Dakota State Commencement Honors Distinguished Alumni
Dakota State University will honor two alumni at the University's 2009 commencement. Arne Fockler ('67) and Deborah Bowman ('76) will be presented with the Distinguished Alumnus/na Award at the May 9 ceremony in the DSU Fieldhouse. Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin will serve as commencement speaker.
Arne Fockler graduated from Dakota State in 1967 with a degree in mathematics. He currently operates Fockler Consulting which provides technology planning, implementation and support for non-profit organizations in southeastern Minnesota. Fockler currently operates Fockler Consulting which provides technology planning, implementation and support for non-profit organizations in southeastern Minnesota. The firm works exclusively for non-profit agencies and does much of its work at cost or for free. He employs several individuals with disabilities.
Fockler and his wife, Kay, have been active with Arc Southeastern Minnesota for over thirty years. Arc is an agency that has fostered inclusion for people with developmental disabilities. They have been recognized with numerous awards for their work with people with developmental disabilities, including the Rochester Mayor's award for community service. The Focklers live in Rochester.
Deb Bowman graduated from Dakota State in 1976 with a degree in English education. She was appointed by South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds as Secretary of the Department of Social Services in April of 2005. Bowman has placed an emphasis on forming partnerships with providers and advocates to address needed changes. As a result, numerous workgroups have been convened to address provider reimbursement, service development and other issues to better serve South Dakotans. Under her leadership, the Department commissioned a study of the state's long-term care system, and she spearheaded a 100-member task force to develop strategies to meet the long-term care needs of South Dakota in the coming decades. Intensive residential treatment services, court ordered supervision, and expansion of psychiatric residential treatment services for children who have been abused or neglected are just some of the accomplishments Bowman has led for the benefit of children in the state.
Bowman is also active in setting policy at the national level, having been appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services by Michael Leavitt, former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. She and husband Randy (‘79) live in Pierre.
The Honorable Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is South Dakota's at-large Member of Congress. She is the Co-Chair for Administration of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate Democrats committed to fiscal discipline and strong national security. She also serves on three committees vital to South Dakota's interests: Agriculture, Veterans' Affairs and Natural Resources. She is the Chairwoman of the Veterans' Affairs subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. Additionally, Representative Herseth Sandlin was chosen to serve on the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.