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BONES Undergraduate Research Gives SMSU Students Hands-On Experience with the Real Thing A magazine for alumni and friends of Southwest Minnesota State University | Spring 2012 Edition


On May 5th another group, the class of 2012, graduated and joined the Southwest alumni family, which brings us to 18, 431 total alumni since we opened in 1967. As I watched Commencement for the first time as the interim Director of Alumni at SMSU, I couldn’t help but think back to 2008 when I received my undergraduate degrees in Business Management and Marketing, and when I earned my MBA in 2010. From a student’s perspective, sitting in the audience in a cap and gown, you can’t help but think back to the time you spent at Southwest Minnesota State University, how quickly that time passed, and, perhaps most importantly, what the future holds. That future, for me, turned out to be SMSU. While I was pursuing my MBA degree, I was a graduate assistant in the Alumni Office at SMSU for two years. It was there that I was able to work with then-Alumni Director Tyler Bowen, the University’s first full-time Alumni Director. I became familiar with the history of the institution, its traditions, and was able to meet many alumni through the various events and activities sponsored by the office each year. I was fortunate enough to take a position in the Office of Admission upon graduation. My career path took another turn within the University when I was named Interim Director of the Alumni Office this past January. As I’ve become familiar with the office and our alumni since that time, I’ve been struck with how important this University is within the region. It truly fills a higher education need. Those farsighted individuals who first met in the fall of 1956 at the Atlantic Hotel to discuss the possibility of a college in Marshall must be very proud of what that effort has produced. As a former student, and now employee, it’s been rewarding to witness the growth and maturation of the University since I was a freshman in 2004. While the Jan. 2, 2002 fire was a tragedy, it also triggered a decade of unprecedented growth and change to the University landscape. When I visit with returning alumni, everyone mentions that change, and how proud they are of the direction the University is headed. I’m absolutely honored to be a part of the Alumni Office and Southwest Minnesota State University. I look forward to getting to know our alumni, their success stories, and their experiences as students in the years to come. Sincerely,

Michael Van Drehle ’08/MBA’10 Interim Director of Alumni Relations

SMSUFOCUS A magazine for alumn and friends of Southwest Minnesota State University

Spring 2012 | Vol. 31, No. 2

Table of Contents 1 Around Campus: New Initiatives for SMSU 3 Alumni Spotlight: Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt ’93 4 Feature: Hands-on Undergraduate Research 8 Alumni Connections 10 Mustang Athletics 11 Class Notes President Dr. Ronald A. Wood Associate Vice President for Advancement/Executive Director of Foundation Bill Mulso ’93 Director of Alumni Relations Michael Van Drehle ’08/MBA’10 Focus Editor and Designer Marcy D. Olson ’93/MBA’05 Senior Writer and Photographer Jim Tate

All cities and towns are located in Minnesota unless otherwise noted. Year(s) after names reference degrees obtained at SMSU. Focus (USPS 565-770) is published twice each year for alumni and friends of Southwest Minnesota State University by the Alumni Office and the Office of Communications & Marketing at SMSU. Opinions expressed in FOCUS do not necessarily reflect official University policy. Send correspondence, name changes and address corrections to: Alumni Office, Attn: Focus Southwest Minnesota State University 1501 State Street, Marshall, MN 56258 You may also call (507) 537-6266 or email alumni@SMSU.edu

We often receive more submissions than we are able to publish. Visit our Focus webpage for additional stories and all links mentioned in this edition: www.SMSU.edu/focus Know of a great alumni story? Send your suggestions and comments to alumni@SMSU.edu and thanks for reading!

Contributors Stacy Frost ’93 Kelly Loft ’97/MS’11 Stacie Mulso ’94/MS’12 Feature Story Photos Greg Devereaux Photography Athletic Feature Reprinted with permission from the Marshall Independent

Feature stories may be reprinted with the written permission of the FOCUS editor. Other articles may be reprinted without permission provided that credit is given to SMSU. Southwest Minnesota State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action educator and employer. A member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. ADA Accessible. This document can be made available in alternative formats to individuals with disabilities. Request by calling 507-537-6266, 1-800-260-0970, or through the Minnesota Relay Service at 1-800-627-3529.

