2011 Hall of Fame Inductees

donn hjelle

  • Hjelle

    A native of rural Newfolden, MN., Donn attended a country school before enrolling at Newfolden High School, where he graduated in 1955. He earned a B.S. Degree in biology and education from Moorhead State Teachers College (MSUM) in1959. His first year of teaching was in New York Mills, MN., followed by two years in Barnesville. Donn was awarded an NSF fellowship at the University of Northern Iowa, where he completed a Masters Degree in 1963. He joined the Fargo Public Schools in 1964, teaching at Central HS for one year, and then joined the charter staff at North HS in 1965. After three years at North HS, Donn moved to Bemidji State University as an Assistant Professor for a year before going to St. Louis Park, MN. In the fall of 1975, he returned to North HS, where he taught until his retirement in 2000.

    In addition to earning the NSF Fellowship, Donn's professional effort and skills gained him the Fargo Public Schools "Celebration of Excellence Award" in 1986 and l989; North HS "Teacher of the Year" in 1992-93; and the "Outstanding Biology Teacher Award for North Dakota" in 1996. Since retiring, he has worked in real estate, supervised student teachers for Concordia College and NDSU, and volunteered at Alaska Christian College in a variety of different capacities.

john nelson

  • Nelson

    A graduate of North High in 1979, John held membership in the National Honor Society and was a three-year letter winner in Cross Country and Wrestling.  He was chosen as a team captain in wrestling.  John was an active Spartan spirit leader; and carried that interest into his collegiate years at NDSU, where he was a cheerleader and captain of the squad for three years.  John earned a B.S. Degree in Mathematics and Coaching in 1983; and completed a Master's Degree in Ed. Admin. at  NDSU in 1991.

    John's professional career in education includes teaching and coaching in Hazen, ND (1983-86), West Fargo (1986-87), and Ben Franklin JHS in Fargo (1987-94).  In the fall of 1994, he became an Assistant Principal and Activities Coordinator at BFJHS; and in 1996, he was selected as Principal of the school.  His leadership has led to his selection as the Fargo PTA Outstanding Administrator (2002, 2007), and the MetLife/NASSP ND Middle School Principal of the Year (2010). 

     John has been an active member of the United Way of Cass Clay since 1988, serving in several leadership roles.  In 2008, he was presented the F-M CVB Community Service Award. He has also found time to officiate wrestling, including ND State tournaments, National USA tournaments, and the NCAA National tournament.  John was selected ND Wrestling Official of the Year in 2001.

michael solberg

  • Solberg

    A 1991 graduate of North High, Mike participated in football and basketball, earning recognition as a team captain in each; and won All-State honors in football and was a Lions All-Star team member in basketball.  He graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. in 1995 and from William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, MN. in 1998.

    In 2000, Michael joined Northern Capital Trust, where he became the CEO.  After the merger of Northern Capital and State Bank of Fargo, Moorhead, and West Fargo, he became the Chief Operating Officer of State Bank and Trust in 2004.  In 2009, Michael was named the company's president.  The organization has grown to be one of the largest independently owned banks in the country; and is the largest in ND,SD, and MN.

    As President of State Bank & Trust, Michael launched the bank's "Pay It Forward" project, leading to over $2.1 million being given to individuals and organizations in need; and earning the firm media attention from CBS News, the BBC, Good Morning America, USA Today and People magazine.  Michael is active in the metro community, serving his church, the United Way of Cass Clay, Trollwood Performing Arts, the Meritcare Foundation, the Children's Museum, and the North Dakota Bankers Association.

michael strommen

  • Strommen

    A 1986 graduate of North High, he was a letterman and team captain in both football and basketball.  He was a member of the National Honor Society, the Student Council, and was chosen as a National Merit  Scholar and Commencement speaker.  Michael attended UND, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry in 1991; and completed a Doctor of Philosophy in Atmospheric Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1999.

    He is currently the Global New Business Manager for the 3M Renewable Energy Division, a division which he is credited with founding.  During his twelve years with 3M and three years with Westinghouse Electric Corp., Michael has held technical and business leadership roles in air filtration, energy conservation, renewable energy generation, and environmental regulatory compliance.

    Michael has earned several professional awards for his work, including the 3M Technical Circle of Excellence and Innovation (2000, 2009), the EPA (STAR) Fellowship in 1997, and a Signature Award of Excellence at Westinghouse in 1992.  He has written several published materials, has secured a patent for Flexible Absorbent Filter, and has made numerous presentations at professional conferences. 

james wiedmann

  • Wiedmann

    A 1967 graduate of North High, Jim started his high school days at Fargo Central and then became a member of the first students to move into North.  He played football, basketball, golf, and track; and as a senior enjoyed a stellar season in football, establishing school records at the time for season receptions, tackles, and fumble recoveries.  Jim also earned First Team All-State honors on both offense and defense that fall.  UND became Jim's next stop, where he was a three-year starter/letterman for the Sioux; and earned a B.S. Degree in Business and Marketing.

    Jim's early working career in business led him to Minneapolis and then Albuquerque, NM. After re-connecting with North Dakota friends, a business opportunity in the agricultural machinery industry led to a brief return to Fargo.  In 1975, he returned to Arizona and other parts of the southwest, where he remained active in the farm machinery business until 1985.  In 1983, Jim developed a fiberglass manufacturing firm, Firebird Fiberglass, which built off-road vehicle canopies.  In 1995, Jim's facility started a new division called Roadside Relics, which builds reproductions of historic Americana.  The nostalgic items include gas pumps, ice chests, clocks and vending machines; and represents licensed agreements with the likes of John Deere, Harley-Davidson, Fender Guitar, Texaco, and many others.