Alumni Awards


BSC Alumnus of the Year Award Nomination

BSC Legacy Family Award Nomination

BSC Rising Star Award Nomination

For more information about the BSC Alumni of the Year Awards program, please contact the alumni office at (701) 224-5692 or (800) 272-2586 
or email

The BSC Alumni Awards Recognition program is sponsored by the Board of Directors of the Bismarck State College National Alumni Association, Bismarck State College and the BSC Foundation.

2019 Alumnus of the Yearetverndosch320.png

Vern Dosch ('73) is the CEO of National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC), an information technology cooperative that develops and supports software and hardware solutions for utility cooperatives and telecommunications companies across the nation. NISC has more than 800+ member systems serving 20 million customers in 50 states, and the success of this organization has a great deal to do with Dosch, although he is quick to credit NISC’s employees and members. Dosch authentically lives and breathes the values he espouses in his book, “Wired Differently”: Do the right thing always. Serve others. Live your ethics out loud. 

Dosch found meaningful work in cooperatives early in his career. The oldest of five in a home where college was an expectation, he enrolled at Bismarck Junior College in 1971. He graduated from the University of Mary, went on to Capital Electric, then Basin before being hired at North Central Data Cooperative (NCDC) in 1986. NCDC became NISC in 2000. 

Constantly hiring, NISC’s looming retirements, are creating even more opportunities. Dosch looks to the N.D. University System, the University of Mary, and particularly BSC to fill those roles. “We see BSC as providing very a valuable link to success in this business and community. … A while back, we said ‘we need cybersecurity.’ We engaged with BSC, and we are seeing the first interns from that program. This is the technical talent we need.”

NISC donated $50,000 to the college’s Cybersecurity and Information Technology Program in 2018, helping to grow the program’s capacity and add a Bachelor of Applied Science degree. 

Married to Lynne, with three grown children and five grandchildren, Dosch is committed to his family, the people of NISC and his North Dakota roots. 

“I’ve been doing this for 44 years. If had to do it over again – if I had to start Vern’s Software Company – I’d start it here, on a windswept hill on Old Red Trail in Mandan, North Dakota.”

JackGolden.jpg2019 Rising Star Award

Jack Golden ('17) Jack Golden's story is very “BSC-centric” he says. Golden was an Eagle Scout, but says he wasn’t a great student. He didn’t know what he wanted to do after high school, so he enrolled at Bismarck State College, and took business and political science classes. He thought maybe he’d major in Economics.
A theater class changed everything. He was surprised to find he liked the class, and it led to a scholarship, which required that he take part in a BSC theatre production. His single goal was to avoid a stage role. He was cast as a deck electrician, and in that behind-the-scenes role Golden found his calling. It took him a while to commit to theater though -- Golden comes from a family of lawyers. In fact, his parents are judges. Fortunately their verdict on his choice was positive, and Golden’s career as a set designer has taken off.  

After BSC, Golden earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from North Dakota State University, then spent more than a year traveling around and working with an array of theater companies all over the countryincluding Thunder Bay Theatre, Ozark Actors Theatre, Theatre B in Fargo and many others. He was featured in American Theatre magazine's "Role Call - People to Watch" in January 2018, and won the 2017 Broadway World Regional Reader's Choice award (DC area) for "Most Creative Scenic Design (Small Professional Theatre)”.
Currently earning a Master of Fine Arts in Theater at the University of Maryland, Golden says his career, and how he got to it, have much to do with BSC. “I’m the poster child for someone who didn’t have direction, and found it there. It was so unique to go to BSC and have theater be such a huge and vibrant department. They taught me the skills, but they also taught us to have passion for what we do.”

Scan2.jpg2019 Legacy Family

Francisco and Bertha Tello met as students at Central College in Pella, Iowa, in 1943. She was a music major from Minnesota. He came from Panama on a scholarship.  She tutored him in English. They fell in love and married, eventually bringing their growing family to Bismarck.

