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Dille and McLaughlin Named Legacy Leaders

Chamber Announces 2009 Legacy Leader Award Winners

The Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce of Fargo Moorhead has selected Dr. Roland Dille and James R. McLaughlin as recipients of the Chamber’s 2009 Legacy Leader Award. The Legacy Leader Award recognizes and emphasizes the important role and contributions of long-time local leaders in both shaping and serving the Chamber, our metropolitan community and region. This is the third year for this Chamber award.

Dille and McLaughlin will be presented their awards by the Chamber at its Twelfth Annual Meeting the evening of November 12.

Dr. Roland Dille

Born near Dassel, Minnesota, Dr. Roland Dille, Ph.D, is most well-known as Minnesota State University Moorhead’s seventh and longest serving president.

After serving as an infantryman in Europe during World War II, Dille received a B.A. summa cum laude and a Ph. D. in English from the University of Minnesota. He has taught at the University of Minnesota, St. Olaf College, and Minnesota State University Moorhead, where in 1968 he became its president. Before retiring in 1994, Dr. Dille co-founded Tri-College University, served as president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, was a member of the National Council of the Humanities, and was acting chancellor of the Minnesota State University System.

President Emeritus Dille has been honored several times for his contributions to Moorhead State. Named in his honor are MSUM’s Roland Dille Center for the Arts, the Roland and Beth Dille Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award and the Dille Fund for Excellence, a permanent endowment established by the MSUM Alumni Foundation.

As a contributor to our community, Dille is a past board chair of the former Moorhead Area Chamber of Commerce, where he also served on the Education Committee. Dille served as a member of the boards of several historical societies, including the Minnesota Historical Society. He has also been a long-time member of the Moorhead Rotary Club, steward and historian for Solomon G. Comstock House, and presenter at the Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival.

Dille has published numerous articles on literature, education and local history. He is the author of Four Romantic Poets: Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats. Currently Dr. Dille is enjoying his retirement while writing about the history of Dassel, Minnesota.

James R. McLaughlin

James McLaughlin’s contributions to our region are many, especially in regards to his flood relief efforts, his knowledge and skill of engineering, and his passion for baseball. 

Over the years, McLaughlin served as chairman of the Southeast Cass Water Resource District, the Cass County Joint Board and the Red River Joint Board, which includes all boards from South Dakota to Canada. He also participated in the Sheyenne Diversion Project from 1990 to 1992. Bruce Furness, Fargo Mayor from 1994 to 2006, say’s McLaughlin’s analysis of the need for additional water supply in Eastern North Dakota was extremely helpful to Fargo leaders.

“Jim was able to consolidate information and make recommendations on what would be needed in Fargo,” says Furness. “His years of experience and involvement were invaluable to the City in determining future water requirements.”

Following graduation from the University of North Dakota with a BS Degree in civil engineering, McLaughlin worked for Ulteig Engineers, Inc. until retirement in 1987.  He served as president of Ulteig from 1975 to 1987. He has been recognized with the UND Alumni Association’s Sioux Award and Greater North Dakota Association’s Community Leadership and Natural Resources Awards. 

McLaughlin is a past chair of the Board of the former Fargo Chamber of Commerce, where he also served on many committees.  He is a past president of the Boy Scouts of America - Northern Lights Council, where he currently serves on the Advisory Board.  McLaughlin has chaired Fargo Moorhead Council of Governments Water Resource committee and the United Way of Cass-Clay Fund. He served on the steering committee for the FARGODOME and has been on its building committee since its inception.

McLaughlin served on the Fargo American Legion Baseball Committee for 40 years and was vice chair for the 1983, 1992 and 1995 American Legion World Series. In 1976, he was awarded “Fan of the Year” and in 2007 he was inducted into the Fargo American Legion Baseball Hall of Fame.  He also developed and was curator of the Roger Maris Museum for over 20 years.

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