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Honoring Legacy: Celebrating our Dedicated Board Members

When the DSU Heritage Foundation was reformed back in 2016 with the sole purpose of raising scholarship money and supporting students at Dickinson State University, it needed board members committed to that singular purpose. Six years later, some of those key individuals have come to the end of their terms and can look back with the satisfaction of knowing they have helped the foundation return to the glory of its past.

The terms for Dodie Birdsall and Bob Green ended on December 31, as did Vince Reep’s term as board president. Reep was assistant superintendent for Dickinson Public Schools when he first joined the board. He was instrumental in bringing the foundation out of a dark place.

“Vince Reep has been vital to the DSU Heritage Foundation in many ways,” foundation executive director Ty Orton said. “With his strong financial background, he has helped to build budgets, and proper reports and explain many topics to the board.”

Reep was the foundation’s fourth president and has volunteered countless hours to help make the foundation strong in many ways. He has overseen a period of tremendous growth. In 2017, the board pledged $700,000 worth of scholarships to DSU students. In Reep’s last year as president, the foundation awarded $1.4 million.

“We’ve basically doubled what we’re giving out,” Reep said. “That makes me proud, but it’s the work of a lot of people and generous donors. I’m most proud of all the work Ty and his staff have done.”

The DSU Heritage Foundation board of directors is comprised of individuals from diverse backgrounds who collaborate with DSU Heritage Foundation staff to ensure the achievement of the mission and vision and continue to improve and support Dickinson State University students, alumni, and the Blue Hawk community. Board members are leaders with ties to Dickinson State University or the community of Dickinson.

Reep’s financial background helped immensely.

“It was pounded into me with Dickinson Public Schools," Reep said. “I don’t have enough praise for Ty and his staff. I think we’ve got a little over $22 or $23 million in our accounts now. I’m proud that our board of directors has righted that ship. When the previous foundation folded, there were a lot of hard feelings from a lot of people who lost endowments. We’ve worked hard to get those people back.

Reep said the board and foundation still have work to do before his term ends in December 2025.

“Our best moves will be to expand the accounts and endowments we’ve got and find ways to get new donors,” Reep said. “I know Kierra (Schneider) is working hard to try to touch more people who graduated from Dickinson State. That’s got to happen. That’s a key focus.”

Birdsall is a regional account manager for Nestle USA. When considering a position on the board, he looked at foundation leadership.

“I was a little leery but with the strong leadership on the new board, I was confident it was headed in the right direction,” Birdsall said. “The new board had the best interests of Dickinson State in mind. It is all about scholarships for students. That’s why I wanted to get on because I was a benefactor of scholarships when I went to school.”

Orton said Birsdall’s past with the school was vital to the board. “Dodie Birdsall was a board member who has vast knowledge of past DSU years. He sat on several committees and was very important in helping with the nominations committee. It was a pleasure to get to know Dodie and his experiences through the years.”

Birsdall, meanwhile, applauded Orton’s work. “A lot of it is the board, but Ty was the perfect pick to lead the foundation,” Birdsall said. “He’s got that coach mentality and is so good with people, and he’s totally driven as far as wanting the foundation to succeed.

Green, meanwhile, was instrumental in the development of the annual Phoenix Golf Tournament.

“He always made sure he understood the course, worked out pricing, and got Dickinson State alums together to reconnect. Bob was a great addition to the foundation and continues to be a strong friend,” Orton said.

Birdsall and Green were presented with custom monogrammed DSU Heritage Foundation golf bags in February. “We wanted to do something to recognize the hard work and dedication that Rob and the other board members have made to the foundation’s growth during their time of service. We appreciate what they have done for and will continue to do for Dickinson State University,” Orton said.

By: Scooter Pursley, DSU Heritage Foundation Communication Specialist

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