2021 Award Honorees
Sandra M. Strand
BS 1977 Design
Sandra Strand ’77 knew she wanted to be an interior designer before she even entered high school. While at North Dakota State University, she learned the importance of a global perspective and that most of design is about exposure. Upon graduation, Sandy worked in Houston, Denver, and Dallas before returning north to Minneapolis where she became a vice president at Ellerbe Becket.
In the late 1990s, Sandy joined HOK in St. Louis, Missouri. Shortly after moving, she was assigned a 6-week consulting project for Nortel Networks in Hong Kong and Beijing. She went on to complete the design of those projects while working from the Hong Kong office. This was the beginning of her 20-year Asia career. In 2009, Sandy was offered the opportunity to use her expertise to independently consult to China Rail. She started her own consulting practice, Strand Associates and partnered with Chris Yang of CJ2 Design to provide design and drafting support. Her first project was the Beijing Rail control room for 300 people—the largest in the world.
Sandy is now semi-retired, working with American and European clients looking to expand their Asian business by creating spaces that reflect their home country and unique brands.
Throughout her career, Sandy has worked for three hall of fame designers: Neville Lewis, Andre Staffelbach, and Art Gensler. In the years since graduating from NDSU, Sandy has traveled to more than 40 countries and is also a WWII buff. She believes that successful design is rooted in exposure to new ideas.
Dr. Alex Tröster
MS 1986 Psychology
Dr. Alex Tröster ’86 was born in Austria and spent much of his adolescence and early twenties in Zimbabwe, Bostwana, and South Africa and was part of one of the first graduating classes from the newly renamed University of Zimbabwe. He came to North Dakota State University to earn his master’s degree in psychology. Following his education at NDSU, Alex earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California-San Diego and San Diego State University.
Alex’s area of expertise is neuropsychology and much of his research deals with deep brain stimulation in people with movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. He developed a questionnaire on quality of life for essential tremor patients, which is used to assess effects of treatments. The questionnaire has been adopted by the Movement Disorder Society as a standard instrument used around the world.
He’s held positions at Washington State University, the University of Kansas Medical School, the University of Washington School of Medicine, and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine where he served as co-director of the National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence. Since 2012, he’s been chair of the neuropsychology department at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.
BS 2007 Environmental Design
MARCH 2008 Architecture
MS 2011 Construction Management
BS 2007 Environmental Design
MARCH 2008 Architecture
Lance Cayko ’07, ’08, originally from Trenton, North Dakota, and Alex Gore ’07, ’08, ’11, originally from Rochester, Minnesota, met as architecture students at North Dakota State University. After meeting in undergrad and actually not getting along the two soon formed a formidable working duo in the NDSU Architecture studios. During their senior year they teamed up for their Capstone project, the Skyscraper project, and won. Each then went on earn finals selection for the McKenzie Thesis Award and Lance went on to win. Alex also won the prestigious Alpha Chi Rho award for architecture students for their leadership and service and what they offer the future of the profession. The two were poised for success and vowed to start a firm together on graduation night atop the HoDo hotel in downtown Fargo. Each landed internships with prestigious firms in Boulder Colorado and New York City respectively. However, the recession set them on a different path and sooner rather than later they joined forces in 2010 and founded F9 Productions in Longmont, Colorado.
As serial entrepreneurs, Lance and Alex use their architecture, real estate, and construction enterprise to enhance lives through design. As they’ve grown F9 Productions, Lance and Alex strive to empower the people they hire. They pride themselves on developing employees and growing them into leaders to add to the fabric of professionals in architecture.
Together, they’ve earned several achievements including the Architizer A+ Award for a tiny house, Atlas, they designed and built together, which was featured on HGTV. Lance and Alex also teach at the University of Colorado Boulder and host the weekly architecture and business podcast, Inside the Firm, where entrepreneurs tell their stories of starting, running, and growing a business.
Lance is married to Marilyn. They have four children, Brett, Kyler, Luke, and Kaiya. Alex is married to Anni, and they have two sons, Atlas and Atom.
BS 1969 Pharmacy
BS 1970 Pharmacy
Barb (Crahan) ’70 and Mike ’69 Jones both graduated from NDSU’s pharmacy program, but they didn’t meet until Barb started her internship at Keller Drug on Bloomington Avenue and Lake Street in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Mike was working as a pharmacist. The two hit it off and were married a year later in 1971.
