Gallery: Celebrating Faculty and Staff at Annual Employee Recognition Celebration

Bemidji State University recognized 61 employees with 690 combined years of service, nine faculty members who have been granted emeriti status, 14 retiring staff members and winners of the university’s Awards of Excellence at its annual Employee Recognition Celebration April 26.

BSU’s Awards of Excellence include the Spirit of BSU Awards, Outstanding Contribution Award, Excellence in Teaching Award and Distinguished Service Award.

  • Spirit of BSU Award (individual) — Angie Gora, summer program director
  • Spirit of BSU Award (team)– Bemidji State University grounds and facilities crew
  • Outstanding Contribution Award– Sandra Beck, facilities services supervisor, Physical Plant
  • Outstanding Contribution Award– Dr. Thomas Beech, professor of political science
  • Outstanding Contribution Award– Dr. Shannon Norman, assistant professor of human performance, sport & health
  • Excellence in Teaching Award– Dr. Andrew Hafs, associate professor of biology
  • Distinguished Service Award– Carol Nielsen, professor of business administration
  • Distinguished Service Award– John Swartz, university photographer

The Spirit of BSU Award recognizes individuals or teams whose positive attitude and infectious enthusiasm embody the Spirit of BSU through active support of students, student-athletes, co-workers and community members.

Gora was recognized for her work planning and supporting the opening ceremony for the university’s recent Centennial celebration kickoff, and for her advocacy for the good health of her colleagues and for the Bemidji community.

BSU’s grounds and facilities crew was recognized for removing more than 50 inches of snow and ice from campus grounds during this past winter. They were noted for their ability to respond to unpredictable demands and for their efforts to ensure the safety of pedestrians on campus grounds.

The Outstanding Contribution Award is given to an individual who has gone above and beyond expectations to contribute in areas of student success, civic engagement, diversity, sustainability and/or public service.

Beck has been at BSU for 25 years, but only recently was promoted into her current supervisory role. She has used her new leadership responsibilities to improve her team’s culture and bring it the resources it needs to effectively serve the university community.

Beech was noted for his leadership in encouraging BSU students to study abroad and for his personal commitment to supporting BSU’s international students. He has endowed one scholarship to support students and is funding a second.

Norman, who has made a tremendous impact at BSU in her four years on the faculty, was noted for her work to advise over 160 students and for her active service to the university through on-campus committee and leadership roles.

The Excellence in Teaching Award is given to a faculty member who has demonstrated teaching excellence through evidence of exceptional learning outcomes and quality student advising.

Hafs, in his sixth year at BSU, has published nine peer-reviewed articles and received more than $300,000 in external grant funding. With that grant support, he trains new scholars by incorporating research and research methodologies into his courses and by supporting students in presenting their work at regional and national conferences.

The Distinguished Service Award is presented to a faculty or staff member who has been at BSU for at least five years with an ongoing record of superlative performance and professional excellence combined with significant personal impact in the areas of student success, civic engagement, diversity, sustainability and/or public service.

Nielsen is retiring after more than three decades in a variety of leadership roles on campus which have included two term as an interim dean, director of the Center for Professional Development and membership on Faculty Senate. She has been a popular adviser for business administration and pre-law students, and she volunteers extensively in the Bemidji community.

Swartz has become perhaps BSU’s most visible employee in his 35 years, sharing the experience of studying, teaching, performing and living at BSU to countless audiences through the images he captures and shares.

BSU also recognized the first three recipients of the university’s new Diversity Certificate, which recognizes employees who complete 15 hours of qualifying diversity-related training or activities during an academic year, and the university’s nominee for the 2018 Minnesota State Board of Trustees Professional Excellence in Service Award.

The Diversity Certificate recipients were Sandra Beck, facilities services supervisor, Physical Plant; Patty Hartshorn, office and administrative specialist for the School of Graduate Studies; and Dr. Colleen Livingston, professor of mathematics.

Andy Bartlett, associate director of communications and marketing, was recognized as BSU’s nominee for the Board of Trustees award.

Bemidji State’s 14 retiring staff members have a combined 316 years of service to the university, including five who have been with the university for more than 30 years.

  • Lauree Bahr, library technician, acquisitions & serials, A.C. Clark Library; 10 years
  • Marlene Erickson, office and administrative specialist, Department of Nursing; 14 years
  • Patrick Fredrickson, plant maintenance engineer, Physical Plant; 20 years
  • Michael Hedlund, general maintenance worker, Physical Plant; 14 years
  • Theodore Henry, general maintenance worker, Physical Plant; 12 years
  • Marilyn Lanners, payroll, travel & cashiers supervisor; 36 years
  • Wilma Lindee, library technician, A.C. Clark Library; 23 years
  • Belinda Lindell, director of Procurement & Logistics; 31 years
  • Richard Marsolek, environmental health & safety coordinator; 36 years
  • Tammy Mayer, office and administrative specialist, College of Health Sciences & Human Ecology; 39 years
  • Kristi Nei, professor of professional education; 10 years
  • Marla Patrias, Executive Director for University Advancement, BSU Foundation; 20 years
  • Sandra Steffen, procurement & logistics agent, purchasing; 33 years
  • Susan Strong, general maintenance worker, Physical Plant; 17 years

Nine retiring faculty members have been granted emeritus status and were recognized at the celebration.

