Inductee Dennis Knutson “Graduates” from the Augustana Orchestra.

We will say farewell to our seniors after this performance, as well as our high school seniors, all to whom we are grateful.  But there is one more very special ‘graduation.’  Dr. Dennis Knutson has made the decision to retire from the Augustana Orchestra.  Dennis has served as our principal flutist for 25 years, has been a friend and confidant to every conductor, and been our strongest community advocate.  Dennis has made it clear that he will continue to be an active part of our organization, but from the sidelines.  As you perform this weekend, take a moment to thank Dr. Dennis Knutson for his talents, musicianship and steadfast support of the Augustana Orchestra.    Augie.JPG

Al and Irene Kurtenbach family named 2019 Philanthropic Family of the Year SDSU Foundation

Al and Irene Kurtenbach family named 2019 Philanthropic Family of the Year

BROOKINGS – The Al and Irene Kurtenbach family of Brookings was recognized as the 2019 Philanthropic Family of the Year by the SDSU Foundation.

The award, created in 2012, “acknowledges exceptional generosity to diverse causes by a family that serves as an inspiration to others to support South Dakota State University.” It was announced April 25 at the SDSU Foundation’s annual donor celebration in the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center.

President Barry Dunn focused on the family’s enormous legacy they have built at SDSU. 

The Kurtenbachs were honored by the Alumni Association as SDSU’s Family of the Year in 2002. All five children earned degrees from SDSU; three of them married SDSU alums. Three of their 12 grandchildren graduated from State. Four of the five children – Carla, Paula, Reece and Matt – earned electrical engineering degrees; Lisa majored in mathematics and physical education. Combined, the family has earned 14 degrees from SDSU, nine in the field of engineering.

“If SDSU mapped out its family tree, the Kurtenbachs would command a very sizable branch,” Dunn said.

Al co-founded Daktronics with Duane Sander in 1968. He served as chairman of the board until 2014. Throughout that time, Daktronics has been a great source of work experience for students. Annually, about 200 students work there part-time while attending class. Today, at least 1,000 SDSU graduates are among the company’s 2,700 employees.

Three children – Carla, Reece and Matt – are in the company’s leadership from CEO to vice president.

Al and Irene have provided more than $3.7 million in support to SDSU. Daktronics, through strategic investments the Kurtenbach family members have helped determine, has contributed another $4.8 million to SDSU.

Aberdeen Acts of Excellence Underway!

Our Acts of Excellence Celebration in Aberdeen is underway!

Were you able to catch South Dakota Public Broadcasting In the Moment today with two of our newest Acts of Excellence recipients Building Forever Families and the Granary Rural Cultural Center?

If you missed it live or want to listen again, you can find it archived tomorrow on SDPB’s website here.

There is still time to tune in live for our Dream Chasers panel presentation though!

Dream Chasers – The Aberdeen Region Way: Resilience & Prosperity

Watch SD.net for the live broadcast of the Aberdeen Acts of Excellence panel discussion today from 2:00 – 3:00 CT.

The panel includes:

 

 

Tolstoy Wind Chiller 5K Celebrated for Excellent Acts

Celebrating Acts of Excellence, One Act at a Time

The Acts of Excellence program connects us with individuals and organizations who are building a culture of excellence in South Dakota, one act at a time.

Please join us and area inductees to celebrate this Act of Excellence on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, from 4:00 to 5:30 pm at the Isaac Lincoln Gallery on the Northern State University campus in Aberdeen, South Dakota. See all of the event details here.

Wind Chiller 5K Raises Funds for Labs For Liberty

Wind_ch1Two friends who idly wondered five years ago if they could organize a 5K run/walk in north-central South Dakota created a unique fund-raising event to aid Labs For Liberty, an organization that provides dogs service dogs for military veterans. Katie Nold says she and Joann Rader had competed in run/walks in other communities and started talking about organizing their own in the Tolstoy area of northern Potter County. As Nold puts it, “One thing led to another, and the idea for the Tolstoy Wind Chiller was born.’’ The organizers decided to have their competition in January because 1) it wouldn’t conflict with other 5Ks, and 2) “because we are slightly crazy.’’ They added Rader’s daughter, Jenn McCloud to the team for her graphics ability. The cause, or the organization to receive any donations, “was the easiest decision,’’ Nold said. “The three of us have strong love for country and close military ties. Additionally, our family had also begun working with/fostering service dogs for Labs For Liberty.’’