Visit us online www.SMSU.edu or www.SouthwestAlumni.com Follow our daily news feeds at www.SMSU.edu/today


The Wheels in Motion Under President Wood Interim President Ron Wood listened to the observation, sat back in his office chair, and chuckled. “I burned a little rubber, yes,” said Wood, commenting on the belief that he began his tenure as president with his wheels already turning. When Wood was introduced to the campus by then-MnSCU Chancellor James McCormick at the end of the 2010-11 academic year, he spoke just briefly. His message was to the point: He would not simply maintain the status quo. He would move the University forward. That has proven to be an understatement. The energetic Wood was president of Minnesota West Community and Technical College for 10 years, retiring in 2008. He has put in motion a number of initiatives in a short amount of time: new academic programs, 2 + 2 articulation agreements, a creative emphasis on recruitment and retention, innovative scholarship programs, new athletic programs and identifying academic niches within the region that can be filled by the University. All this before his first year as interim president is over. A look at his initiatives/proposals: School of Agriculture. A task force was created in the fall to establish a School of Agriculture. “I believe we are just about ready to bring forth the curriculum, a Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Agriculture that will primarily be geared toward students transferring from our two-year sister colleges across the state,” said Wood. “It would be my goal that by the time I leave in June 2013 that we would be on the way to hiring a new ag instructor.” SMSU has in place already Agronomy and Agribusiness majors. A third major track — “we might be calling it Agricultural Solutions” — would complement those two. RN to BSN. Another new academic proposal making its way toward final system approval is the Registered Nurse (RN) to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) initiative. A task force of faculty, staff, professionals from the medical community, hospital nursing administrators and faculty or nursing directors from Minnesota West and Ridgewater Community College have identified the potential of transferring two-year RN credits to SMSU in pursuit of a four-year BSN degree. “Our goal, if everything goes well, would be to bring a new director of nursing in sometime in the next five months. We would have that person in place and put the meat on the bone of the courses we’ve laid out. “A student will have to be a registered nurse, be licensed in the states of Minnesota, South Dakota

or Iowa or have their state license be from an accredited RN program. They’re already a registered nurse, and we would add a body of work on top of that that would fulfill their requirements to receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. This really opens up the career options for nurses. Our hope is the spring of 2013, and definitely the fall of 2013.” Recruitment. Student recruitment and retention are a priority. Several new scholarships, include Mustang Scholarships, American Indian Scholarships, Upward Bound Scholarships and College Now Scholarships, have been introduced. These initiatives, coupled with new ideas for recruitment brought forth by Wood’s special assistant, Gary Gillin, have shown results. Applications are up, as are admits. And while those facts mean little until the students arrive in the fall, there are other signs the strategies are working. Housing contracts for incoming students are up — “That’s a positive sign,” said Wood — and the number of students taking summer courses who have indicated they will enroll in the fall is also up. Retention. “We’ve moved some personnel to create a larger presence in retention,” said Wood. “It’s easier to keep a student than it is to recruit one. When I came here, freshman retention was 68 percent. I’ve set a goal for moving that toward that 78 percent level. It’s attainable.” Wood introduced a Building Connections program this past fall, matching faculty members with groups of 8 to 12 students. The faculty member would, over the first five weeks, meet with the group or individually with the students, to have conversations, to listen. “The literature all points to the first five weeks being that crucial point in time,” said Wood. He plans on expanding that program next year, through the University’s Center for Student Success. Universal 2 + 2. SMSU is nearing a Universal 2 + 2 articulation agreement for students with twoyear associate of arts, associate of science or associate of applied science degrees who want to take an additional 60 credits at SMSU in pursuit of a BAS degree in any number of academic areas. Currently, new BAS degree offerings being pursued include Production Management and Community and Civic Engagement, to go along with other four-year degree offerings already in place. “In Production Management, for example, you could be in a robotics program, a construction program, an auto body program, and now you want to go into management. We take those 60 credits, recognizing you are a specialist in your technical area, and we add another body of work on top of that that allows you to be able to be in a management position.”

Interim President Ron Wood

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Wood said two-year sister institutions would likely include Minnesota West Community and Technical College (Worthington, Granite Falls, Pipestone, Canby, Jackson); Ridgewater College (Willmar, Hutchinson); South Central College (North Mankato, Faribault); and Riverland Community College (Albert Lea, Austin, Owatonna) to start. These are institutions that SMSU has had 2 + 2 articulation agreements with in the past. Track/Cross Country. In an effort to draw students and comply with Title IX requirements, Wood plans on bringing back cross country and track and field, and refurbishing old Mattke Field to make it into a new track and field complex that will serve both the University and Marshall High School. “My goal is for cross country to begin in fall of 2012, and the track and field team to begin competing indoors in the winter of 2013, and outdoors at the original Mattke Field in the spring of 2014,” said Wood. “We’ll cap men’s numbers in cross country and track and field, so that we can bring our Title IX numbers into closer compliance.” SMSU and Marshall High School will share the cost of the original Mattke Field renovation, including work on the current bleachers, press box and lockerrooms, as well as the installation of a new track and field facility with an artificial turf infield. In the Future. “There will obviously be some things that I will want to accomplish in the second year, and they’ll be less visible. They’re more infrastructure things, such as how do we analyze our programs? How do we make sure we’re getting the best efficiency, the most effective programming? I hope we can get those in place so that when the next president comes in, he or she will have a solid foundation to grow from. We will also be laying the groundwork for the Higher Learning Commission accreditation visit, scheduled to take place in March 2014.”

