Donors to the School of Business, Innovation and Leadership

Ron Sr. HD’15 and Sheilah Gates
Principal Donors

Devoted supporters of Dakota Wesleyan University and respected members of the Mitchell business community, Ron and Sheilah Gates are principal donors to the business school.  In their honor, DWU is pleased to formally name the Ron and Sheilah Gates College of Business, Education and Social Science.

Ron, a native of Sioux City, Iowa, is a Navy veteran and has been a part of the Mitchell community for more than 50 years.  Ron and the Gates family-owned senior healthcare facilities in Mitchell and Parker, S.D., and were known as industry leaders in long-term care.  Ron has served as vice president of the board of directors of the South Dakota Health Care Association and as a member of the South Dakota State Board of Examiners for Nursing Home Administrators.  Ron is active in the Rotary Club of Mitchell, and he is a lifetime member of the DWU Board of Trustees.

Sheilah has lived in the Midwest her entire life, formerly in Le Mars and Orange City, Iowa.  She attended business school and worked as an administrative assistant.  Ron and Sheilah were married in 2012 and are active members of Downtown Mitchell First United Methodist Church.

In 2014, the couple created the Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Music, which allowed for much-needed renovations to the music department and funded a full-time instrumental faculty position for the university.  In 2016, through a donation to DWU theatre, they created the Ron and Sheilah Gates Department of Theatre, now located in a new space within the Alumni Welcome Center.  Additionally, Ron donated to the Glenda K. Corrigan Health Sciences Center, naming the Arlene Gates Department of Nursing in memory of his late wife.

Ron and Sheilah’s generosity of spirit is felt throughout the community, especially on the DWU campus through the extraordinary opportunities our students have received through their support.


Roger HD’07 and Vicki Musick
Principal Donors

Roger and Vicki Musick are proud supporters of Dakota Wesleyan University and distinguished business leaders in the Mitchell community and throughout South Dakota.  As principal donors to the business school, DWU is pleased to name the Musick Family Department of Business. 

Roger is co-founder of Innovative Systems, a Mitchell-based technology company established in 1998.  Innovative Systems is a leading provider in the independent telecommunications industry with over 800 systems deployed throughout North America.  Prior to Innovative Systems, Roger was a partner with Martin and Associates, also of Mitchell.  Martin and Associates designed the majority of the communications networks in South Dakota and Iowa, and deployed hundreds of new digital switches in the Midwest.  They also designed the first major statewide fiber networks owned by the independent communications companies across South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota.  Vicki worked as a secretary for Randall Stores Inc. and The Daily Republic.

Roger and Vicki are active contributors to the Mitchell community and have provided leadership to numerous Mitchell organizations.  In 2004, Roger received the Harold Hagen Award for Entrepreneurship, and in 2012, the Spirit of Enterprise Award for Entrepreneurship at the Innovation Expo for recognition of his community business leadership.  Roger received an honorary doctorate from DWU in 2007 and was inducted into the DWU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013.  He is serving his second term on the DWU Board of Trustees, eight of those years as the board chair.  The couple’s past community involvement includes the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce, Methodist Hospital, Avera Queen of Peace and Vision 2000. 

Roger and Vicki are advocates for Mitchell and South Dakota, having created relevant jobs for those who want to stay in our community when they graduate.  Their gift to this building will continue to provide opportunities for the next generation of business leaders.


Vicki Miller Taggart and Mark Taggart

Vicki Miller Taggart is retired from her career as an ordained United Methodist minister and psychiatric social worker.  She remains actively involved as president of the Women’s Connection Network of St. Louis, Mo., which provides scholarship support to women in transition.  Mark Taggart is a U.S. Army veteran, a graduate of Missouri State University and is retired from Quest Diagnostics and Garda Logistics.  Vicki and Mark are the daughter and son-in-law of the late Keith B. Miller ’47, HD’18, and in 2017, funded the Keith B. Miller Endowed Chair in Business.

Keith B. Miller ’47, HD’18 Endowed Chair in Business


Harland H. Allen ’13, HD’58 Estate

Harland Hill Allen graduated from Ipswich High School and from Dakota Wesleyan University in 1913.  Harland then completed degrees at Colorado State College and became a leading economist, teaching at five higher education institutions.  Harland was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws from DWU in 1958 and the Outstanding Service to Alma Mater award in 1961.  In 1963, Allen Hall was built on the campus of Dakota Wesleyan and bears his name.


