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  • Valley City State University has garnered the No. 1 ranking among public regional colleges in the Midwest in the 2018 U.S. News and World Report Best College rankings.

Alumni News

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To honor its 2020 graduating class, Valley City State University will hold a virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16, starting at 10 a.m. At the ceremony, VCSU will recognize 299 graduates — 261 candidates will receive bachelor’s degrees and 38 students will receive master’s degrees.The VCSU virtual ceremony will be played on the university’s YouTube channel, VCSUVikings (www.youtube.com/user/VCSUVikings). The event will appear on the YouTube channel that Saturday morning.“COVID-19 has changed much of how we do things in 2020,” said VCSU President Alan LaFave. “Unfortunately, responding effectively to the coronavirus requires us to alter our plans for one of the most hallowed of university traditions, the commencement ceremony. Although we wish we could honor the Class of 2020 with an in-person ceremony, we trust that this virtual ceremony will provide a way to honor our graduates and their accomplishments.”President LaFave will preside over the commencement exercises. Audience members will also hear from Nick Hacker, chair of the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education (SBHE), along with graduating senior Brandi Aranda and Steven King, professor of social science.Alan LaFave has served as president of Valley City State University since December 2018. He previously served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D. In addition to his SBHE service, Nick Hacker is CEO of Guaranty and Title Company, which provides title insurance and real estate closing services across North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Montana.A VCSU senior from Hitterdal, Minn., Brandi Aranda will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in athletic training. She has served the university as an R.A. and a Viking Ambassador, and also as a student athletic trainer and leader in the Athletic Training Club. Aranda, who served as homecoming co-chair last fall, received a Viking Pilot Award in 2019 in recognition of her passion for and contributions to the student body and campus community.Steven King began teaching at VCSU in 1998 and secured a tenure track position in 2005. In 2019, he was recognized at the Dakota Conference at Augustana College with the Distinguished Contribution to the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage of the Northern Plains Award. Campus adviser for the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society, King was honored by VCSU’s Student Senate as its 2020 Teacher of the Year.VCSU has invited all spring 2020 and fall 2019 graduates to return to campus to participate in one of its next in-person commencement ceremonies in December 2020 or May 2021.

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Now, more than ever, we need your support! The world has certainly changed over the past few weeks. It has been a challenging time. Our students will complete their coursework for this semester online. Commencement will take on a new format. We have been working from home. Communication has taken on new meaning with Teams, Zoom, and conference calls. One thing that has not changed is our scholarship commitment to our students.Now, more than ever, we need your support. Throughout the past few weeks we have continued to work toward reaching our scholarship goals. Needless to say, it has not been easy. We still have a considerable way to go to generate the necessary dollars to cover those commitments. If you have been supporting our scholarship programs (Phone-a-thon, Century Club or V-500), thank you for that support. If you have not, please consider making a contribution today. Any amount, big or small, is appreciated. You can make a difference. Just like with the effort we are making to confront the coronavirus pandemic, it takes all of us to be successful.DONATE NOW! To pledge your support to VCSU-please contact our office at 1-800-532-8641, ext. 37203-donate online at vcsualumni.org-or mail your contribution to: VCSU Foundation 101 College St SW Valley City, ND 58072

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Dacotah Bank of Valley City received the 2019 Corporate Leadership in Philanthropy Award at the Association of Fundraising Professionals Northern Plains Chapter’s National Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fargo on November 14.Dacotah Bank was nominated for the award by the Valley City State University Foundation. Speaking for the foundation at the luncheon, Larry Robinson, VCSU executive director for advancement, commended the bank: “Dacotah Bank has a long and rich history of supporting the greater community with time, talent and treasure. They have clearly led the way in philanthropy in our community, donating and supporting more than 165 entities over the last five years.”Robinson also noted, “The philanthropic support that Dacotah Bank has provided to Valley City State University exceeds $300,000.”Accepting the award for Dacotah Bank at the luncheon were Paige Bjornson, senior business banker, and Mark Oberlander, senior agricultural banker.When presented with the award by Travis Christopher, president of AFP’s Northern Plains Chapter, Oberlander spoke first: “On behalf of Dacotah Bank, we are tremendously honored to accept this prestigious award. With sincerest gratitude we thank the AFP Board for choosing Dacotah Bank from what most certainly was a tremendously worthy list of nominees. Thank you, also, to VCSU for their nomination of Dacotah Bank.”Bjornson followed Oberlander, sharing how Dacotah Bank’s people make a difference in the community. “What makes us especially proud today is that this award recognizes not only the corporate culture of financial giving that is Dacotah Bank, but more importantly it recognizes the many hours and the immeasurable talent that so many Dacotah Bank employees are willing to share,” said Bjornson. “They want to make a difference when and where they can; they want to elevate community and quality of life for their children and for their neighbors; and they want to make a difference not only for today but also for tomorrow. For our company — Dacotah Bank in Valley City and Dacotah Bank across three states — and for our 25 local employees — to be recognized for these efforts is humbling, and we are truly grateful. Thank you.”VCSU President Alan LaLave joined the Dacotah Bank representatives and Robinson at the luncheon. VCSU representation at the luncheon also included foundation board members Robert Horne and Mark Richman, foundation staff Kim Hesch and Loree Morehouse, and staff Casey Olney, Pete Smithhisler and Greg Vanney.