Thoughts on SMSU. “There have been times when I wondered ‘What the heck did I bite off?’ And there are other times that I think, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re actually going to do something!’ I made some decisions very early on about recruiting and admissions for this year and I believe those are bearing fruit almost immediately. I knew when I came here that my tenure was short, and if I was going to do anything, I was going to have to wear myself out. I think I’ve worn the staff out at the same time. I think the second year has to be a very different year than this first one. “What I have found is that these are some of the most friendly people, and some of the most productive. Within the first week, the biggest compliment that I could give is that I felt this was my home. And that’s a credit to all the components of the University, the Marshall community, and the greater southwest Minnesota community. Quite frankly, I believe this institution can blow everybody else out of the water if we can figure out how to overcome what I call the short-term financial issues.” He knows college is all about the right fit, be it a student, or an administrator. “I don’t think we should prejudge who can and can’t do a job. I think it’s the person who comes in and the fit they have with that institution. If you were to put me at the University of Minnesota, I would do a lousy job because I don’t like living in the big city. But I love it here. I was a Mustang on the first day. I think it’s the fit, rather than where a person comes from.” Wood credits former President Dr. David Danahar for making his transition an easy one. “He laid the groundwork for me, and there was respect that had been built between us over the years that I think he felt comfortable that I would be an OK fit here.” Wood is also a Worthington alderman (city council), and with his wife, Sandy, coaches the Worthington High School girls and boys golf teams. You can almost hear those wheels burning rubber.

SMSU Investment Research and Trading Center Opens

Brad Baune, left, receives a plaque from George Seldat during the Center’s dedication on April 25.

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The new Investment Research and Trading Center, located in Charter Hall 127, gives SMSU students an opportunity for practical experience with investing and financial research. “It’s always been a dream of mine to have a facility like this,” said Associate Professor Business Administration George Seldat at the open house and dedication on April 25. The center has computers that operate Morningstar software, investment software that allows students to create investment portfolios and choose different types of financial instruments. “They won’t be using real money of course, but what the program allows is limitless as far as developing a set of financial assets,

monitoring and tracking them and analyzing those decisions,” said Seldat. The Center also includes a stock ticker, and has teleconferencing capabilities, so students can interact with students from around the world to discuss financial ideas. It was named in honor of the late Bernie Archbold, a well-known Marshall businessman who was the managing director at Northwestern Mutual for 43 years. Seldat thanked SMSU alumnus Brad Baune who made the initial contribution, in partnership with the Northwestern Mutual Foundation, to fund the new Investment Research and Trading Center.


Dr. Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt ’93 Leads Cutting-Edge Research To Address Nuclear Waste Storage Issues Dr. Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt came to

tens of millions of dollars in their endowment to fund this

Southwest Minnesota State University to study

change in mission.”

Creative Writing. Today, he oversees scientific

Albrecht-Schmitt has made a name for himself as an

research at Notre Dame University that is breaking

expert in the materials and solid-state chemistry of heavy

new ground in the nuclear energy field.

elements, especially uranium, neptunium and plutonium.

“I scanned one of those books on colleges

His is one of “three or four” academic labs in the U.S.

looking for a place that had a good Creative Writing

that can work with plutonium directly. “It’s a very unusual

program,” he explained. “Southwest State caught

circumstance,” he said. “In addition to state and federal

my attention.”

licenses and significant financial support from the

He grew up “all over the world.” His father was

Department of Energy and a willingness by researchers

a microbiology professor at the University of Texas

at (other) labs to work with me, you just can’t buy

Medical Branch and his stepfather was a Navy

plutonium. You have to be supplied. It’s a challenging

doctor. He went to four different high schools, one

endeavor.”

in Arizona and three in Texas, so moving a long distance from home was not a problem.

