SIOUX CITY --  Mark "Doc" Heistad was beloved by all of the Morningside College students that he had taught and mentored as an associate mass communications professor.

When the Minneapolis native died of esophageal cancer in April 2017, he knew he wanted to leave a lasting legacy to the college's mass communications department that had been his passion for the last 15 years of his life.

"'Doc' was the driving force behind KMSC-FM., our student-run radio station as well our TV station and our very busy sports programming," assistant professor Dave Madsen said. "'Doc' wanted a part of his estate to be used for our department."

Specifically, Heistad provided a gift of $100,000 as a way to upgrade the television station with high definition equipment, provide an updated scoring system for sporting events as well as a major makeover to the radio station.

"'Doc' was a radio man," Madsen said, noting that Heistad had worked as a host and producer for public radio stations in Marshall, Minn.; Cedar Falls, Iowa; and St. Paul before becoming a professor. "It made sense that KMSC would see a big improvement."

Located in the back of the college's Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Learning Center, the mass communications department had already seen a few changes in recent years.

"A room that we had been using for storage suddenly gained a window it really didn't need," Madsen said. "We decided to expand this area by making it into the radio station's control room while converting what was previously our control room into production space."

A control room with a window will allow announcers to see outside.

"There's nothing worse than reading a weather report that says it is raining when the sun is actually up," Madsen said with a sigh. "Now, students can actually confirm the conditions for themselves."

The space also had room for a separate area with multiple mics that can used for either talk shows or live musical performances.

An open-to-the-public dedication ceremony for the newly-opened Mark "Doc" Heistad Studio will be held at 4 p.m. Friday at Morningside's Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Learning Center.

"I know 'Doc' was completely dedicated to his students," Madsen said. "Now, a new crop of students will experience Doc's dedication to this department and his students for many years to come."

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