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Alumni Relations
Corporate body

The position of director of Alumni Affairs was first established in 1965. At that time, an alumni executive director was hired to help plan and expedite events and services offered through the Alumni Association. Though it’s not clear how this position related to the alumni executive director, its likely it was the same person doing two different but related jobs.

According the St. Cloud State faculty/staff directories the following have held the position, except where noted:

According the St. Cloud State faculty/staff directories the following have held the position, except where noted:

1965-67: Jay Blaha, Director of Alumni Relations (1)

1967-69: Warren Johnson, Director of Alumni and Development

1969-72: Michael Keable, Director of Alumni Services

1972-77: Richard Kisch, Director of Alumni Services

1977-78: Bruce Boehne, Acting Director of Alumni Services

1978-84: Tom Macgillivray, Director of Alumni Services

1984-87 Joanne Benson Director of Alumni Services

1987-96: Bob Dinndorf, Director of Alumni Relations

1996-2002: Jim Stigman, Director of Alumni Relations

2002-04: Calvin Miller, Director of Alumni Programs

2004-06: Mark Larson, Director of Alumni Relations

2006-08: Kurt Stelton, Director of Alumni Relations

2008-: Chris LeDuc, Interim Director of Alumni Relations

One of the main objectives of the office of Alumni Affairs was to correspond with former students, keeping the lines of communication open between the school and its alumnus. In addition, the office also raised money for scholarships.

The Alumni Affairs office began printing the newsletter, The St. Cloud State College Magazine, in 1973. The editor’s letter in the first edition states that the publication “will attempt to bridge the chasms of time and distance which separate you from the St. Cloud State College campus and other alumni.” The magazine was to be published four times a year.

The St. Cloud State College Magazine consisted of a variety of articles, including items on the Distinguished Alumni Awards presented by the Alumni Association, scholarships, homecoming events, and notices on former students. Also included were articles on new dorm policies, the move of the Alumni Association to the Lewis/Atwood home, and information on membership to the Alumni Association.

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The site of 21MO20 first came to Birk’s attention in 1972 via a Little Falls resident who recalled finding artifacts in an uncultivated corner of his uncle’s farm field in 1965. In 1978 Birk examined these artifacts and discovered that they contained 18th century ceramics. Research revealed a candidate for the site's identity: Fort Duquesne, build in the winter of 1752-1753 by voyageur Joseph Marin. Birk realized the potential of the site and conducted a quick survey in 1980 but had to wait until the newly-formed IMA could sponsor an initial dig in 1982. Further excavations in 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1988 produced many artifacts and structural details, but no definitive evidence of the site's identity. The site was added to the NRHP in 1984 and remained a centerpiece of the IMA's outreach activities throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

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Doug Birk’s involvement with Cass county began around 1979, conducting field surveys and surface collections at Gull Lake in connection with wastewater treatment projects. Elden Johnson previously identified sites in the Gull lake area in the 1970s and Birk identified more sites from 1982 to 1984 with Northland Archaeological Services. Birk conducted surveys for sites that were disturbed by road construction, including a 1979 survey of areas around Brockway Lake. There currently are 301 known precontact or early contact (Dakota) Native American archaeological sites in Cass county. An additional 217 sites are located within the Chippewa National Forest, nearly all of which were occupied during the Woodland Period.

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The historic community of Crow Wing City (Old Crow Wing) formed on the east bank of the Mississippi river opposite the confluence of the Crow Wing River, about 10 miles southwest of the current city of Brainerd, beginning in the 1820s. Crow Wing became an important link in the fur trade between Saint Paul and the Canadian Red River Colony and attracted a mixed population of European, white American, Ojibwa, and Metis settlers. Clement Beaulieu, a fur trader of French-Canadian and Ojibwa descent, built a prominent house at Crow Wing about 1849. Between 1870 and 1880 Crow Wing was abandoned in favor of Brainerd when the Northern Pacific Railroad routed through the latter community. Beaulieu’s house was relocated south, to the vicinity of Fort Ripley in 1880.

Birk’s involvement with the Beaulieu House began in 1985 when the property owners offered the structure as a tax-deductible donation to any interested cultural agency or nonprofit. A coalition including the IMA, the state Department of Natural Resources, the state Historic Preservation Office, the Crow Wing County Historical Society, and interested citizens organized as the Friends of Old Crow Wing formulated a plan to relocate the Beaulieu House back to its original location in what was now Crow Wing State Park. Birk conducted in-depth research on the house, its occupants, and the community of Crow Wing, and helped lead the relocation effort on behalf of the IMA. In 1988 the house was moved to a temporary storage area in the park. In 1990 Birk and IMA colleagues conducted a brief excavation of the original house site in preparation for the permanent relocation of the house, which was accomplished in 1993.

