Valley City State University campus successes

May 25, 2018

VCSU spring commencement held May 12

VCSU held its 126th spring commencement exercises Saturday morning, May 12, in W.E. Osmon Fieldhouse. A total of 174 students—155 undergraduates and 19 graduate students—were candidates for degrees in the spring 2018 term. Interim President Margaret Dahlberg directed the ceremony, and Don Morton, chair of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education, also gave remarks. Providing the student reflection at the ceremony was Niklas Ernst, a senior from Kiel, Germany, who served as Student Senate president this past year. Ernst graduated summa cum laude with a major in social science with a concentration in political science. Said Ernst of his VCSU years, “I encountered a vibrant student body, faculty who deeply care about their students’ success, staff taking pride in their work, and a community opening their doors and hearts to students. For all that I will be forever grateful.” The commencement address was given by Kathryn Woehl, associate professor of social science, who has taught psychology at VCSU since 2010. Woehl, recently selected as Student Senate’s 2018 Teacher of the Year, urged the graduates to accept “the responsibility to courageously question the truth, to use your knowledge and skills to create change, and to persevere.”


Alumnus Tharaldson does book signing on campus

Gary Tharaldson, entrepreneur, hotel magnate and a 1967 VCSU graduate, signed copies of his biography, “Open Secrets of Success: The Gary Tharaldson Story,” on Tuesday, May 8, in the W.E. Osmon Fieldhouse. Tharaldson signed and gave away books to an audience of about 100 gathered for the event. He gave remarks and also fielded questions from the audience. “There’s never a day that I don’t totally enjoy what I’m doing,” said Tharaldson, who believes strongly that “Whatever you can conceive and believe, you can achieve.” When asked when he might retire, his response was this: “I will never retire. Why would you ever quit doing something you love?” Described by Forbes magazine as North Dakota’s richest man, Tharaldson majored in business education at VCSU, did high school teaching and sold insurance before getting into the hotel and motel development business.


Gjovik named ACTE Region V Teacher Educator of the Year

Peder Gjovik, VCSU associate professor and chair of the Department of Technology, was named ACTE Region V Teacher Educator of the Year at the Association for Career and Technical Education’s Region V Conference held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, April 11–14. The Teacher Educator of the Year award recognizes teacher educators who have demonstrated innovation in teacher education, leadership in improving Career and Technical Education (CTE) and commitment to preparing teachers to deliver high-quality CTE programs. His recent work includes helping establish accelerated pathways to bachelor’s degrees and teaching credentials for graduates of North Dakota two-year colleges who hold technical-specialty degrees. He is currently involved in development of an online course to fulfill student-teaching requirements for distance technical-education candidates. As a regional Teacher Educator of the Year, Gjovik will participate in a competitive interview process for the national Teacher Educator of the Year award and attend the ACTE CareerTech VISION 2018 conference in San Antonio, Texas, Nov. 28–Dec. 1, 2018. ACTE prepares youth and adults for careers and aims to provide educational leadership in developing a competitive workforce.