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Minnesota State University Moorhead 2011 Alumni Foundation

Awards Celebration

Friday, September 23, 2011

2011 msum Alumni Foundation

Awards Celebration Friday, September 23, 2011 Hjemkomst Center • Moorhead, Minnesota

Minnesota State University Moorhead accepts nominations for several categories of awards. Distinguished Alumni Award recipients typically are at the peak of their professional or community service careers. Outstanding Young Alumni Award recipients have also had notable careers but have more recently graduated. Outstanding Volunteer Service Award recipients may not necessarily have graduated from MSUM but have made significant contributions to the university. The Eva Vraspir Excellence in Nursing Alumni Award honors the first director of MSUM’s nursing department. All the recipients share one characteristic: they clearly stand out when compared to their peers. Each has given of their time and talents to promote MSUM and to excel professionally and academically, and each has made significant contributions to the communities where they reside and work. Nominations are received throughout the year and each spring a committee is formed to examine the files and select that year’s honorees. The committee relies heavily on the nominating materials received and also contacts employers and colleagues. President Edna Mora Szymanski and the entire MSUM community are very proud of this year’s honorees and assume that each will continue to make our communities and this university better places in which to live and work. Each award recipient exemplifies the high standards we have come to expect from graduates and friends of Minnesota State University Moorhead.

2011 msum Alumni Foundation

Awards Celebration Program Opening Remarks..................................................................Doug Hamilton Greetings.................................................................... Edna Mora Szymanski President, Minnesota State University Moorhead

Presentation of Awards Distinguished Alumni Awards Diana Divecha, Ph.D. College of Social & Natural Sciences Gregory L. Lof College of Education & Human Services Mary Jo Richard College of Business & Industry Sharon M. Werner College of Arts & Humanities

Outstanding Young Alumni Award Ryan Sylvester

Eva Vraspir Excellence in Nursing Alumni Award Lori Wightman

Outstanding Volunteer Service Award Could it be you?

2011 msum Alumni Foundation

Awards Celebration

Gregory L. Lof

Department Chair/Professor MGH Institute of Health Professions Gregory Lof is a professor and the chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, Mass., a graduate school founded by the Massachusetts General Hospital. His department is one of the largest speech-language pathology graduate programs in the country. Lof graduated with his B.S. in speech pathology and audiology in 1979 and received his M.S. in speech-language pathology in 1981, both from MSUM. He went on to earn his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin Madison in communication disorders. Lof has published 17 peer-reviewed articles. His research, teaching and clinical interests primarily are with children who have speech sound disorders, and he recently studied the lack of efficacy for using nonspeech oral motor exercises to change speech sound productions. Lof has presented over 40 peer-reviewed and 35 invited presentations and workshops at universities, school districts, and national, state and international association conventions. He has been an editorial consultant for the journals American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology; Contemporary Issues in Communication Sciences and Disorders; and Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. He has coordinated and served on numerous ASHA convention planning committees, and is a selected member on ASHA’s Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Communication Disorders. He serves on the Communications Committee of the Council on Academic Programs in Communication Sciences and Disorders and was elected for a three-year term as Massachusetts’s representative on the ASHA Speech-Language Pathology Advisory Board. Lof resides with his partner, Thomas Mutschler, in Boston, Mass.

Sharon M. Werner Owner Werner Design Werks, Inc.

Sharon Werner started her own design firm 20 years ago and since then it has been recognized nationally and internationally. Werner Design Werks, Inc. is based out of St. Paul, Minn., and focuses on combining strong visual language with sound design solutions to impact commerce and culture. Werner started at MSUM as an accounting major, but switched when she realized she was more interested in a dorm-mate’s art homework than her own. “I found myself lying awake at night wondering how I’d answer her assignment. The second semester of my freshman year, I took a drawing class-the hardest class of my life-but I was hooked,” Werner said. Werner credits her success in part to professor Phil Mousseau. She said his teaching style created an environment that is similar to working in a design office today, healthy competitiveness that fosters creativity. After starting as an intern and working her way up to creative director at Duffy & Partners, Werner set out on her own to start Werner Design Werks. The firm has had clients, such as Target Corporation, Mohawk Paper, Chronicle Books, Mrs. Meyer’s-Clean Day, Blu Dot Design and Manufacturing, Nick at Nite, VH-1 Networks, Levi’s, Minnesota Public Radio, Ogilvy, Comedy Central and Urban Outfitters. Werner Design Werks was named Target’s Vendor of the Year in 2002, and their work is included in the 100 World’s Best Posters and is part of the permanent collection of The Library of Congress, The Rumpus Room of Ernest and Viola Werner, Musée De La Poste, Victoria and Albert Museum, Musée des Arts Decoratifs and the Cooper Hewitt Museum. Werner is married to Chuck Hanna, and they have a six-year-old son, Ernest. They love going to the beach, playing kickball, climbing trees and making up games.

