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Key Event sparkles

By   Erin Wood

The Community College Foundation is pleased to announce a final tally for the Key Event fundraising gala held October 16.  The event raised around $85,000 to support scholarships and special projects at the college.  

The Diamonds are Forever Key Event was festive with more than 300 people in attendance bidding for auction items. The event also served as official kickoff for the college’s 75th anniversary, which will be celebrated through December 2016. 

During the Key Event the Community College Foundation recognizes retiring board members and elects new members. Retiring from the board were Debra Anderson, Arne Berg, Tammy Fischer, Tim Greene, Annette Hofstad, Lee Ann Johnston, and Darwin Peterson. Board members elected are Patty Bye, Allison Dybing Driessen, Beth Leevers Dunn, Andy Lankowicz, Doug Mohr, Dan Ness, Fred Rance, Jeremy Safranski, and Ron Walford.

Also recognized at the Key Event were Hall of Fame inductees Bob Leevers and the Class of 1941—the first class at Lake Region State College. The Hall of Fame was unveiled in June of 1991 as part of the college’s fiftieth anniversary celebration. Planners were seeking a way to publicly appreciate and recognize those who have invested their time and energy, talents, and resources in the college over the years. The Hall of Fame features pictures and biographical sketches of inductees as well as trophies and special recognition for campus organizations and outstanding students. This year, we are pleased to honor the following through induction into the LRSC Hall of Fame:

Bob Leevers
If we had them, Bob Leevers would get a perfect attendance pin for his annual participation in the Key Event! Supporting the Key Event is one of many significant commitments Bob has made to Lake Region State College. Through their business, Leevers Foods, Inc., Bob and Carol Leevers established and continue to invest in a scholarship endowment which has grown to be one of the largest funds of this type held by the foundation. 

Bob and Leevers Foods, Inc. are regular sponsors for a great variety of college activities, from tailgating and athletic booster events to sponsorships for student organizations such as the Playmakers Drama Club, DECA, Phi Beta Lambda, Student Senate, and others. Bob and Carol helped with fundraising for the renovation of the Robert Fawcett Auditorium and then provided the lead gift to build the Welcome Center, a fitting entrance for the college and its theater. Through the years, Bob has served on the foundation’s budget and investments committee and has been a listening post and advisor for the college’s presidents.

If you asked Bob why he is so committed to supporting the college and its education resources, he would likely explain that he grew up watching his father making similar investments. Norm Leevers put down roots in the Lake Region community in 1938 when he opened a small grocery store. He was a strong advocate when the college first opened its doors in 1941.
The first class at LRSC
This Key Event marks the beginning of a year-long celebration to commemorate the college’s 75th anniversary. The college opened its doors on September 22, 1941, with 38 full-time and 34 part-time students. Classes were held in the Pershing Building, pictured here, which was located at Central High School in Devils Lake. The Pershing Building was destroyed by fire in January of 1988.

The opening of a junior college in Devils Lake was the culmination of several years of planning by school and community leaders who were energized by the vision of F. H. Gilliland, superintendent of Devils Lake Public Schools. Legislative funding was available to school districts in communities with populations of five thousand or larger if they wanted to launch a two-year college. The Devils Lake School Board voted enthusiastically to proceed. H. L. Woll was hired to be a professor and dean, and teachers from throughout the community were recruited as faculty.

Midway through that first year, Pearl Harbor was bombed, the United States declared war, and enrollment plummeted. But college advocates persisted, and post-secondary education opportunities have been available in the Lake Region ever since.

Each year, the Key Event raises money that the Community College Foundation uses to support the college’s scholarship program, athletic program, Paul Hoghaug Library, and other special projects. For more information on the Key Event or donating to Lake Region State College call (701) 662-1598.