Deanell ’70 and Dave ’70 Backlund

Deanell and Dave Backlund, 1970 Dakota Wesleyan alumni, are entrepreneurs who, for over 37 years, provided the latest vending services to area businesses through their company, D&E Music & Vending.  Today, the Backlunds own and manage Wild Oak Golf Course in Mitchell, home to the DWU golf team.  In 1994, Dave was honored with the Outstanding Service to Alma Mater award, and he is a member of the DWU Athletic Hall of Fame.  Deanell taught at the Mitchell Middle School for more than 30 years.  Both Deanell and Dave have served on the DWU Board of Trustees.  Dave and Deanell will be honored as Distinguished Alumni in the College of Leadership and Public Service in 2021.

Backlund Women in Leadership Lecture Hall – Room 103


John HD’17 and LuAnn Clarke

John and LuAnn Clarke believe strongly in the positive presence of a four-year institution of higher education in our community.  As owners of County Fair Food Stores with locations in Mitchell, Watertown and Dell Rapids, S.D., and Marshall, Minn., the Clarkes are community-focused and family business owners.  For his service to our community and to Dakota Wesleyan, John received an Honorary Doctor of Business Administration from DWU in 2017.  John is a lifetime member of the DWU Board of Trustees.

Clarke Entrepreneurship Ideation Lab – Room 211


Glenda ’64 and Fritz Corrigan

Glenda and Fritz Corrigan recognize and support the business enterprise opportunities of our rural region, valuing family, hard work and community.  Glenda graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University in 1964 and began her career in education.  In 2011, Glenda received the DWU Distinguished Alumni Award for the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences, and that same year, she and Fritz were the Distinguished Opperman Lecturers.  Fritz worked for Cargill Inc. for 38 years before retiring as the company’s executive vice president.  He then became founding CEO and president of The Mosaic Company, a large global producer of phosphate and potash fertilizers.

Institute for Rural Development – Room 111D


Bradley ’79 and Teresa Mach ’78 Pratt

Brad Pratt graduated from Dakota Wesleyan in 1979 and Teresa Mach Pratt in 1978.  Brad is the founder of Pratt Wealth Management, an independent financial planning and investment management firm located in North Mankato, Minn.  Brad has served as a member and chair of the DWU Board of Trustees.  Brad was honored in 2018 as the Distinguished Alumni for the College of Arts and Humanities.  Brad and Teresa’s service to their alma mater includes participation in the 125 Learn Strong Leaders alumni gathering in 2009 and the Innovation Summit in 2017. 

Pratt Alumni Board Room – Room 117


Wayne and Mary Puetz

Wayne and Mary Puetz are longtime Mitchell residents and owners of Puetz Design + Build, a third-generation company specializing in all phases of architecture, management and construction processes.  The Puetzes support Dakota Wesleyan because of the tremendous asset the university and its students are to the region.  Realizing the benefits of DWU’s extensive academic programs and wide array of fine arts and athletic events, Wayne and Mary value DWU’s commitment to developing an innovative learning environment that focuses on holistic living and experiential learning.

Puetz Living and Learning Lab – Room 104


Don Blumenberg ’57 and Family

Don Blumenberg and his family have a long tradition as a part of the Dakota Wesleyan family.  Don graduated from DWU in 1957 with a bachelor’s degree in business and economics and was a standout player on the basketball team.  Don is the recipient of Dakota Wesleyan’s Outstanding Service to Alma Mater award and is a member of the DWU Athletic Hall of Fame.  Don was a successful farmer and a chairman of Fulton State Bank in Fulton, S.D.  He passed away on Nov. 17, 2020.  Joining in this gift are Don’s wife, Judy Blumenberg, and his daughters, Brenda Blumenberg ’83, Dawn Mayer ’89 and Lisa Switzer.

Blumenberg Applied Economics Lab – Room 215


Mark and Chris Buche

Mark and Chris Buche value the vital part Dakota Wesleyan plays in the Mitchell community, and they appreciate the importance that the DWU experience holds for the ethical and spiritual growth of its students.  Mark and Chris are the third generation of the Tessier family to have ownership in Tessiers Inc., a mechanical contractor and sheet metal fabrication company providing HVAC system solutions throughout the Midwest.  Mark retired as president in 2010 after 38 years of service at Tessier’s.  Mark is a former chair and member of the DWU Board of Trustees.

Buche Applied Ethics and Spiritual Leadership Lab – Room 212


Kristy Martin

Kristy Martin, of Mitchell, is the president of KRM-IT Inc. and a founding partner of SoDak Smart Tech LLC.  Kristy has had a wide variety of experience in the field of software development, finance, technical support, customer training, administration and management.  For over 16 years, she worked for a nationwide leader of software solutions, business services and engineering resources.  Kristy is a member of the DWU Board of Trustees and honors her parents, Janet ’81 and Doug Martin, with this gift.

