BHSU Dean of Students honored by students, alumni for 25-years of impactful service

Left to right, Jessie Gramm, business administration-tourism major from Burlington, Colo., presents a 25-year service plaque to Dr. Jane Klug, Dean of Students at Black Hills State University, during the Student Volunteer Awards Ceremony. Jane is known around the Black Hills community and nationally for her exceptional leadership, optimism, and compassion for students.

They call her Mama Klug.

Students and alumni at Black Hills State University surprised Dr. Jane Klug, dean of students, recently with a celebration of her 25 years with the University in Spearfish.

During the annual Student Volunteer Awards Ceremony, a program Jane started in 1992 to honor students' positive contributions to campus life, a special video montage was played. The video included BHSU alums from the past 25 years thanking Jane for her impact on their lives. Lorrin (Andersen) Naasz, class of 2015, and Morgan (Miles) VonHaden, class of 2003, took to the microphone at the ceremony to recount some of their favorite memories with Jane.

Jane also received the Spirit of BHSU award during the Employee Awards Reception this week, given in honor of her exceptional leadership, optimism, and compassion for the University community.

Colleagues say Jane "sparkles" as she guides their development. Former students remember her impact on their lives. Current students note her meaningful advice.

Jessie Gramm, business administration-tourism major from Burlington, Colo., said Jane has been one of her biggest supporters and a major reason she has chosen to stay at BHSU.

"My freshman year Jane sat me down and reassured me that sometimes with goals we have to plant the seed and watch it grow, meaning not all goals in life will have instant results. 'Plant the seed and watch it grow' has stuck with me any time I work on a big project," said Gramm.

Chase Vogel, a BHSU alum and now senior associate at The Advisory Board Company in Washington, D.C., worked closely with Jane for two years when he served as Student Senate President. He says together they worked to improve the lives of BHSU students.

"Jane is without a doubt that person in my life who I can go to with mistakes, conflicts, or curiosities and, when I leave our interaction, I feel more informed while remaining true to myself and my values," said Vogel. "Jane's beyond-vivacious spirit and energy permeates everyone she comes in contact with."

Dr. Jane (Austvold) Klug grew up in Minnesota in a small, rural farming community where generations of her family lived for years. She went to a community college then transferred to St. Cloud State University two years later.

"What brought me joy was my involvement in campus activities and leadership development while I was a college student. That's why I chose this profession," said Jane.

With a clear direction for her career, Jane was soon introduced to Black Hills State University. She recalls interviewing for the Student Program Coordinator at BHSU position in August 1992 during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

"BHSU students were part of the interview committee, even though it was summer, and they were very energetic," said Jane. "I remember meeting then BHSU President Clifford Trump. He had a strong commitment to what the success of this position meant to students."

Jane was offered the job and over the next 25 years positively impacted BHSU as Student Program Coordinator, Assistant Director, then Director, of the Student Union, and now as Dean of Students. She married Ken Klug in 1997. Ken is the Chief Finance Officer for Liv Hospitality.

Being affectionately known as "Mama Klug" to students at BHSU, Jane is also a mother to two kids at home.

Jane says balancing the needs of young adults at home and at work isn't always easy, but that her two children understand the requirements of her job.

"The love and support of my children and my husband is what allows me to be the woman, leader, and employee I need to be with the students at BHSU," said Jane. "Because of their love, I can love others."

Looking back on the past 25 years at BHSU, Jane says the Student Union expansion stands out as an especially meaningful time in her career.

"As the expansion neared completion I remember thinking 'this is perfect, this is exactly what the students wanted," said Jane.

Jane's advice to students is to continue on, no matter what.

"Continue to be involved because that's what life is, it's about relationships. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Can you look yourself in the eye when you're brushing your teeth before bed and say, yep, I did the best I could today? And if I didn't, I can do better tomorrow," said Jane.

Erica Whitiker, student engagement and program coordinator at BHSU, said Jane is the type of leader who will roll up her sleeves and do the hard work with you.

"She does not just tell you what needs to be done, she shows you and teaches you. I was able to follow a wonderful example in Jane," said Whitiker.

Whitiker noted that upon meeting new students and families at BHSU, Jane immediately lets them know that she cares about their success in and outside the classroom.

A mentor to many herself, Jane calls Dr. Margaret Vos her own "ultimate mentor." Vos worked with Jane at St. Cloud State, retiring as Associate Vice President of International Studies.  Vos met Jane when Jane was a transfer student at St. Cloud.

"My second day on the job I met Jane, even before she started school, and she said she wanted to be involved. She is truly a jewel from the second you meet her there is something absolutely real, authentic, and passionate about Jane. She sparkles," said Vos.

Vos noted Jane as a "connector," connecting students with other students, students with faculty, and staff with staff to build a community. While also an extremely brilliant and professional woman, Vos said Jane still knows how to have fun.

"Over the years I've watched her continue what she started at St. Cloud State. She started on this journey the day she was born and it shows in her work," said Vos.

When Jane accepted her job at BHSU, Vos said she had other job offers on the table. But as they talked through Jane's decision, Vos said she could tell Jane felt at home in the Black Hills.

Careers in higher education often take professionals to different universities across the country while they ascend the career ladder. But Jane says it's the people, the spirit, and the community of BHSU that have encouraged her to stay in Spearfish for a quarter of a century.

Jane feels it's her job to be the conduit, to help students understand and hear their voice, and figure out a way to make their goals and ideas happen.

"I'm one piece of the pie, along with all the instructors, professors who've taught these individuals all they need to know to soar after college," said Jane. "I believe my purpose on the face of the Earth is to serve others."