Alumni Awards

For more information about the BSC Alumni of the Year Awards program, please contact the alumni office at (701) 224-5692 or (800) 272-2586 or email

The BSC Alumni Awards Recognition program is sponsored by the Bismarck State College National Alumni Association, Bismarck State College and the Bismarck State College Foundation.

2018 Alumnus of the Year Nomination Form

2018 Rising Star Alumni Award Nomination Form

2018 BSC Legacy Family Award Nomination Form

BobMartinsonWEB.jpg2017 Alumnus of the Year

In 2017 Bob Martinson achieved a milestone. He became the longest serving North Dakota representative currently in office - a veteran of 22 legislative sessions. It's a job that doesn't get old for him. Every session has him excited to get going again. "I'm like a brand new kid at Kindergarten," he says.

Martinson is known for his fair, consistent legislation, his dry and sometimes sharp humor in committee and an insightfulness that has served his district, and the state of North Dakota well since he was first elected in 1972. He was Majority Leader from 1993-95, then stepped down from office in 1997 to serve as the North Dakota Tourism Director. He ran again successfully in District 35 in 2000 and has been in office since.

Martinson serves on the Appropriations Committee as well as the committee's Education and Environment Division. He also chairs the House Procedural Committee on Employment.

Martinson graduated from BSC in 1967, and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Mary. He is retired from the North Dakota Army National Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel.

When he isn't law making, Martinson works as an independent landman. He's married to Jodi Roller, and is a member of the American Legion, AMVETS, Elks, Moose and Eagles.

BSC.JustinWEB.jpg2017 Rising Star Award

Justin Reinicke was uninspired in high school, and didn't go straight on to college. He entered the workforce, but after a while began thinking about what might come next. "I knew in the back of my mind that I had potential, and I didn't want it to go to waste."

He decided to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a marine biologist. He enrolled at BSC, and took 18-21 credits per semester earning straight As. He graduated with two associate degrees, and went on to double major in Biochemistry and Marine Biology at Hawaii Pacific University (HPU), graduating summa cum laude.

Today he works as Instrument Specialist for the Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and is in the early phases of starting up an aquaculture business. He's translated the hunting and fishing tradition he learned in North Dakota to spearfishing and free diving in the Pacific Ocean.

Reinicke is living his dream, and says the opportunities BSC provided were influential in that.

"Higher education is an investment in one's life. I think a good place to start is having dreams and aspirations, knowing that you want something good for your life, and then knowing college can help you get there."

FrankBarbaraGilchristWEB.jpg2017 Legacy Family

All five Gilchrist siblings tell the same story about their time at Bismarck State College: The teachers were outstanding, and their years here were the most rewarding of their college careers.

Marie (Pinky), Kevin, Bridget, Chad and Martha all graduated from what was then Bismarck Junion College between 1973 and 1983. All went on to earn four year degrees, and several earned advanced degrees.Their father Frank Gilchrist attended Creighton College in Nebraska on the GI Bill. He worked for the state of North Dakota. Barbara Gilchrist didn't attend college, but was adamant that her children would.

"With out parents there was the assumption that we were going to college," Bridget (Gilchrist) Whittey ('78) says. "BJC was a great value and a great education."

The Gilchrist siblings felt well prepared to go on after BSC. All five cite the lasting influence of instructors like Paul Swanson, Fank Koch, Woody Wilson, Ray Heid and Mike McCormack among others. "I think that the level of instruction was unparalleled," Kevin says.

In honor of their experiences and to remember their father, a renowned high school, college and amateur basketball player, Chad Gilchrist ('80) established the Frank Gilchrist Scholarship in 2002 for a basketball player with good grades.

"We didn't have any money, we all lived at home, worked full-time and went to school. A community college gives kids a good start. College is expensive, and that makes community colleges even more important," Chad says.

"Our whole family is a huge believer in BSC. It's pure gold up there," Pinky says.

For more information about the BSC Alumni of the Year Awards Dinner or program, or if you are unable to attend the dinner, but wish to share memorabilia, photos or stories about award recipients, please contact the alumni office at (701) 224-5692 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.

Past Recipients

Recipients of the Alumni of the Year Award
Since 1978, 49 individuals have been named Alumni of the Year.

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, 14 alumni have been recognized for their achievements. 

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.

2017  Frank and Barbara Gilchrist Family
2016  Myron and Marjory Atkinson Family