Alumni Honorees

The NDSCS Alumni Foundation wishes to congratulate the following distinguished group of 2017 honorees.

The honorees include:

  • Gary Marquardt, Alumnus of the Year
  • Janet and Wayne Baker Family, FamilyTradition Award
  • Maria Kaduc, Wildcat of the Year
  • Bell Bank & Bell Bank Wealth Management, Friends of the College
  • Margaret Wall, Parade Grand Marshal
  • Kevin Bauer, Commitment to Excellence

2017 Homecoming Honorees:

Alumnus of the Year

Gary Marquardt

Congratulations to the 2017 Alumnus of the Year, Gary Marquardt. As an NDSSS alumnus, he has demonstrated Wildcat pride and support for the college in many ways. He is a superb example of a successful graduate who has made great contributions to NDSCS, his profession and his community.

Gary is a native of Sioux Falls, S.D., and graduated from O’Gorman High School in 1967. He resided in Sioux Falls with his parents, one older brother and four sisters. Gary experienced many challenges during his youth. He loved football but did not physically mature until later in high school. He later became a starter and excelled on the O’Gorman High School football team. For the young athlete, football was life. In the spring of 1967, Gary’s high school coach/counselor sent film of him playing to NDSSS coach Ed Werre. To this day, Gary is thankful that Ed Werre and Cliff Hermes had faith and confidence in him to succeed in college.

Gary became a standout defensive end and captain of the Wildcat football team. He graduated with an Architectural Drafting and Estimating Technology degree in 1969. It was at NDSSS where he met his wife, Joan Wicklein, a Wahpeton resident and a 1968 NDSSS Liberal Arts graduate. Gary is extremely complimentary of his schooling at NDSSS. He attributes much of his success to numerous faculty, staff and fellow students who supported and believed in him. “The State College of Science believed in me and would not let me fail,” said Gary.

After graduation, he held various industry drafting and design, sales, and management positions before forming his own company, Engineering Repro Systems, with a capital investment of one thousand dollars. The company offered traditional drafting and engineering supplies, computer-aided design (CAD) and drafting furniture, as well as state-of-the-art CAD plotting services via a laser network linking over 30 cities 24 hours a day. By 1990, annual sales exceeded over eight million dollars. Gary served as president of the company for over 19 years. In October of 1999, he sold the company, where he served as one of six senior vice presidents and managed the region five area. The corporation had over 680 million dollars in sales in 2008. He retired in 2012.

Gary is an active supporter both financially and in service to North Dakota State College of Science. He served on the NDSCS Foundation Board of Directors from 1996 to 2008 and held positions of vice president and president. He was the honorary commencement speaker at NDSCS in 1991. Gary has been a financial supporter of the NDSCS 300 Club, Catbackers Club, participant of the DREAMS Auction event and is a member of the Blikre Society. He and his wife, Joan, received the honor of Parade Grand Marshals in 1992 and Wildcats of the Year in 2000. Gary is an NDSCS Letterwinner, Athletic Hall of Fame inductee and one of the founders of the NDSCS Alumni Weekend football event.

Gary is multi-talented and gives generously to his community. He is a published watercolor artist featured in the Minnesota Watercolor Society “Brush Strokes” publication and honored in the Minnesota Watercolor Society Fall Show of 2015. He has spent time teaching young students this medium in his studio and in schools. He was member of the Minneapolis Rotary Club for 15 years where he served as president in 2011. He has continued to support athletics by coaching and officiating youth and high school sports. Gary has also done some public speaking on local and national levels throughout his career.

Gary and his wife currently reside in Wayzata, Minn., and enjoy retirement. Their daughter, Jennifer Oko, NDSCS Nursing graduate, has a bachelor’s degree with honors in Health Leadership from Lewis University, Ill. She and her husband, Tim Oko, have four children and reside in Downers Grove, Ill. Their son, John Marquardt, has his own technology consulting company. He and wife, Kristi, have three children and live in Shorewood, Minn.

Tradition Award


The Wayne and Janet Baker Family

The NDSCS Foundation is pleased to announce the Wayne and Janet Baker family as recipients of the 2017 Family Tradition award. Their tradition of success is very evident.

​Wayne and Janet (Brand) Baker were raised in Richland County and all six of their children are graduates of NDSSS, as well as four of their spouses. Wayne passed away in December of 2004 after working in the roofing and sheet metal business his entire life. Janet was a stay-at-home mom nurturing six children and volunteering in the community. She became involved with NDSSS by helping with fall registration before any of her children even graduated high school. During that time, she made a pact to ensure all her children would attend the College after high school, continuing their education for two more years right next door to home. 

Brad, the Bakers’ oldest and only son, graduated from NDSSS in 1980 with an associate degree in Architectural Drafting and Estimating. While attending college, he met Kim Lenton, a 1980 Computer Operator graduate. She was accepted into the new Medical Record program that same year and graduated in 1982 with an associate degree in Medical Records. They married in 1982 and eventually founded Professional Roofing in Ketchum, Ind. Brad has served on the Board of Directors for the Western States Roofing Association for several years and this past year served as president. Kim works in the office as their administrative coordinator. They have three daughters, Ashley (Chance Pehrson), Elissa and Kaylee, and two granddaughters, Oakley and Tinley.