He oversees a team of 15 researchers at Notre Dame, Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt ’93

It was “about two weeks” into his freshman year

doctoral students. It has made important discoveries in

that he switched gears. “I was enrolled in freshman chemistry course. (Retired) Chemistry Professor Ed Carberry was so amazing, and I was so inspired,” he said. “I had been good in chemistry in high school, and it was calling me back.” He is currently a professor of civil engineering and geological sciences

a group that includes undergraduate, graduate and postheavy-element research as it relates to nuclear waste

storage. “We work a lot on environmental problems associated with nuclear waste. Hopefully we are making materials safer to dispose of,” he said. “It’s on the cutting edge.”

and concurrent professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Notre Dame.

He gained international attention in March 2012 when he published

He is also a Frank M. Freimann Chair, one of 11 Freimann chairs, all in

a paper highlighting Notre Dame Thorium Borate-1 (NDTB-1), a

engineering and physics. The chairs are named for the pioneer of the

crystalline compound that can be tailored to absorb ions, including

electronics industry and former chief executive officer of Magnovox,

radioactive ions, which could make nuclear waste storage less dangerous,

Frank Freimann.

and less expensive.

After earning his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from SMSU in 1993, he went to Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., where he earned both a master’s degree and doctorate in Chemistry. He has done post-doctoral work at the University of Illinois.

“It’s a patented process, and we’re excited about it,” said AlbrechtSchmitt. He acknowledges his undergraduate experience in setting a solid foundation for his career, and he credits the SMSU faculty in particular.

Auburn University, Auburn, Ala., was his first position in higher

“If I wanted to do undergraduate research, they would be there, investing

education. He remained there for 10 years, mostly in research, until

a lot of out-of-classroom time in me. They got to know their chemistry

moving on to Notre Dame, where he’s been for three years.

majors personally, and that’s why so many of my classmates, in grades

“I was drawn to Notre Dame for a number of reasons,” he said. “They had recently altered their mission. They decided they wanted to

above and below me, went on to graduate school. I believe it was because of the dedication of the faculty in undergraduate research.”

be one of the top research schools in the world, and they were releasing

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LOVELY BONES How undergraduate research at SMSU brought together a young scientist, a 35-million-year-old fossil, and a dog... Jake Beckstrom is one of the most determined people you’ll ever meet. Beckstrom, who graduated after the fall semester 2011 with a degree in Environmental Science, plans on attending law school in the fall, pursuing a degree in Environmental Law. He’s always been an outdoorsman. In fact, when he was 14, he stayed outside in his back yard for an entire summer. “I had a tent, and didn’t go inside of my house, or any other. I guess I did it just to see if I could.” His mother and father, Elaine and Kurt Beckstrom from Watertown, Minn., are his biggest supporters. He was involved in a diving accident on Aug. 11, 2005, an accident that left him a quadriplegic. And while that sobering life change may have slowed down others, it only steeled his determination. Beckstrom still enjoys hunting and fishing, with some modifications. For hunting, he uses a McKenzie Mount. “Jeff McKenzie is an engineer and a family friend. He took a look at my chair and said, ‘Oh yeah, we can get you out there hunting again.” The mount connects to the front of the chair, to the footrest, and a

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central post comes up between his knees. On top of that is an arm that connects to the posts, which accommodates a shotgun, rifle or crossbow. The chair he uses for hunting is an Action TrackChair™ that was developed by Marshall businessman, Tim Swenson. He also fishes, with help from a splint affixed to his wrist. His service dog, Miles, is always at his side, and though Miles wears a vest telling people not to pet him, it’s awfully hard to resist. “Everybody knows Miles,” said Beckstrom. “It didn’t matter if it was faculty or students, they’d all say, ‘You’re the kid with the dog.’” His last project before graduating was cleaning up an oreodont fossil that was donated to SMSU. “It’s sort of a cross between a sheep and a pig, about the size of a medium dog,” said Beckstrom. The fossil was donated by Davey Jones from Marshall. It came from a ranch in Wyoming. “Davey has been going to Wyoming for 30 years looking for fossils. He’s a big collector,” said Dr. Thomas Dilley, Environmental Science professor who helped Beckstrom with his project.


There were many projects that I’d say, ‘I can’t do this,’ and the professor would say, ‘All right, let’s figure out a different way. —Jake Beckstrom

Dr. Thomas Dilley, Jake Beckstrom, Miles, and the oreodont skull.


Above: Jake, 2010 homecoming king, enjoys a moment at the football game with Miles and some of his friends. Below: Fossil hunter Davey Jones with Jake at the 2011 Undergraduate Research Conference at SMSU.

