Alumni Honorees

2024 Homecoming Parade
Congratulations to the 2024 NDSCS Alumni Homecoming Honorees
  • Alumnus of the Year – William F. Rothwell

  • Young Alumnus of the Year – Preston Page

  • Parade Grand Marshal – Arlen Booth

  • Friend of the College – ComDel Innovation

  • Family Tradition Award – Swede and Ione (Muralt) Johnson Family

  • Performing Arts Alumni Award – Laurie Lekang

  • Wildcat of the Year – Pam Broderick

Alumnus of the Year - William F Rothwell

William F. (Bill) Rothwell grew up in Breckenridge, Minn., graduating from Breckenridge High School in 1954. He attended NDSSS and received his Liberal Arts degree in 1956. His mother, Dorothy, was an NDSSS instructor in the Business Program from 1965-1974 and was honored as an Outstanding Educator of America in 1970. Bill commented, “My formative years were definitely influenced by my mother’s love for education.”

Bill pursued his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Dakota. He then began his military career attending Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., and was commissioned as an Ensign in May of 1959. Ensigns serve on naval vessels as division officers leading seamen and petty officers. Following five- and one-half years of active duty, which included serving in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Key West and the Great Lakes, he left active duty. Bill spent 22 years in the Naval Reserve, and he retired as a Commander.

In 1972, Bill completed his master’s degree in Industrial Relations at Loyola University of Chicago and spent 20 years in the business world. He then served as Administrator for Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Ill.

Growing up, Bill and his brother, Bruce, spent summers at their family cabin on Otter Tail Lake. He had a strong work ethic, even then, and worked a few summers on the track crew for the Great Northern Railroad. He met his wife, Janet, while taking classes at Northwestern University in 1962. They enjoyed 50 years together before she passed away in June of 2012. He currently resides in Lincolnshire Ill., and Presque Isle, Wis.  Bill is an avid Muskie angler and is spending time in his retirement years designing and making Muskie lures, and also takes time to enjoy his passion for cars.

Bill has supported the NDSCS Foundation with annual gifts since 1995. He started the William F. Rothwell Endowment to make a difference for students in Business Administration and Management with preference to Veterans. His generosity has continued with a significant gift to the NDSCS Science & Math Department, which generates funds from an endowment to fund the greatest needs of the Science and Math programs. In September of 2018, the NDSCS Science & Math Department on the 2nd floor of Haverty Hall was named the William F. Rothwell Center for Science & Math in honor of Bill’s contributions to the programs.

Kim Nelson, NDSCS Foundation Director, said, “It has been a pleasure to get to know Bill over the years, as he shares in his mother’s passion for education and support to NDSCS. We thank Bill and congratulate him on becoming the 2024 Alumnus of the Year.” The NDSCS Foundation would like to thank Bill for being a “difference maker” for NDSCS students and the Science & Math Department!

William Rothwell Photo

Young Alumnus of the Year - Preston Page

Preston Page graduated from NDSCS in 2007 with an Electrical Technology degree. He continued his education at UND, earning a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship and a Master of Business Administration.

Preston is the founder and President of Dakota Energy, LLC, an oil and gas land company focused on the Williston Basin. He credits much of his success to the education he received at NDSCS and understands and appreciates the opportunities that NDSCS provides.

A strong supporter of North Dakota’s trades and industries, Preston created the “Dakota Energy-Preston and Chelsea Page Endowment”. This endowment is a testament to his belief in providing young, bright minds with a future in the North Dakota Workforce, a belief that was nurtured during his time at NDSCS. Any eligible student planning to enter the trades and study at NDSCS can apply for the “Dakota Energy-Preston and Chelsea Page Endowment” scholarship, which will award $2,500 this coming year. Preston continues to grow this endowment annually.

Yoney Fobb, NDSCS Director of Gift Planning, says, “Preston encompasses what it means to be a Young Alumnus of the Year.” As a young alumnus, Preston values and sees the benefit of giving back. The Alumni Foundation appreciates his enthusiasm for, and understanding of, everything a technical college can offer.

Preston lives in Bismarck, ND, and is married to Chelsea. They have 3 children: Leo (6), Max (4), and Liv (3).