Beth Lohman graduated from NDSSS in 1981 from the Architectural Drafting and Estimating program. She met her husband, Clint Lohman, at NDSSS and they married in 1982. Clint, of Glendive, Mont., was a quarterback for the Wildcats football team. He graduated from the Electronics program in 1981. Both used their respective degrees until buying and running their own company. Clint has been in the gaming business in Montana and a successful entrepreneur for the past 35 years. Beth has worked in operations alongside him at several of their businesses. They sold their largest business, Rocky Mountain Gaming, in 2016. Clint currently operates as manager for several of their remaining businesses. They live in Bozeman, Mont., and have three children, Britney, Brock and Bridger.

Benae Freeberg received an associate degree in Graphic Arts from NDSSS in 1983. She is married to Mike Freeberg, a self-employed agronomist. Benae works at Ultimate Transportation/Dakota Spas as a financial officer in Fargo, N.D. They live in Colfax, N.D., and have three children, Ashley (Nathan Renard), Brianne and Cole. Cole is carrying on the Baker tradition by attending NDSCS. He is currently a first-year student in the Diesel Technology program.

Caryn Klosterman and her husband, Todd, both attended NDSSS after graduating from Wahpeton High School. Todd wrestled for the Wildcats in 1985-86. He graduated in 1986 with an associate degree in Ag Business and Caryn graduated with an associate degree in Word Processing Specialist and General Office the same year. The high school sweethearts married in 1991 and live in Mooreton, N.D. Caryn worked for 27 years at Essentia Health Wahpeton, N.D., and is currently working in hospital admission notifications in Fargo, N.D. Todd farms with his brothers, Troy and Joe, in the southern Red River Valley near Mooreton. They have two daughters, Morgan and Whitney. 

Carla Schumacher was a 1987 NDSSS Graphic Arts graduate. She and her husband, Eraine, reside in Shakopee, Minn. Since graduating from college, Carla has worked as a parts inspector for both Finger Hut and Specialty Manufacturing Company. Eraine is a retired crane operating engineer. They have lived in Shakopee for 27 years.

Bonita Kinnunen is the youngest of the family and the last of the Baker kids to attend NDSSS. She graduated in 1991 with an associate degree in Secretary Specialist. She is currently employed at Radio FM in Fargo, N.D. Her husband, Scott Kinnunen, is also an NDSSS graduate, from the class of 1996. He graduated with an associate degree in Auto Body and is employed at Dakotaland Auto Glass in Fargo. They reside in Hawley, Minn. 

NDSSS has been a great educational fit for the Baker family. Three of six kids still live in the Red River Valley area and positively contribute to the community that gave them so much. All six children went on to have successful careers, with two starting and running profitable businesses. While they have acquired additional skills since graduating, they all attribute their success to the great start NDSSS gave them.

Wildcats of the Year

​Maria Kaduc

Maria Kaduc, born and raised in Czechoslovakia, received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1976 from Pedagogicka Faculta University J.A. Komensky, Trnava, Slovakia. She taught at the elementary school for eight years before deciding to make a life-altering change for her family. Several contributing issues aided in Maria’s decision to emigrate from Czechoslovakia in July of 1984. The journey that eventually ended in the United States first took Maria and her family to Yugoslavia and Austria before finally setting in Wahpeton, N.D., in July 1985. 

Wanting to excel in her understanding of English, Maria signed up for English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at Wahpeton High School in August 1985. A year later, she continued her education at North Dakota State College of Science, which led her to receive a certificate from the Computer Operator Program in 1987 and an associate degree in Computer Science in 1989.

In August 1990, St. John’s Elementary School hired Maria to teach computers and mathematics. During this time, she also tutored computer classes at the NDSCS Learning Skills Center and taught mathematics to migrant students in Breckenridge, Minn. In 1994, Maria was hired by NDSCS to teach and coordinate the flextime courses in the Academic Services Center (ASC). While teaching, she continued taking courses to improve her language and get her undergraduate and master’s degrees. In 2000, she completed coursework and received her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D. In 2005, Maria became the Director of the ASC at NDSCS.

Because of her own experience, Maria has a great understanding of what students, especially underprepared students, experience when transitioning to college. Maria enjoys working with students who have academic and study deficiencies. She takes time to get to know her students and then builds on this knowledge. One activity she enjoys most is working with student athletes.

It is a pleasure for the Athletic Department and the NDSCS Foundation to honor Maria because of her dedication to students and leadership. A few of Maria’s awards have been 1999 Excellence in Teaching, 2002 Extra Mile Award, 2009 NDACTSNE Directors Award of Excellence and 2016 NDACTE Administrator of the Year.

Maria is a proud mother of two sons. Martin, her oldest son, resides in Seattle with his wife, Christine. Maria’s youngest son, Peter, lives in Sparta, Wis., with his wife, Debra, and their three children. Both of Maria’s sons started their post-secondary education at NDSCS.

