Legends & Leaders, the Distinguished Alumni Awards Banquet
Friday, November 4, 2011
824 32nd Avenue, Brookings, SD
5:30 p.m. Social Hour
6:30 p.m. Dinner and Awards Program
Tickets are $30 and can be purchased through the SDSU Alumni Association online or by calling 888-735-2257. We request that all reservations and payments be made by October 28, 2011.
This year's list of honorees:
Harold Bailey, retired administrator
Bailey arrived on campus in 1951 as a new pharmacy faculty member with a doctorate from Purdue University. He left in 1985 as vice president emeritus of academic affairs.
He became the chief academic officer at State in 1961. No one has served longer in that position than Bailey. He carried out his work with such distinction that on his final day Gov. Bill Janklow designated it as Harold S. Bailey Jr. Day in South Dakota.
The respect that he gained from his colleagues is evident in the letters submitted to back his nomination.
James O. Pedersen, former dean of student services whose career largely paralleled that of Bailey’s, wrote, “It would be very difficult to identify a non-SDSU alumnus who had made more deserving, enduring and loyal contributions to SDSU and to the Brookings community than Harold Bailey.”
Carol Peterson, who began her administrative career as dean of nursing and later took Bailey’s position as vice president for academic affairs, called Bailey “a great, kind, ethical and Christian man.
“He was my first boss at SDSU, and I saw those genuine characteristics in him regularly as I worked with him. He was a supportive and understanding boss, and as a new dean he gave me much support, but also much latitude. Dr. Harold Bailey devoted his entire professional career to SDSU. . . .
“He was an even-handed administrator and accomplished his goals without getting angry or difficult and forceful,” Peterson said.
In retirement, Bailey continues to live in Brookings and recently wrote a history book on his years at SDSU.
Betty Belkham, Class of 1991 - master’s
A life-long educator, Belkham has been superintendent of the 300-student Flandreau Indian School since 2000.
In that role she has helped the school secure $23 million in federal funds to enhance buildings. On the programming side, Belkham researched grant opportunities and within a short period of time the school was awarded $2.3 million to implement new programs for a three-year period.
Belkham was named Outstanding Native American Woman Educator for South Dakota in 2002.
She is known for collaborating with outside entities, including SDSU, as well as securing grants to strengthen the seven-day-a-week boarding school. The school brings in students from tribes throughout the central and western United States, and Belkham is known for meeting the diverse needs of those students.
The former Flandreau Public Middle School teacher is credited for initiating the Flandreau Indian Success Academy partnership with SDSU.
Belkham taught at the middle school from 1978 to 1991. Tammy Renville, a program specialist at Flandreau Indian School, wrote, “She was actually my oldest son’s middle school teacher. Her passion for education is as strong now as it was then. Her understanding of the tribal communities and compassion for the students and their families have allowed for positive family involvement.
“Every time I travel with Betty, an elder in the community, a parent, former student or someone working in the field actively seeks her out. She has strong connections in the communities due to the relationships she has developed. . . .
It doesn’t matter how many challenges have come up throughout the day, she still smiles and makes positive comments about the day.”
Reid Christopherson, Class of 1982
Christopherson, wing executive support officer of the 114th Fighter Wing in Sioux Falls, has nearly 37 years in the Air Force and Air National Guard. But he hasn’t let his extensive contributions to country crowd out a commitment to community service.
His name has been associated with a bevy of civic organizations. But most notably, Christopherson, of Garretson, has been involved with Boy Scout activities since the early 1970s and has received virtually every participant and leader award the 101-year-old scouting group offers.
Among his scouting awards: 43-Year Veteran, Lamb Award for service to his church, Silver Antelope for distinguished service on the regional level, Silver Beaver for distinguished service on the council level and two District Awards of Merit for distinguished service on the district level.
Gerry Granum, former district director of the Sioux Council of the Boy Scouts of America, writes, “As an Eagle Scout, Reid has always strived to give back to scouting as a cubmaster, scoutmaster and commissioner” and has spent nearly 20 years on the Sioux Council Executive Board.
