worked tirelessly to share and witness the Methodist commitment to justice, compassion and evangelization. His persistence in partnering with the First United Methodist Church led to the development of the Fusion worship service.”

Service Awards
Length of service awards were also presented to the following employees: five years: Carena Jarding, assistant professor of nursing; Steve Gust, head baseball coach; Kate Miller, TRiO Student Support Services director; Jesse Weins, assistant professor of criminal justice and dean of the College of Leadership and Public Service; Theresa Kriese, vice president for business and advancement; and Eric Viney, head volleyball coach; for 10 years: Matt Moore, director of information technology; and Vickie Gukeisen, information secretary for advancement; and for 30 years: Beth Day, accounts payable accountant.

Linus Mayer, maintenance technician, will also retire this spring. Mayer has been with the university physical plant since 2007.

“Linus was a great employee; he was always willing to do whatever needed to be done, no matter what. He would come in to check buildings on weekends and at 4 a.m. for snow removal,” said Louie Schoenfelder, director of the physical plant. “He has a great sense of humor, is a man of few words, but it was all in the delivery. He has retired to do some fishing, antiquing and drive tractor.”

Farewell gifts were given to both President Bob Duffett and his wife, Connie, as they will be leaving DWU at the end of the month for Eastern University in St. Davids, Pa., where Bob Duffett will assume the presidency.

Don Simmons, former director of the McGovern Center and dean of the College of Leadership and Public Service, announced his resignation in December. He was also given a farewell gift on behalf of the university. Jesse Weins, assistant professor of criminal justice, was promoted to dean for the College of Leadership and Public Service.



Summer hours announced for DWU campus

Monday, May 13, 2013

MITCHELL — Dakota Wesleyan University will begin observing summer hours on Monday, May 20.

All campus offices will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The McGovern Library will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Java City will be open 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday beginning June 1.

DWU will return to regular hours on Aug. 5.


Driedger named Exemplary Teacher at DWU

Monday, May 13, 2013

MITCHELL — Dakota Wesleyan University recognized one of its professors with the Exemplary Teacher Award Sunday during its Honors Convocation.

Derek Driedger, associate professor of English and English department chair, was given the honor.

The Division of Higher Education, in partnership with United Methodist-related institutions, expresses support and appreciation for outstanding teaching. The recipient exemplifies excellence in teaching, civility and concern for students and colleagues. This person also maintains a commitment to value-centered education, and service to students, the institution and the community.

"This year’s recipient stands out for the ability to balance academic rigor while also achieving exceptional student discourse,” said Provost Amy Novak during the ceremony. “Students remark about this professor’s ability to broaden their minds, stretch their thinking and confront, with innovation, their responsibility to serve their community. A hallmark of this individual’s style is the ability to adapt and leverage the student contributions with technology, content from the textbook and community issues.”

Driedger was described as an achiever, activator and strategic thinker with scholarly publications that place him among the leading scholars on Willa Cather and Great Plains literature.

“Dr. Derek Driedger’s vision for the 21st century education champions the traditional values of deep liberal arts engagement of literature, writing, religion and sociology with digital technologies designed to foster interaction and leverage student life experiences to achieve learning outcomes,” Novak said.


DWU announces faculty promotions, tenure

Friday, May 10, 2013
Six faculty members at Dakota Wesleyan University were recognized at the Honors Convocation for promotion and academic achievement.

Kelly wins Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence

Sunday, May 5, 2013
MITCHELL — Dr. Anne Kelly was awarded the prestigious Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence on Saturday during Dakota Wesleyan University’s Commencement services.

Kelly, professor of psychology and psychology department chairman, was presented the award by local businessman and DWU Board of Trustees member John Clarke.

DWU Provost Amy Novak described Kelly as “a passionate advocate for student learning. …In this professor’s mind, it is insufficient for the student to merely listen to the lecture; rather, the student must engage the text with curiosity, awe and challenge.”

Kelly began at Dakota Wesleyan in 2000 and became a passionate advocate for the university’s honors and undergraduate research programs, becoming director of the undergraduate research program in 2003. Numerous students in the psychology program have since presented their original research at the Midwest Psychological Association, earning recognition from psychology professionals across the United States.

“Perhaps equally noteworthy has been this professor’s ability to use education as a vehicle for service and civic engagement,” Novak said. “For nearly two years, Dr. Anne Kelly traveled weekly with students to the Rosebud Sioux Indian Reservation to develop and implement strategies for suicide prevention. Her passion for working with the poor, vulnerable and abused within our society further led to her leadership on the suicide awareness and prevention council as well as research and advocacy locally for young girls at the Abbott House (in Mitchell).”

Kelly is married and lives in Mitchell with her husband and three children.


Honorary doctorate, speaker announced for DWU’s 2013 Commencement

Wednesday, May 1, 2013
MITCHELL — Dakota Wesleyan University will celebrate commencement Saturday, May 4, with a baccalaureate service and graduation, and an honorary degree will be given to the former chairman of the board of trustees.

Baccalaureate will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 4, at the Sherman Center on campus, and Commencement is set for 1 p.m. at the Corn Palace with 172 graduates.

DWU President Dr. Robert Duffett will be the special speaker for Commencement and Dr. Boyd Blumer, adjunct professor of religion and philosophy, will speak at Baccalaureate. An Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters will be awarded to Jack Billion, of Sioux Falls.

