By Marnie Piehl
Jon Hunke (’94) believes that those willing to give back can truly make a difference. As the BSC Rising Star Award recipient, he’s being recognized for that very attribute.
At age 18, the Bismarck native says BSC was the only college for him – it was familiar, inexpensive and small enough to ready him to move to a four-year institution.
While Hunke figured he’d eventually pursue business and accounting, BSC made it possible for him to make sure of that direction. He explored psychology, biology and even engineering before transferring to North Dakota State University and ultimately majoring in accounting.
A numbers guy from the beginning, he paid for college as he went, earning degrees at BSC, NDSU, and University of Mary. He later earned a master’s degree from University of Mary while working full time.
“For me, college was a starting point and stepping stone to achieve life goals – and I say that humbly. I’ve been around enough to know that some people easily get A’s, others study hard and just pass,” Hunke says.
He believes that BSC is a place for students across that spectrum. He says college, and in particular BSC, ensures that students will be able to do “more than just the normal.”
After earning his Bachelor of Science degree at NDSU and working in a regional accounting firm, Hunke came home to Bismarck and went to work for MDU Construction Services Group, an organizational arm of MDU Resources. His mother worked at sister company Montana Dakota Utilities for 40 years. He’s advanced in the company and currently serves as Vice President of Accounting, Finance and Information Technology.
He got involved with the BSC National Alumni Association and BSC Foundation at the invitation of former Foundation executive director Gordy Binek. Hunke and his wife, Sommer, are lifetime members of the BSC Alumni Association 1939 Society. He’s also on the BSC Foundation Student Housing Board and the BSC business and management advisory board.
“BSC gave me an opportunity to extend my education, and when I came back to the community I saw an opportunity to give back and come full circle.”
Hunke volunteers with Junior Achievement working with a third-grade class at his previous school, Northridge Elementary.
“Without my education I wouldn’t have advanced or been willing to be a leader,” he says.
Hunke’s hard work and giving nature are leveraged outdoors with his amateur field champion English Cocker Spaniels. Working with his three dogs takes much of his time, but he loves it. “Growing up, the outdoors was a gateway to freedom. I work in an office environment all day, fortunately I get to spend a lot of time outside with this hobby.”
To make an impact is Hunke’s ultimate goal. “I want to be someone that can be counted on to go out and give back, be a positive role model, and offer people words of encouragement. I want to leave a legacy. Receiving this recognition is part of that.”