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Retirement begins for four BSC employees

Published: May 18 2015

Bismarck State College faculty members Michelle Lindblom, Daniel Rogers and Arlan Okerson, and staff member Eva Wentz have chosen to retire.

Wentz ends her day cook job in the Mystic Marketplace May 15. Lindblom and Rogers leave the Fine Arts Department May 18, and Okerson retires from the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning program July 13.

Okerson, associate professor of HVAC, graduated from BSC's HVAC program in 1972. He came back to teach in 1981 after working in industry and has been sole HVAC instructor the past six years. During his 34-year tenure, he instituted a core curriculum by becoming a certified instructor through the National Center for Construction, Education and Research accrediting agency. Students can obtain two industry credentials because of his other initiatives. In 2007, Okerson earned a national award from the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society for receiving the highest score in the nation on a servicing exam. He was the society's local president several times and served in all executive board positions at the regional level.

Lindblom, professor of visual art, also has a BSC degree and a master's in visual art. She began teaching as an art adjunct instructor in 1991, went full-time in 2000 and chaired the Arts & Communications Department for 10 years until 2014. A recipient of the Faculty Award of Excellence, Lindblom also won a regional award as advisor of BSC's Phi Theta Kappa honor society. She has worked as a professional artist throughout her teaching career. Her two-dimensional artwork has been in more than 23 solo and 100 group shows nationwide and 10 international exhibitions, much of it created in her MickArt Studio. An exhibit juror, Lindblom participates as an artist and board member in many local and state arts organizations.

In Rogers' 23 years at BSC, he has directed 42 plays, more than half of them North Dakota premiers, and nurtured a student-focused program. Hired when BSC theater was dark, he revived the fall drama and spring musical, developed curriculum and created a one-act play festival featuring student directors. In 2004, Rogers achieved the goal of adding a new faculty position and technical theater option. His work also includes establishing a winter play and BSC's entry into a regional, competitive theater festival, where he earned four directing awards along with program recognition for BSC and its theater students. Rogers received the Faculty Award of Excellence twice and several community awards for teaching.

Wentz spent the first nine of her 18 years at BSC as a custodian in Swenson Hall women's dorm. She had a goal to work in the BSC kitchen and moved into morning cook for the food contract students and substitute griller. The grill job became permanent after the head cook retired. Wentz served on Staff Senate five terms and took fitness classes at the BSC Armory and computer classes from Continuing Education, Training & Innovation. Outside BSC, she will continue the one-woman cleaning service she has operated for 25 years.

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Bismarck State College, an innovative community college in Bismarck, N.D., offers high quality education, workforce training, and enrichment programs reaching local and global communities.