Duffett has been president of Dakota Wesleyan since 2000. Affectionately dubbed “Bob the Builder,” Duffett’s reign at the university has seen the most number of construction projects in the history of any DWU president, including the McGovern Library, Sherman Center, Wagner Chapel, Allen Apartments, Jackson Plaza, Allen Hall renovations and most recently, he was part of the team responsible for securing two gifts of $5 million each and raising the remaining $1.5 million to construct the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center, which will be dedicated this fall.

Duffett’s Commencement address, “Now What?” will reflect on his 13 years as president at Dakota Wesleyan and his plans to begin anew at another institution this summer, much like many of DWU’s graduates who will move on to graduate school or their professional careers. Duffett and his wife, Connie, will move to St. Davids, Penn., at the end of May, and he will assume the presidency at Eastern University.

Blumer will deliver the sermon during this year’s Baccalaureate, “Dreams, Hopes, Visions.”

“Nothing significant has ever happened without someone having a hope or dream or vision,” Blumer said of his speech. “No matter how insignificant or preposterous, they are essential in directing and motivating our lives. My plea will be to believe them, trust them and follow them.  The basis for the thoughts is based on a personal experience.”

Blumer has been an adjunct in the religion and philosophy department at DWU since 2001 and also worked for the physical plant staff since 2002. He announced his retirement from the physical plant this May, but will continue to teach. Before DWU, he spent 37 years as a United Methodist pastor, six as a United Methodist district superintendent and two as the Tree of Life ministry director.

Billion, a native of the Sioux Falls area, and former chairman of the DWU Board of Trustees, will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Billion earned his undergraduate degree at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, and attended medical school at Loyola University in Chicago. He completed his internship and residency in orthopedic surgery in Peoria, Ill., and then served two years in the U.S. Air Force. When his military service was complete, he joined the Van Demark Clinic in Sioux Falls in 1971. By that time, he was board certified in orthopedic surgery and was a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

Though his practice was in Sioux Falls, in 1976, Billion became the volunteer team physician for Dakota Wesleyan athletics. He continued in that role for 10 years, near the end of which he was invited to serve on the DWU Board of Trustees.

His career in orthopedics continued at the Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Clinic from 1980 to 1989, and at the Royal C. Johnson Veterans Hospital from 1990 to 1993. At McKennan Hospital, he served as chief of surgery and later, chief of staff. In 1992, he founded Northern Plains Orthopedics in Sioux Falls. While at the Veterans Hospital, he served as chief of the orthopedic section of the USD School of Medicine and attained the rank of professor of orthopedic surgery.

In addition to his time in the military, Billion served his community and state through public service. He served two terms in the South Dakota House of Representatives from 1992 to 1996. Following his legislative career, he was elected vice chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party, and he later served as chairman of the Minnehaha Democratic Party. In 2006, he was the South Dakota gubernatorial candidate for the Democratic Party. From 2006 to 2009, he was the state chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party.

He served on the boards for Glory House, Southeastern Behavioral Healthcare and the Family Practice Residency, and he was on the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Hazardous Waste. Billion currently serves on the Foundation Board of the Children’s Care Hospital and School.

Billion’s service to DWU has been outstanding. Possibly the longest-serving trustee in DWU history, he served a total of 25 years. During that time, he was the chairman of the Academic Affairs and the Development committees, and he was chairman of the National Campaign Steering Committee for the McGovern Library. He served as chairman of the board from 2007 to 2012, a most successful time in the life of the university, culminating with the two largest gifts in our history, a total of $10 million for the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center.

He is the father of seven children, and he has 15 grandchildren. His wife, Deborah, is the daughter of Frances Blessing Wagner and the late Robert Wagner, alumni and longtime friends of the university and namesakes of the Wagner Chapel on campus.


Beautiful weather, full turnout for DWU’s Service Day event

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

MITCHELL — Clouds loomed, but held off Tuesday as Dakota Wesleyan University sent out more than 500 volunteers into the community of Mitchell.

DWU’s Service Day: National Day of Service went off without a hitch – or weather hiccup – as 556 students, staff and faculty took to the streets and nonprofits of Mitchell Tuesday for the university’s fourth annual Service Day.

This is the fourth year that Dakota Wesleyan has organized Service Day, but the first year it has added “National Day of Service” to its name – this is due to a grant that was awarded to the college that will allow DWU to give out eight gift certificates for local organizations to purchase trees. Those eight will be: L.B. Williams, Longfellow and Gertie Belle Rogers elementary schools, Mitchell Area Safehouse, LifeQuest, the Abbott House, Pepsi-Cola Soccer Complex, and Cadwell Park.

Project sites were: The Carnegie Resource Center, First United Methodist Church, First Lutheran Church, Dakota Discovery Museum, Cadwell Park, the Pepsi-Cola Soccer Complex, the Mitchell Salvation Army, Mitchell public schools, Mitchell Area Safehouse, and trash pick-up on Rowley and Spruce streets, and all around Lake Mitchell.

Students in the Arlene Gates Department of Nursing will also split up into teams and work at Wesley Acres and Avera Brady Health and Rehab.

Other students split up on campus moving materials from the science department in Hughes Hall to the new Corrigan Health Sciences Center, as well as other spots around campus.

Thirty-seven students, staff and faculty in Huron did their Service Day volunteering on Monday, April 29, and cleaned up the Huron Community Campus. Also, the DWU baseball and softball teams could not participate on Tuesday due to games and therefore have been volunteering time at the fields. In all, 665 individuals are projected to contribute toward this community service effort.

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.
Dakota Wesleyan University
1200 W. University Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301
© 2015 Dakota Wesleyan University

South Dakota Website Design and Development