DSU spring commencement May 5th

Dakota State University spring commencement is May 5, at 10:30am in the DSU Fieldhouse. Dakota State will award 169 baccalaureate, 34 masters, 4 doctor of science, and 42 associate degrees. The baccalaureate and associate degrees awarded also includes summer graduates. Graduates Josh Thomas from Brookings, S.D. and Catheryn Ann Vogel from Madison, S.D. will be speaking on behalf of the graduates. Members of the class of 1962 celebrating the 50 year anniversary of their graduation will also be recognized at commencement.

Berle Clemensen will be receiving the distinguished alumnus award. Berle Clemensen was raised on a farm near Conde, S.D. Following high school graduation, he Berle Clemensencompleted a two-year agricultural program at South Dakota State University before volunteering for military service with the Army. He spent two years in the military and then farmed for several years before returning to college at Dakota State (then General Beadle State Teachers College) where he earned a teaching degree in history in 1965. After two years of teaching, he returned to school to complete a master’s and a Ph.D. in history at the University of Arizona.

Clemensen then began his career as an historian with the National Park Service’s cultural resource division in their Denver Office. Requests for needed historical research were routed through the National Park Service regional offices to the central office in Denver. The requested studies included researching and writing the history that took place both within a national park site and in adjacent areas of a park. Research was focused on the physical structures within a park, the landscapes, or the administrative histories, which involved outlining a park’s creation along with administrative decisions for park operations, problems, and interpretation. Clemensen’s research assisted in development of park tours, interpretive displays, and restoration of historic buildings and structures. The reports were printed and are on file with the Government Printing Office. Clemensen’s research took him on travels to many National Park Service sites from coast to coast.

After retirement, Clemensen and his wife settled in Tucson, Ariz., and continue to enjoy traveling around the world.

Faith Stratton will be receiving the distinguished alumna award. Faith Stratton graduated from Dakota State University in 1973 with a degree in physical education, and a few years later earned her elementary education degree. In 1997, she earned her master’s in educational administration from South Dakota State University.

Upon graduation from DSU, she began her teaching career with Chester Area Schools. During her early years at Chester, Stratton taught physical education, reading, Faith Strattonmath, fifth grade, and was the site director for the Modernization School Improvement Model. In 1997, she began her current position as Elementary Principal and K-8 Hutterite Principle for Chester Area Schools. In addition to her duties as principle, Stratton serves as the Title I Director, Food Services Director, Grant Writer and Professional Development Director. She has assisted in bringing over $2 million in grants to the school and was instrumental in starting the all-day kindergarten program in 1999, as well as an income-based preschool program for three and four-year olds in 2008.

Stratton has been recognized by the South Dakota Association of Elementary School Principles, including being named Rookie of the Year in 1999, Innovative Leader of the Year in 2003, and she received the Community Leadership Award in 2010. She was named a National Distinguished Principle of the Year in 2011. In addition to her membership in state and national professional organizations, she is also a past member of the DSU Alumni Board, and is extremely active in church and community activities.

Stratton and her husband, Dan (DSU Class of 1973), live near Lake Madison. They have three grown children and four grandchildren.

Last Updated: 5/2/12