  • Dr. Dragoljub Bilanovic, professor of emeritus of environmental studies; 18 years
  • Dr. Cheryl Byers, professor emerita of social work; 24 years
  • Dr. Laurie Desiderato, professor emerita of psychology; 25 years
  • Dr. Richard Hook, professor emeritus of psychology; 25 years
  • Dr. Mary Hrenchir, professor emerita of history; 25 years
  • Dr. Tim Kroeger, professor emeritus of geology; 23 years
  • Dr. Michael Morgan, professor emeritus of English; 31 years
  • Carol Nielsen, JD, professor emeritus of business administration; 33 years
  • Dr. Kerry Openshaw, professor emeritus of biology; 34 years

BSU’s 61 employees recognized with Years of Service awards were:

  • 35 Years— Joseph Kaiser, general maintenance worker, physical plant; John Swartz, photographic services
  • 30 Years— Dr. David Benson, professor of professional education; Kathleen O’Brien, assistant director of Hobson Memorial Union
  • 25 Years— Sandra Beck, facilities services supervisor, Physical Plant; Dr. Michael Herbert, professor of criminal justice; Dr. Sandra Kranz, professor of accountancy; James Wizner, painter
  • 20 Years— Diane Backer, customer service specialist, Academic & Student Affairs; Dr. B Christel Kippenhan, professor of human performance, sport & health; Dr. Kenneth Traxler, professor of chemistry
  • 15 Years— Stephen Berard, TRIO/Student Support Services learning skills specialist; Seth Duncan, general maintanence worker; Dr. Joann Fredrickson, professor of business administration; Cory Haack, deliver van driver; Christine Harris, office of administrative specialist, Hagg-Sauer Hall; Dr. Richard Koch, professor of biology; Loralyn Kuechle, associate director of residential life; Sharon Russell, office and administrative specialist, College of Business; Kelli Steggall, director of TRIO/Student Support Services, Upward Bound and the McNair Scholars program; James Stone, assistant professor of human performance, sport, and health and head soccer coach; Mindy Taylor, athletic equipment manager; Dr. Derek Webb, professor of mathematics and computer science
  • 10 Years— Alissa Carlson, campus security officer; Dr. Michael Hamann, professor of biology; Lisa Hofstad, chief administrative officer, BSU Alumni & Foundation; Brian Jambor, educational technologist, Information Technology Services; Zachary Johnson, director of the Advising Success Center; Ricky Richter, chief power plant engineer; Dr. Jeffrey Ueland, professor of geography
  • 5 Years— Dr. Mahmoud Al-Odeh, professor of technology, art & design; Michael Boschee, head men’s basketball coach; Kelsey Christofferson, office and administrative specialist, Housing & Residential Life; Dr. Leslie Darmofal, professor of nursing; Dr. Vivian Delgado, interim assistant dean, College of Arts & Sciences; Hilda Flaherty, general maintanence worker; Angela Gora, summer program director; Dr. Keith Gora, professor of psychology; Dr. Daniel Guentchev, professor of philosophy; Robin Gullickson, assistant registrar and curriculum coordinator, Office of Records & Registration; Dr. Andrew Hafs, professor of biology; Dr. Brian Hiller, professor of biology; Brian Ingalls, carpenter; Dr. William Joyce, profesor of accountancy; Dr. Elizabeth Kujava, professor of criminal justice; Jeremy Leffelman, executive director, Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence; Mary Leuthard, library technician; Marlene Lindstrom, office and administrative specialist, College of Arts & Sciences; Dr. Jeanine McDermott, professor of nursing; Dr. Cory Renbarger, professor of music; Heather Richardson, accounting technician, payroll; Dr. Susan Rickers, professor of social work; Genise Schuette, state program administrator technical specialist, Office of Admissions; Jeffrey Sillerud, campus security officer; Dr. Young Seob Son, professor of business administration; Dr. Jill Stackhouse, professor of geography; Brent Steinmetz, general repair worker; Larry Strowbridge, customer service specialist, Office of Financial Aid; Cory Uhlenhopp, logistics clerk; Gregory Vollan, stationary engineer; Mark Wilander, general maintanence worker

Bemidji State University, located amid the lakes and forests of northern Minnesota, occupies a wooded campus along the shore of Lake Bemidji. Enrolling more than 5,100 students, Bemidji State offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and eight graduate degrees encompassing arts, sciences and select professional programs. BSU is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities and has a faculty and staff of more than 550. The university’s Shared Fundamental Values include environmental stewardship, civic engagement and international and multicultural understanding.