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Awards at Faculty Staff Day at the U of M, Crookston Recognize Excellence in Teaching and Service
May 20, 2009

Contact: Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director of communications, 218-281-8432 (

Recognizing excellence was a highlight of Faculty and Staff Day held recently at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. The annual event celebrates the completion of the academic year and recognizes achievement.

Faculty and staff were honored for years of service along with the retirement of Bobby Holder, Ph.D., Agriculture Department; Patti Malme, Northwest Research and Outreach Center; Ted Paul, Facilities Management; Barbara Ricord, Chancellor’s Office; and Bernard Selzler, Ed.D., Arts Humanities and Social Sciences Department.

Faculty and staff recognized for excellence in their work at the U of M, Crookston were:

Pictured (l to r): Rhett Johnson, Dan Svedarsky, Theresa Helgeson, Jim Carlson, and Eric Castle.
Pictured (l to r): Rhett Johnson, Dan Svedarsky, Theresa Helgeson, Jim Carlson, and Eric Castle.
Rhett Johnson, M.S., Distinguished Teaching Award
. Johnson was recognized for outstanding teaching. He is an instructor in the Natural Resources Department teaching botany, prairie ecosystems management, wetland and riparian ecology management, ecology, and plant taxonomy.

Jim Carlson, M.L.S., J.D., Distinguished Service, Professional & Administrative. Carlson is assistant librarian in the Library at the U of M, Crookston. He was recognized for his knowledge and expertise in helping faculty and students. His responsibilities include cataloging and acquisition of library materials, and reference assistance for faculty and students.

Theresa Helgeson, Distinguished Service, Civil Service/Bargaining Unit. A lab services coordinator, Helgeson coordinates the operations of the Crookston campus greenhouses, orders supplies for the labs, as well as, supervises 9 to12 work-study students each year. Helgeson was recognized for her loyalty, creativity, and productivity on the campus and in her role as a coach for the Horticulture Club. She is a 1996 graduate of the U of M, Crookston.

Dan Svedarsky, Ph.D., Outstanding Community Service. professor and head of the Natural Resources Department Dan Svedarsky was recognized for his involvement in and service to the local community and the region. Along with his responsibilities as a department head and professor, he is director of the Red River Valley Natural History Area and serves as a research biologist for the Northwest Research and Outreach Center.

Eric Castle, M.L.A., Outstanding Service-Learning Faculty. Assistant Professor Eric Castle teaches horticulture in the Natural Resources Department. His classes in landscape design and landscape installation and maintenance are involved with the City of Crookston in the development of the Sixth Street greenspace design and construction. 

Buffy Butson, Outstanding Service to Students with Disabilities. Butson works in
Buffy Butson (left) and George French.
Buffy Butson (left) and George French.
the Academic Assistance Center and was recognized for advocacy for students with disabilities.

George French, MM.., Community Building Through the Performing Arts. Associate Professor George French teaches music and theater and directs the college choir and band. He was recognized for his involvement in the community and building relationships through the performing arts. French directs the Greater Crookston Men’s Chorus and is involved in many activities in the community.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers more than 25 applied-science undergraduate degree programs and 50 concentrations, including several online degrees, in agriculture; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; math, science and technology; and natural resources. To learn more, visit