Weather Forecast


Bensen to receive lifetime achievement award

Former Bemidji State University President Jim Bensen will receive the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Charlie Naylor Lifetime Achievement Award.

Bensen served as BSU’s president from July 1994 to August 2001. Originally from Erskine, Minn., Bensen graduated from BSU in 1959 with a degree in industrial education. He also obtained a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stout, as well as a doctoral degree from Pennsylvania State University with specialties in curriculum, coordination, administration and educational development.

He is the only BSU alumnus to become president of the university. The Education-Art Building on campus was renamed Bensen Hall last year.  After his retirement, Bensen remains active in many community organization and is chair of Bemidji Leads!

The Charlie Naylor lifetime achievement award is an annual award to recognize individuals in the community who live by the late Naylor’s values of entrepreneurial thinking and the dedication to make Bemidji the regional hub it is, according to a Chamber press release. Naylor, who died at age 94 in 2008, was an entrepreneur who was active in many civic organizations. He was the impetus behind forming the Bemidji Development Corp., which fosters economic development and growth in the community.

Bensen’s award will be presented as part of the Chamber’s 2013 Awards of Excellence on May 23 at the Hampton Inn, along with several other Chamber awards. The keynote speaker will be Brent Sicard, CEO of  Lueken’s Village Foods.

For a complete list of awards and nominees or to register, visit