Fast forward to January of 2019 and the fifth annual Wind Chiller is in the books. The event raised $5,600 in 2019. Nold said the three organization may have started the event, “But it is our fellow (citizens) at the starting line; the sponsors who start calling in November, wanting to help support the cause; our family and friends who bemusedly help us; the local café that opens its doors to us annually, and so many others who believe that the world is made a little better by teaming a dog up with an event that make this event successful.’’ The Labs for Liberty website says the organization has a two-fold purpose. First, it raises and trains Labradors to be given as service dogs to wounded warriors and second, it helps those veterans heal by providing a place for retreats. The Wind Chiller 5K has a Facebook page.

More information on Labs for Liberty may be found at www.labsforliberty.org


Submit your own Act of Excellence here

Aberdeen Purina Elevator’s Christmas Tree Celebrated for Excellent Act

Celebrating Acts of Excellence, One Act at a Time

The Acts of Excellence program connects us with individuals and organizations who are building a culture of excellence in South Dakota, one act at a time.

Please join us and area inductees to celebrate this Act of Excellence on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, from 4:00 to 5:30 pm at the Isaac Lincoln Gallery on the Northern State University campus in Aberdeen, South Dakota. See all of the event details here.

Purina Mill Tree Honors Company Founder, Friend

PurinaTree1Because their friend Steve Geidt was hospitalized and unable to enjoy the Christmas lights of Aberdeen in 2017, his friends and colleagues decided to place a lighted tree where he could see it from his hospital room window. From steel pipe, plastic conduit and strings of lights, they fashioned a tree atop the Purina Mills elevator, which was framed in the window of the room where Geidt fought a long battle with cancer. The elevator was operated by Livestock Specialists, Inc. the company Geidt started decades earlier. He started selling Purina feeds in Groton and eventually started Livestock Specialists. According to a story in the Aberdeen American News, two mill employees installed the 14-foot tree to make sure their friend could enjoy holiday lights even as he lay in a hospital room.

“We wanted to get it done as soon as we possibly could,’’ the American News article quotes Tim Cavalier, retail manager at Livestock Specialists, as saying. “He was very involved in his community. By doing this, we were showing him we’re still giving back to our community.’’ A tree stood atop the elevator for many years, but it had to be removed when old equipment was replaced. The plan was to replace the tree, but that didn’t happen until Geidt’s hospitalization. He died the following September, but the lighted tree is a tradition that Purina intends to continue in coming years.

(The accompanying photograph shows strands of lights forming the tree on top of the Purina Mills elevator. Aberdeen American News photo by John Davis.)


Submit your own Act of Excellence here

Leola K-12 Arts Outreach Program Celebrated for Excellent Acts

Celebrating Acts of Excellence, One Act at a Time

The Acts of Excellence program connects us with individuals and organizations who are building a culture of excellence in South Dakota, one act at a time.

Please join us and area inductees to celebrate this Act of Excellence on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, from 4:30 to 6 pm at the Isaac Lincoln Gallery on the Northern State University campus in Aberdeen, South Dakota. See all of the event details here.

Collaboration Brings Art Program to Leola Students

1LeolaAn Aberdeen business and a Leola civic group joined together to bring creative arts opportunities to Leola school students. Colorful Creations of Aberdeen created an arts outreach program that Leola ArtC Council sponsored to provide creative opportunities to the students whose school does have an arts program of its own. Nearly 160 students from grades three through 12, including those from three Hutterite colonies, are participating. Superintendent Bev Smith told the Aberdeen American News the school learned of the outreach program only after the budget had been approved, so the ArtC Council agreed to sponsor two sessions.