Martin Entrepreneurship Suite – Room 111


Doug ’78 and Shiori ’89 Powers

Doug and Shiori Powers are both Dakota Wesleyan University graduates, Doug in 1978 and Shiori in 1989.  Doug is the business development director for Mitchell-based Innovative Systems, a telecommunications vendor serving the rural market.  Shiori is an active volunteer.  Both are members of Downtown First United Methodist Church and community advocates.  Doug currently serves as the chair of the DWU Board of Trustees.  Doug and Shiori honor local entrepreneurs Doug and Janet ’81 Martin with their gift.

Martin Entrepreneurship Suite – Room 111


Dean ex’61 and Rita Sorenson

Dean Sorenson attended Dakota Wesleyan University.  He spent his early career as an announcer for radio stations in Mitchell and Rapid City, S.D., and managed KGFX Radio in Sioux Falls, S.D.  Dean is the co-founder, president and chair of Sorenson Broadcasting Corporation.  He is director of the Radio Advertising Bureau and is a member of a number of professional groups, including the South Dakota Broadcasters Association.  Rita has also been involved in radio station management.  Dean serves on the board of the Sioux Falls Salvation Army, and both are members of First United Methodist Church in Sioux Falls.

Sorenson Media Marketing Lab – Room 123


Thomsen Family

Thomsen Enterprises is a family-owned company that has invested in and/or started numerous businesses in Mitchell.  Gordon and Shirley Thomsen founded Trail King Industries which became one of Mitchell’s largest employers.  Jerry Thomsen served as president of Trail King Industries for 20 years.  The Thomsen family has since invested in numerous other businesses, including the Hampton Inn, Comfort Inn and Suites, Highland Conference Center, Ruby Tuesday’s, Highland Travel Plaza, Highland Mall, The Tumbleweed, Sun Gold Sports, Hollywood Style, KMIT Radio, Sign Pro’s and Blarney’s Sports Bar.   The Thomsen Family has always believed in giving back to the community of Mitchell and has always been very supportive of numerous local causes and charities.

Thomsen Business Lab – Room 218



BankWest, first opened as Pierre National Bank in 1889, has steadily added to its footprint in South Dakota.  Five generations of the Burke family have led BankWest, including Charles H.  Burke III, who became president and CEO of the company in 1992.  He assumed the role of chair of the board in 2009.  BankWest has been a proud supporter of Dakota Wesleyan for 18 years.  The regional president for the Mitchell area is Ryan Huber, a 1997 graduate of DWU.

Kelley Center Office – Room 111C


CorTrust Bank

CorTrust Bank was created in 1930 as Livestock State Bank in Artesian.  The bank is a fourth-generation, family-owned bank with 37 locations in 31 cities throughout South Dakota and Minnesota.  Boyd Hopkins Jr. ’67 joined the bank in 1972.  He became president in 1981 and now serves as chair of the board.  His son, Jack, serves as president and CEO.  CorTrust Bank is a proud contributor to Dakota Wesleyan University for 35 years and believes that DWU is a great asset to the Mitchell community as reflected in their longtime support. 

Kelley Center Office  – Room 111G


Bruce ’71 and Barb ’71 Cutler

Natives of South Dakota, Bruce and Barb Cutler both graduated from Dakota Wesleyan in 1971.  Bruce obtained a law degree from the University of South Dakota and Barb a master’s degree of education from the University of Arizona.  Bruce and Barb have served as DWU Board of Trustee members and as integral contributors to the Wagner Chapel.  The Cutlers support DWU because they appreciate the values that the university represents, and they desire to remain a part of the Wesleyan family.

Cutler Conference Room – Room 111F


Myles ’84 and Valary Tieszen

Dr.  Myles Tieszen graduated from Dakota Wesleyan University in 1984.  He obtained his M.D. from the University of South Dakota School of Medicine in 1989 and is a practicing surgeon, most recently with Sanford Health in Luverne, Minn.  Valary is a gifted textile artist.  Myles was awarded the DWU Young Alumnus of the Year in 1995, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Donna Starr Christen College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences in 2013, and is a member of the DWU Board of Trustees.

Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship Director – Room 111E


Gopal Vyas

Gopal Vyas joined Tessier’s in 1977 as executive vice president becoming co-owner in 1979.  Tessiers, a mechanical contractor and sheet metal fabrication company provides HVAC system solution throughout the Midwest.  Vyas retired as chairman of the board in 2020.  His generosity to DWU includes major gifts to the DWU/Avera Sports and Wellness Complex, the Corrigan Health Sciences Center, and student scholarships.  Gopal is a former member of the Dakota Wesleyan Board of Trustees. 

