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Page 16

Lake Region State College:

Celebrating 75 years

Thank you, Sharon

Marking a quarter century of progress

T

wo thousand seven will long

be remembered as an impor-

tant benchmark for LRSC and its

president, Dr. Sharon Etemad.

This is her 25

th

year of leadership

at LRSC, and it is also her last. She

plans to retire in January of 2008.

Twenty-five years of service

to LRSC is a remarkable commit-

ment. Twenty years as the cam-

pus’s chief officer makes Dr. Ete-

mad the college’s longest-serving

president.

Much has changed since 1982

when Dr. Etemad joined the staff

as assistant dean of instruction.

She was hired at a time when the

college’s identity was in a state

of flux and red ink sprinkled the

balance sheet. Advocates for the

college were attempting to have

LRSC folded into North Dakota’s

university system. Not everyone

thought this was a good idea, but

campus and community teams

fought hard to turn back a refer-

endum in 1984 which would have

scuttled the legislature’s plan.

With the defeat of the referen-

dum, decisions about governance

became a priority.

In 1999, after being structured

as a branch campus of NDSSS and

UND, the college was granted

independent status within the

NDUS, its name was changed to

Lake Region State College, and Dr.

Etemad’s title became President.

From the beginning, Dr.

Etemad recognized the many

challenges facing this determined

little college, and she led efforts to

tackle them one at a time. Slowly,

the college moved forward.

Working with the legislature

is one of the great challenges of

the presidency, and Dr. Etemad

was exceptionally effective in this

role. Her testimony was always

compelling. Her rural North

Dakota roots gave her insight and

a special connection with many

legislators. Throughout ten leg-

islative sessions, she told LRSC’s

story in words and with anecdotes

that helped her audience under-

stand the needs and the value of

the Lake Region’s college.

Certain that strong programs

are core to a college’s viability, Dr.

Etemad encouraged continuous

evaluation of programs coupled

with an ongoing search for new

opportunities. Some programs

were discontinued, some were

re-focused, and several new pro-

grams were introduced.

Always looking toward the

horizon, Dr. Etemad recognized

that our rural population is chang-

ing. She challenged the campus

to identify special populations to

serve. Today, LRSC is the state’s

leading provider of dual credit

courses for high school juniors

and seniors. The college has a long

list of classes it delivers online,

and it is growing the number of

programs it can deliver that way.

Insistent that a good education

involves more than accumulating

knowledge and skills, Dr. Etemad

has promoted the arts and diver-

sity on campus and in state-wide

venues, as well. She launched

a campus diversity committee

which has been successful in cre-

ating a welcoming climate for stu-

dents and others on campus from

a great diversity of backgrounds.

The reflective milepost for the

Etemad era will shine brightly far

into the future. Dr. Etemad’s vi-

sion and leadership have enabled

LRSC to survive and thrive de-

spite many challenges. Today, the

institution is in peak condition;

it is fiscally sound with strong

enrollment, excellent instruction,

and dynamic programs. Thank

you, Sharon, for 25 years of lead-

ership extraordinaire! ●

— Branches, fall 2007 —

Dr. Sharon L. Etemad served

Lake Region State College from

1982 to 2008.

Speech Language Pathology

A

t LRSC, we have a long history

of finding solutions. Special

education directors throughout

North Dakota and in many other

states struggled with a criti-

cal shortage of speech language

pathologists. Children and adults,

alike, were not getting needed ser-

vices because qualified staff was

not available.

In 2004, LRSC and Williston

State College worked with Minot

State University to create a solu-

tion that would be available to

students no matter where they

lived. MSU professor Tom Linares

worked with the colleges to de-

sign a two-year degree to prepare

speech language pathology assis-

tants. Graduates meet certification

requirements and work directly

with students/clients under the

direction of speech language pa-

thologists.

Through the years, LRSC and

WSC have continued to work

together to deliver this innovative

online program. Their efforts have

improved access to quality service

for individuals who need speech

language support services. ●