April 26, 2024

‘He has been dead set on coming to NDSU’


Minnesota seventh grader Will Bock recently was NDSU’s special guest on an exclusive tour of campus, giving him the opportunity to learn more about the university’s innovative engineering programs and envision what it’s like to be part of the Bison community.

Bock, who attends Edgewood Middle School in Mounds View, Minnesota, participated in BizTown at Junior Achievement North in the Twin Cities two years ago where he was able to simulate being the CEO of Mortenson Construction for the day. 

The event made Bock interested in learning more about engineering, as well as learning more about the current CEO of Mortenson and NDSU alumni Dan Johnson. The two eventually met at the Mortenson Headquarters to discuss careers in construction and Johnson suggested Bock look into NDSU for his higher education. 

“Ever since that day he has been dead set on coming to NDSU,” said Shauna Bock, Will’s mom. “He keeps asking ‘Can we go visit? Can we go see the campus?’ So, this was an incredible opportunity for us to be able to come to campus.”

During his tour Bock and his mom visited Cater Hall, the engineering complex, the NDSU Bookstore, West Dining Center, the new esports lab and he got to meet President David Cook. 

“It’s been fun looking around at the different stuff and the different buildings,” Bock said. 

The future for engineering students at NDSU is bright. Construction on the new Richard Offerdahl '65 Engineering Complex is set to begin late summer or early fall, with the goal for the complex to be open for use in the fall of 2026. The state-of-the-art engineering complex will feature labs, workshops and collaboration centers, giving students the tools they need to be successful leaders in the discipline after graduation.

Johnson, who earned his bachelor’s degree in construction engineering in 1987, said his degree from NDSU has led him to where he is today.

“My education from NDSU was my ticket to the dance,” Johnson said. “Some of my best lifelong friendships were formed at NDSU.  Mortenson has many team members from NDSU and a disproportionately higher number of our leaders come from NDSU.  So, there is something about NDSU that produces hard working, caring leaders.”

Following his campus tour, Bock attended the NDSU Foundation’s Evening of Distinction event to surprise Johnson, who was honored at the event as the recipient of the 2024 Alumni Achievement Award. The award recognizes alumni who have attained outstanding professional accomplishments. 

“It’s pretty cool that I got to go surprise him and hand out an award to him,” Bock said.

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