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“Hours and hours and hours,” is how Beckstrom describes the cleaning process. The fossil “has its skull, legs, toes, tail and hip, all of the important elements,” said Dilley. The oreodont fossil was covered in sediment that had to be painstakingly removed. Beckstrom would come into the lab, and patiently go through the process. The project was the theme for his Undergraduate Research Conference oral presentation last November, and was his Environmental Science capstone project. Besides cleaning up the 35 millionyear-old fossil, Beckstrom also researched the animal, so he could better understand where it lived, who its enemies were and what it ate, among other things. “It lived along tree-lined streams,” said Beckstrom. “When flooding happened, a lot of them died. That’s one of the reasons it’s one of the more common die-offs in the Badlands area.” The SMSU oreodont has approximately 46 of the 145 bones, “about 30 percent, and we have one of every important part of the animal” said Beckstrom. It will be displayed in the University’s Natural History Museum. “Sometimes when I’d work on it, I’d just make a pile of dust, you don’t see immediate change. It was tedious, but it was also cool to see bones being exposed finally.” He would use a grout cleaner, a bathroom tile cleaner, toothbrushes, steel brushes, dental picks, electric brushes and a Dremel tool. “It seemed like it took forever,” he said. “I really wanted it displayed in the museum.” The fossil was brought to SMSU in burlap and plaster of Paris. “That was to encase it, to protect it,” said Beckstrom. “Davey (Jones) only saw a little bit of the fossil, the rest was all covered with sediment. “It was interesting to me to learn about the process. I’ve always wanted to do it. I’m glad I did it. But I don’t think I want to do it again,” he said, thinking about the

roughly 100 hours he put into the cleaning project. “There’s still about 50 hours remaining,” he said. “He learned on the go,” said Dilley. “It was a valuable project he was doing. It was an opportunity for him to work on a project that really gave him literally handson experience.” And while the project allowed Beckstrom to research the oreodont, it wasn’t the only research he has undertaken in the last year. Last summer, Beckstrom was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. “The project I was researching was finding areas around the country that had been polluted, like a dump site for a company, that also had high rates of cancer in the local population. At times it was frustrating, because there was a correlation at times, but you can’t prove it’s cause and effect.” Beckstrom did a lot of superfund site research. “It was weird. Sometimes there’d be clusters (of cancer) but no history of pollution, but then you’d find areas of a lot of polluting, but no cancer.” Another project he worked on was the history of disabilities in America. “It covered a broad aspect of disabilities, like birth defects caused by pollution, and cancer related to that. I ended up working on a history of service dogs, also.” It will be years before the project is on display in the Smithsonian. “It takes a long time. There was one exhibit planned, the data was there, but it went to my boss to get checked out and my boss wasn’t feeling it. Four years of research and development, and the project had to start over.” The whole experience of working in one of the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., still leaves Beckstrom somewhat in awe. “It was great to be among the actual curators,” said Beckstrom. “Our apartment was a few blocks down from the Smithsonian. I enjoyed how close everything was.”


Accompanying him was his roommate last year, Ben Pedersen, who served as his personal care attendant (PCA). “Without him, and my parents, it would not have been possible,” he said. Beckstrom has a personality that draws people. He was Homecoming king at SMSU two years ago, perhaps his biggest college highlight. “It was a culmination of all the love I feel from the people at SMSU.” He said he’ll miss that personal attention he received from faculty and staff. “There were many projects that I’d say, ‘I can’t do this,’ and the professor would say, ‘All right, let’s figure out a different way.’ It’s like a family at SMSU.” So now it’s on to the Vermont School of Law in Royalton, Vt., ranked the No. 1 environmental law school in the country. “Vermont has only 600 students, so it will be an atmosphere like SMSU, and I like that,” he said. “(SMSU Public Administration Professor) Doug Simon talked to me about getting into environmental law. I started thinking about that, and I looked at schools that had programs. I am really looking forward to this new chapter in my life. I’m really appreciative of the education I got at

SMSU. It has allowed me to follow my dreams.” Beckstrom, on the surface, appears pretty laid back, but looks can be deceiving. “The accident changed me mentally. Before, I’d take things as they come. After the accident, I have been more driven, which has surprised me.” He’ll tackle his next challenge with Miles at his side, and the support of the many friends he made while a student at SMSU.

I’m really appreciative of the education I got at SMSU. It has allowed me to follow my dreams. —Jake Beckstrom

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Alumni Love Story Winner Still dancing after all these years

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, the Alumni Office sent a postcard to all of our 1,256 alumni couples with a request for the best Southwest Love Story. We received so many great stories, but we had to choose a winner. Here is our Focus staff favorite submitted by Ron Cockriel ’82 telling the story of how he and his wife, Jeanne (Labissoniere) ’80 met while studying at Southwest. The Cockriels received a Southwest snuggle blanket as their prize. Visit our website to read more of the submissions: www.SMSU.edu/Focus.