2011 msum Alumni Foundation

Awards Celebration

Diana Divecha, Ph.D. Developmental Psychologist Consultant

Diana Divecha promotes developmental science through writing, consulting and activism. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in psychology from MSUM, she attended Cornell University to earn her master’s and Ph.D. in developmental psychology. Divecha said MSUM helped prepare her for an Ivy League doctoral program. Divecha was a consultant at Yale University for a one-year research project that studied cultural influences on the development of children’s thinking. In 1990, Divecha became an assistant professor of psychology at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif. Four years later she served as chair of the interdisciplinary studies in human development. “I internalized the student-faculty relationships I’d experienced at MSUM as a model of how to orient myself to students,” Divecha said. In 1997, she left teaching to parent full time and write about children, teens and cross-cultural family life. She is working on her book, Kids Do Better When...: A Developmental Psychologist Shares her Favorite Research on Parenting and Child Development. Divecha has consulted for Family Violence Prevention Fund, Women Donors Network and TEDx Golden Gate: Compassion in Education, and published Paranteen, a publication on parenting teens. Divecha’s professional agenda is to push the science of children and adolescents’ development into the world to positively impact the quality of human development. She has presented academic papers for the American Psychological Association, National Council on Family Relations, Society for Research in Child Development, Eastern Psychological Association and more. Divecha is immersed in yoga philosophy, mediation and Hinduism. She is married and has two daughters.

Mary Jo Richard Partner Eide Bailly, LLP

Mary Jo Richard is a certified public accountant with more than 20 years public accounting experience, providing audit and accounting services. Richard was promoted to partner at Eide Bailly in May 2000—the first female partner in Fargo’s home office and the third in the firm. She is the firm’s director of service organization reports, where she manages consulting and auditing engagements, and specializes in serving SEC registrants, dealerships, wholesale and retail companies, manufacturers and non-profit entities. She also provides outsourced internal audit departments. Richard earned an accounting degree and minor in management in 1986, and she remains connected to the School of Business. “I have been a member of the School of Business Advisory Board for over 10 years. During this time, the School of Business received their accreditation. The commitment of the accreditation team turned a vision into reality,” Richard said. Volunteering is an important part of Richard’s life. She served on the local Girl Scout council board for nine years and was on the YWCA Cass Clay Women of the Year banquet planning committee until 2010. In 2005, she was the Volunteer Service award recipient. Richard was a member of the United Way of Cass Clay Women’s Leadership Council for six years. She serves on the board and finance committee of Minn-Kota Red Cross in order to give back to an organization that helped her family during the ’97 flood. Richard is the chair for the North Dakota Society of CPAs peer review committee. Richard enjoys reading, scrapbooking and photography. She has been married to her husband, Paul, for 24 years. They live in Fargo and have three children and two grandchildren.

