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Distinguished Alumni Award

 
Award Year: 
2022
Graduation Year: 
1996
Amy Powers ’96 is a recipient of the 2022 University of Minnesota Morris Distinguished Alumni Award for distinguished service to the school and its students. Powers graduated from UMN Morris in 1996 with degrees in instrumental music and licensed in K-12 music education. As director of bands at Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, Powers rallied her community around “The Equity Project,” which was based on the idea that all students can achieve when they have the resources and support they need.
Amy Powers
Award Year: 
2022
Graduation Year: 
1991
Jennifer Westendorf ’91 is a recipient of the 2022 University of Minnesota Morris Distinguished Alumni Award for distinguished service to the school and its students. Westendorf graduated from UMN Morris in 1991 with degrees in biology and chemistry from UMN Morris and earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Mayo Clinic Graduate School. She then performed postdoctoral training at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Vanderbilt University, returning to Mayo Clinic to lead a NIH-funded research laboratory. Her research, teaching, and mentoring activities have contributed to important advances in the study and treatment of bone diseases such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and bone cancers.
Jennifer Westendorf
Award Year: 
2021
Graduation Year: 
1971
John Driscoll ’71 is a recipient of the 2021 University of Minnesota Morris Distinguished Alumni Award for distinguished service to the school and its students.
John Driscoll
Award Year: 
2021
Graduation Year: 
1980
Peter Falkum
Award Year: 
2020
Graduation Year: 
1971
James "Jim" Odden '71 is this year's University of Minnesota Morris Distinguished Alumni Award winner. An educator, community leader, and philanthropist, Odden has a long history of service to his alma mater and to greater Minnesota.
Jim Odden
Award Year: 
2019
Graduation Year: 
1968
Curt Larson '68 earned the 2019 University of Minnesota, Morris Alumni Association (UMMAA) Distinguished Alumni Award. An inventor by trade, Larson spent his career creating new products at 3M.
Picture of Curt Larson
Award Year: 
2018
Graduation Year: 
1977
Dr. Marilyn Strand '77 earned the 2018 University of Minnesota, Morris Alumni Association (UMMAA) Distinguished Alumni Award. An outstanding student at UMN Morris, Dr. Strand has been a leader in patient care for almost 40 years.
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Award Year: 
2017
Graduation Year: 
1973
Dennis Gimmestad '73 has enjoyed a 40-year career in historic preservation. Through his professional and volunteer activities, he has devoted his life to stewarding Minnesota's history for future generations.
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Award Year: 
2017
Graduation Year: 
1991
Teresa Luckow Peterson '91 has worked to revitalize the native language and lifeways of the Dakota people. An educator and tribal leader, Peterson has supported a number of indigenous communities.
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Award Year: 
2016
Graduation Year: 
1970
Tom Mahoney ’70, of Hancock, was the creator and founding director of the Grants Development Office at the University of Minnesota, Morris. During his 25-year tenure, average grant awards rose sixfold, to nearly $1 million per year in public and private funds.
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Award Year: 
2016
Graduation Year: 
1996
Mark Schuller ’96, of DeKalb, Illinois, is an associate professor of anthropology and NGO leadership and development at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. His research before and after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake examines why multi-billion-dollar humanitarian aid efforts failed to relieve the poverty and suffering of the Haitian people.
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Award Year: 
2016
Graduation Year: 
1968
Sharon Stewart Reeves ’68, of San Diego, California, spent 38 years as a special collections librarian. As director of library services for the San Diego Union-Tribune newspapers, she was a pioneer in creating online, searchable newspaper archives.
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Award Year: 
2015
Graduation Year: 
1983
Olson, vice president for student affairs at Georgetown University, has spent 29 years in the field of higher education. During his 13 years at Georgetown, he has led programmatic planning for new facilities, developed innovative programs to enrich student well-being, acted as a senior negotiator in university-community planning agreements, and taught undergraduate and graduate courses.
Todd A. Olson,
Award Year: 
2015
Graduation Year: 
1991
Dr. Wehseler, physician and medical director of physician staff development at Affiliated Community Medical Center (ACMC), has been a respected member of Minnesota's medical community since 1998. His contributions to community and family medicine have earned him such honors as the Mayo Clinic Chief Resident in Family Medicine in 1998, the 2010 Minnesota Family Physician of the Year Award, and the 2011 Physician Excellence Award–ACMC system.
