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Bob Lind, Published February 08 2011

Lind: College memories roll in

All right, class, here’s more information on the now-closed Dakota Business College, founded and operated by the Watkins family in Fargo for 88 years and which has drawn several letters to Neighbors with memories of it.

The founder, F. Leland Watkins Sr., “struck gold when he founded the college,” Bill Treumann of St. Paul, formerly of Fargo, writes.

“F.L. probably hated the typewriter,” Bill says. “His handwriting was said to be beautiful. He taught handwriting and insisted that a proper business letter must be attractively handwritten.

“He must have been getting along in years when I came to Fargo in 1946,” Bill says, “but I recall that when someone wanted some sort of formal presentation to be made, an attempt might be made to get F.L. to lend his hand, literally.”

Carol Griffey of Fargo writes that she has “fond memories” of the college.

“F. Leland Watkins Jr. was in charge in 1958-1959 when I attended,” Carol writes.

“Penmanship was a high priority for F.L., but I never did master the art.

“I remember him and his wife, Louella, being quite conservative, and Louella would zip around Fargo in her 1938 auto.

“They were very protective of their flock of students and took such an interest in each one of us.

“I completed my courses and Mr. Watkins told me he had lined up a job for me in Washington working for (Sen.) Bill Langer for $375 a month.

“That was a good salary at the time, but I had other plans to marry my young farmer back home.

“F.L. was disappointed but felt it was OK since I was going to marry a farmer.

“On our first Christmas, he sent us a Christmas card and wrote, ‘Mr. Griffey, you stole the secretary of the year from me. Merry Christmas.’

“However,” Carol says, “that year at DBC was an advantage in my life as I had a 34-year career in banking and lasting memories of that year.”

As Curt Eriksmoen, North Dakota history columnist whose articles appear in The Forum, wrote in his “Did You Know That …?” book, volume four, one of the many other Dakota Business College students who went on to have a successful career was the late Ben Meier of Napoleon, N.D., who was North Dakota’s secretary of state for 34 years.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to 241-5487; or e-mail blind@forumcomm.com