2011 msum Alumni Foundation

Awards Celebration Outstanding Young Alumni Award

Ryan Sylvester JAG Corps Officer U.S. Navy

This fall, Ryan Sylvester will pursue his interest in law and international affairs as he begins as an officer in the U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General Corps. Sylvester’s interest in international affairs began as an undergraduate at MSUM when he took a class from professor Andrew Conteh. He said Conteh’s in-depth teaching style with heavy emphasis on historical and philosophical perspectives prepared him for his graduate studies in law and global affairs. At MSUM, Sylvester was immersed in student activities. He was a resident assistant, student orientation counselor, tour guide and The Advocate advertising manager, to name a few. One of Sylvester’s greatest contributions to the university is the annual Student Academic Conference, which he initiated, along with Conteh, as part of his educational leadership master’s practicum. “I really felt like I was able to engage and contribute to the development of programs and traditions at MSUM during my time there, and those experiences served as the best learning laboratory one could ask for,” Sylvester said. In 2003, Sylvester moved to New York to work as an administrator at NYU and while there completed his M.S. in global affairs. It was in New York that he started to develop international connections. Sylvester interned for the Sierra Leone Mission to the United Nations, and the U.S. Department of State for the Foreign Service Institute. Sylvester attended Fordham University School of Law and received his J.D. Fall 2010, he studied at the American University in Cairo as David L. Boren: National Security Education Program fellowship recipient, and was a legal intern for the Resettlement Legal Aid Project assisting refugees. In spring 2009, as part of an international human rights project, Sylvester was able to travel to Conteh’s homeland of Sierra Leone. Sylvester met his wife Kristen at NYU where they both worked for the Department of Residential Education. They have been married four years.

Eva Vraspir Excellence in Nursing Alumni Award

Lori Wightman President Unity Hospital

Lori Wightman inherited an attraction to the health care industry from her parents. Wightman’s father was a hospital administrator and her mother was a nurse, coincidentally Wightman has done both. Wightman is the president of Unity Hospital in Fridley, Minn., which is part of Allina Hospitals and Clinics. She is responsible for the operation of a 221-staffed bed acute care hospital with 1,400 employees. The hospital has a net operating revenue of $187M. Wightman was President of New Ulm Medical Center for eight years before taking her position at Unity Hospital. She is also licensed as a registered nurse in Minnesota. Wightman was elected as the Minnesota Regent in the American College of Health Care Executives from 2008 to 2010, and now serves on the Board of Governors. She is a Blaine/Ham Lake rotary member, TPC Rose member and a board member for the Twins Cities North Metro Chamber. Wightman said the experiences she gained as a student at MSUM impacted her professional development, such as her infection control preceptorship, exposure to public health and assessment skills. “Of course Sr. Callista Roy’s Adaptation Model will be with me forever!” Wightman graduated from Fargo South High School, received her BSN from MSUM and her masters in health administration from the University of Colorado. Going to school full time, working part time and planning a wedding taught Wightman the busier a person is, the more organization life requires. Wightman resides in Blaine, Minn., and has a Great Dane named Synda.

Past Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients 1970



Robert F. Arnold Henry C. Mackall Ada Comstock Notestein Milla Corneliussen Rasmussen

Lois Selberg Paul Schultz Charles Warner

Steve Ehlers Thomas Forsythe Mary Maring Dr. Rodney Tweten


1982 Harlow Berquist Pauline Gough Shirley Peterson

Sigurd Hagen George C. Simson 1983 Fred Allen Martin Holoien Clara Undseth Kornberg James Garrity 1972 Donna Larson Tessie Buckley Murphy 1984 Charles Backstrom Laurel Erickson Soc Glasrud Dale Lestina Dave Torson Donald Moe Clyde Townsend

1973 Ruth E. Erickson Jules Herman Verne B. Lewis Ralph Smith

1974 Maynard Reynolds Alfred Richards Hugh Schoephoerster Vern Schranz

1975 Ray O. Bjork Julien M. Burkness Delmer M. Goode Ruth Schillerstrom Hoglund

1976 Dale Barnes Glenn Melvey Dan Preston Duane Scribner

1977 Robert Durrenberger Jerome Miksche Robert Tolbert

1978 Lenus Carlson Gladys Norden Phillips Blanche D. Schwartz R.E. Utke

1979 Freeman Fountain Marcus Gordon James Nagel Ruben Parson

1980 Ronald Olson Michael McGuire Stanley Murray Robert Walls

1998 Wallace Aas Barry Halm Ted Larson

1999 Dorothy Dodds Greg Staszko

2000 Deb Jenkins Helen Klassen Mark Voxland



Donald Anderson Roger Melvold Helen Wardeberg

Judy Anderson Mark A. Anderson Ben Anvary James Benedict Gary Ness Larry Shellito

