RHS alumna Crain receives Sioux Award
A Rugby High School alumna was among the list of recipients for one of the University of North Dakota’s highest honors.
Jeanne Crain, a 1978 RHS graduate and the current CEO of Bremer Financial, was one of five recipients of the Sioux Award, which was celebrated during UND’s Homecoming Week in September.
Crain said her initial reaction upon finding out she had been chosen as a recipient was one of surprise and reflection.
“I think most people rarely stop and simply reflect on how many, and frankly how quickly, the years have gone by,” Crain said. “I was a freshman at UND 40 years ago!”
For Crain, the award is a reminder of what her education at UND brought for her.
“It’s an award that reminds me of all the doors that were opened for me as the result of receiving a great education; it led me to a career that has taken me far beyond anything I ever imagined for myself,” said Crain.
Crain graduated from UND with a Bachelor’s degree in 1982.
“My college years were important years in my life in terms of gaining self-confidence and becoming an independent thinker,” said Crain. “I have wonderful memories of my time at UND, and I am especially grateful for the professors who taught me and the friendships I made.”
The award also led to more surprises, particularly from the RHS Class of 1978.
Crain said that while she had been unable to attend, members of the class who attended their 40th reunion send a congratulations card to her. Crain also said that she was surprised when during the celebration, four of her classmates from RHS – Galen Mack, Linda (Volk) Schneider, Sonja (Smith) Myhre and Jani (Butz) Ehresman – walked into the awards event.
Crain dedicated the award in memory of her niece/goddaughter Nicole Jeanne Thorson, who died due to suicide during her junior year at UND.
The list of recipients for this year’s Sioux Award contained another name familiar to Rugby and to Crain: Phil Jackson.
In the championship round of the 1962 State Class A Boys Basketball tournament Jackson’s Williston Coyotes faced a Rugby Panthers squad led by Paul Presthus. The Panthers won the game 73-61. Jackson later went on to play professional basketball for 13 years and coached both the Chicago Bulls during their six championship wins and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Crain met Jackson at the event, telling him she was from Rugby.
“I thought I’d hit a nerve when I reminded him that Rugby beat Williston for the 1962 State Basketball championships when both he and Paul were the standout players. Instead of reacting, he was completely expressionless and said he didn’t recognize the name Presthus. He had me hook, line and sinker,” said Crain. “My husband had to break the news to me that Phil was pulling my leg. Instead of me embarrassing him, it was the exact opposite Phil had a good laugh as a result!”
Others on the list included Mary Muehlen Maring, a former N.D. Supreme Court Justice; Lauris Mobert, executive chairman of the Fargo-based Kilbourne Group; and Michael Lodoen, president and co-founder of the San Jose, Calif.-based L&D Construction Co.
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