The Francis "Bud" and Doris Heine family of Vermillion was honored Saturday, Feb. 13, as the South Dakota State University Family of the Year for 2010.
Eight of their 10 children as well as four future in-laws have attended SDSU, and two grandsons are current engineering students. In addition, the family has been long-time supporters of the Agricultural Heritage Museum, the South Dakota 4-H Foundation and the College of Agricultural and Biological Sciences.
"I really do feel a strong connection to SDSU because of the children. We've watched it grow," Doris Heine said.
The Heines have been watching State grow since son Tim came to campus after graduating from Vermillion High School in 1983.
"Administration and faculty provide the vision and leadership," Heine said of how SDSU has evolved in the past quarter-century. "It continues to progress with new areas of study, construction and athletics. We're so impressed with how generous the alums are with their time, their money, their interest. It shows how they appreciate their education."
Heine's appreciation for her children's education is just as great any alum.
"We're just grateful that the children got such good education. It's such a strong school in agriculture and science," Heine said, noting that the family alums include an ag journalist, a physician's assistant, an optometrist, an electrical engineering technologist and a nurse as well as keeping the animal science, agronomy and mechanical engineering technology majors at home to help run the farm and Heine Hybrid Seedcorn Co.
"Our children also were involved in University activities such as meat and crop judging teams, Microbiology Club, University 4-H, Little International and Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity," Heine said.
Family members who have attended State include Tim and his wife Julie, Todd, Robyn, Mark and his wife Marci, Gretchen and her husband Patrick O'Reilly, Nick and his wife Jamie, Joel and Nancy. "With that many children we knew public education had to be the route, but we were convinced they could do what ever they wanted with that education," Heine said.
She noted that this was the second time for Marci Heine to be part of the SDSU Family of the Year celebration. Marci's family, the George Dylla family of Watertown, was honored as family of the year in 2000.
There were 39 Heines were on hand for the Feb. 13 observance, which is coordinated by the SDSU Alumni Association and Staters for State, the student alumni organization. Doris Heine said eight of their 10 children were in Brookings. The two who live in Houston were unable to attend. In addition, 21 of their 22 grandchildren were on hand.
Activities included a luncheon and awards ceremony as well as being recognized during halftime of the women's basketball game.
Still returns to campus
Although the second generation of Heines are no longer at State, Doris Heine said she always makes an annual trip to Brookings. She was selected as an Eminent Homemaker in 1989, and since her retirement in 2004 has made the trip back to SDSU for the Eminent Farmer and Homemaker banquet with a couple other former recipients.
"We make it a day. The University just shows us all the new things that are going on on the campus. We just learn a lot every time we come back," Heine said.
She associated SDSU with learning long before Tim strolled onto campus in the mid-1980s.
"The 4-H program (run by the SDSU Cooperative Extension Service) really bonded us in the beginning," Heine said. "All 10 of our children went through all 10 years of 4-H. I was an Extension member for years, and I was a 4-H leader for years.
"If you talk to any of our children, they will say 4-H was the best foundation they could have ever gotten. They learned public speaking, selecting a project, working through difficulty and gaining the reward of a job well done; working at a project, failing, getting up and redoing was important training for life."
Consequentially, four of them are 4-H leaders today even though they live in such diverse places as Spearfish and Indianapolis as well as Vermillion.
Heines transplanted from Nebraska
Other connections to Brookings include support and participation in Catholic Campus Parish, seed performance testing services and the veterinary diagnostic lab.
Bud and Doris Heine were raised in Cedar County, NE, were married in 1963, and soon began farming in the adjacent Clay County, S.D. Doris Heine was trained as a nurse, but set that career on hold while raising their children.
Later she refreshed her nursing skills through an SDSU correspondence course, reactivated her nursing license and worked as a skills lab technician with the University of South Dakota nursing program from 1989 to 2004.
Families of the year are selected by Staters for State based on dedication, loyalty, support and contributions to SDSU, members of family who attended SDSU and involvement as students and alumni.
Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University is the state's Morrill Act land-grant institution as well as its largest, most comprehensive school of higher education. SDSU confers degrees from seven different colleges representing more than 200 majors, minors and options. The institution also offers 23 master's degree programs and 12 Ph.D. programs.
The work of the university is carried out on a residential campus in Brookings and at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City.