Alumni Awards | Bismarck State College

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Alumni Awards

""Join Us!

You are invited to the Bismarck State College 2021 Alumni Awards Event on May 13, 2021, in the Bavendick Stateroom at the National Energy Center of Excellence on Bismarck State College campus.

Social starts at 6 p.m. with dinner and program starting at 6:30 p.m. 

Dinner is limited seating, so reserve your tickets today for $30 per person. Click the button below to purchase tickets, or contact Christina at the contact info below.

For more information about the BSC Alumni of the Year Awards program, please contact the alumni office at (701) 224-2486 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

2020 Alumnus of the Year


Kari Warberg Block ('82) is the founder and CEO of EarthKind, a U.S.-based company that develops and manufactures high-performance, ecofriendly pest control for households and farms. EarthKind products are sold in 35,000 stores across the country.
In addition to creating safe, high quality products, Warberg Block also places a high value on caring for her 42 employees by offering them 100 percent paid health insurance and opportunities to further their education. “It lifts society as a whole when businesses invest in people.”
She’s also inspiring future business owners as she has been featured in college entrepreneurship textbooks and is now writing a book.
Warberg Block has been recognized with many awards. Her product Stay Away Mosquitoes was recently named a winner of the 2020 National Parenting Product Awards, an award that was also given to Stay Away Spiders in 2017. She was honored as an Emerging Champion by Global Market Development Center and Winsight Grocery Business in 2019. She was named Mooresville South Iredell Chamber’s Entrepreneur of the Year for 2018 in Mooresville, N.C., the manufacturing home of EarthKind. She was chosen as a 2012 EY Entrepreneurial Winning Woman. In 2013 she was awarded the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Small Business Person of the Year in her home state of North Dakota and made the national top three business people of the year. She is a former member of the National Women’s Business Council, which advises the President, the U.S. SBA and Congress on matters of impact and importance for women in business.

2020 Rising Star Award


Lindsey Ellefson ('11) This year’s Rising Star Alumni Award recipient achieved her goal of working for CNN before age 30 with five years to spare. Lindsey Ellefson (‘11) has continued rising the ranks, having since been recruited for two other positions working in the fast-paced media industry in New York City.
Armed with an associate’s degree from BSC and a bachelor’s degree in communications with a specialization in broadcast journalism from St. Francis College in New York City, she became an associate producer of social TV at CNN in 2017. Ellefson reported for CNN Politics, Health, Culture and Style. She even interviewed fashion icon Alexander Wang, a piece that earned her a place on a media panel hosted by Edelman PR.
In November 2018, Ellefson was recruited to join NY1, New York’s only 24-hour local news channel, as a producer. She launched the successful digital project #1ThingToKnow, which was mirrored across the country on Spectrum Cable channels. She also did freelance writing for InStyle Magazine, the New York Observer, Daily Dot and Mashable. Her focus was health, especially the mental and physical health of individuals with substance use disorders.
A year ago, TheWrap News asked her to be their media reporter, which is her current position. Her work there has been cited at CNN, Fox News and more.
Ellefson’s goal is to continue representing those she knows who have substance abuse issues by reporting on the unique problems they face in an honest and fair way.

2020 Legacy Family


In 1933 LeRoy Walker’s (‘49) father, C.M. (Charles), began Walkers n’ Daughters Jewelers, which now has two locations in Bismarck. LeRoy and his wife, Louise’s, four children, three daughters and one son, and two of their grandchildren are alumni plus their great grandson, Lucas Rasmussen, is a current student working toward a degree in medicine. Walker was one of the first Alumni Association board members.

With a graduate gemology title from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), son Alan Walker (‘73) performs grading and identifications on gems and diamonds and repairs watches. Daughter Karen (Walker) Zimmer (’74) earned a bachelor’s degree from NDSU and a master’s degree in computer science from the University of Nebraska. Prior to retiring, she earned a registered jewelers title from the GIA and worked at the store for a couple years. Daughter Susan Walker-Weiand (‘77) is on the BSC Foundation Board of Directors. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business and accounting from the University of Mary and manages the Kirkwood Mall store. Son-in-law, Larry Weiand, is the clock manager. Daughter Sharon (Walker) Hanson (‘80) was the first and only female to run cross country for the Mystics at the time. She earned a bachelor’s degree in science and mathematics and a master’s degree in applied statistics from NDSU. Granddaughter, Lanette (Weiand) Rasmussen (’00), continued her education at Rasmussen College and is a part-time office manager. Granddaughter Jennifer (Weiand) Froehlich (’01), works in Vital Records at the State and is part-time doing sales in-person and online.

Past Recipients

Recipients of the Alumni of the Year Award

Since 1978, 52 individuals have been named Alumni of the Year.

2020   Kari Warberg Block '82
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, 17 alumni have been recognized for their achievements. 

2020   Lindsey Ellefson '12
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.

2020  LeRoy and Louise Walker Family
2019  Francisco and Bertha Tello Family
2018  Harley and Margaret Swenson Family
2017  Frank and Barbara Gilchrist Family
2016  Myron and Marjory Atkinson Family