Several Black Hills State University alumni were honored during an Alumni Awards Luncheon during Swarm Week. Shown, left to right, are: Howard Owens received the Special Service Award; the Distinguished Alumnus Award was presented to Dr. Michael (Mick) Dana; Tom Wheaton, director of alumni relations at BHSU presented the awards; the Special Achievement Award was given to Carol Gee; and The Excellence in Education Award was presented to Kathy Christensen.

Several Black Hills State University alumni were honored during an Alumni Awards Luncheon Sept. 18 at the Jacket Legacy Room at the David B. Miller Yellow Jacket Student Union. The Excellence in Education Award was presented to Kathy Christensen; the Distinguished Alumnus Award presented to Dr. Michael (Mick) Dana; the Special Achievement Award was given to Carol Gee; and Howard Owens received the Special Service Award.

Kathy Christensen, Class of ’73, who earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, has been teaching for 36 years; currently she is a fourth-grade teacher at East Elementary in Spearfish. One of Christensen’s primary goals as an educator is to create an atmosphere of warmth and safety in her classroom.

For over 30 years Christensen has been an active committee member of the K-12 science curriculum group and was instrumental in adopting and using the first hands-on science curriculum in Spearfish.

Christensen helped write a guide for the Spearfish Outdoor Learning Center, which is a three-acre area located along the bike path in the Spearfish city park that provides a place where students can explore, experiment, and discover more about themselves and their world.

Dr. Michael (Mick) Dana, Class of '69, received his bachelor's degree in science and education from BHSU, where he was a member of the baseball and basketball team.
Following graduation he earned a Doctorate of Dental Surgery. He returned to Spearfish where he established his dental practice, Dana Dental Arts, and now continues to practice with several of his children.

Dana is a member of the American Dental Association, the South Dakota Dental Association, and the Black Hills District Dental Society where he served as secretary-treasurer for many years. He has been active in several local organizations including serving on the Board of Directors for the City Recreation Committee and serving on an Education Committee. Dana has also served on the University of Nebraska College of Dentistry Dean's Advisory Board.

Dana, his wife, and five of their children received their education at BHSU. He is excited to see the growth and development that continues to transform the University.
Carol (Braxter) Gee, Class of '82, is currently the editor in the Organization and Management Area at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. She performs research in support of teaching, and the writing of business and management journal articles. Gee was recently awarded the 2009 UnSung Heroine Award in the staff category from the Center for Women at Emory University, for her long-time mentorship of alumni, students, and women at Emory, as well as women in the surrounding Atlanta area. She was also honored for her books and articles that empower women to realize their humanity and their own personal truth.

Gee has 27 years of experience in higher education, including teaching and administration. She was presented with the Award of Distinction at Emory University in 1996 and 2008. Her writing has been published in several magazines including: Goizueta Magazine, SisterPower, Swing Magazine, The Emory
Report, and the national magazine, Romantic Homes. Books that Carol has published include: The Venus Chronicles, and Diary of a ‘Flygirl’ Wannabe (Life Lessons of a Cool Girl in Training).

Howard Owens, Class of '55, earned his degree from BHSU in education. One of his fondest memories is taking one of his first college courses from President Jonas. After graduation he spent some time in the United States Naval Air Corps as an electronic technician.

Owens formerly/once owned and operated Owens Interstate Sale, Inc., in Sturgis with this son. The company, now owned and operated by his grandson Chad Owens, specializes in wholesale/retail sales and service auto parts, home appliances, and electronics.

Owens enjoys serving his community. He has served as a leader in numerous organizations including: national and international director of his Jaycees; the Chamber of Commerce director; the Rotary International director, and the president and secretary/treasurer of the Barbershop Chorus. He is also a member of the Shriners, the Mt. Rushmore Society, Toastmasters, and chairman of the Lawrence County Republicans.

Owens was presented with the South Dakota College Federation - Friend of Education award (1986); was honored by the South Dakota Vocational Association with the Distinguished Service Award; and received the University of South Dakota - T. M. Risk award (1984). He has served on several educational boards including roles as the South Dakota Board of Regents vice president, secretary, academic affairs chair; BHSU Foundation Board of Directors; and the Northern Hills Training Center Advisory Council.