DWU’s Fossum selected as South Dakota Rising Star

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A commitment to service, his career and his campus earns Dakota Wesleyan University employee, Derik Fossum, the NASPA Region IV-West South Dakota Rising Star New Professional Award.

Fossum, originally of Canton, is a resident director at DWU and is the only South Dakotan chosen for this award. Fossum is the second DWU employee to be given this award; Terry Lundeen won the Rising Star in 2011.

NASPA is an association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession with 13,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and eight U.S. territories. The NASPA IV-West region consists of 10 states and two Canadian territories. There are three categories: undergraduate students, graduate students and new professionals.

Fossum graduated from DWU in 2012 with a triple major in leadership and public service, religion and philosophy, and business administration. He is also graduated from DWU’s master’s program this August with a Master of Arts degree in education policy and administration.

He has been a resident director for the university since 2011 and also is a direct support professional for LifeQuest in Mitchell.

In addition to being a full-time employee of Dakota Wesleyan, Fossum volunteers as a jumps coach for the DWU track and field team and coaches for the Mitchell Special Olympics basketball team. He is a score keeper for the South Dakota State Special Olympics Bowling Tournament, participates in the DWU annual Service Day and has been on mission trips to Mexico, Kenya, Peru and Minneapolis. He also volunteers as a coach and personal trainer for the Canton and Mitchell high schools.

“Derik has been an asset to the university since he was a student here,” said Diana Goldammer, director of student life, in her letter of recommendation. “During his undergraduate years he was an exemplary resident assistant and was beloved by his residents and supervisors alike.”

Goldammer also pointed out that last year, Fossum met with 198 residents in his dorm within the first two weeks of classes to ensure he had met and made a connection with every person in the building.

“Derik has continually demonstrated an enthusiasm to serve his campus community, has upheld an unwavering value system both privately and publically, and maintained a reputation for being detail focused, reliable, and sincere,” stated Terry Lundeen, director of residence life on campus.

Lundeen also pointed out that Fossum created an outreach program between DWU and LifeQuest in Mitchell. LifeQuest serves as a residential support program for adults with developmental disabilities and Fossum has been working there part time since 2009.

“Derik partnered with (LifeQuest) to provide opportunities for our students to gain part-time employment and internships, and opened the door for their clients to gain part-time employment at the university,” Lundeen said. “He has made such a profound impact on LifeQuest that he received its Excellence in Service Award in 2010.

Fossum’s community service does not end with work or the volunteering he performs in his spare time – service is a part of his personality.

“He is the kind of guy that for his bachelor’s party, he requested we do a community service project in his hometown (of Canton) on the 27th of July,” Lundeen said.

Fossum will be recognized at a dessert reception in November at the regional conference in Hot Springs, Ark.

Categories: News
Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Dakota Wesleyan University is proudly affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Members of any and all faiths are welcome and encouraged to experience an education based on learning, leadership, faith and service.
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