North Dakota State College of Science will honor Harlan Arneson with the title of Faculty Emeritus at its 2011 graduation ceremony on May 13 in Wahpeton.
Arneson began his NDSCS teaching career in the automotive technology department in 1971 where he instructed over 3,000 students, including many of the present NDSCS automotive technology staff. That same year, he organized and began teaching automotive classes for high school. In 1982, he became the department chairman.
During his 37 years of service to NDSCS, Arneson championed many initiatives to support the automotive technology department. He and Clayton Swanson started the Master Technician program, a third year option for automotive and diesel students who want to continue their education and increase their technical and mechanical skills. He also coached the first students from NDSCS as they competed in the National Skills Contest in the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA) (SkillsUSA) in 1980.
Arneson was actively involved in the educational side of the automotive industry throughout his career. He served as an automotive advisor and campus lead advisor for VICA/SkillsUSA for 26 years, the Campus State SkillsUSA contest coordinator for 10 state contests and the lead advisor for the High School SkillsUSA Club for 18 years. During this time, three NDSCS students placed in the top three nationally and 20 were state winners. He was also a member of the American Vocational Association, the North American Council of Automotive Teachers and a member of the American Technical Education Association.
Arneson worked diligently to create a partnership with the North Dakota Automotive Dealers Association to help NDSCS auto students meet the needs of dealerships in North Dakota. NDSCS received more than 100 training vehicles and numerous service tools, manuals and special tools through this partnership. These dealerships provided key industry training, internship and work opportunities for auto students throughout the state.
Arneson's loyalty to education has been recognized on statewide and national levels. He received the National Award for Excellence in Vocational Automotive Education for post-secondary education, the Director's Award for Excellence from the state of North Dakota and in 2008, was named an Honorary Lifetime Member for North Dakota SkillsUSA Alumni.
A native of Havana, N.D., Arneson holds an A.A.S. degree in Automotive Technology from NDSCS. He and his wife Beverly have been married for 48 years and have three daughters, Dawn, Wendy and Paula, seven grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.