award_header.jpgRichard Davison, Bismarck, N.D.; Joe Dunn, Bemidji, Minn.; Ronald Gibbens, Grand Forks, N.D.; Michelle Worner Kommer, Fargo, N.D.; and Jackie Puppe Wotipka, Edmonds, Wash.; will each be presented with the Mayville State University Distinguished Alumni Award during the 2014 Alumni Days festivities planned for June 20 and 21 at Mayville State University. Shireen Grinager, Kim Lauf, and Cindy Petersen, all of Mayville, N.D., will receive the Mayville State University Distinguished Service Award.

The awards will be presented at the annual Alumni Association Awards Dinner scheduled for Friday, June 20, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. The dinner will be held in the MSU Campus Center Luckasen Room. Tickets for the dinner sell for $20.00 each and can be purchased at or by contacting the MSU Foundation at 701-788-4687 or  A highlight of the Alumni Association Awards Dinner will be a “Gathering of the Greats.” All past recipients of the Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Service Awards have been invited to attend, and a number of them have indicated that they will be there. This will be a great opportunity to visit with many of Mayville State’s distinguished alumni and friends.

The dinner will be followed by musical entertainment from Mayville State’s nationally recognized jazz musicians from the 60s and 70s. These were and still are some of the best musicians in the country. Everyone is invited and encouraged to come out and hear these very talented musicians. Special guest will be Mayville State’s former jazz band director, Francis Colby, who now lives in Fargo, N.D.

The awards dinner will be preceded by an open house reception in honor of the Alumni Association honorees. The reception will take place in the Edson and Margaret Larson Alumni and Leadership Center at Mayville State from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. June 20. Everyone is welcome to attend, compliments of the MSU Alumni Association.

Mayville State’s 2014 Alumni Days will be a celebration of the university’s 125th anniversary. Festivities will begin with the official grand opening of the Edson and Margaret Larson Alumni and Leadership Center at 11:00 a.m. Friday, June 20. A program will begin at 11:30 a.m., and the 125th anniversary kickoff celebration will begin at 12:00 noon with a picnic sponsored by the First and Farmers Bank of Mayville and Portland. These activities will take place on the lawn north of the Larson Center. The public is invited to join in the festivities.

Other Friday activities will include Mayville State campus and departmental open houses and tours. Campus tours will leave from the front of Old Main at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.

On Saturday, June 21, there will be a reunion of Red Caps baseball players from noon until 2:00 p.m. in the Larson Center. Friends of MSU Professor Emeritus Terry Kemmer are invited to attend a reception in the Larson Center from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Former employees of Bob Brown, longtime Mayville State employee, are invited to gather in the MSU Campus Center Heritage Room between 2:00 and 4:00 p.m.

An all-class reunion will wrap up Mayville State’s 2014 Alumni Days. It will take place on the lawn north of the Larson Center. A picnic meal will be served. Paid reservations are required, and can be made at or by contacting the MSU Foundation at 701-788-4687 or

For more information about Mayville State’s Alumni Days, go to or contact the MSU Foundation at 701-788-4750.

Biographies for Alumni Association Honorees

Dr. Richard Davison, Bismarck, N.D., graduated from Mayville State in 1956. He has been a successful educator, coach, scholar, board member, and executive in state government. He was a research specialist and director of federal funds for the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education, and later became Associate Commissioner of Higher Education for Academic Affairs. He retired as director of the University of North Dakota Graduate Center in Bismarck in 2004.

Joe Dunn, Bemidji, Minn., started out his working life as a teacher and coach, and spent the bulk of his career in various positions with State Farm Insurance, where he was highly successful. Joe has been very active in his community, volunteering his time for a number of causes, including Bemidji State University athletics, the Shrine, and the Elks. Joe graduated from Mayville State in 1965.

Ronald Gibbens, Grand Forks, N.D., is president/CEO of the North Dakota Association of the Disabled (NDAD), an organization he founded in 1975. His leadership skills have made NDAD the largest charitable gaming organization in the state, providing more than $39 million of program services to assist individuals with disabilities in North Dakota enhance the quality of their lives. He has dedicated his life to serving individuals with disabilities and minority groups in many different capacities. Gibbens is a 1965 Mayville State graduate.

Michelle Worner Kommer, Fargo, N.D., graduated from Mayville State in 1995 and went on to earn her master’s and law degrees. She is the chief administrative officer and general counsel at Western State Bank, leading the human resource, information technology, legal, and loan/deposit operations functions. She has been a passionate advocate for child welfare in North Dakota, as a foster and adoptive parent, and in founding the North Dakota Heart Gallery.

Jackie Puppe Wotipka, Edmonds, Wash., has a teaching career that spans the country, and even the globe. She’s spent most of her time teaching elementary-age children and leading gifted programs in the state of Washington. Known for her innovative ideas, Jackie founded Multiple Intelligences Academy for pre-school, kindergarten, and first grade several years ago. She is the owner and director of the school. Jackie graduated from Mayville State in 1987.

Shireen Grinager and Kim Lauf, both of Mayville, have made a huge impact at Mayville State University in many ways, and especially through their work with Tables du Jour, an event held annually to support the MSU music department. Begun in 1995 through the leadership efforts of Kim and Shireen, tens of thousands of dollars have been raised, and proceeds have funded hundreds of scholarships for Mayville State students. Kim and Shireen’s support for Mayville State does not begin or end with Tables du Jour. They have both been very active in planning and carrying out numerous social events for the MSU Foundation. These women have used their flair and talent for decorating and entertaining to produce some amazing events on behalf of Mayville State University and the MSU Foundation. Through their work, countless friends and alumni have been touched. Kim recently completed two terms as a member of the MSU Foundation Board, while Shireen is currently in her second term on the board. Shireen graduated from Mayville State in 1967.

Cindy Petersen, Mayville, a 1993 Mayville State graduate, was very active on the Mayville State campus while she was a student, and she has extended this involvement and commitment to Mayville State University by serving as a member of the MSU Alumni Association board. She has been a member of the board since 1997, and is currently the board secretary. She was in charge of the Alumni Association’s homecoming festivities for several years. In addition, she was an active member of the MSU Farmers Bowl Auction Committee for two years. A true Comet, Cindy supports Mayville State through and through and in a variety of ways.