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Former Educator Honored with Memorial Fund for Business Students

A long-time Western Dakota Tech educator will continue to make a difference in the lives of Business students thanks to a memorial fund her family has established in her honor.

Darlene Valades enjoyed teaching and was a strong advocate of continuing education and Western Dakota Tech. Following her retirement in 1990, after teaching business courses here for 18 years, she continued to speak highly of her time at the college and the education students receive.

Sadly, Darlene passed at age 83 in 2014. In honor of his wife, Darlene’s husband Salvador “Chuck” Valades, and their three children Vince, Tina, and Vance, have started the Darlene J. Valadez Memorial Fund with a generous contribution to the Western Dakota Tech Foundation.  

Darlene Valades, seated, far left in blue dress, with Secretarial Program graduates in 1980.

The memorial fund will be used to award four Western Dakota Tech Business students tickets to attend the Day of Excellence event in Rapid City. Students will be selected for this honor based on criteria developed by Business Faculty. The Day of Excellence, in its ninth year, is known as the area’s premier event for personal and professional development, bringing in top-notch speakers presenting on topics such as attitude, goal setting, personality differences, and work-life balance.

Darlene Valades graduated from Black Hills State College in 1971 (now Black Hills State University) and taught part time at National College and at the Meade School District. The next year she started teaching at Western Dakota Technical Institute and did so until her retirement in 1990. Darlene taught Business-related courses for students in a program similar to training administrative assistants. In addition to teaching, she was also actively involved in Vocational Associations on the local, state, regional and national levels.

“Mr. Valades and his family are very excited this fund will be used to benefit so many students over a long period of time. They also hope to be able to add to the fund in the future to help even more students,” said Aaron Jacobs, Western Dakota Tech Foundation Administrative Assistant. “We thank Mr. Valades, and the Valades family, for honoring their wife and mother through this special fund which will enhance the education of Western Dakota Tech Business students. What a fitting tribute for this wonderful woman who dedicated her life to teaching.”

If you are interested in learning more about memorial funds and other giving opportunities to benefit Western Dakota Tech students, please call Aaron Jacobs at (605) 718-3061 or email him at

Darlene Valades, left, her husband Salvador "Chuck," right, and their daughter Tina, center, enjoying Western Dakota Tech's 40th
anniversary celebration in 2008.
About Western Dakota Tech

Western Dakota Tech was established in 1968 and is the only technical college that serves the western South Dakota region.

Western Dakota Tech offers programs in a variety of fields, including Business and Computers, Construction and Manufacturing, Energy and Environmental Technologies, Health Sciences, Legal and Public Services, and Transportation Technologies.

More than 96 percent of Western Dakota Tech's most recent graduates are working, continuing their education, or are enlisted in the military.

Western Dakota Tech faculty, staff, and administration focus their efforts on helping students gain the skills and experiences they need to succeed. Through hands-on learning, internships, and industry partnerships, Western Dakota Tech students graduate ready to make a real and immediate contribution to their employers and to their communities.

For information about Western Dakota Tech, call (800) 544-8765 or (605) 718-2565 or send an email to Visit us on the web at

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