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North Dakota's Rough Rider Business Award PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chet   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 12:16

Stern_PortraitAn observation:  Thirty-nine people have been awarded the “Rough Rider Award” since the award first came into existence in 1961.  Of the first 10 recipients of the Rough Rider award, exactly Zero of them received the award for being a “business leader” and/or “entrepreneur”.

Of the most recent 10 recipients of the Rough Rider award, 7 of them are “business leaders” and/or “entrepreneurs,” and I could make an argument that the real number is 8 of 10.  (One is listed as an "educator" but spent a fair amount of time on the MDU board of directors.)  Only two (2) of the most recent (10) recipients are women. Two (2) of the first ten (10) recipients were women.  (You've come a long way, baby.)

From 1961 to 2002 there were only two “business leader”/”entrepreneur” Rough Rider Recipients.

Of the thirty-nine (39) recipients, nine (9) [or ten (10), if you count the "educator" MDU board member] are “business leader” or “entrepreneur.”

Before 2002, recipients came from many different walks of life.  Minister. Military personnel. Artist. Author. Actor. Educator. Doctor. Humanitarian.

Apparently those things aren't honorable anymore. Apparently the most likely path to being honored by North Dakota's governor is if you are a "business leader" or "entrepreneur" today.

Today Governor Dalrymple, a Minnesota native, awarded North Dakota's top honor to the family of a "businessman and visionary" named Herman Stern. I'm sure he was a nice enough fellow. But I still have to ask the question... 

Where are our priorities?

Comments (7)add comment

Tracy Potter said:

It's a more than fair observation, but I do want to speak up for Herman the German. He saved hundreds of German Jews from the concentration camps. He basically founded the Boy Scouts in North Dakota, and did found Camp Wilderness where thousands of children have been exposed to camping and good healthy outdoor exercise. The descendants now running Straus are the finest kind.
March 13, 2014
Votes: +3

Chet said:

Nobody is criticizing Mr. Stern. The only thing said about him in the blog post, above, is "I'm sure he was a nice enough fellow."

I never met the man, but I'll still stand by what I wrote, above.

The point, here, is that we used to appreciate and honor humanitarians and artists and teachers and archivists and athletes and ministers and judges and soldiers and aviators and public servants. Now our state mostly just appreciates and honors Chamber of Commerce leaders. Mr. Stern's portrait even has the Chamber's old logo on it.

It's a sad indicator of what North Dakota has devolved into.
March 13, 2014
Votes: +0

ND Historian said:

Herman Stern fully deserves the Rough Rider award for his humanitarian work alone. Much more than some of the truly obscure people who have received it. He should have received it forty years ago when he was still alive. Unfortunately the governor and the ND media play that down in favor of his successful business career. Suggestion for future award: Federal Judge Bruce Van Sickel: He closed the warehouse called the Grafton School for the Mentallly Retarded and forced North Dakota's treatment of the mentally handicapped into the twentieth century. He was roundly condemned by many of North Dakota's leaders but he made his ruling stick and improved the lives of thousands of people.
March 13, 2014
Votes: +3

Bear Charging said:

Interesting to see (with the exception of louise erdrich) no other tribal Members on that list but, after all, 'north dakota' is not our creation.....
March 14, 2014
Votes: +0

Jim said:

Ironically, the one North Dakota business leader who I think should be on the list is missing: Harold Newman. A creative, self-made man with an imagination as big as the North Dakota sky. Maybe someday . . .
March 16, 2014
Votes: +1

m paulson said:

Sorry Chet
I can't say I knew Mr. Stern, but he doesn't stand out in North Dakota because of his business acumen.

He stands out because of his humanitarian activities.

I agree that it is unfortunate that "entrepreneur" has become a term of honor. When Mr Stern built his business, it was a way to make a living. I do not believe he would think that he should be remembered for starting a business. He would want to be remembered for his humanitarian activities.
March 18, 2014
Votes: +1

RLM said:

Roughrider Awards
Pretty much all of the Rough Rider Award recipients are deserving, however, I see your point.

The only thing I would change in the Rough Rider Award, is maybe to find a different portrait artist. I've never thought any of the portraits were that flattering.
March 19, 2014
Votes: +2

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