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Oct. 3, 2009

DWU celebrates 125 years, presents awards to alumni

Austin Kaus • The Daily Republic

Spirituality and academics swirled together in a spirit of celebration as Dakota Wesleyan University faculty, trustees, alumni and students gathered to celebrate 125 years of the university and see four of their own receive alumni awards.

Friday’s Founders’ Convocation in the Sherman Center provided a forum for officials to dedicate the colleges of Arts and Humanities; Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences; and Leadership and Public Service and award the first-ever Distinguished Alumni Awards to Grace Cajiuat, Theodore Roman and Donna and Paul Christen.

Citing a Bible verse that reminds Christians to “stir up the gift of God which is in you,” DWU President Bob Duffett offered his thanks and praise to the four recipients.

“We are renewed in our faith by your faith,” Duffett said. “You are examples of people who took that imperative seriously and stirred up your gifts.”

The ceremony kicked off a weekend of celebration of DWU’s 125th anniversary.

Grace (Gonzalez) Cajiuat
Grace Cajiuat
Ted Roman
Ted Roman

Donna Christen

Paul Christen

Accepting the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Arts and Humanities, veteran singer and conductor Grace (Gonzalez) Cajiuat kept her comments brief and grateful.

“Coming to Dakota Wesleyan University in 1984 was the beginning of my rebirth as a global citizen and as a Christian,” Cajiuat said.

1956 DWU graduate and retired cardiovascular surgeon Ted Roman spoke softly after receiving his Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Healthcare, Fitness and Sciences.

Roman expressed excitement about the dedication of the three colleges and appreciation of the award bestowed upon him.

“Dakota Wesleyan has meant a great deal to me in my life,” Roman said.

While all recipients received standing ovations, it was the presentation of the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Leadership and Public Service to Donna L. (Starr) and Paul Christen that seemed to elicit the strongest applause from the audience.

The pair of businesspeople and philanthropists seemed humbled at the receipt of the award, and Paul placed a strong emphasis on the latter during his acceptance speech.

The foundation for our philanthropy and our service started right here at this campus,” Paul said. “That’s the real challenge: To do something that someone you will never meet or never know will receive the benefits from.”

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