He also was president of the Sioux Council from 2006 to 2007 and currently serves as commissioner for the Boy Scouts of America’s 13-state Central Region.
Christopherson said, “Serving as an adult volunteer leader within the Boy Scouts of America for the past 36 years is only a very small repayment for the tremendous impact that the program had on me during my years as a youth member.”
A sampling of Christopherson’s other community service activities include:
• Sioux Falls Regional Airport Authority,
• Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau,
• Minnehaha County Conservation District,
• National Guard Association of South Dakota,
• Sioux Empire chapter of the American Red Cross and
• Jackrabbit Advocates.
Arlo DeKraai, Class of 1970
A civil engineering graduate from Brookings, DeKraai has become a symbol of industrial success.
During his career, he founded 10 companies and was involved in more than 15 acquisitions and startup divisions. The companies were involved in the design and construction of state-of-the-art manufactured products, most of which support the oil refining business.
In 1994, he founded Integrated Service Company (InServ), a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based downstream oil and gas construction, turnaround, maintenance and turnkey projects company.
As chairman, president and CEO, InServ was transformed into a global leader, working in more than 14 countries with more than $400 million in revenue.
This is the second time for DeKraai to be honored by the SDSU. In 2005, the College of Engineering selected him as a Distinguished Engineer, an honor for which recipients must be approved both by a panel of college faculty as well as a panel of past recipients.
In a 2005 letter, Fred Stiers, general manager of ConocoPhillips, wrote, “Arlo sets high standards and stretch targets like all successful business people do. At the same time, he conveys confidence in his people’s ability to reach these goals: never loud or boastful, but rather in his natural manner of quiet, reassuring leadership.”
At InServ, DeKraai expanded its ownership to include 18 employees, and its stock rights program enabled an additional 139 employees to participate in the proceeds of the sale of InServ to Willbros Group on Nov. 20, 2007.
That serves as an example of DeKraai’s generosity and his desire to share with others, according to business partner Clayton Hughes.
JoAnn (Olson) Goodale, Class of 1959
After working 14 years as a hospital nurse, Goodale took off a couple years to be home with her children, and then returned to the nursing field in a role that made her an expert as a senior rehabilitation nurse for major insurance companies.
Her knowledge of assessment and treatment procedures and discharge planning in trauma cases has gained her the respect of litigators, her employers, and the Illinois Head Injury Association, which gave her a “special friend” award.
SDSU College of Nursing Dean Roberta Olson called Goodale “a leader in the area of rehabilitation of patients who have suffered catastrophic injuries. JoAnn’s work at two insurance companies has benefitted patients through accurate assessment of their medical records and making decisions for payment that assisted patients to receive the financial compensation they were entitled to without wasting taxpayer dollars.”
Those supporting her Distinguished Alumni nomination include Pekin, Ill., lawyer Charles Thomas.
He wrote, “I am delighted to second your nomination of JoAnn Goodale for the Distinguished Alumni Award. I do this despite the fact that she has always represented my adversaries for many years. My job has always been to make sure injured workers receive adequate, appropriate treatment and compensation. . . .
“Of the hundreds of case managers I have dealt with over the years, I find her approach to and handling of cases better than all the others put together. Her excruciatingly thorough attention to detail, succinctness in reporting and promptness in relaying information is unequaled.”
Jeffrey Nelson, Class of 1971
Nelson started work for East River Electric Power Cooperative after he finished his four-year commitment to the U.S. Army in 1975 and has been there ever since, being promoted to general manager in 1990.
In addition to overseeing a wholesale power distribution entity serving 40,000 square miles, he has been a strong supporter of renewable fuels development in the state and played a key role in establishing the South Dakota Value-Added Agricultural Development Center.
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin wrote, “I count myself among the many fortunate individuals who have had the opportunity to work with Jeff Nelson over the years ... Jeff was a valuable resource to me when I served in Congress.”