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The modern-day Camp Ripley takes its name from an early frontier army post called Fort Ripley that operated from 1848 to 1878. This post was the result of a treaty with the Winnebago tribe. It was located on the west side of the Mississippi River, just below the mouth of the Nokasippi River.

Doug Birk first began surveys at Camp Ripley in 1986 with Kolleen Kralick and Jeff Tollefson, completing his final report in 1988. The surveys were authorized by the Corps of Engineers as part of a program to assist the Army National Guard in preparing a Historic Preservation Plan. Further surveys were conducted by other archaeologists during the years of 1990 to 1995 including Rebecca Otto and Virginia Gnabasik that cite Birk’s previous work at the camp.

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Birk took an interest in the French presence in Minnesota early in his career, stemming from early projects for the MHS including testing at the site of Fort Saint Charles in 1974. As early as 1982, probably inspired by the discovery of 21MO20, Birk began considering a "major study" of French activities in the region that would synthesize archaeological investigations at various fort sites with the written historical record. Birk gathered material for this study throughout the 1980s and 1990s and published multiple articles and studies of limited scope with the intent of incorporating them as eventual book chapters in the larger study. By the late 1990s this planned study had the working title "The History and Archaeology of the French Regime in Minnesota." Birk seems to have worked on this project only sporadically following the collapse of the IMA and no extensive draft of the final manuscript is known.

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In 1973 Birk began researching the fur trading fort along the Snake River long identified as "Connor's Post" after local fur trader Thomas Connor. Birk's research disproved that Connor, who was illiterate, could have authored the journal that described the construction of the fort, indicating instead the British North West Company trader John Sayer as author. In 1976 the MHS updated the site's name to the North West Company Post in recognition of this fact. Birk's research culminated in a nearly 500-page report on "the history, ecology, and archaeology" of the fort site published in 1980, by far his most ambitious publication to that date.

In 1989 Birk published a re-edited transcription of Sayer's 1804-05 journal, part of a series of regional history publications for the Cross Lake Association. He returned to Sayer again for his Master's thesis, completed in 1999, which incorporated much material from his 1980 publication. In 2004 Birk published a short treatment of the same material called "The Messrs. Buid Comodiously," written for a popular audience. Birk turned to Sayer once again in 2014 for an improved and expanded version of his thesis to be published as "Life at Sayer's Fort," a manuscript left finished but unpublished at the time of his death.

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Birk's boyhood home of Pine River was surrounded by remnants of the "golden era" of Minnesota's logging industry from the turn of the twentieth century. As a teenager Birk spent much of his free time speaking to elders in his community and tracing the routes of abandoned industrial railroads through nearby forests. This project continued as a semi-hobby throughout his career. In 2009 Birk began collaborating with colleague Jeremy Jackson on a two-volume book series that would publicize the results of his decades of research, a project left unfinished at the time of Birk's death.

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In 1985 Birk surveyed the site of an 1839 Methodist-Episcopal mission within the Little Elk Heritage Preserve, beginning an interest in Minnesota's nineteenth-century Protestant missions that lasted the rest of his career. In 1988 Birk, representing the IMA, collaborated with the Cross Lake Association (CLA) of Pine County to edit and publish three sets of historical documents: John Sayer’s Snake River Diary, a set of correspondence regarding the historic community of Chengwatana, and the records of the Pokegama Mission in the Snake River Valley. The first publication came out on schedule in 1989, but the project hit a snag the following year when the CLA pulled out, leaving the IMA to complete the work mandated by the project grant alone. Birk produced the second publication in 1992 as “Purveyors of Salvation: The Pokegama Mission and the Protestant Mission Movement among the Southwestern Ojibwe.”

Birk, however, immediately began working on an expanded version of the same work that was nearly published in 1997 before being dropped for unknown reasons. Birk seems to have returned to the project in 2009, but died before the final manuscript could be published.

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Doug Birk’s investigations of mounds in Minnesota began in the 1970s but was renewed in the early 1980s when he and Elden Johnson became interested in new, non-destructive methods of studying mounds. Birk continued work on mounds throughout the 1990s and beyond with many other colleagues. Areas with mounds covered by this series include Cass, Morrison, LeSueur, Aitkin, Carlton, Koochiching, St. Louis, Itasca and Crow Wing Counties; Mississippi Headwaters; Pillager Gap; Pine River; Mille Lacs; Various lakes such as Gull, Leech, Cross, Norway and Rice; Also Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge.