The Bismarck State College National Alumni Association has chosen North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem for Alumnus of the Year Award in 2011.
Trustees selected Stenehjem, Class of 1972, for exceptional dedication to his position, the state of North Dakota, and to community safety.
BSC will honor him at a dinner for friends, family and associates Thursday, May 12, and during BSC commencement at 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 13, in the Bismarck Civic Center. For dinner reservations, call 224-5692 or 1-800-272-2586.
The dinner also acknowledges Preston Schmidt, recipient of the Alumni Association's 2011 Rising Star Award, which recognizes young alumni of exceptional achievement. Schmidt graduated in 2007 and is being honored for his career and volunteer achievements.
Elected in 2000, Stenehjem is the longest serving attorney general in state history. He has made drug enforcement a priority, worked to curb domestic violence, and protected consumers with the state's Do Not Call List and online Identity Theft resource program.
Stenehjem's focus on eliminating the use and manufacture of methamphetamine has resulted in dramatic reduction in these activities throughout North Dakota. He also tackled alcohol abuse with his 24/7 Sobriety program for repeat DUI offenders. Other initiatives include the Prescription Drug Abuse awareness campaign and Prescription Drug Take Back program to collect unused addictive drugs.
A North Dakota legislator by age 23, Stenehjem entered politics while still in law school at the University of North Dakota. In private law practice, he specialized in domestic and sexual abuse cases and carried that advocacy into the AG's office. As a legislator, he led the House and Senate as sponsor or co-sponsor of every bill enacted on domestic violence. His resume is stuffed with legislative, legal and civic work and board service that derives from his passion for helping people, he says.
Stenehjem is recipient of the Love Without Fear Award from the Abused Adult Resource Center. Other recognitions are Friend of Psychology Award from the N.D. Psychological Association, State Bar Association of North Dakota Legislative Service Award, and Outstanding Legislator Award (one of 10 in the U.S.) from the Association of Government Employees.
Preston Schmidt has combined the rigors of engineering with award-winning fiddling to launch dual careers in the music business. A talent for leadership has further boosted his opportunities to learn from record producing pros and to make a difference in the international community.
Schmidt, formerly of Mandan, is a freelance audio recording engineer/producer in Nashville, Tenn., where he has an internship with Carl Jackson, Grammy Award-winning producer, singer and songwriter. He recently began his first professional recording job for Brand New Strings, a band nominated for multiple awards in 2010 by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Schmidt also plays with Midnight from Memphis, a band that performed and taught bluegrass workshops in Australia last summer. Among his accolades are fiddle championships in North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Wyoming.
The May 12 event begins with a 6 p.m. social followed by dinner and program at 6:30 p.m. in the BSC Student Union Missouri Room. Tickets are $25 per person with reservations due May 6.
Make checks payable to the BSC Alumni Association and mail to BSC Alumni Association, P.O. Box 5587, Bismarck, N.D. 58506-5587. Guests are welcome to bring cards or letters or mail them with the reservation and payment.