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Dianne Halverson and Lynette Molstad Gorder
Lynette Molstad Gorder and Dianne Halverson have come full circle at DSU, graduating from Dakota State College in 1970 and retiring from DSU this school year.

Women start, finish careers together at DSU

Neither Dianne Halverson or Lynette Molstad Gorder thought their lives would stay intertwined after they graduated from Dakota State College in 1970, but for the last 37 years their lives and their professional careers stayed centered around DSU.

“We started together at Dakota State as classmates, then roommates, and now we ended our careers together,” Molstad Gorder said. Both recently retired from DSU, and received special recognition from the Board of Regents for their “many years of dedicated service to the students, to the university, to the community, and to the profession.”

Molstad Gorder’s profession was teaching business, first at Washington High School in Sioux Falls and then at Dakota State for over 35 years, where she was honored with multiple teacher of the year awards before retiring in December of 2016. “Lynette knew her goals, and what she wanted,” said Halverson. “The rest of us had to decipher our goals.”

Halverson spent her career working a variety of jobs, in manufacturing, banking, as the Oldham school business manager, and for the last 20 years at Dakota State University. She will retire in June from her position as a senior secretary for the Center for Advancement of Health Information Technology (CAHIT) and the Prairie Lakes Education Cooperative.

The women’s personal lives also mirrored each other’s. Halverson married her next door neighbor from the Oldham area. When Molstad Gorder married Jerry Molstad from Ramona, they lived four miles from the Halversons. Each had three children, two girls and a boy. Their sons were classmates at Oldham-Ramona School, graduating in 1997.

In their professional lives, the atmosphere at Dakota State promoted the idea of continued learning, which both women appreciated. Halverson took advantage of the BOR policy which allows university employees to take on-campus classes. One course Halverson took was “Introduction to Computers,” taught by Molstad Gorder. These classes “opened a lot of doors for me,” Halverson said, by keeping her up-to-date with technology, which was particularly helpful with her work in the constantly changing health field.

“With DSU, you’re always exposed to the new technology,” Halverson said.

“I tell my students you never stop learning,” Molstad Gorder said. “In fact, I think I’ve done more learning than teaching in my career.” After completing her bachelor’s degree from DSU, she later earned a master’s in business education, an MBA, and an Ed.D. from USD.

Each hopes to continue learning in retirement and accomplishing new goals. Halverson hopes to be able to “enjoy life to the fullest.” Molstad Gorder plans to value her time with family and friends, including spending more time with her husband Dwayne Gorder by helping him on the farm. “Retirement presents a new stage in marriage,” Halverson said. 

Molstad Gorder noted the strong friendships she developed in those first two years at DSU, with Halverson and several others, have continued through the years. Exposure to other people’s thoughts and beliefs influences and shapes lives, Halverson said, but “it’s a sign of true friendship when it endures all the bumps on the road.”