Alumni & Foundation

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History in the Pines

Alumni stories

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History in the Pines

Alumni stories

Margaret Laurich waves to the crowd while walking to midfield for the pregame coin toss with Ty Cobb (76) and the Bemidji State football captains before the Homecoming football game against Minnesota State on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, at Chet Anderson Stadium. Laurich, a 1963 Bemidji State College graduate, returned to Bemidji for the first time in 60 years for Homecoming weekend. (Micah Friez / Bemidji State)
Cheerleaders (1956)

Alumni success stories

Gail Nucech '69

Gail Nucech was inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame after coaching volleyball, basketball, softball, track and field, and gymnastics in Hibbing from 1969-2012.

Rod Heisler '80

Rod Heisler, a dual-sport athlete at Bemidji State, was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on June 15.

Patrick Weerts '06

The Bemidji office of Kraus-Anderson has promoted industry veteran and 2006 Bemidji State University graduate Patrick Weerts to director of operations.

Dhel Duncan-Busby '23

Dhel Duncan-Busby, a former standout wide receiver at Bemidji State, became the first-ever Beaver selected in CFL Draft when he was selected 23rd overall by the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

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A beaver before Bucky

Before Bucky arrived at Bemidji State, Bill-der Beaver was the first such creature on campus. The comic strip character was the brainchild of Bernice (Coffin) Walter.

Everyone knows Bucky, our buck-toothed, tail-wagging, dam-building mascot. But did you know he’s not the first beloved beaver to ever roam campus?

Bill-der Beaver made his spectacular debut in 1950 through the efforts of a Bemidji State Teachers College student. Bernice (Coffin) Walter created the comic strip character and detailed the exploits of Bemidji’s beaver friend, from his violin lessons to his graduation and more. “He did everything a student might be expected to do, and a little more,” the Northern Student newspaper once described.

Mr. der Beaver’s antics circulated around campus through Walter’s illustrations, but Bill’s biggest contribution to BSTC came in the form of his recruitment pitch.

The Bemidji State Teachers College Bulletin, a publication produced four times a year back then, heralded a special story in August 1950: “The Tale of Bill-Der Beaver.”

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