North Dakota State College of Science will recognize a group of distinguished alumni and friends on Friday, September 23 during the Alumni & Friends Awards Recognition at 7:00 p.m. in The Alley at the Hektner Student Center on the NDSCS campus in Wahpeton. The public is invited to attend the recognition ceremony to celebrate the honorees. Information and registration for the event can be found online at ndscsalumni.com/homecoming. This year’s honorees are:
Woody Caspers, Alumnus of the Year, graduated from NDSCS in 1964 with an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts. He was a member of a Region 13 champion basketball team – the first to qualify for nationals. He then went on to graduate from North Dakota State University with a degree in Business Economics in 1966. Upon graduating, he returned home to work in the family business, Casper’s Furniture, and Vertin-Munson Funeral Home, and later became president and served in this capacity until 1993. Caspers became the NDSCS Foundation Director in 1994, and held that position for fourteen years. Under his leadership and direction, the Foundation experienced significant visibility and growth. Many new and innovative events and programs were created during his tenure, including the DREAMS Auction, the Scholarship Banquets, the Blikre Society and more.
The Clifford and Pauline Worner family has been selected to receive the 2016 Family Tradition Award. Cliff was a painting contractor in the area and later became the Trail County Services Social Services Director. In retirement, he served on the school board in Wahpeton and was active in the Silver Haired Legislature. Pauline was a 1940 NDSCS secretarial program graduate and dedicated social service employee in both Richland and Trail Counties. Cliff and Pauline Worner raised their children, Wayne (Dempsey), Michael, Roger and Linda in Wahpeton. All three Worner brothers are NDSCS Liberal Arts graduates, and Roger and Michael played on the 1962 NDSCS Championship Wildcat Football Team. Dempsey (‘57), Michael (‘63) and Roger (‘63) have fond memories of the high quality of education and personal attention they received from instructors at NDSCS, and later earned their bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in education.
Harold (Heb) and Jean Diederick, Wildcats of the Year, met at an NDSCS basketball game, and have been watching and supporting Wildcat athletic teams ever since. Heb attended NDSCS in 1941 and lettered on a Skip Bute basketball team. He then served America in WWII. When he returned to Wahpeton, he began a baseball career that played out over seven decades as a coach, player, umpire, fundraiser and ticket taker. Jean has enjoyed the time she’s spent in the stands supporting NDSCS teams over the past 70 years.
Econofoods and Econo Wine & Spirits have been selected for this year’s Friend of the College award. Econofoods has served the Wahpeton, Breckenridge and surrounding communities since 1986. Econofoods is one of three major grocery stores that have been owned and operated by the late Joe Lueken and his family in Bemidji, Minn. In 2010, Econo Wine & Spirits and Chuck’s Off Sale were incorporated into the Lueken family of businesses. In addition, Econo Express opened in August of 2014. The business additions have all been well received by the community. In late 2012, Jo Lueken transferred ownership to his employees through an employee-owned ESOP agreement to benefit employees and the communities in which the stores serve. Barry Bowar is the Econofoods Store Director and Lueken’s Food Stores Vice President of Operations. Kip Christiansen joined the Econo team when the liquor stores were purchased and both have been a vital part of the transition. Kip’s knowledge and past relationship with the College has been a great asset for all. Econo supports the NDSCS Foundation as a Platinum Level Sponsor, provides products for events and donates time and effort to help the Foundation staff execute successful Homecoming socials and the annual DREAMS Auction fundraiser.
Ed and Pat Shorma will be the 2016 NDSCS Parade Grand Marshals. Ed and Pat started their career in business while sitting around their small apartment in Breckenridge, Minn., contemplating potential ownership of the Wahpeton Shoe Hospital. Their entrepreneurial spirit served them well. Ed and Pat have owned the Wahpeton Shoe Hospital, Wahpeton Canvas Company, PrimeWood Inc., Wahpeton Belting, Shur-Co and WCCO Belting. Most of their eight children started their higher education at NDSCS and are now running family businesses and pursuing their own ventures. In 2007, Ed received an Honorary Associate Degree from NDSCS.
Shelley Blome, Director of Financial Aid at NDSCS, is this year’s Commitment to Excellence award winner. She works with scholarship and financial aid distribution to Fargo, Wahpeton and Online students. Blome began her career at NDSCS at the Campus Information Desk in 1980. Later, she worked as the administrative assistant to the Dean of Women, until she became a financial aid associate. In 2004, she took over as the Director of Financial Aid. Blome works hand-in-hand with the Alumni/Foundation office finding scholarships and financial aid assistance and matching it to students’ needs. She helps award more than 500 scholarships annually. Blome is an NDSCS alumni of the Computer Operator Program.
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