November 20, 2012
FARGO, ND-Alumni Dan and Heather (Balken) Butler were recognized with the University of Mary Harold Schafer Alumni Leadership Award at a special event Nov. 8, 2012, at the Holiday Inn, Fargo. Named for legendary North Dakota entrepreneur and advocate of youth and education Harold Schafer, this award is conferred by the University of Mary on graduates who have attained distinction as leaders while exemplifying the values cherished by the university.
|(From left): University of Mary president emerita, Sister Thomas Welder; Dan and Heather Butler; U-Mary president, Father James Shea|
|Brenda Kaspari and Father James Shea|
In presenting the award, Mary President Fr. James Shea cited the vision, caring, work ethic and example set by its namesake, Harold Schafer. He stated to the Butlers, "By evidencing these qualities in your professions, your community, and as alumni, you carry forth his legacy and inspire us all."
Dan Butler is a 1985 graduate of the University of Mary, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting and business administration. Now president and part owner of the Fargo-based Butler Machinery Co. Caterpillar, he is active in his community and professional arena, and serves as a member of Mary's board of trustees. Dan's wife, Heather (Balken) Butler, is also a U-Mary alum, having earned a Bachelor of Science in management through Mary's adult learning program in 2003. She is known for her volunteer work in the church and community, particularly in the areas of patient care and service to the elderly.
(See accompanying bios.)
Dan and Heather were recognized for choosing to give back to the university by taking a larger role in carrying forward the values and vision of University of Mary founders and sponsors the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery. In so doing, noted Shea, they are both continuing the Butler family's longstanding tradition of supporting education and the university and contributing to the building of a U-Mary alumni family tradition through their example.
Kaspari Honored for Leadership, Service
The contributions of Fargo native and former longtime director of the University of Mary Fargo adult education programs Brenda (Anderson) Kaspari were also recognized at the Fargo event. In gratitude for the "instrumental role she has played in the phenomenal growth of both the Fargo program and the University of Mary," Kaspari was presented with a stoneware plate specially designed and created for the university by St. John's University artist Richard Bresnahan, using indigenous material from the Casselton, ND, area and incorporating the U-Mary logo in colors that suggest North Dakota's landscape.
During the event, which featured entertainment by the University of Mary Vocal Jazz Ensemble, Shea also cited recent highlights at the university including:
• The largest graduating class in the university's history in April 2012
• Recognition of Mary's support of the military with the Golden Eagle and Soldiers' Angels Crystal Angel awards, and a Victory Media Military Friendly Schools designation
• The university's Top 30 Best Online MBA Program ranking by GetEducated.com
• Academic collaborations from North Dakota to Arizona
• The unveiling of a master plan for the Bismarck campus, including a new student campus center, in response to the record number of resident students and anticipated future growth
For more information on the Fargo event or the University of Mary and its programs, media may contact Tom Ackerman, communications director, at (701) 355-8002 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dan Butler graduated from the University of Mary in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in accounting and business administration. Raised in West Fargo and a West Fargo High School alum, he held various positions at Butler Machinery after school and summers while attending school and college. Upon graduating, he continued to work his way up in the company, gaining a firsthand understanding of diverse aspects of the business and an appreciation of the value of hands-on learning.
Now president and part owner of the Butler Machinery Co. Caterpillar dealership, which is headquartered in Fargo, he is active in his community and professional arena. Dan is involved with Boy Scouts of America and the North Dakota Implement Dealers Association, of which he is a past president.
Maintaining an active interest in his alma mater and its students, he served on U-Mary's board of regents from 2002 to 2008, when he became a member of the university's board of trustees.
Heather (Balken) Butler earned a Bachelor of Science in management through Mary's adult learning program in 2003.
Growing up in Rothsay, in West Central Minnesota, she was inspired by her father, Randy's love of the land, hunting, and fishing, and her mother Polly's passionate commitment to serving others. Heather to begin a lifetime of volunteering as a young girl, delivering books to nursing homes. From her early career as a dental hygienist to her volunteer patient care work at hospitals and nursing homes and bringing communion to homebound parishioners of her church, She has put the values instilled by her family and carried forward at Mary to work in her daily life. While imparting these values to the five children she has partnered with Dan in raising, Heather has lent her energies and enthusiasm to supporting her community and alma mater.
Brenda Anderson Kaspari originally came to the University of Mary as an adjunct faculty member in communications, she taught full-time in the Humanities Division in Bismarck before moving to Fargo with her husband, Dr. Jon Kaspari, and joining what was then Mary's College for Professional Studies.
Brenda was appointed coordinator of corporate services at the Fargo Center in 1997, and became director of the Fargo Center in 2000. She continued to help guide the growth and evolution of the adult learning program after taking on additional responsibilities as vice president for Enrollment Services in 2009 through September 2012, and also serving the university as a member of the Centers for Accelerated and Distance Education faculty.
A lifelong learner, as well as a dedicated educator, recently Brenda has been focusing on completing her doctoral dissertation at the University of North Dakota, integrating her studies into her busy life as a mother of three with three grandchildren