Two young city slickers, she from Minneapolis and I from St.Paul, enrolled in the ‘new’ university in the farmlands of Marshall, Minn. Then Jeanne (Labissoniere) asked me to particpate in a dance contest at Earth II in 1978. Remember the disco craze? “Staying Alive” was the song, but we were the first asked to leave the dance floor for obvious reasons—I can’t dance. It was OK as we had a chance to walk and talk hand in hand.Thirty-three years later and we’re still stepping on toes. But with our song in our heads and the reflection of the dance ball sparkles in our eyes, we continue to dance. The “SSU” experience provided us each with an academic degree, a marriage certificate, and two birth certificates in our years there. A small school enviroment with big lifetime experiences gave us a solid footing to move forward together with our lives. Thank you, “SSU” faculty and friends. —Ron Cockriel ’82

Upcoming Alumni Events June 15

Minnesota Twins Game

June 22

St. Paul Saints Game

July 15

Marshall A’s Game and Military Appreciation NIght

Aug. 5

Valleyfair Event

Oct. 6

Homecoming Day

Check out more events as they become available and register online at: SouthwestAlumni.com

Alumni Award Recipients Announced for Homecoming 2012 Since 1974, the Alumni Association has honored alumni in various programs for success in their lives and careers. Each year outstanding alumni and dedicated friends of SMSU are honored by the Alumni Association during Homecoming. Lifetime Achievement Awards will be awarded this fall to David Christenson ’75,

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Debra Morgan ‘79, and Clayton Schwerin ‘77. Honorary Lifetime Membership Awards will be given with recipients to be announced later. Janell Kassel ‘04 will be presented a GOLD (Graduate of the Last Decade) award. Join us in honoring these outstanding individuals at our annual Alumni Awards

Lunch on Friday, October 5 at noon in the SMSU Conference Center. To nominate an outstanding individual for a future alumni award, please visit: www.southwestalumni.com/AlumniAwards For more homecoming details:

www.SMSU.edu/homecoming


Dr. Thomas Jackson ‘85 Comes Full Circle with the Class of 2012 He spoke about the “Bees” — “be Dr. Thomas Jackson ’85, Vice adventurous, be honest, be kind, be President for Student Affairs at humble.” He urged graduates to Louisville University, was the first “…build a little adventure – play – keynote speaker the Class of 2012 into each day; … Always take the heard, and the last. high road and remember those He spoke to this year’s graduating lessons your parents taught you; … seniors at convocation, a day after As U.S. citizens, one of our greatest they moved into the residence halls. attributes is our kindness. Allow that Four years later, he delivered the to be one of your greatest strengths commencement address. as well; … My Grandmother used to His talk was about the “Birds and say, ‘Let your actions tell your story, the Bees.” Not the talk you might expect. The birds referred to flying. Dr. Thomas Jackson ’85 not your mouth.’” Being an educated citizen, he The “Bees,” how to act in the future. reminded the graduates, carries with Jackson is an instrument-rated it responsibilities to society. pilot who likened going out into the work world to In closing, he urged the Class of 2012 to smile at his first flight as a pilot. His instructor was an older gentleman who talked to him about why he wanted life. “We prefer working with happy people – so be a happy colleague. And, while we may do the same to fly, then showed him an airplane and the instruments, then pushed him to first start the plan, thing hundreds of times each week, there are people that may be doing it for the very first time then taxi around the runway, then take it up into and we, as the educated ones, can be so the air. He didn’t know it at the time, but the pilot, inspirational in those moments.” with so many years of experience, was both challenging him, and subtly helping him at the same time.

Alumni Travel Opportunities in 2012 British Isles Odyssey Luxury Cruise, July 23–August 5, 2012 London • Edinburgh • Invergordon • Kirkwall • Isle of Skye Belfast • Dublin • Waterford • Cork • Fowey • Paris Edinburgh Castle Scotland

Florence Cathedral Dome Italy

Mustang Pride in Amazing Places Ken Mukomela traveled to London in October 2011. He is pictured in front of Big Ben and Parliament showing his Mustang Pride. Congratulations to Ken Mukomela! You’ve won a $50 gift card to the Barnes & Noble Campus Store that you can use in the store or online at smsu.bncollege.com to pick up more Brown & Gold gear! Do you have a photo of yourself wearing your Mustang gear in an amazing place or while on an incredible adventure? If so, send it along with a brief description to: alumni@smsu.edu. Winners will see their photo published in FOCUS and receive a $50 gift card to the SMSU Barnes & Noble Campus Store. To be considered, photos must be in focus with SMSU or Mustang logo clearly visible.