Higher education was an expectation for the 10 Tello children, and all of them attended BSC. Even as they worked full time and attended school, several of the Tello siblings made time for music and theater.  With a Tello (or future Tello) nearly continuously enrolled at BJC/BSC from 1965 through 1989, the college felt like an extension of the family. They knew the professors, and the professors knew them.
Francisco encouraged his brood to pursue a career in healthcare where he said the need is great, and a job guaranteed. They listened. All but one works in a healthcare-related field. Bob, Tim, Tony, Francisco (Chico) and Ron are doctors, Kathy is a nurse, Carmen a nurse practitioner, Rick spent 42 years in laboratory management, and Judy is a retired cytotechnologist. John, an accountant, worked for a time in medical insurance. That legacy carried in the next generation as well. One granddaughter is a radiologist, another a dermatologist, and a third is a nurse and professor who, along with Ron’s daughter, Deanna Solhjem, an assistant professor of biology at BSC, is educating the next generation of healthcare professionals. 

Over the years, the Tello family has also generously supported a number of healthcare-related organizations in the area, and this year Ron and Joyce became co-chairs of the BSC Foundation Health Sciences Campaign bringing BSC’s health sciences to a larger facility on campus, and expanding the programs to train more students. 

At every step, the extended Tello family has lived up to Francisco’s long-held desire that his family serve the community where they live.

Past Recipients

Recipients of the Alumni of the Year Award
Since 1978, 51 individuals have been named Alumni of the Year.

2019   Vern Dosch '73
2018   Michael Bullinger '70
2017   Bob Martinson '67
2016   Michael LaLonde, ’62
2015   Terry Bourgeois '84
2014   Brenda Mihalicz-Tufte '85
2013   William Goetz '64
2012   Tamra Halmrast-Sanchez '79
2011   Wayne Stenehjem '72
2010   Dr. Michael R. Brown '82 and Dr. Ron Tello '70
2009   Alvin A. Jaeger '63
2008   Dr. Cheryl (Senger) Elsbernd, '81 and David Farnsworth, '75
2007   Chuck Suchy '68
2006   Linda Hansen Falkman '68
2005   Dr. Gary E. Johnson '63
2004   Michael Wickstrom '53
2003   Dr. Charles E. Murry '79
2002   Pat Dirk '69 and Rich Karlgaard '74
2001   Tim Holtan '74 and Tony Welder '58
2000   Gerald Skogley '54 and Linda Juhala '62
1999   LaVonn Boehm Steiner '62
1998   Frank Koch '62
1997   Morris Tschider '52 and Irene Boehm Tschider '57
1996   Bert Gerhart '61
1995   Harley Swenson '56
1994   J. Michael McCormack '62
1993   Warren Arman '54
1992   Dalles Krause '53
1991   Barbara Gibbons Evanson '64
1990   Edwin Edlund '41 and Dorothy Mueller Edlund '41
1989   Rod Tjaden '61
1988   Dr. Lawrence Watson '67
1987   U.S. Navy Commander Lee Gurke '66
1986   Patricia Higgins Caudel '51
1985   Dennis Meyer '58
1984   Gordon Weiss '69
1983   Ev Miller '55
1982   Dr. Curtis Juhala '61
1981   Tom Jordan '54
1980   Beulah Hedahl '41
1979   Tom Baker '41
1978   Ted Boutrous '41, Mary Moses Schwichtenberg '43, and Myron Atkinson '47

Recipients of the Rising Star Award
This award was established in 2006 as a way to recognize the accomplishments of our most recent alumni. Since then, 16 alumni have been recognized for their achievements. 

2019   Jack Golden '17
2018   Jon Hunke '94
2017   Justin Reinicke '05
2016   Shane Balkowitsch, ’98
2015   Scott Zainhofsky '95
2014   Kirsten Baesler '99
2013   Sam Coleman '99
2012   Mick Miller '99
2011   Preston Schmidt '07
2010   Amanda Lewis '98
2009   Jon Fornshell '93 and Troy Sterling Nies '96 & '04
2008   Chad Ellingson '91 and Julie Schaff Ellingson '93
2007   Ken Bischof '92
2006   Alison Fallgatter '94

Recipients of the BSC Legacy Family Award
This award was established in 2015 to recognize the accomplishments of families with a long history of dedication to Bismarck Junior College/Bismarck State College.

2019  Francisco and Bertha Tello Family
2018  Harley and Margaret Swenson Family
2017  Frank and Barbara Gilchrist Family
2016  Myron and Marjory Atkinson Family