John Thune wrote, “While serving in Congress, I have had the opportunity to work with Jeff … on a host of issues important to South Dakota. Whether it be ensuring his customers receive affordable and quality energy through preference power, expanding the utilization of wind energy, or growing our state’s renewable fuels capability through the development of the ethanol industry, I have welcomed his guidance and leadership.”
East River Electric is a wholesale power cooperative providing electricity to 24 retail electric cooperatives and one municipal retail electric system, which in turn serve more than 92,000 homes and businesses in 41 eastern South Dakota counties and 22 counties in western Minnesota.
Nelson’s civic work includes organizing the Lake County Food Pantry and being a charter member of the East Central South Dakota Habitat for Humanity. In 2009, he received SDSU’s Distinguished Engineer Award.
Dustin Oedekoven, Class of 2000
In less than 10 years after receiving his bachelor’s degree, Oedekoven earned his doctorate of veterinary medicine and became the state veterinarian.
Oedekoven, who was raised in Sturgis, joined the South Dakota Animal Industry Board in Pierre as a staff veterinarian in 2003, became assistant state veterinarian in 2006 and state veterinarian in 2009. He oversees a staff of seven other veterinarians and is responsible for protecting the health of livestock in South Dakota.
In his nomination, Russ Daly, an associate professor of veterinary and biomedical sciences at SDSU, wrote, “Perhaps no individual is more important in ensuring that South Dakota animals are in a position to be protected from certain diseases than Dr. Oedekoven.”
He added, “To the best of my research, Dustin is currently the youngest individual serving as his state’s top animal health officer, although he carries out his responsibilities with the skill of someone more veteran. Dustin succeeded an individual with a long, successful history as South Dakota’s state veterinarian, Dr. Sam Holland.
“To have successfully filled those shoes is no small feat.”
Holland wrote of Oedekoven, “I have known Dustin since his childhood days through his parents with whom we share mutual friends. Dustin stayed at my home while serving as a legislative page in high school. Dustin has always been very positive minded, with charisma and respected by his peers as a secondary student, during his college years at SDSU and professional school at Iowa State.”
Walter Wosje, Class of 1962
Wosje, who became a giant in the dairy industry, has served as a strong supporter and spokesman for the recently completed $9.5-million dairy plant expansion. In fact, he will serve as emcee for the Oct. 21 dedication of the plant.
In addition to speaking on behalf of the dairy science program to gain additional industry support for the project, Wosje was among the early dairy science alumni to donate to the project. He also has supported the program via a Jackrabbit Guarantee Scholarship every year since 2005.
Dairy science faculty regularly call on him to give guest lectures, and he serves on a committee for faculty recruitment.
Wosje, a Volga native who returned to the area after semi-retirement, also supported the Pride’s trip to Pasadena in 2007.
In 1984, Wosje was hired as chief executive officer of the Michigan Milk Producers and helped make it one of the most financially sound organizations in the country, according to Vikram Mistry, head of the SDSU Dairy Science Department.
He added, “Almost immediately after Walt retired from Michigan Milk Producers in March 2003, he was invited to head up a new organization in the dairy business, which was organized by the National Milk Producers Federation in Arlington, Va. Walt became the chief operating officer of Cooperatives Working Together.
“In this position, Walt has carried out several dairy product export programs and dairy herd retirement programs in an effort to maintain a proper relationship between U.S. milk supply and demand.” An economic analysis by the University of Missouri revealed that U. S. dairy farmers received an additional $1 billion annually as a result of those programs.
Wosje retired in 2010. He and his wife, Yvonne, are now full- time residents of Brookings.
The SDSU Alumni Association will be honoring those alumni who have distinguished themselves as leaders in the SDSU community and beyond. Join us to celebrate the legacy and leadership these outstanding distinguished alumni have shown. These individuals will receive prestigious recognition from their alma mater for their accomplishments and achievements. They join 295 other alumni as part of the Sherwood O. Berg Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor, located in the Tompkins Alumni Center.