Apply Online | Campus E-mail

News and Information

Campus News
Sports News
Tiger Trib
Wesleyan Today
Fact Sheet
Vision and Values
University Relations
DWU President

News Releases

May 14, 2012

Employees honored, retirees recognized at DWU luncheon

MITCHELL – Several Dakota Wesleyan University employees were honored May 10 at a special recognition luncheon.

Dr. Clint Desmond, choral director and assistant professor of music, received the Presidential Award for Outstanding Service. This award is chosen through special nomination to the president.

“In two short years, Desmond has made a profound and lasting impact on the music department at DWU and the Dakota Wesleyan University relationship with the arts and music community of Mitchell,” states his nomination letter.

The letter also pointed out that when Desmond first arrived on campus, DWU had 15 choral student participants, no majors and just one minor. Since then, he has transformed the music department into a burgeoning program with more than 10 majors and minors, more than 40 participants, five different ensemble groups, two musicals in collaboration with the theatre department, and a blossoming relationship with the Huron Symphony Orchestra.

“Dr. Desmond is engaging, inspiring and challenging in the classroom,” the nomination states. “Students delight in the opportunity to take courses from him and value the insights he offers about everything from composition to history and theory.” 

DWU also awards Professional Excellence Awards for faculty and staff for fall, winter and spring of the school year. The three faculty winners this year were Joan Lubben, assistant professor of math; Aletha Erpenbach, assistant professor of nursing; and Dr. Gloria Leonard,  professor of education and psychology. The three staff winners were Leah Rado, sports information director; Michelle Hellman, education support specialist; and Terry Lundeen, director of residence life. Out of those winners, two overall awards are given for the 2011-12 school year.

Dr. Gloria Leonard received the Overall Professional Excellence Award for a faculty member.

“Gloria has devoted nearly three decades of her life to teaching at Dakota Wesleyan University,” states her nomination letter. “She is a friend and counselor to all. Her joyful spirit is uplifting and causes one to stop and think about how life should be spent appreciating and enjoying family and friends. Her love of brainstorming with a group of people invigorates her thinking. She not only respects the opinions of others but is inspired by collaboration.”

Terry Lundeen received the Overall Professional Excellence Award for a staff member.

“He is a servant through and through, always stepping forward to take on tasks that have been pushed off. Students respect him and work well for him,” his letter states.

Service Awards
Length of service awards were also presented to the following employees: five years:
Derek Driedger, Emily George, Ruth Haidle, Jory Hansen, Susie Hitchcock, Rick Johnson, Cindy Kiner, Linus Mayer, Corey Mellegaard, Dale Roden, Bev Rumbolz and Joe Weiland; 10 years: Allen Jenks, Nancy Sonne and Mary Stahl; 15 years: Chad Larson; 20 years: Deb Cap and Mike Catalano; 25 years: Pam Boline, Karen Bruns, Rocky Von Eye and Carol Weiss; 40 years: Dave Mitchell.

Dr. Gloria Leonard, professor of education and psychology; Gloria Thompson, nursing A.A. program director; Karen Bruns, head cataloger, and Dr. Joe Ditta, English professor, all announced their retirements this spring.

All four were honored during a special retirement banquet in April, each receiving a university gift, memory books tailored to them specifically, a slideshow presentation and another farewell gift presented at the luncheon on May 10.

Leonard is a DWU graduate and began working at the college in 1983.

“Only active verbs describe Gloria Leonard’s arrival on campus as a faculty member in August of 1983,” said DWU Provost Amy Novak during the retirement banquet, April 19. “Energized, enthusiastic, passionate, were words that her department chair used to describe Gloria in her first year of teaching. The impressive thing about that is today – we would all still use those same words. Friends, this is a true measure of an educator – one who can enter the profession excited and leave with the same measure of energy. Perhaps this is true because Gloria sees learning as an active process that transcends the classroom – learning indeed captures all the senses.”

Thompson, another DWU grad, began at DWU in August of 1990.

“Joy-filled, compassionate, fair, supportive, lovingly diplomatic, a leader, a great role model, inspirational, these were all words used by friends, colleagues and former students to describe Gloria Thompson,” Novak said. “Her passion for nursing education and parish nursing permeated the culture of the nursing department for over 20 years.”

Bruns began as the Layne Library cataloger in September of 1987, back when the library was in Smith Hall. She was instrumental in moving the library’s resources to the McGovern Library in 2006.

“Over the past 25 years, Karen has been dedicated to bringing order to the library collections shelves. For those who are ‘browsers,’ Karen’s work allows them to find books on the same subject by walking down the rows of shelves,” Novak said. “Kevin Kenkel noted that for her years of cataloging books, movies, CDs, and other materials, Karen herself should be classified under Z693.”

Ditta will retire after 29 years in the English department at DWU. He began in August of 1983, and has been involved in Prairie Winds literary journal, the Phreno Cosmian, and founded the Agnes Hyde writing competition.

“Joe, for your countless years of service, for your dedication to students, for your uncompromising efforts to help students embrace their inner voice, for your noble commitment to preserving the liberal arts, and for your love, passion, and zeal for teaching, on behalf of the entire DWU community, thank you.”


Dakota Wesleyan University
1200 W. University Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301
Copyright © DWU
Contact webmaster
Last updated: 5/14/12