Dec 21st, 2007 @ 3:59 pm | Author:
VCSU President Ellen Chaffee recently presented the President's Distinguished Service Award to Jan Stowman, Mary Lee Nielson, Janet Schultz, and Dick Gulmon. This award, the highest honor that the president can bestow, was established to recognize partners and friends for their exceptional contributions toward the university's vision. The individuals recognized are not necessary alumni, but are strong supporters of VCSU, its programs and goals. In VCSU's history, only eleven other individuals have been recognized with the President's Distinguished Service Award.

Jan Stowman was honored for her extensive support of VCSU. Jan is currently the secretary of the VCSU Foundation Board of Directors and was one of the founding members of the President's House Preservation Society. In her comments, Chaffee said, "With Jan's initiative and the team of caring, giving, and expert volunteers that became the Society, the university now has a beautiful, gracious asset that brings people to the campus and serves as a hallmark of hospitality. It is a time-consuming, often frustrating labor of love that has continued for an astonishing 12-plus years and shows no signs of slowing down."

Mary Lee Nielson, currently the mayor of Valley City, was recognized for her many years of service both to VCSU and to the community. Nielson frequently volunteers her time to VCSU for many roles and capacities. She served as a charismatic leader for Camp CyberPrairie, where she helped expose area youth to instruction in computer technology, and for Corporate Adventures where she leads team building exercises. In her comments, Dr. Chaffee said, "Mary Lee sees what needs to be done, partners up, and does it. She surmounts every barrier, inspires every team, does any and every job, vanquishes any disappointments, and sticks with it until it is successful, whatever it is."

Janet Schultz, a VCSU graduate from the class of 1966, served on the Alumni Board from 1990 until 2002, including serving as president in 1995 and 1996. She then served as a founding member and secretary of the VCSU Foundation Board from 2002 to 2004. Schultz is also a strong supporter of the VCSU V-500 scholarship program and Medicine Wheel Park. In her comments, Dr. Chaffee said, "Her ideas are always well-grounded and constructive, and her participation in discussions always takes them to the next level." In addition to devoting time and energy to VCSU, Schultz is an accomplished photographer and is active in the community through the historical society, the Chamber of Commerce, the Scenic Byway taskforce, and her church.

Dick Gulmon is currently the vice president of Dacotah Bank in Valley City, and served on the V-500 Board of Directors for 12 years, nine of which he served as the semi-permanent treasurer. He is currently a member of the Foundation Board of Directors. Dr. Chaffee said, "In Dick's more recent service to VCSU, he has acted as our advocate in our discussions with potential donors in his personal network. This is often the most effective way to reach a donor, but requires extraordinary courage and commitment, and Dick is in a class by himself in this department."