teacher Howard Perry is this year's recipient of the
Black Hills State University distinguished faculty award.
From Monroe rotary calculators to keypunch card
extractors to computerized classrooms, Perry has seen
business education evolve through more than four decades
A survivor of new curriculums and advances in
technology, he believes in teaching you have to be
flexible and willing to change. It's been a fun 43 years.
It has really been interesting.
Of all the classes he has taught over the years,
COBOL, beginning computer classes and business law were
the courses he most enjoyed. He has taught everything
from typing and shorthand to office practice and program
languages. There aren't many business-education courses
he hasn't taught at one time or another.
The BH professor said the biggest change in business
education has come as result of the movement to a more
specialized curriculum from the all inclusive general
curriculum of years past.
In the past you got a smattering of business
course work, but now students specialize in management,
marketing or accounting. He noted too that
qualifications for teachers at Black Hills are also
more specific and professional than in the past.
He envisions big changes in the future with
development of the electronic classrooms, distance
education, and the ability of students to get information
and expertise from anywhere in the world.
An enthusiastic teacher in the classroom, his
eagerness to get things done spilled over to other areas
of involvement. He was advisor of the computer club,
advisor of the Circle K Club, member of the graduate
council and the university's faculty athletic
representative, a responsibility he has assumed for more
than 20 years. In fact, ten years ago he designed the
NAIA eligibility transfer form that is still being used
today. He also served as president of the BHSU Council of
Higher Education (COHE) and was membership chairman of
the South Dakota Business and Office Education
Association as well as holding memberships and offices in
many professional business organizations.
His greatest thrill as a teacher is seeing his former
students successfully competing in the business world as
managers and teachers.
The satisfaction comes in the long run, seeing
your students in positions of management and being
productive citizens. In class, you hoped they were
understanding the concepts being taught, he said.
Reaching out to the community, he was president of the
Spearfish school board, president of the local
Toastmaster organization, president of the Black Hills
Special Services Cooperative, president of the Kiwanis,
president of the state's business education association,
president of the Spearfish Pathways Association,
treasurer of the Lutheran Church, and member of the South
Dakota Retirement and Insurance Board, to name a few.
This involvement and commitment to students as well as
to the community were traits that colleagues unanimously
cited as admirable in their letters nominating him for
the distinguished faculty award.
Back to Campus
typewriters to microcomputers, Howard Perry, this
year's BHSU distinguished faculty award winner,
has spent the past 43 years teaching students the
proper procedures in developing
professional-looking documents. He recently
introduced his students to data base concepts and
spent most of the class hour moving about the
room pointing out details in setting up the
program. Perry began his teaching career at
Northwestern High School at Mellette before
moving on to Bowdle and Lemmon. He joined the BH
business faculty in 1965 and completed his Ph.D.
from the University of Northern Colorado in 1977.
He will retire from teaching June 30.
To summarize, Judy Larson, BHSU career
services director, said, Dr. Perry's style,
professionally and personally, is simple,
uncomplicated yet diplomatic, meaningful and
valuable. He was often quoted as saying, `Why
re-invent the wheel. Let's be flexible and adapt
the idea to what is needed and can be
This statement, often spoken by this
nominee, evidences the practicality and
resourcefulness I have found to be a treasured
characteristic of Dr. Perry. ... I have witnessed
... that when he accepts a responsibility, he
carries out its mission with completeness and in
the best interest of all. He does his share and
more, said Larson.
Looking back Perry was unsure how he balanced
all these activities and maintained a normal
family life. The evidence is in a successful
marriage of 38 years and raising three successful
daughters, two of whom graduated from BHSU. One
daughter is teaching school, another daughter
earned a Ph.D. in chemistry, and the youngest
daughter is completing doctoral studies in
exercise physiology at the University of
His wife, Elaine, who is a librarian at Grace
Balloch Memorial Library, will be joining him in
retirement this summer. She will be checking in
her last books after 25 years, and he will be
filling out his final grade sheets June 30. They
plan to travel some and spend time with their
family and friends. However, you can be sure they
will continue to be involved by volunteering
their time and talents to the community in some