Let’s Get Social:

Italian Reflections Cruise, November 7–15, 2012 Athens • Sorrento • Rome • Livorno • Florence • Pisa • Barcelona

Visit www.SouthwestAlumni.com | Click Programs and Services FOCUS

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Klinkner’s Courage

Derek Klinkner at Mattke Field

Derek Klinkner has always been obsessed with football. Back in high schools, while teachers were giving lectures, Klinkner was drawing up plays in his notebook. “Teachers would catch me drawing plays in my notebook instead of taking notes,” Klinkner said. “And this is terrible, but I’ve done that these past five years in college. I still do it today.” For two seasons, Klinkner was a force on the field for the Mustang football team as its middle linebacker, finishing with 139 tackles in 22 games (21 starts). Then it all came crashing down on May 11, 2010, when Klinkner’s football career came to a tragic end. Helping his dad move a water tank on the family’s farm in Artesian, S.D., the water tank fell on Klinkner, breaking his back and dislocating the T-12 and L-1 vertebrae in his back. Klinkner had two metal rods inserted into his back to realign his spinal cord, but the concern was that Klinkner would never walk again. “That was a tough time with Derek’s accident,” said SMSU linebacker JJ Bobrowicz. “He was like the defensive captain. He was that player you wanted to be friends with and the player you wanted to be on the field.” But that has never dampened Klinkner’s love of football. The first chance he got, he rolled his wheelchair onto Mattke Field to watch the Mustangs practice and play that fall. “I remember one time last year, seeing Derek come out to one of our practices. He came out with his walker and made it to the field,” said SMSU head football coach Cory Sauter. “We stopped practice and everyone was amazed. Everyone gave him a round

of applause. To him, it was no big deal.” In the 2010 season finale against Concordia-St. Paul, with the aide of a walker, Klinkner led the team onto the field for the final game of the season. In 2011, Klinkner continued to patrol the sidelines, helping coach the linebackers as a student assistant. And while he’ll never be able to suit up for SMSU [football] again, his love of the game did not go unnoticed, as Klinkner received the “Courage Award” from the Minnesota chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame during the foundation’s “Honoring Legends, Inspiring Leaders” awards banquet on April 22 in St. Paul. “A lot of professional athletes and Hall of Fame athletes [are] there to receive awards, so it’s just an honor to even be considered,” Klinkner said. “It’s just another thing that God has blessed me with. It’s another chance to share Jesus with everyone.” Coming to grips Klinkner loved the game of football, but after the accident, it was heartbreaking to be on the sidelines. Instead of tackling offensive backs and striking fear into opposing teams, all Klinkner could do was sit and watch. “I didn’t want to go to practice,” Klinkner said. “I only went because my best friends and teammates were there.” The coaches could see the frustration coming from Klinkner. “Any time you take a passion of yours and pull it away, that’s a tough thing,” Sauter said. “It does take some time and healing. “I think Derek has finally come to grips as far as the finality of playing football and being fine with it. He understands now, and he can get himself ready for those next 40 or 50 years of his life. ... He’s been through a lot and I really think he’s got a lot of confidence now because of it.” While things were tough, Klinkner was tired of just sitting idly by, especially at watching the linebacker unit, where the Mustangs were replacing six-year senior Paul Muecke with Bobrowicz, and moving Phil Breidall from fullback to linebacker. Klinkner wanted to help the team, one way or another.

“I got tired of just sitting and watching, so I went to Coach Sauter,” Klinkner said. “He told me to talk to Coach Guenther (SMSU’s defensive coordinator), and he had me help with the linebackers.” A knack for coaching Since high school as he doodled defensive schemes in his notebook, Klinkner envisioned himself as a coach. Helping with the linebackers gave him his first opportunity to prove his mettle on the sidelines, helping run drills and giving some more attention to the younger linebackers in the Mustangs’ lineup. On game days, along with helping with the linebackers, Klinkner would write out defensive calls on a whiteboard. “He was there every practice, always working with a lot of the younger linebackers who were transitioning to college,” Bobrowicz said. During the season, Klinkner focused his attention on Bobrowicz, who moved from defensive end to play the middle linebacker role, Klinkner’s former position. Finishing fourth on the team with 71 tackles last season, Bobrowicz said Klinkner would often wait for him on the sidelines to help break things down and coach the then-sophomore linebacker up. “It really helped me out,” Bobrowicz said. “One major thing he always told me early on was that I was too high and needed to lower my center of gravity. Move quicker and be smaller. Footwork was another big one we worked a lot on together in drills.” Moving to the hardwood Athletics wasn’t completely out of the question for Klinkner after the farm accident. The past two years, Klinkner has been a member of the SMSU wheelchair basketball team. And using some of his new-found coaching knowledge, he’ll stay on the hardwood for two more years to work as a graduate assistant coach. After talking with head coach Lew Shaver and SMSU Director of Athletics Chris Hmielewski, Klinkner will be a player/coach for the Mustangs. “I will walk again someday” Since the accident, Klinkner has found new feats of strength. Starting