Richard Wehseler
Award Year: 
2014
Graduation Year: 
1972
Stowe has spent 35 years in the field of advancement. As an independent consultant, she has worked with clients such as the Aga Khan University, the University of Brighton, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the United Nations Foundation.
Barbara Gunderson Stowe
Award Year: 
2014
Graduation Year: 
1986
Goodmanson is a respected member of the New York City theatre community. He has been designing professionally for stage and television since 1993. His many stage credits include assistant scenic designer at the Public Theater and the Lyric Opera of Chicago and scenic designer at Westbeth Theatre Center and Waverly Place Theater.
Tim Goodmanson
Award Year: 
2013
Graduation Year: 
1965
James “Doc” Carlson ’65, professor emeritus of music, served the University of Minnesota, Morris from 1978 until his retirement in 2009. Over the course of 31 years, Carlson was instrumental in establishing the Morris jazz program.
James "Doc" Carlson
Award Year: 
2013
Graduation Year: 
1987
Mathew J. LeFebvre ’87, professor of costume design at the University of Minnesota, began his career at the University in 1996. Since achieving the rank of associate professor in 2002, LeFebvre has produced designs for 52 professional (juried) productions at significant venues, including five off-Broadway productions, 20 for the Guthrie Theater, five for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, four for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and 15 for Penumbra Theatre Company.
Mathew LeFebvre
Award Year: 
2013
Graduation Year: 
1992
Ann Michels ’92, actress and singer with the George Maurer Group, has worked extensively as a performer since graduating from Morris. As an actress, she has appeared in nearly 60 productions with over 25 companies, including Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, the Guthrie Theater, the Pantages and Hennepin Theatre Trust, and North Star Opera.
Ann Michels
Award Year: 
2012
Graduation Year: 
1973
Robert Hansen ’73 graduated with a theatre and English double major. He earned a master’s degree in theatre while a student at Florida State University and, later, a doctorate in the same field from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
Robert Hansen
Award Year: 
2012
Graduation Year: 
1973
Puncky Heppner ’73 graduated from Morris with a psychology major. He obtained a master of arts and a doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Puncky Heppner
Award Year: 
2012
Graduation Year: 
1976
Maddy Maxeiner ’76, as a Morris philosophy alum, has used her numerous talents to benefit the University of Minnesota, Morris community. Beginning her career as a freelance writer, Maxeiner volunteered for state election campaigns and worked on campus through grants.
Maddy Maxeiner
Award Year: 
2012
Graduation Year: 
1969
Ronald E. McRoberts ’69 is a mathematics alum. He received master’s and doctoral degrees in biostatistics from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
Ronald McRoberts
Award Year: 
2011
Graduation Year: 
1978
David Eckmann ’78, chemistry major, graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and completed a residency in diagnostic radiology. His area of expertise is neuroradiology, in which he completed a fellowship.
David Eckmann
Award Year: 
2011
Graduation Year: 
1968
Gary McGrath ’68, history major, earned a master of science in student personnel administration at Western Illinois University and a doctorate in higher education administration from Indiana University. He served the Morris campus for 17 years of his career in higher education, first as director of activities from 1968 until 1972, then as vice chancellor of student affairs from 1986 until 1999.
Gary McGrath
Award Year: 
2011
Graduation Year: 
1968
Thomas McRoberts ’68 (1946–2010), history major, continued to be a student advocate and campus leader long after he served on Morris Campus Student Government as a student leader himself. After graduating, McRoberts earned a master of arts in history at the University of Oregon.
Tom McRoberts
Award Year: 
2011
Graduation Year: 
1985
John Tavis ’85, chemistry and biology, earned a doctorate in molecular and cell biology from Pennsylvania State University. He completed two post doctorates, first at Pennsylvania State University and then at the University of California, San Francisco.
John Tavis
Award Year: 
2010
Graduation Year: 
1973
An award winning journalist and conservationist, Anderson is an outdoor columnist and editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In 1982, he served as a principle founder and first national chairperson for Pheasants Forever, a wildlife habitat and conservation organization that now has more than 125,000 members in the United States and Canada.
