BHSU announces Alumni Award recipients to be honored during homecoming

Black Hills State University will honor four alumni and a former administrator during the 2017 Swarm Week homecoming celebration Sept. 5-9.

The recipients will be honored during the Alumni Awards Luncheon to be held Friday, Sept. 8 at 12 p.m. in the Joy (Proctor) Krautschun Alumni/Foundation Welcome Center in Spearfish. Tickets for the Luncheon must be purchased in advance by contacting the BHSU Alumni Office at 605-642-6385. Seating is limited. Tickets are $20 per person.

The 2017 Alumni Awards Recipients include:

Distinguished Alumnus Award: Jim Moravec, Class of 1979, Chico, Calif.

Jim Moravec earned a bachelor of science in physical education from BHSU in 1979. Jim ran cross country and track and competed on the 1976 team, the first Yellow Jacket cross country team to run at Nationals. Upon graduation he began a career that included sales and marketing positions in several industries. After several years in the radio industry, Jim went to work at Frontier Outdoor Advertising in Casper, Wyo. In 1991 Jim and four partners purchased a small outdoor advertising company with billboards. Jim and his family moved to Chico, Calif., where he became the General Manager of that company, Stott Outdoor Advertising. Today SOA has outdoor and transit advertising interests in 25 California counties as well as Oregon and Nevada and is the largest independent outdoor company in California. Jim is a member of the BHSU Foundation Board of Directors. Jim and his wife, Laura, have established a scholarship at BHSU and have placed the university in their estate plans. Jim still runs regularly and bikes over 6,000 miles annually.

Excellence in Education Award: Connie (Morrissey) Erickson, Class of 1969, of Vail, Ariz.

Connie (Morrissey) Erickson received a bachelor of science in elementary education from BHSU in 1969. After teaching grades K-8 in Aberdeen and Rapid City for more than 25 years, Connie embarked on a prestigious career in leadership serving as principal at seven institutions throughout Colorado and Arizona. Connie is currently Principal of Senita Valley Elementary in Tucson, Ariz., and district elementary principal at Ventana Institute, a school for students with severe emotional disabilities. She recently completed 17 years of service as principal at Civano Community School where she served in a dual principalship role with Senita Valley. Civano was recognized as the Greenest School in America by Ellen DeGeneres. Connie has mentored students, teachers, and fellow principals throughout her career. She has received numerous awards including the Arizona National Distinguished Elementary Principal award. She is married to Gerald "Jerry" Erickson, '71.

Special Achievement Award: Major General (Ret.) Ray Carpenter, Class of 1975, Rapid City

Major General (Ret.) Ray Carpenter earned a bachelor's in business administration from BHSU in 1975. Ray served 44 years in the South Dakota Army National Guard, U.S. Army National Guard and U.S. Navy including an in-country tour in Vietnam. His last military assignment was serving as the Acting Director of the Army National Guard in D.C. as a Major General in a Lieutenant General position.

Following military retirement, Ray served as Executive Director for the National Commission on the Future of the Army.

He currently serves as a member of a Homeland Defense Study Group for the Dept. of Defense and as a Senior Fellow for the Association of the U.S. Army. He is married to Mary (Jenks) Carpenter, '74. Carpenter's most prestigious awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Canadian Meritorious Service Medal.

Special Service Award: Dave Little, coach, Spearfish

Dave Little retired in 2002 as the most successful track and cross country coach in BHSU history. He began his collegiate coaching career at BHSU in 1968. His name became synonymous with winning South Dakota-Iowa Conference (SDIC) cross-country and track titles - 17 cross-country titles and 30 track and field titles in men's and women's competition during his tenure as a Yellow Jacket head coach. Dave was named NAIA District 12 coach of the year 14 times, South Dakota Sports Writer's coach of the year in 1978, women's SDIC coach of the year in 1998, and was inducted into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

Dave was twice selected as teacher of the year by the BHSU Student Senate. He twice served as the University's athletic director, first from 1986-90 and again from 1996-02. Dave and his wife, Claudia, '78, served as parade marshals for the 2011 BHSU Swarm Day parade. Dave is being honored for his volunteerism as a member of the Yellow Jacket Foundation Board of Directors and his involvement with numerous fundraising efforts for the university. Dave and Claudia have established an athletic scholarship at BHSU and have identified BHSU as part of their estate plan. Dave continues to volunteer throughout the Black Hills.

Young Alumni Achievement Award: Ryan Wordeman, Class of 2007, Spearfish

Ryan Wordeman graduated from BHSU with a bachelor of science in management in 2007. During his time at BHSU, Ryan was actively involved in consulting with gaming manufactures and operators in Wyoming. He was also a partner at the Lodge at Deadwood and worked on design and preopening procedures up until selling their interest in the company in the fall of 2009.

After graduating from BHSU, Ryan got his real estate license and began working at the Real Estate Center in Spearfish which led him in the direction of real estate development. Ryan and his wife, Whitney (Peterson) Wordeman, '07, have built and managed commercial, residential and storage unit rentals in Spearfish. Some of the most recent projects are Creekside Estates and the redevelopment of the Jackson Blvd and Main St commercial building (formerly Spearfish Plaza). Ryan is also a partner in Dakota Title, a state of the art, full service Title Company. He and his wife are also working on two other joint ventures which will be located in the new building at the intersection of Jackson and Main in Spearfish.

Ryan currently serves on the South Dakota Real Estate Commission and the Spearfish Economic Development Corporation board.

For a full listing of BHSU Swarm Week events, visit