Updated: Sep 8
Debora Dragseth, Ph.D., is Dickinson State University’s third named professor, accepting the new position of Baker Boy Professor of Leadership in the School of Business and Entrepreneurship.
Dragseth has been a fan of Baker Boy doughnuts as long as she’s been teaching at the university, which is 34 years, and Baker Boy obviously is a fan of hers.
The Dickinson State University Heritage Foundation added another chapter to Dragseth’s illustrious career when it bestowed upon her the Baker Boy Professor of Leadership title.
Dragseth was surprised and thrilled by the honor. “I’m super proud. I could not think of a company I’d rather be associated with and to have their title associated with my title,” Dragseth said.
Dragseth’s admiration for Baker Boy was taken to new heights when she joined a breast cancer support group following her diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer this year. Baker Boy supplies free doughnuts to each meeting, and to Dragseth, that is much more than a few pastries on a platter. It demonstrates a commitment to the community.
“I think so much of that company, the way they do their business and the way they run their company is so ethical. It’ so impressive and so linked in with my feelings about teaching and the jobs I do at Dickinson State. I hope I can make them proud.”
Dragseth said she, the university and Baker Boy will benefit from the relationship.
“I’m just proud to be associated with this company,” Dragseth said. “My students will tour there, I’m going to do leadership training for them, and in southwest North Dakota it does raise the profile of Baker Boy.”
A manufacturer of premium bakery products for food service, bakeries, C-stores and private customers, Baker Boy is one of the largest employers in Dickinson. It has been in business since 1955 and in Dickinson since 1957.
DSU Heritage Foundation Director Ty Orton approached Baker Boy President Guy Moos to gauge the company’s interest in sponsoring the university’s first named professorship.
“Guy and Baker Boy have supported this community and DSU for many years,” Orton said. “The company is a cornerstone of this community and we are extremely proud to partner with it on this professorship.”
Moos, whose company always has been a contributor to academic and athletic needs at the university, jumped at the opportunity.
“I’ve always had a great admiration for Deb and her career as a great educator,” Moos said. “That checked the box there. An opportunity to partner with the university and Dr. Dragseth was certainly appealing to me and Baker Boy. She has touched the lives of a lot of students over the years and we’re excited to work with her as she starts this chapter of her professional career.”
Dragseth began teaching at Dickinson State University in 1989. She is the former director of Dickinson State University’s Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership Program, the former chair of the Department of Business and Management, provost/vice present from 2020-2022 and president of the statewide Council of College Faculties from 2017-2019. She served as the faculty representative on the State Board of Higher Education from 2019-2020.
Dragseth has received national first-place awards for web writing and business journalism. Her work on outmigration has been cited in both Forbes and Newsweek magazines. Dragseth has been given Dickinson State University’s highest faculty award, the Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award. She was the Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce’s Teacher of the Year and was named the university’s Innovative Teacher of the Year. She has also been named the student-elected Outstanding Faculty.
Baker Boy, meanwhile, has been touching the lives of DSU students for many years.
Baker Boy sponsored one of the suites at the Biesiot Activity Center, sponsored a TR scholarship in that program and supports athletics at the university.
“We pride ourselves on creating opportunities … and try to better the world around us,” Moos said. “We’ve had commitments (to Dickinson State) for the last 20 years. We’ve had a great partnership with them. They’re integral to the betterment of the whole region.”
Moos said Baker Boy relies on Dickinson State to produce the talent it needs to run efficiently. “We count on them to develop that talented workforce that we need.”
Dragseth’s enthusiasm is part of that development, Moos said.
“It was fun to sit down with her and ponder on this next professorship and what it can mean for Baker Boy, DSU and herself because she’s such a gifted person. One of the major benefactors of this arrangement is Baker Boy employees,” Moos noted. “We’re going to have a chance to have some of Debora’s valuable time. That’s certainly good for my colleagues.”
By Scooter Pursley Dickinson State University Heritage Foundation