Dennis Anderson
Award Year: 
2010
Graduation Year: 
1974
An internationally respected scholar and researcher, Rutgers University Professor of Human Resource Management Susan Jackson’s expertise is in the area of organizational psychology, the “field that subserves the science of management.” Her research focuses on three different areas: stress/burnout, strategic and international human resource management, and diversity.
Susan Jackson
Award Year: 
2009
Graduation Year: 
1978
With nearly 30 years of varied positions in the food and pharmaceutical industry, Kenneth Bruss ’78, chemistry, currently serves as director of technical operations for sanofi-aventis, a pharmaceuticals manufacturing firm. His role encompasses three major areas including health safety and environment, site security, and the overall facilities and maintenance area for the site including site capital investments.
Kenneth Bruss
Award Year: 
2009
Graduation Year: 
1978
Randy Koopman's career path has led him from field service engineer to technical sales representative to regional manager to director and, finally, to his current position as senior director for Waters Global Services.
Photo of Randy Koopman
Award Year: 
2008
Graduation Year: 
1989
An associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in the College of Education and Human Development, Michael Rodriguez '89 researches psychometric properties of tests and applied measurement with particular interest in Latino youth development and students with disabilities.
Michael Rodriguez
Award Year: 
2007
Graduation Year: 
1983
An associate justice with the Minnesota Supreme Court, Gildea completed her four-year undergraduate education at UMM in three years with a 4.0 (A) grade point average. She was named a Scholar of the College, a member of the Dean's List and received a Medal for Outstanding Undergraduate.
Lorie Gildea
Award Year: 
2006
Graduation Year: 
1980
Jon Mukand graduated from UMM in 1980, receiving a bachelor of arts in chemistry and English. He earned a master of arts in English from Stanford University in 1985, a doctor of medicine degree from Medical College of Wisconsin in 1985, and a doctorate in English literature from Brown University in 1995.
Jon Mukand
Award Year: 
2006
Graduation Year: 
1965
Stuart (Stu) Starner graduated in 1965, receiving a bachelor of arts in physical education, a minor in history, and secondary education certification. He began his career in higher education as assistant basketball coach to Head Coach Jim Dutcher of the University of Minnesota Gophers and then served as head coach at Montana State University.
Stuart Starner
Award Year: 
2005
Graduation Year: 
1966
Paulette Fairbanks Molin graduated in 1966, receiving a bachelor of arts in French and English. She continued her education at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where she earned a master of fine arts in 1975 and a doctorate in 1987, both in educational administration.
Paulette Fairbanks Molin
Award Year: 
2005
Graduation Year: 
1995
Cy Thao graduated in 1995, receiving a bachelor of arts in political science and studio art. He helped found the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent in St. Paul and served as its first director.
Cy Thao
Award Year: 
2004
Graduation Year: 
1964
In 1964, Leonard Munstermann was a member of the first graduating class, earning a bachelor of arts in psychology. He was the first senior president of the Morris Campus Student Association, the first undergraduate research assistant and also served as editor of the student newspaper during his undergraduate career.
Leonard Munstermann
Award Year: 
2003
Graduation Year: 
1968
John Dayton graduated in 1968 with a speech degree and secondary education certificate. After serving several years in the UMM Admissions Office and two years with the U.S. Army, he enrolled in Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock. Following graduation, he joined one of the largest, oldest, most prestigious law firms in Dallas-Thompson, Knight, Simmons and Bullion-and specialized in real estate law.
John Dayton
Award Year: 
2002
Graduation Year: 
1965
Bob Gandrud graduated in 1965 with a degree in mathematics. He immediately joined Lutheran Brotherhood, a fraternal financial services organization, as an actuary.
Robert
Award Year: 
2002
Graduation Year: 
1997
Lue excelled in high school and thrived at UMM, earning degrees in political science and secondary education and becoming involved in a number of student organizations. After graduation in 1997, Lue received a Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, a program that matches Coro Fellows with top executives in business, government, and philanthropy.
Lue Her
Award Year: 
2002
Graduation Year: 
1971
Following graduation in 1971 with a degree in English, Bruce earned a Ph.D. in English and education, with studies in film, from Northwestern University. His first film, made in 1977, was a promotional documentary for the ABC mini-series "Roots."
Bruce Johnson

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