Bison Athletics

Editorial: Take Pride In Your Story

Every alumnus has a story and each is wholly different from the next. Take pride in your story, it is part of the rich tapestry that is North Dakota State tradition.

Ravine Lattimer and Mike Donavan, two members of the 1921 Bison football team. The Bison went 3-3-1 that season.
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Photos provided by NDSU’s Archives.

The beauty of my job is that I get to tell stories. Not only that, but I get to listen to people tell me their stories. I do not know what is better, listening or writing. It has to be two of my favorite pastimes. With this issue specifically, we have compiled stories from former NDSU athletes.

What have you been up to since graduating?

How did being a Bison shape your professional career?

Those were just a few of the common questions I asked the people featured in this magazine. The best thing about those questions is that I received a different response from each person.

Regardless of the university you attended, you have a unique story. A story that is entirely different from the person who sat next to you in English 101. Sure, there may be some similarities in job title, where you live now or even what you do in your free time. However, as you think about it, your alumni tale is entirely different from the person you see similarities in. The path to where you are now is divergent, and that is what makes you an individual alumnus to your university. That alone is something to be proud of.

People often ask me how we choose the alumni we do for this issue. To give you an unexciting answer, we really don’t have a process. More than anything, we wanted to feature former athletes who stayed in the Red River Valley after graduation. We also wanted to put a special spotlight on those NDSU alumni who devote themselves to the non-profit and service sector. Lastly, we just choose some past athletes we wanted to catch up with. It’s really that simple of a selection process (I will admit, we do have a lengthy list of potential subjects to choose from). What ensued is a number of features that are wholly different from one another.

The differences come from their paths after graduation. Whether it is Ryan Smith, who played in the CFL after graduation or Albert Gibson, who worked at a local trucking company, every story was dissimilar to the next. Smith now works in Wahpeton as an Edward Jones agent and Gibson works for the City of Fargo. Their one similarity, along with everyone featured in the following pages, is that they are Bison. Bison pride runs through their veins day after day.

Thundar circa 1967.

Just like Bison pride ran through the veins of Rudy Rosatti. A native of Michigan, Rosatti played football at NDSU (then North Dakota Agricultural College) in the early 1920s. He then went on to play football for the Michigan Wolverines in 1922. That Wolverines team went 6-0 on the season and ended up outscoring their opponents 183 to 13 by year’s end. After Michigan, Rosatti played professionally for the Cleveland Indians, Green Bay Packers and New York Giants from 1923 to 1928. To our knowledge, Rosatti was the first former Bison to play football professionally.

While Rosatti is known for his time with the Wolverines, he was a Bison first. He was one of the first to lay down a foundation for NDSU football and Bison athletics in general. However, he was not the only one.

What about Floyd Borderud? A native of Hickson, North Dakota, Borderud played baseball for the Bison in the early 1920s. He later went on to play in the minor leagues for the Drumright Boosters, the Ponca City Poncans, the Longview Cannibals (yes, that’s a real team) and the Greenville Staplers. Borderud then lived in Washington until his death in 1969.

Captain William Gass (left) and Captain-Elect J. Colin Stewart (right) were two players on the 1923 Bison baseball team. The team went 4-6 that year.

You could even consider Neal McClure a transcendent figure in NDSU athletics. Playing football for the Bison in the mid-1930s, McClure is one of two figures gracing our cover this month. Not only that, he is, by our record, the oldest living NDSU alumni around today. At 101-years-old, McClure still put on his vintage Bison sweater for our photoshoot with him. His commitment to the university has transcended age and the same standard should be met by future alumni.

These are just a few early figures that have paved the way for the current tradition and culture at NDSU. There are countless others that I cannot fit into this editorial, but athletes are not the only figures making a difference in the tradition of NDSU. Every single alumnus has made a difference in our world in one way or another.

Yes, athletes are the individuals that get the notoriety and they are absolutely deserving of it. Yet, it is the agriculture majors, the business women and men or even the psychologists that we tend to overlook. In the end, it may be those people who make the biggest difference in our world.

So, regardless of what your path has been and how you got to where you are, take pride in it. Whether you realize it or not, you are an important thread in the rich tapestry that makes up North Dakota State’s history.

I want to personally thank Sean Fredricks and the members of the Bison Football Players Association for their role in this magazine. Your commitment to NDSU tradition and culture truly opened my eyes. As a non-NDSU graduate, I thank you for allowing me to see that commitment first-hand.

Be sure to look for the print edition of our special Alumni issue on magazine stands or in your mailbox later this month.

Editorial: Take Pride In Your Story
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