1986 Lawrence J. McCrank Gordon L. Patzer Jude Poseley

1987 Alice Kinsella Olson Dwight Burlingame John Haugo John Schwanke

1988 Colleen Hegranes Jean Stephenson

1989 Patrick McDonough Evelyn Quigley Doreen Rodriquez John West

2002 Vickie Boutiette Roger Erickson Frank Leidenfrost Mildred Hegrenes Stenehjem Rick Kasper Ken Peeders

2003 Kevin Carlson Kristen Harris Jon Hovde Tammy Miller Janelle Schumacher


Arland Brusven Joan Justesen Lyle Thorstenson

Mark A. Anderson Eric Blumer Kent Ellingson Leif Enger John Fiebiger Annelee Woodstrom




Dr. Richard Lundeen

1993 Dr. Karen Nagle L. Maynard Oss Collin Peterson

1996 Eino Aho James Ellingson Dr. Kenneth Skjegstad Erma Vizenor

Tom Clark Rd Paseka George Soule Mike Stevens

2006 David Bjornstad Greg Flack Hazel Houkom DeWayne Kurpius Roger Olson Greg Ness Alvin Rudisill Tomi Sawyer

2007 Curt Gudmundson Tim Larsen Tamara Olsen Greg Staszko David Sweet

2008 Jerry Feder Wendy Harstad William Hultstrom Craig Johnson Jay Nibbe Dwayne Radel Vern Rasmussen

2009 John Richman Jason Nordmark Sal Haider

2010 Scott M. Green Lynne Kovash Donna Larson Jerry Martin

Past Outstanding Young Alumni Award Recipients 1979 Jerry verDorn Susan Foss Johnk

1987 Kristen Harris Catherine Mauk

1980 Dale Barlage David E. Hartman

1988 Jane Lundberg Brian Arett

1981 David Strauss Nancy Hanson

1991 Beth Haseltine William Lopez Samuel Wai

1982 Bruce Ferden Sandra Holien 1983 Maureen Zimmerman Timothy L. Solien Timothy Larsen 1984 Doug Hamilton Jean Quam Tomi Sawyer 1985 Deborah Fritz Mary Illies 1986 Judy Nygard Broekemeier Terry Gustafson

1992 Vicki Riedinger Desiree Mickelson 1993 Keri Pickett Thomas Proehl Stanley Wai 1996 Dana Mogck 1997 Tammy Miller Rosa and Jose Trevino

1999 Patrick Atkinson Dr. Susan Everson Daryn Lecy 2003 Corey Elmer 2004 Joan Baltezore 2005 Monte Helm 2007 Brian Gramer Matt Von Pinnon 2008 Mike Redlinger 2009 Kerstin Kealy 2010 Tara R. Rheault

1998 Tenessa Gemelke Tammy Linn Kevin Wallevand

Past Outstanding Volunteer Service Award 1999 Dr. Rolland Dille Betty Feder Dr. William Jones

2001 Gerhard Haukebo Keith Langseth T. Edison & Ruth Smith

2000 Yvonne Condell Erling Johnson

2002 Wayne Ingersoll

2005 Don Meidinger Mark Vanyo 2009 Gary & Cindy Nolte

Eva Vraspir excellence in Nursing Alumni Award 1992 Sherlyn Thune Dahl

1998 Charlotte Feldman

2006 Cheryl Anderson

1993 Linda Carver

1999 Lu Vitalis

2007 Deb Magnuson

1994 Mary Ellen Quincer

2001 Jonelle Burdick

2008 Mark Floding

1995 Arlette Preston

2003 Sharon Dardis

2009 Larry Dahlen

1996 Julie Stola

2004 Caroline Schauer

2010 Patsy Stinchfield

1997 Loretta Heuer

2005 Kathy Burlingame

Minnesota State University Moorhead is an equal opportunity educator & employer and is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities System. This information will be made available in alternate format upon request by contacting Disability Services at 218.477.4318 (voice) or 1.800.627.3529 (MRS/TTY).

Alumni Awards Program 2011  

Alumni Awards Program 2011