For the past 50 years Dan Johnson, Lake Region State College Registrar and Math Instructor, has been making a positive impact on thousands of minds, hearts, and lives.

For the past 50 years Dan Johnson, Lake Region State College Registrar and Math Instructor, has been making a positive impact on thousands of minds, hearts, and lives.

On Wednesday, Aug. 15, he was honored for that impact. Lake Region State College held its annual Back to School breakfast Aug. 15 as the college faculty return for in-service before classes start Aug. 20. Each year the college invites retired faculty, current faculty, staff, and student employees to the event. A campus update and employee service awards are presented at the breakfast.

This year LRSC had some significant service awards. Employees Erika Berg, Lisa Ginther, Jennifer Halvorson, Danny Mertens, Jill Morseth, Cathleen Ruch, Lindsey VanThuyne, and Paula Zielske received five-year honors. Karleen Estenson and Bobbi Lunday 10 year awards. Kenneth Bjork and John Cowger have been at LRSC 15 years. LRSC Chemistry faculty member Betsy Bannier hit the 20-year mark with LRSC Auto faculty Randy Olson reaching 25 years. That’s a lot of dedicated employees, but the list continues. President Doug Darling, English faculty Teresa Tande, and Dianne Gunderson, LRSC and Community College Foundation staffer hit the 30-year mark, which received standing ovations.

Then came Dan Johnson’s award for 50-years. Fifty years of perseverance, fifty years of service, fifty years of educating, and fifty years of making an impression on thousands of hearts and minds of students and community members. President Doug Darling told the audience that Dan started back in 1968 teaching mathematics and has gone on to add Student Service related duties, eventually becoming full-time registrar and still teaching in addition to those duties. “He’s worked through and helped train nine college presidents,” Darling said.

Johnson retired from his faculty position in 2016 but still holds the Registrar position on a part-time status. But anyone who knows Dan realizes he puts in more hours to get things done. He was granted Emeritus Status Fall 2016. “He might be taking part-time contract but Dan basically is full-time in terms of the hours he puts in to serve students at Lake Region State College. He also takes on math load when sections are needed,” said Lloyd Halvorson, Vice President for Academic & Student Affairs.

Over the years, Dan has steered the registrar’s office and areas of student services through various policy and technology waters. From pencil and paper forms to online, HECN to Campus Connection, Cold storage to Image Now. He has served on campus students, which grew to dual credit students, online, military, and collaborative students. He’s taught math, physics, statistics, astronomy, and more. The service doesn’t end there. Dan and his son, Paul, own and operate the Liquid Bean, a common hangout for residents and LRSC students. He always has a camera in hand and has captured many moments at community events, games, and day to day life. He embraces the community with support of various activities, events, and participation in service organizations like Kiwanis.

To honor Johnson’s 50-year milestone the college dedicated a classroom in his name. Room 101 in the math and science wing now is the Dan Johnson Mathematics Classroom in honor of his 50 years of service. The classroom was the location of many of Johnson’s classes. President Darling also read a proclamation that from this day forward March 14 will forever be Pi Day at LRSC. The college will continue recognizing this day as Dan Johnson has in the past by serving pie in Student Services offices at 3:14 p.m. each March 14. The dedication to Dan Johnson ended with a video of staff and community members imitating his famous selfies that dot the Twitter timelines. Johnson creates many Lake Region supportive/interactive tweets at @dvl1598.

“It’s not every day that we honor someone who has reached such a milestone of service,” Darling said. – Erin Wood, Director of College Relations