Preston Page

Parade Grand Marshal - Arlen Booth

Not everyone wants the same thing from a career — A lot of what makes a job satisfying is very personal. Arlen Booth, an NDSSS 1964 Building Construction Technology graduate, had a very rewarding 43-year career with Caterpillar Inc. in the Engineering and Plant Engineering divisions.

Booth was led to consider NDSCS by a Sioux Falls, S.D. neighbor who was an alum, the course listings in the campus catalog, and a scholarship from Lambert Lumber Company. He gained experience in the basics of carpentry, plumbing, electrical and pouring concrete while working for a master craftsman modernizing a church camp. It was there he made the decision to attend a trade school to learn more about the construction industry. In addition to finding his match with the Building Construction Technology program, a highlight for Booth from his time as a student was playing on the 1962 NDSSS Championship Football team, under coach Skip Butte.

NDSSS provided a great learning experience for Arlen, and the instructors had applicable knowledge from the construction field to share with him and his fellow students. The technical degree provided the skill set required for Booth to experience successful adventures as he went on to manage construction and renovation projects in Illinois, Arizona, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Mexico, Ireland and 52 trips to China. Booth is currently a Factory Planning Consultant in the Peoria, Ill. area.

Arlen and his wife, Carol, recently started an endowment scholarship to benefit future NDSCS students enrolled in the Building Construction Technology program. They were able to utilize the North Dakota Challenge Matching Grant program to increase their scholarship.

Arlen enjoys using his construction skills and artistic abilities by creating wood artwork. It has been our honor to include several of his pieces in our annual DREAMS Auction.

Arlen Booth Photo

Family Tradition Award - Swede and Ione (Muralt) Johnson Family

The Lorentz “Swede” Johnson and Ione Johnson-Muralt family have a rich history at NDSCS, and we’re proud to recognize their support with the 2024 Family Tradition Award.

The late Lorentz “Swede” Johnson was a 1957 Auto Mechanic graduate of NDSCS. During his time at the College, Swede served as Treasurer of the Auto Mechanic Club in 1953. He took a break from college and served 2 years in the US Army where he was stationed in Korea. He returned to NDSCS where he met and married Ione Ordahl, who graduated in 1957 from the Secretarial Program. He and Ione lived in Wahpeton, ND, before later moving to Breckenridge, MN, where they raised three children: Larry, Cindy & Joel.

Swede taught Diesel Mechanics at NDSCS from 1961 to 1979 and served as the department chair for 18 years. Ione also worked at NDSCS, starting in the Trades Office right after she graduated. Swede and Ione established the Lorenz “Swede” and Ione Johnson Endowment in 1982. The scholarship is awarded to a second-year student in the Diesel Technology Program, as a way to give back to deserving students, just as Swede appreciated receiving scholarships when he was a student. Additionally, Ione and Swede are members of the Blikre Society. The family lived one year in Jamaica and eight years in Indonesia before moving back to Wahpeton. Swede passed away on October 21, 1993, from a brain aneurysm.

Two of their children carried on the family’s legacy at NDSCS by also attending and graduating from the College.

Larry Johnson graduated from NDSCS Pre-Engineering in 1977 and continued his education at NDSU to receive a B.S. Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He worked at British Petroleum from 1981 to 2022. His wife, Joyce, also worked at British Petroleum and retired in 2018. Larry and Joyce live in Belleair, FL and have three daughters, Linnea, Angelina & Kathryn and three grand daughters.

Cindy Johnson-Nelson graduated from NDSCS Accounting in 1979, went to MSU for a B.A. in Elementary & Special Education in 1984 and received her master’s degree in psychology at the University of Southern Connecticut in 1988. She married Ted Nelson, and they live in Orlando, FL. Cindy is the Executive Director at UU Wellspring Inc., and Ted works for Lenar Home Builders. Cindy now goes by her middle name, Linnea. They have two children, Joel, and Nicholas.

Joel Johnson went to NDSU, receiving a B.S. Degree in Construction Management in 1991. He received his MBA Degree at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh Scotland in 2004.  Joel is the CEO of Borusan Pipe Company. He married Margarita Torrente, and they live in Houston, TX.  They have a daughter named Natalia.

Ione currently lives in Wahpeton and is married to Chuck Muralt. They wed on July 30, 2000. Ione and Chuck are members of the Catbackers Club and the NDSCS 300 Club and love attending the annual Scholarship Luncheons to meet their scholarship recipients.  The family has lived & worked in 16 countries.  They enjoyed traveling but appreciate coming back to their deep connections at NDSCS.