Vyas Business Center Commons – Room 105A


Sam F Weller Family Foundation

The Sam F Weller Family Foundation honors the life of Sam F. Weller HD’21, a longtime Mitchell business leader.  He attended Dakota Wesleyan University in 1921 and 1922.  He then joined the family business originally started by his grandfather, Frank Weller, and continued by his father.  The Weller Land Company was organized in Mitchell in 1890 as a farming operation and was later renamed The Weller Company when it added an insurance agency to its business purpose.  Sam passed away in 1978, and the Foundation continues Sam’s legacy by supporting programs that enhance economic development, education and community initiatives. 

Weller Innovation Labs – Rooms 222, 223, 224


Project Supporters

Principal Level – $1,000,000 and Above

Ron Sr. HD’15 and Sheilah Gates
Vicki Miller Taggart and Mark Taggart
Roger HD’07 and Vicki Musick
Mary E. Cottingham Estate


Corporate Level – $200,000 and Above

Harland H. Allen ’13, HD’58 Estate
Deanell ’70 and Dave ’70 Backlund
John HD’17 and LuAnn Clarke
Glenda ’64 and Fritz Corrigan
Bradley ’79 and Teresa Mach ’78 Pratt
Wayne and Mary Puetz


Executive Level – $100,000 and Above

Don Blumenberg ’57 and Family
Mark and Chris Buche
Kristy Martin
Doug ’78 and Shiori ’89 Powers
Dean ex’61 and Rita Sorenson
Jerry and Pam ex’90 Thomsen


Cabinet Level – $50,000 and Above

CorTrust Bank
Bruce ’71 and Barb ’71 Cutler
Myles ’84 and Valary Tieszen
Gopal Vyas
Sam F Weller Family Foundation
Partner Level – $25,000 and Above
Dice Financial
Tom and Charlys ’68 Dice
Jacquelyn and Dusty Johnson
Mike and Renee LeBrun
Myrna ’81 and Jon Hamann
Rita Johnson ’70 and Jim Mumford
Ken ’62 and Diane ’62 Ketel
Bob ’71 and Laurie Kjelden
Linda Kropenske ex’72 and John Jacoway ’59
Muth Electric Inc.
Alison Tendler ’97 and Paul Amundson
Larry and Vicki Thompson
Lesta HD’21 and Mike Turchen


Associate Level – $10,000 and Above

Jeff and Gwen Jares
Theresa and Rick Kriese
Beth ’84, ’91 and John Kroger ’89, ’91
Krohmer Plumbing
Ron ’74 and Pam ’73 Martin
Carey Miller and Brent Stille
Amy and Ken Novak
Ken Palm ex’69


Manager Level – $5,000 and Above

Joel and Kitty Allen
First Dakota National Bank
Cindy and Jeff ex’84 Krall
Christine ’03 and Chuck Jr. ’87 Mauszycki
Dave Mitchell
Betty Oldenkamp ’82
Fredel ’14 and Jason Thomas


Member Level – $1,000 and Above

Kermit ’77 and Sue ’93 Culver
Tracy and Jeff Dice
Diana and Charlie Goldammer
Jim ’69 and Zoe Gritzner
Carol Lucas ’61
Jerry Luckett ’89
Jerry Miller ’63 and Brenda Stange
Terry ’78 and Diana Nebelsick
Joe and Vickie Roidt


Friend Level

Gail ’72 and Jordan Dawn
Vickie Gukeisen
Cindy Kiner ’87, ’11, ’14
Thomas Madut ’10, ’11

Main Level Spaces

Room 103 – Backlund Women in Leadership Lecture Hall

Room 104 – Puetz Living and Learning Lab

Room 105A – Vyas Business Center Commons

Room 105J – Jares Conference Room

Room 105L – Keith B. Miller ’47, HD’18 Chair in Business

Room 105C, D, E, F, G, K, N – Faculty Offices

Room 110 – Thompson Study Commons

Room 111 – Martin Entrepreneurship Suite

Room 111C – Kelley Center Office

Room 111D – Institute for Rural Development 

Room 111E – Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship Director

Room 111F – Cutler Conference Room

Room 111G – Kelley Center Office

Room 117 – Pratt Alumni Board Room

Room 123 – Sorenson Media Marketing Lab

Upper Level Spaces

Room 211 – Clarke Entrepreneurship Ideation Lab

Room 212 – Buche Applied Ethics and Spiritual Leadership Lab

Room 215 – Blumenberg Applied Economics Lab

Room 218 – Thomsen Business Lab

Room 222, 223, 224 – Weller Innovation Labs