Julie Schmitz Jensen Memorial Scholarship Fund
Julie had the biggest personality and always put family, friends, colleagues, or the beloved area she called home, Rapid City and the Black Hills of South Dakota, first. She passed away on September 5th, 2022, at age 65. Missed by all with so many cherished memories, Julie’s legacy will live on through this tourism and hospitality scholarship for high school graduates interested in a profession that she was extremely passionate about and held so dear to her heart.
Her career in tourism spanned 40 years. It began after she graduated high school and was chosen to become National Honey Queen, which took her around the world, launching her tourism career. Following that, she moved to Sioux Falls, where she was the Assistant Director of the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau. She then moved to Rapid City to become the Executive Director of the Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau from 1983-1997. She returned as Executive Director in 2014 to lead the effort to become Visit Rapid City, an independent, non-profit corporation where she served as President & CEO for seven years. Julie retired as President & CEO of Visit Rapid City in 2021. Her contributions to the industry and community are significant and go far beyond leading an internationally recognized marketing organization to new heights; but also include tirelessly advocating for the travel and tourism industry on a local, state, and national level. This included traveling to Washington D.C., to ensure that the industry Rapid City relies upon heavily for economic vitality continues to flourish and impact the quality of life for all Rapid City area residents.
Julie’s legacy lives on through this college scholarship, which will benefit South Dakota high school graduates.