Maria’s family also includes hundreds of NDSCS “sons and daughters” who consider her their NDSCS mom. Many of those students are now successful professionals living all over the world and contributing to society.  By believing in her students, Maria has always empowered them to do the best they can do academically, personally and professionally.
“Watching my NDSCS children graduate, and in many cases continue their education, is the greatest reward,” commented Maria.

Friend of the College

​Bell Bank & Bell Wealth Management

The NDSCS Alumni Foundation honors Bell Bank and Bell Bank Wealth Management with the 2017 Friend of the College-Distinguished Service Award.

Chartered in 1966 in Fargo, Bell has grown to be the region’s largest privately owned bank. Community is at the heart of Bell; every year, each Bell employee receives funds to “Pay It Forward” as they choose to an individual, family or organization in need. To date, more than $10 million in Pay It Forward funds have been given, with many stories of giving taking place in Wahpeton-Breckenridge.

Since Bell began serving the communities of Wahpeton, Breckenridge and the surrounding area in 2008, the bank has been a major supporter of NDSCS, recognizing the College and its promising students as tremendous assets to our community.

• A $10,000 Bell Bank Scholarship Endowment was created. The scholarship has been awarded annually since 2013 to a full-time student in arts, science and business.
• Bell’s $25,000 lead gift helped launch the NDSCS Ambassador Leadership Program in 2014.
• Bell is consistently a major marketing partner whose gifts help promote NDSCS Wildcat Athletics.
• Additionally, Bell has helped sponsor NDSCS “meet and greet” events, provided expert speakers in wealth management, shared expertise of several employees to serve on the NDSCS Foundation Board and provided use of a suite for Alumni Foundation functions and as a donation to the annual DREAMS Auction fundraising event.

Congratulations Bell Bank & Bell Wealth Management on this award.  NDSCS is proud to have you as a partner.

Bell Bank is a Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender. Investing and wealth management products are not FDIC insured, have no bank guarantee, may lose value, are not a deposit and are not insured by any federal government agency.

Parade Grand Marshal


Margaret Wall

Congratulations to the NDSCS Foundation Parade Grand Marshall, Margaret Wall. The NDSCS Foundation is pleased Margaret will lead NDSCS during the homecoming festivities, as she was key in developing many new programs and services over her 38 years with the College.

Margaret was born and raised in central North Dakota and graduated from Sykeston High School.  Margaret earned her bachelor’s degree from Valley City State University and her master’s degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead, both in Business Education. In 1974, Margaret started her career at NDSCS as an instructor in the secretarial department. She taught both general office administration and legal administrative assistant courses. In the spring of 1992, Margaret developed the curriculum for the Office Administration Internship program. This program became the model for many other internship programs on campus.
Margaret took a new role as Cooperative Education Coordinator in the spring of 1994. As coordinator, Margaret worked with employers and faculty finding placements for students with many different types of businesses throughout the United States. Margaret continued in this position until fall 2002, when she transitioned to the Distance Education Director. During her tenure, the College experienced significant increase in distance education enrollments. Margaret finished her career as the NDSCS Dean of Extended Learning, retiring in September 2013. Her dedication to the College and tenacity to move NDSCS students forward to exciting new places demonstrate her leadership.

She enjoys traveling, spending time with her family, relaxing at her lake home, quilting, book clubs and the opportunity to volunteer. Margaret is a member of Rotary and Alpha Delta Kappa. She is currently an NDSCS Alumni Foundation Board member. Margaret received the NDSCS Alumni Foundation Commitment to Excellence Award in 2004, the 2008 NDSCS Life Award for implementing the Pathway program and the Career and Technical/Education Administrator of the Year in 2013.

Margaret’s husband, John, a former representative for District 25 and a strong advocate for NDSCS, passed away in July 2014. She has two grown children, Autumn and Jed, and five grandchildren.

Commitment to Excellence


​Kevin Bauer

Kevin Bauer began working at NDSCS in 1983 as a student employee. He was part of the technical lighting and sound crew for the Wildcat Singers and Stage Band under the direction of Tilford Kroshus and Laurie Lekang. In 1987, Kevin officially became a part-time lighting and sound technician for the NDSCS Harry Stern and Ella Stern Cultural Center, while working full-time for Rigel’s Appliances in Moorhead, Minn. He has been willing to share his technical expertise with NDSCS for the last 30 years.

Kevin has been instrumental in the maintenance of NDSCS’s light and sound system, including leading a major upgrade to the technology in 2015. Throughout his tenure here, he has trained many staff and students who have assisted him. His amazing commitment includes trips from Moorhead to Wahpeton, N.D., when problems arise. He also works from his Moorhead home consulting with artistic performers about their specific technical needs before they arrive on campus. Many artists give a special thanks to Kevin for his help making their program a wonderful experience. 

He is an exceptional representative of the College with his outstanding customer service and professionalism. Kevin met his wife, Holly Keller, a 1986 Dental Hygiene student, at NDSCS. They were married in 1990 and currently reside in Moorhead. They have one daughter, Joelle.

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