Gayle Siebel of the ArtC Council said the group considered the outreach a natural fit for the Leola school students. “We’re hoping to maybe continue to develop and expand the art education and theater, as well as music and cultural activities at the school,’’ Siebel told the newspaper. Carly Pochop of Colorful Creations said she thought the program at Leola went well and it was nice to see the students express their creative freedom. She said her business has also had outreach programs in Bowdle and Florence.


Submit your own Act of Excellence here

Granary Rural Cultural Center Celebrated for Excellent Acts

Celebrating Acts of Excellence, One Act at a Time

The Acts of Excellence program connects us with individuals and organizations who are building a culture of excellence in South Dakota, one act at a time.

Please join us and area inductees to celebrate this Act of Excellence on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, from 4:00 to 5:30 pm at the Isaac Lincoln Gallery on the Northern State University campus in Aberdeen, South Dakota. See all of the event details here.

Old Granary Becomes Center for Art, Culture

GranGalExtgA 1928 granary build by a Groton-area farm family was restored and transformed into the centerpiece of a 2.3-acre campus for the celebration of Northern Plains art and culture in the James River Valley of rural Brown County. John Sieh, whose father William Sieh built the original granary, started the restoration project in 1994 as a way to honor his parents and create a place where the arts could flourish. The current campus includes the Granary Memorial Hall with five exhibition rooms, a restored 1912 town hall called Putney Hall, a gazebo and an outdoor barbeque area. It is officially called the Granary Rural Cultural Center.

The Sieh family donated the grounds and the granary building. A gift shop was added later, and the campus features space for many permanent sculptures by local artists, both inside and on the grounds. The outside displays are part of a “Walk With Dakota’’ interpretive landscape and sculpture garden that tells, according to Granary literature, the story of the region’s Native American people and of the coming of white settlers to the area. John Sieh is quoted as having said, “We want to celebrate the land and the animals and the people who live here through art. We think the fact that it’s rural – and very rural – is what makes it unique. In 2012, the facility was donated to Brown County. It is administered by Dacotah Prairie Museum of Aberdeen.

Learn more at www.dacotahprairiemuseum.com


Submit your own Act of Excellence here

Germans from Russia Cultural Center NSU Celebrated for Excellent Acts

Celebrating Acts of Excellence, One Act at a Time

The Acts of Excellence program connects us with individuals and organizations who are building a culture of excellence in South Dakota, one act at a time.

Please join us and area inductees to celebrate this Act of Excellence on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, from 4:00 to 5:30 pm at the Isaac Lincoln Gallery on the Northern State University campus in Aberdeen, South Dakota. See all of the event details here.

Northern State University Hosts Germans from Russia Center

Germans from RussiaThe story of how Germans from Russia settled in South Dakota and influenced the history and culture of the state is told in a new feature at the Williams Library on the campus of Northern State University. The South Dakota Germans from Russia Cultural Center opened in October of 2018 with more than 2,000 square feet of exhibit, research and performance space, according to a news release from the university. The release said it took years of effort to gather the history of this “substantial South Dakota ethnic group.”

The permanent exhibit, open to the public during regular library hours, traces the journey of the Germans from Russia to South Dakota and their impact on the history and culture of the state. It features images, documents, artifacts and excerpts from oral history interviews. Included in the center is a research collection of books, publications, family histories, manuscript collections and artifacts. “The story of the Germans from Russia in South Dakota is inseparably intertwined with the history of the state and region,” said Robert Russell, library director. “Their experiences in immigration, agriculture, religion and small-town life are great examples of the commitment and perseverance of early settlers in South Dakota. The Germans from Russia story is also a great tool to reflect on the important themes of the past 100 years – cultural integration of new immigrant groups, World Wars, the Great Depression and dramatic changes in agriculture – and highlights just how much life in South Dakota has changed during that period.”


Submit your own Act of Excellence here