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Schaefers see all good things in DSU’s past, present, and future

September 29, 2021

Alumni Randy and Theresa Schaefer were the 2021 Homecoming parade marshals.
Alumni Randy and Theresa Schaefer were the 2021 Homecoming parade marshals.

Randy and Theresa Schaefer know Dakota State University well.

Both are alumni – Randy graduating in 1984 with a degree in Physical Education, and history and health minors; Theresa with an applications programming degree in 1989.

They have spent the majority of their married life living and working in Madison, attending Dakota State events, and supporting the university in a number of ways.

“I credit DSU with all the good things that have happened to me, including, finding and marrying my wife,” Randy said.

Professionally, “It’s fair to say that our experiences at DSU opened up doors,” Randy said. For Theresa, her Dakota State degree provided the pathway to work at East River for 19 years; since 2014 she has been Director of Human Resources at Heartland Consumers Power District. Randy taught for a couple of years, then worked at a trucking company in Madison for 11 years; he has been a State Farm Insurance agent since 1999.

He also served 12 years on the state Board of Regents. He was honored in 2021 for his work, including two years as board president.

Serving as a regent was more than he had envisioned, “more reading, more studying, more thoughtful

mental engagement than I ever could have expected.”

He said, “I feel like I was challenged and grew as a person while I served on the board, and I’m thankful to have had that experience.”

Theresa said he met and worked with a lot of people through that experience, people at the university campuses, the board office, and in the private sector. They were “the best people our state has to offer,” Randy said.

“What I found is that the talent we have in our state doesn’t take a back seat to anybody. It’s as good or better than talent in any other state.”

Theresa said that during the two years he was president, the extra work was “nonstop,” but it was all for the greater good. “I could see how challenged and engaged he was, and how important it was, as he was accountable to the whole state,” she said. “That’s why he was so driven to work so hard and make those decisions because at the end of the day he would answer to the people.”

Both are excited by Dakota State’s trajectory for the future. Theresa said, “One of the largest issues in the whole world is security, and DSU is at the heart of those solutions.”

Randy said that what’s happening here and now is going to secure DSU’s place within our public university systems, and in the state and in the country. For example, changes to the athletics facilities are beginning to move forward. “If we’re going to be a viable university, these are new facilities we must-have for recruiting,” he said.

While DSU hasn’t done anything like this before, “we are about to make these changes, and that’s what excites me,” Randy said.

From education to research to athletics, Randy said, “DSU has a secure place in the nation, and is now being recognized for the work they’re doing. It’s the likes we’ve never seen before, and we can’t grasp what it will look like in 10 years.”

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