Dickinson State University rounds out busy week with hiring of chief operating officer

A busy week at Dickinson State University began with the hiring of a new chief operating officer and an announcement on a recent collaboration between the Theodore Roosevelt Center and a film library in Los Angeles, and ended with details released on the forthcoming tenth annual Boo Hawks event.

Dickinson State University's May Hall welcomes students and visitors to the historic campus on the hill in Dickinson, N.D.
Photo by James B. Miller, Jr. / The Dickinson Press
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DICKINSON — Dickinson State University has opened October with a series of major announcements related to new administration hires, entered partnerships and the highly anticipated Boo Hawks Halloween event.

Leslie Wietstock named DSU chief operating officer

DSU announced that after a lengthy process the university has hired Leslie Wietstock to be Dickinson State’s newest chief operating officer (COO).

Speaking on the hiring, DSU President Steve Easton said the DSU alum’s experience will greatly benefit the university.

“We are excited to have Les assume the role of chief operating officer at Dickinson State,” Easton said. “His working experience…will help propel Dickinson State for years to come. He is a great addition to the Blue Hawk family.”


The Cavalier, North Dakota native, has worked primarily in the healthcare field – having spent 11 years at West River Regional Medical Center, 10 years at Pembina County Memorial Hospital, five years at Sanford Health and the past seven years at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. In addition to his tenured healthcare experience, Wietstock found his passion for higher education by being named the Controller for the University of Mary.

Speaking of his new position, Wietstock said he was excited to begin this new chapter in his career.

“I am excited to join the Dickinson State administration as the newest COO,” stated Wietstock. “I’ve always been drawn to the higher education field because of the environment and not only what we can teach students, but what they can teach us as well.”

Wietstock holds a bachelor’s degree in financial administration and information management from the University of North Dakota, a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Dickinson State and a master’s degree in business administration from Central Michigan University.

Leslie Wietstock.jpg
Leslie Wietstock, Chief Operations Officer at Dickinson State University.
Photo courtesy of Dickinson State University

New collaboration to restore film for DSU’s Theodore Roosevelt Center

The Theodore Roosevelt Center, located at Dickinson State University, has continued its mission to preserve the legacy of America’s 26th president. The Center has undertaken the monumental task of creating a presidential digital library that will serve as a repository for all Roosevelt-related documents, photographs, and ephemera, providing instant access via the internet in a well-organized, comprehensible manner. The Center also hosts the annual Theodore Roosevelt Symposium, as well as special Roosevelt-related events, promoting Roosevelt scholarships and offering student internships.

The Center announced a new collaboration with the Sherman Grinberg Film Library, home of the historic Paramount and American Pathé Newsreels in Los Angeles, California.

The Grinberg Film Library offered over one hundred film clips related to Theodore Roosevelt to be made publicly available in the digital library, free of charge to teachers, students, researchers and the general public. The donation is intended to assist in the arenas of education and research.


Original 35mm nitrate films were restored, frame-by-frame and scanned in high definition, and offers a previously little known look at Theodore Roosevelt in live action.

In return, the archivists and historians at the TR Center will assist the Grinberg Library better identify and contextualize their footage archives, improving metadata for their substantial digital collection.

“The TR Center is grateful to the Sherman Grinberg Film Library for what is sure to be a fruitful and long-lasting partnership,” a press release by Dickinson State University reads.

In addition to footage of TR, over 49,000 historic newsreel clips from the Paramount and American Pathé Newsreel Collections from 1897 to 1957 are available on the Grinberg website to watch, download and license. Interested parties can access the footage and gain additional information on the project by visiting

Speaking on the historical importance of the partnership, Lance Watsky, a manager of media archives and licensing, highlighted the significance of the partnership.

“I have been a media archivist for almost 30 years, but I am not a historian,” Watsky said. “So, I truly appreciate sharing the historic footage with people and communities who understand its importance.”

Twenty clips have been uploaded to the TR Center Digital Library thus far, and includes footage of Roosevelt at public events held at Sagamore Hill, across the United States and in Panama. These films show different angles and moments of historical events compared to footage available through the Library of Congress, and have been restored to a higher resolution.

“More clips will be made available in the coming weeks as the TR Center continues to process these exciting new materials,” the press release reads.


For more information, visit .

Tenth annual Boo Hawks event to thrill area families

Dickinson State University’s Theodore Roosevelt Honors Leadership Program are inviting area residents to attend as a family and don their costumes as they host the tenth annual Boo Hawks event on the DSU campus Sunday, Oct. 30, in Wienbergen Gym from 2 to 5 p.m.

"We are excited to organize the Boo Hawks event in Wienbergen Gym,” Griffin Obrigewitch and Haylie Oberlander, TRHLP student assistants, said. “There will be many exciting booths from clubs and organizations on campus. This event was successful last year, and as we move it inside and out of the cold, we hope to have another successful event."

Boo Hawks is intended for families with children aged 12 and under, but welcomes all ages to attend with free admission to the event. This year’s event will feature indoor trick-or-treating, games and the always popular coloring contest.

The coloring contest will feature three age groups (0-4, 5-7 & 8-12). Templates for the coloring contest can be printed from, and should be turned in upon arrival to the event. Prizes will be awarded for first place entries in each age category and winners will be contacted the following week.

In addition to the action-packed day, there will be two brand new ‘selfie’ Halloween-themed stations for families to take pictures in, as well as a temporary Boo Hawks tattoo station to ramp up the Halloween activities.

Businesses and individuals interested in sponsoring this event can donate candy or other promotional items. For additional information please contact Mari Kovash at (701) 502-4438, or by email at

James B. Miller, Jr. is the Editor of The Dickinson Press in Dickinson, North Dakota. He strives to bring community-driven, professional and hyper-local focused news coverage of southwest North Dakota.
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