Four Emporia State alumni have proven that even in a year of uncommon changes and challenges, some things never change: The successes of ESU graduates in unusually diverse fields.  Although the Distinguished Alumni for 2020 represent wide-ranging interests, from libraries to aerospace, all share a common thread of uncommon professional successes.  Normally, the Distinguished Alumni are honored during a gala on the Friday of Homecoming weekend. For 2020, they instead will be showcased through interviews via Zoom. 

The honored alumni and the dates and times of their interviews are:
•       Daria L. Phillips Bossman (MLS 1991-Library Science) of Pierre, South Dakota, 7 p.m. Oct. 22;
•       Karen Kohler Clegg (BS 1970-English) of Overland Park, 7 p.m. Oct. 15;
•       Frank S. "Steve" Coen (BSB 1976-Business Administration) of Andover, 7 p.m. Nov. 5; and
•       Ronald L. "Ron" Frierson, Jr. (BS 1996-Social Sciences) of Los Angeles, California, 7 p.m. Oct. 29.
More information and links to register for the Zoom events are online at emporia.edu/homecoming.

Daria L. Phillips Bossman graduated from one of the first-ever distance education cohorts offered by ESU's School of Library and Information Management in Sioux City, Iowa. Years later, as South Dakota state librarian, she successfully advocated in 2016 for ESU to re-establish that distance learning for students from Siouxland's five-state area: South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Bossman, joined by others in the original South Dakota cohort, in 2016 convinced SLIM Dean Wooseob Jeong that South Dakota's lack of a master's librarian program would create a pressing need for librarians as veteran librarians begin to retire. Within four months, arrangements had been approved and enrollment opened for the 2017 fall semester.

Bossman is a 1973 graduate of Midland College. She graduated with majors in English and history and education. She taught in public schools for a decade; then moved into academic librarian positions before becoming assistant state librarian for development services and serving as coordinator for  the State Library's federal grants data program. She took over as South Dakota's interim state librarian in 2012, and accepted the permanent State Library position in 2013. The State Library's most significant accomplishment during her tenure was the migration from a 35 year old main frame state network to a cloud-based South Dakota ShareIt network. She emphasizes paraprofessional training, placing state documents online for easy public access, and promoting libraries as a more-accurate and concise information source than Internet searches, among priorities.

Bossman is married to Bill Bossman ('72) who she met at Midland. They have three adult sons and four granddaughters who live in Omaha and Sioux City, Iowa. Bill and Daria make their home in Pierre, South Dakota.