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Bollinger Steps Back From Foundation Role

Rob Bollinger had been a member of the DSU Heritage Foundation board of directors as long as the Heritage Foundation had existed until recently, when he announced his resignation from the board to concentrate on his current jobs and his growing family in the Twin Cities.

The 1974 Dickinson State graduate has coached and worked in development at the University of North Dakota and Bemidji (Minn.) State University. He currently serves as vice president of advancement and offensive coordinator for the football team at Cretin-Derham Hall School in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is grandpa to 13 grandchildren, 10 of whom live near his Twin Cities home.

With his time stretched to the limit, Bollinger felt the board could find a new foundation development director to take his place.

“It’s been really rewarding working with the board and Ty (Orton) and the staff,” Bollinger said. “I was still at Bemidji when I got on the board and I’m eight years here at Cretin-Derham Hall. You have new people come on with new ideas and new networking, and I’ll still be involved in some of the events.”

The Development Committee is tasked with:

• Reviewing and approving the following, in compliance with the Heritage Foundation Gift Acceptance Policy:

- New creative gifting options.

- New and existing volunteer engagement development programs.

- Total gift activity.

• Developing policies brought forth by DSU Heritage Foundation staff and/or university personnel.

• Developing and approving a marketing and communications strategy (including branding, positioning and messaging).

• Developing initiatives to increase the donor base and giving totals.

• Developing strategies to establish, maintain and enhance the donor development programs.

• Working with the Heritage Foundation’s Strategic Planning Committee for determining goals for giving programs.

During his time at DSU Bollinger majored in history, teaching and coaching and played football for the Blue Hawks. He later coached football and served as development officer and assistant athletic director at the University of North Dakota, coached at Central Missouri State and was head football coach at

Northern State, Bismarck State College and Richardton High School. He was at Bemidji when he got a call from former DSU football coach Hank Biesiot.

“Hank called me when they started a new foundation. I was the executive director of the foundation at Bemidji State and had coached football at UND for many years and got into the foundation there, so I was aware of the development world,” Bollinger recalled.

Bollinger worked with former coach and HREP professor Arlan Hofland and the Athletic Committee to invigorate funding and develop the Blue Hawk Scholarship Fund. He also championed the hiring of Kyle Smith as the foundation’s development officer for athletics and rodeo. He also worked with former board member Dale Hansen to establish the 1918 Legacy Society.

“It’s always challenging but those are very positive steps. It’s just been fun to work with all the board,” Bollinger added. And even though he still enjoys the work he’s doing with the foundation, he has other priorities needing his attention.

“(At CDH), we are in the process of getting a new president and that’s changing a lot of things. And we kicked off a campaign to enhance our athletic facilities,” Bollinger said. “We’re in the beginning stages of the campaign and is a lot of work. And I’m coaching as well, and 10 of our 13 grandkids are in the Twin Cities and three are in Grand Forks. And I’m still involved with UND with the National Alumni Football Committee.”

Bollinger and board member Bob Green were instrumental in the Development Committee’s launch of the popular DSU Alumni and Friends Golf Scramble in Bismarck and Phoenix. “They have continued to grow,” Bollinger said. “I’ll still be involved with that and with the 100th anniversary of football in 2025. I’ll still be involved, but not at the board level.”

Despite his accomplishments, Bollinger says there’s more work to be done.

“You’re never going to be completely satisfied with what you could get done, especially in the world of alumni involvement and fundraising. You’re always going to have more goals, but I think getting those two events going got a lot of people engaged,” Bollinger said.

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