Ridgewater College’s Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society chapter is having quite a rewarding and awarding year.
First, it celebrated students Lizza Dinndorf and Zoey Lovold for being named to the Minnesota All-Academic Team. Then Ridgewater’s Heidi Olson, dean of students, received the 2023 Distinguished College Administrator Award for efforts in 2022.
Now Ridgewater PTK officers Leigh Baker of Watkins, and Darcy Martin and Max Pohlman of Hutchinson have earned a PTK Distinguished Chapter Officer Team Award and Advisor Dr. Bradley Wolfe has earned a 2023 Paragon Award for New Advisors for 2022 efforts.
“PTK was not very active during the COVID pandemic, but these students brought much-needed energy to make PTK active on campus again,” said Advisor Wolfe. Although there were many factors involved in the award selection, Wolfe shared a few highlights that made the team deserving of 2023 recognition for their work in 2022. “Darcy did a great job setting the goal for us to be a five-star chapter, which the Hutchinson chapter did for the first time in our history. Leigh brought enthusiasm to our bake sale and joined Darcy and me at a regional conference in Fargo last fall. Max has been a consistent presence in our meetings and has helped spread the word about PTK throughout his networks. They contributed a lot to PTK and our college to deserve this award.” All three officers are studying Liberal Arts and Sciences.
Wolfe has been a Ridgewater Communications faculty and PTK advisor for almost two years, bringing the student organization back to life after COVID paused most student activities. In addition to working with students to revive it, he accepted sole leadership for the organization when the Willmar campus co-advisor resigned, and the two campus chapters united in January of 2023.
“Although it was extra work and with students whom he didn’t know, Bradley assumed full advising leadership without question and with strong commitment,” said Heidi Olson, Ridgewater dean of students. “To do so, and to also include fully online learners, he created a virtual hybrid version of their meetings so students could attend from either campus or wherever they were located – a first for either Hutchinson or Willmar chapter. This has really opened opportunities for more of our students to be involved.”
“I’m honored that the students and the college nominated me for the award,” Wolfe said. “I’ve put in a lot of effort to help rebuild the chapter, and I am excited about our future.”
Wolfe was also recognized for his initiative to connect with other regional and international PTK networks, his time commitment, student support, communication, leadership to empower and inspire his officers and chapter, and his creativity to work with the Ridgewater Foundation to guide the chapter to host its first online silent auction fundraiser to create scholarships for active PTK members. He continues to lead officers in their goal to become a five-star chapter.
“Dr. Wolfe has encouraged and guided us to think critically, set goals, and know how to network and utilize resources, be it locally, or anywhere!” stated the students in the nomination. “We are very proud to have Dr. Wolfe serve as our advisor to provide resources and opportunities to students across our two campuses.”
“His qualities, efforts, commitment, and contributions – not only to Ridgewater College, but to the community, as well – make him an excellent choice,” the nomination letter stated.
This award is based on nominations from the chapter and the college. PTK will formally recognize Ridgewater award recipients during the PTK 2023 annual convention in Columbus, Ohio, April 20-22.