While they were both working as pharmacists, Mike started experimenting in the laboratory and launched Gallipot, which developed and manufactured products customers were asking for but couldn’t find in the pharmacy. As the company grew, Barb and Mike ran it together until 2010 when it was sold to the Dutch company, Fagron.
In 1990, Barb became president of the Minnesota Pharmacists Association — she was only the second woman president in the group’s more than 100-year history — and she has been an NDSU Foundation Trustee since 1995. Since graduating, Barb has returned for every Homecoming, and Mike has only missed one.
The couple helped launch the Twin Cities alumni group, and they currently serve as In Our Hands campaign ambassadors. They say the best parts about volunteering have been meeting alumni with a shared passion for the university. In addition to volunteering their time, they’ve also invested in NDSU students by establishing scholarships to support women’s and men’s golf, the arts, and pharmacy.
Barb and Mike enjoy traveling and golfing. They’re recently started playing hickory golf, which is played with pre-1930’s clubs and in vintage-style attire.
BS 1966 Pharmacy
John Wold ’66 grew up four blocks from the North Dakota State University campus and said it was always his intention to study pharmacy at NDSU. His dad owned a drugstore in Moorhead, Minnesota, and often employed NDSU pharmacy students.
At NDSU, John seized the opportunity to get involved in undergraduate research and conducted research on ACE inhibitors, a medication used to treat high blood pressure. After graduating with a degree in pharmacy from NDSU, John earned his Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Iowa and secured a postdoctoral fellowship in biochemistry at St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, England. When his fellowship ended, he took a job with the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, with whom he worked for twenty-eight years in various managerial positions.
As an alumnus, John has remained highly involved with NDSU. He and his wife, Susan, have helped connect alumni back to NDSU and increased philanthropic support for the University. John joined the NDSU Foundation as a Trustee in 2001 and established a scholarship endowment to support NDSU students studying abroad in 2005. John and Susan have also made significant contributions to Bison Bidders Bowl for the past sixteen years. In addition to his philanthropy, John enjoys organizing trips to Frisco, Texas, with members of Kappa Psi, NDSU’s pharmacy fraternity, hosting alumni events at his home in Florida, and sharing stories about NDSU with people he meets during his travels.
Gate City Bank has a rich history in Fargo and the region. The first branch opened in Fargo in 1923. Since then, it has grown to serve 43 locations in 22 communities across North Dakota and central Minnesota. But the Bank’s dedication to creating a better way of life goes beyond banking.
Gate City Bank’s unique partnership with North Dakota State University stems, in large part, from Steve Swiontek ’78, ’06, chair of the board at Gate City Bank, who also served as student body president while at NDSU.
When he became the Bank’s President and CEO in 2000, Steve recognized how closely Gate City Bank’s mission aligned with that of NDSU’s land-grant to the state.
The Bank’s commitment to NDSU is seen through academic and athletic sponsorships and support. One of the first projects Gate City Bank funded at NDSU was the remodel of Barry Hall. Additionally, an endowment was established to ensure the facility is regularly refreshed and reimagined so that it can keep offering state-of-the-art learning for students.
Gate City Bank continued its investment in NDSU with funds for a remodel of Steven’s Auditorium, which is now Gate City Bank Auditorium. The Bank also created unique financing agreements, valued at more than $2.5 million for Aldevron Tower and $4.1 million for Nodak Insurance Company Football Performance Complex.
Additionally, Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome, home of NDSU Bison football, plays a vital role in the program’s venue and fan experience. The Bank recognized the dominant force of Bison football before the dynasty’s legendary FCS Division I championship run.
With the recent renovation of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex, Gate City Bank again invested in NDSU student-athletes with the creation of the Gate City Bank Fueling Station, where they receive nutritional advice and all the ingredients needed to keep them performing at their best.
In 2019, the Bank supported those working to keep NDSU safe by investing in bullet-resistant helmets for campus police, an important safety upgrade that protects campus officers in the same way as city officers.
Gate City Bank’s commitment to NDSU’s students, faculty and staff extends to numerous volunteer opportunities (especially for international students) and internships. Plus, the Bank partners with the university to offer My School Spirit debit cards, customized with NDSU’s iconic mascot. To date, Gate City Bank has donated $70,000 to NDSU through this innovative program.
Education leads to a better way of life, and Gate City Bank believes in the power of partnership between universities, businesses and communities to make it happen — together.