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Joleen Hartung Durken Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

Durken honored with Harold J. Fitterer Service Award.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 5-5-2017

Mankato, Minn. – Joleen Hartung Durken (pictured) of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., recently received the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Harold J. Fitterer Service Award from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

A retired educator, Durken was employed previously as a classroom teacher and later by the Minnesota Department of Education in several supervisory roles. One of four 2017 alumni award winners, she was honored at an April 21 ceremony hosted by the Minnesota State Mankato Office of Alumni Relations. A YouTube video about Durken’s career is available online.

Harold J. Fitterer Service Awards go to graduates who have given distinguished service to Minnesota State Mankato and have used their time, treasure and talents to preserve and promote university programs.

After graduating from Hector (Minn.) High School, Durken earned a bachelor’s degree in vocational home economics education with a minor in speech from Minnesota State Mankato in 1963.

Her service to Minnesota State Mankato as an alumna has spanned more than four decades. Durken has served four terms on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, including a stint as president of the board from 1973 to 1974. She is also a member of Minnesota State Mankato’s President’s Society and Legacy Society, using her gifts to support education programs on campus.

Durken has received many awards and accolades for her professional and volunteer efforts. She received the Governor’s Award for multi-agency initiatives, a leadership award for improving access to secondary vocational education, a certificate of appreciation from Minnesota alternative schools and area learning center directors, a competitive federal grant to begin school-age childcare in Minnesota, and she was elected as an emeritus member of the Minnesota 4-H Foundation.

Those who want more information about the April 21 awards event may go to or call (507) 389-1515.

The mission of the Minnesota State University, Mankato Alumni Association is to engage alumni, friends and students in ways that benefit its members and Minnesota State Mankato through opportunities that stimulate a lifetime of interest, loyalty and support.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,110 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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