Ione Johnson Family

Performing Arts Alumni Award - Laurie Lekang

It is an honor to present Laurie Lekang with the inaugural Performing Arts Alumni Award.  Laurie discovered her passion for teaching in middle school and appreciates the opportunity she had to teach at the post-secondary level. She especially enjoyed the culture of NDSCS and the rural values of her students here. Laurie is a significant part of NDSCS Performing Arts history and continues to be a strong advocate and an outstanding goodwill ambassador for the college. As a Homecoming Honoree, it’s fitting to recognize that Laurie led the Homecoming parade with the NDSCS Band for over 30 years. Her dedication and love for music benefited many students during their time at NDSCS.

The Lekang family has a rich history at NDSCS. Laurie retired from NDSCS in 2016 after 35 years in the Performing Arts Department. Her husband, Paul, taught for 29 years in the Architectural Drafting & Design Program. Their daughters, Sarah and Lara, are NDSCS alumni who were involved with campus activities, including band, chorus, Wildcat Singers, and Wildcat Stage Band. Sara graduated in 2007 with a Liberal Arts degree, and Lara in 2011 with an Architectural Drafting degree. Lara is now an Instructor at NDSCS in the Architectural Modeling & Design Department, teaching from the same office as her father once did.

Laurie is honored to be the first recipient of the Performing Arts Alumni Award and expresses gratitude to her fellow Performing Arts instructors who shared the joys and challenges of positively impacting students through the arts. Early in her career, she was mentored by Tilford Kroshus and she grew professionally alongside Peter Benson and Mike Rockne, and was fortunate to have a year with Bryan Poyzer before she retired. Laurie’s fondest memories from her time at NDSCS revolve around her “team.”

Both Laurie and her husband, Paul, have much to be proud of from their careers at NDSCS. They are now enjoying retirement in Underwood, MN, spending time with family and friends at their lake cabin.

Laurie Lekang

Wildcat of the Year - Pam Broderick

We’re excited to honor Pam Broderick, NDSSS Class of 1978, as the 2024 Wildcat of the Year. Pam grew up in Ellendale, ND, where another Ellendale High School graduate encouraged her to attend NDSSS in the Medical Office Assistant Program (currently known as Health Information Technology). While at NDSSS, Pam met her late husband, Dennis Broderick.

After graduating from NDSCS, Pam’s Medical Transcriptionist career started at Trinity Medical Center in Minot, ND. In 2006, Dennis was offered the position of Academic Counselor at NDSCS, and Pam said, “the move back to Wahpeton was an exciting one for us, as this is the place we had met 30 years prior.” Once in Wahpeton, Pam continued in the medical field, working remotely while raising their two children. She credits her education at NDSCS (aka “Science”) for a fulfilling 43-year career. Some of Pam’s fondest memories at NDSCS include being involved in cheerleading and riding with Mary Anne “Ma” Grage (who started the Women’s Volleyball program) all over the state with the volleyball team and the other cheerleaders.

Pam volunteers her time at NDSCS whenever she can. She’s often seen selling 50/50 raffle tickets at athletic events, helping with the Wildcat Golf Opener, and assisting the Alumni Foundation with the annual DREAMS Auction. Pam is also proud to support NDSCS Athletes as a Catbacker. Additionally, Pam serves the community through her role on the Board for the Richland Wilkin Community Foundation , and volunteers at the assisted living facility where her mother lives.

In 2023, Pam and her family were instrumental in creating the Dennis Broderick Memorial Scholarship at NDSCS. The passion for a quality education will always live on in the Broderick family, and on the NDSCS campus, with the creation of this scholarship. Pam touts NDSCS whenever possible, explaining that NDSCS is a 2-year college with a 4-year feel.

Pam is the proud mom of two adult children, Ashley and Dylan.

Congratulations, Pam, on being named the 2024 Wildcat of the Year.

ONCE A WILDCAT, ALWAYS A WILDCAT!!

Pam Broderck

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The NDSCS Alumni Foundation Awards are honors bestowed on Alumni and Friends of the College.  These awards recognize individuals or groups that display exemplary achievement, service and loyalty.  They are given annually at the Homecoming Alumni Foundation Awards and Recognition Program. 

Alumni Awards Criteria
Alumni Awards Nomination Form