Mitchell Technical College benefactors heard a message of hope for the future at the annual Donor Appreciation Reception held Thursday evening.
Nick Bakhtiari, Director of Foundation Relations, told donors the event was the college’s opportunity to “thank you all for the effort and talents you each bring to make the Foundation stronger in order to help Mitchell Tech truly ‘Be The Best.’”
Nearly 100 people attended the event in the Muth Electric Commons, where they could watch the first big snowfall of the season as they enjoyed a smorgasbord of hors d’oeuvres and desserts prepared by the college’s own Culinary Academy of South Dakota.
“Every student who enters Mitchell Tech hopes for something better and sees the opportunity to find it on the other side of these doors. They are willing to spend their time and money pursuing that hope,” said Mike Sprang, Vice Chair of the MTC Foundation. “As supporters of Mitchell Tech, I believe we facilitate hope.”
Foundation officials shared about the hope they see for the future, thanks to the support of individuals, families and businesses who support their endeavors.
“It makes no difference what that investment is, nor what form it takes. A monetary donation, a gift of equipment or products, a student visit to your business, or a commitment of your time – everything you offer creates opportunity, enhances the educational experience and facilitates hope,” Sprang said.
During the event, Sprang announced that MTC had received a grant from the CHS Foundation that will allow the ag departments to purchase various technological components for sprayers, planters, combines and other implements to create small-scale trainers for student use.
“The CHS Foundation, funded by charitable gifts from CHS, Inc., is focused on developing a new generation of agricultural leaders for life-long success,” Sprang said. “Together with our partners, Mitchell Tech is igniting innovation and driving excellence in agricultural education, cultivating high-impact programs for rural youth and accelerating potential for careers in agriculture. We are honored that the CHS Foundation saw Mitchell Technical College as a perfect partner.”
David Kayser, chair of both the CHS and MTC Foundations, said Mitchell Tech’s application and subsequent site visit made an impression on the CHS Foundation.
“We require site visits for any requests over $50,000, and this was one of very few times that the CHS Foundation president has come back to the board of directors and increased her recommended funding level because of the quality of the program,” he said. “That says a lot about the programs at Mitchell Tech, so thank you for doing great things here, so CHS Foundation dollars are fulfilling our mission of educating future ag leaders.”
Devon Russell, director of the Precision Ag Technology program at Mitchell Tech, expressed his appreciation for the grant monies and the impact they will have on students and the industry.
“This grant allows us to bring in new technologies and equipment to train students and prepare them to meet the future needs of the ag industry. A farmer wears many hats, and this grant will allow us to provide the tools and skillset they will need to be successful in the agricultural industry for many years to come.”
In recognition of the company’s ongoing relationship with Mitchell Tech, CHS received the Foundation’s Legacy Donor Award.
Larson Family, Individual Donor Award
Lisa Larson’s brother, Mark Hohn, was killed in a tragic farm accident on Dec. 23, 2021, just before she was to begin her new career at Mitchell Tech. Since then, she and her husband, Jeff, along with their sons, Tate, Jace, and Koby, have made honoring Mark’s legacy of simultaneously completing an honest day’s work while spreading joy to everyone around while carting cattle in his beloved “hoof hauler” their mission. Together, the Larsons have spearheaded numerous fundraisers to create the Mark Hohn Hoof Hauler endowment to assist aspiring farmers in pursuing the life their brother and uncle enjoyed.
Avera Health, Corporate Donor Award
Avera Health has been a sponsor and supporter of Mitchell Tech’s Health Sciences programs for decades. Since the opening of the Radiologic Technology program in 2000, the organization has been instrumental in assisting with the education of radiologic technologists through scholarships, clinical, and advisory board membership, as well as the employment of numerous graduates of the program. In November, the organization announced it would donate a state-of-the-art x-ray unit to the department to support Mitchell Tech’s planned remodel of the department in order to accommodate increased enrollment and the addition of a one-year supplemental education option for rad tech graduates.
CHS, Inc., Legacy Donor Award
CHS, Inc. has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to Mitchell Tech’s agricultural programs for decades, providing funding, equipment, scholarships, internships, and careers to graduates of Mitchell Tech’s ag programs. Representatives of the business also serve on the Ag Advisory Board and the Mitchell Tech Foundation Board of Trustees. In addition, several CHS employees have given of their time, both professionally and personally, to enhance instruction at Mitchell Tech. This fall, The CHS Foundation awarded Mitchell Tech is the recipient of one of nine University Partner Competitive Grants to provide cutting-edge equipment to enhance the education of students in the college’s five agricultural programs.
MTC’s Health Sciences Division: Industry of the Year
Bakhtiari recognized Mitchell Tech’s Health Sciences Division faculty, who share a combined 272 years of industry experience and 187 years of experience teaching the next generation of healthcare professionals.
Faculty in the programs include:
- Human Services Technician: Program Director Dixie Herll, Julie Hart-Schutte
- Speech-Language Pathology Assistant: Program Director Jennifer Schultz, Deb Flynn
- Medical Assistant: Program Director Lisa Johnson, Donna Appletoft
- Licensed Practical Nursing: Carena Jarding, Dezarae Fenski, Sara Konrad, Kim Mohr
- Registered Nursing: Carena Jarding, Tammy Gilbert, Kristina Tebay
- Medical Laboratory Assistant: Program Director Lynne Smith, Shirlyce Weisser
- Medical Office Professional: Program Director Paula Schmidt
- Radiologic Technology: Program Director Lisa Herrmann, Clinical Coordinator Barb Wright, Ashley Alarcon, Amber Krcil
- Radiation Therapy: Program Director Paula Freeman
- Simulation Laboratory: Melissa Ettswold
Mitchell Tech’s 21 Health Sciences faculty collaborate with several professionals offering their services as adjunct instructors to the college.
“Graduates of each of these programs are sought after far before they finish their coursework, and many of these programs are among the first to fill each year. As of the last count, the Rad Tech program is already full for Fall 2023, and the rest are well on their way to reaching their enrollment goals,” Bakhtiari said. “Numbers like those wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have talented, capable faculty in place and some of the best tools available for their training.”
Graduates of each of the programs are sought after far before they finish their coursework, and many of the programs are among the first to fill each year.
Students in the Health Sciences programs shared about their experiences at Mitchell Tech and their hopes for the future at booths prior to the reception.
Foundation Board Members
Chairman David Kayser, Producer/Farmer
Vice Chairman Mike Sprang, TS-TM
Treasurer, Marc Eyre, Black Hills Energy
Tom Boyco, East River Electric
Trent Dowling, Building Products Inc.
Jacki Miskimins, Vantage Point Solutions Dr. Lori Repenning, Mitchell Tech Faculty Representative
Terry Sabers, retired, Muth Electric