By Joe Brown, courtesy of the Marshall Independent, printed March 24, 2012 out in a wheelchair, he progressed to forearm crutches and today, he walks around campus with a cane. Finishing physical therapy before the football season last year, Klinkner heard from friends who had experienced spinal trauma that the best therapy was to just walk. “I forced myself to go farther and farther,” Klinkner said. “I’d walk from my car to classes, working on those muscles and getting stronger and stronger. “How far can I walk? It depends on the day. Some days, I feel like I can walk forever. Other days, I’m tired from the day before.” Seeing where Klinkner has come from since the accident in May 2010, Sauter said the transition has been night and day. “You just never know how a person is going to respond to injuries and recover,” Sauter said. “More than anything, it was just his will and mindset that he was going to walk again, having that attitude each and every day.” Bobrowicz added, “Having him around was such good motivation. He’d always talk about his last college game and how you can never go half speed because you never know when your last play is. He was a good motivator because he always had a good attitude. He looked like he was always having a good time and he doesn’t let anything bring him down.” Klinkner’s recovery also strengthened his faith. Working with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Klinkner has told his testimony many times in hopes of inspiring others. “If you ever talk to me about Jesus, I’ll say he’s a pretty neat guy,” he said. “If you talk to some people who have known me for four or five years, they’ll say, ‘He’s a totally different person.’ It’s one of those deals that through Jesus, I’ve just grown so much.” Klinkner’s made a lot of progress, but he’s not yet content with his recovery. “I will walk again someday without my cane,” he said. “I will make a full recovery. I will go for runs and stuff like that. There’s no doubt in my mind.”

For updates on all the Mustang teams visit: www.smsumustangs. com Comprehensive Stats Online Now! 10

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The SMSU athletic communications office has posted all-time and year-by-year statistics for most of SMSU's 11 athletic teams. Check out season statistics dating back to 1967 for volleyball, football, soccer, women's

golf, women's and men's basketball, tennis, baseball and softball. Visit SMSUMustangs.com, select a sport and click “Statistics” or click on “History” for other trivia tidbits.


1975 Steve Klein manages the family’s honeyproduction business, Walnut Grove Mercantile in Marshall. He and his wife, Kay, took over Klein Foods in 1992, tending the bees that produce their awardwinning honey. Though the bees were eventually sold to a business in North Dakota, the tradition continues with Klein Foods products in gift stores across the country. The company also sells a huge amount of fudge in cooperation with fundraising efforts at schools across the country. Lucy Tokheim completed her portrait series of people reading books, funded by the Minnesota Arts Legacy Project. The exhibit “Bookface” is currently on tour in the libraries of southwest Minnesota. Visit: tokheim-stoneware.com for dates and locations throughout the summer of 2012.

awarded the Dick Siebert Award by the Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches Association. The award is given to a coach who has served Minnesota high school baseball with distinction, professionalism, involvement and longevity. He is also in charge of the Paynesville Little League and the Junior Legion programs.

position on the wrestling team after the previous coach retired. “You work hard, you practice hard and you do it like you’re supposed to. That should lead to success ultimately.”

1995

Tyler Bowen (MS’08), former Alumni Director at SMSU, recently took a position as a trust officer at Bremer Bank, Marshall. 1984 Deborah (Geiver) Norlin accepted the Sheri (Mathieu) Boeyink writes New position of Director of Career, Transfer and Adult paranomal romance books. Awaited, Placement Services at Central Lakes the second novel of the Wasteland triology College in Brainerd, Minn. She was a was released May 1. She writes under the Distance Learning Coordinator-Advisor on pen name Lynn Rush. She lives in Arizona the Brainerd campus from 1998-2007. with her husband, Charlie ’95. Norlin was also Assistant Director of Scott Wrobel, Andover, Minn., published Enrollment Services and Alumni Director his first work of fiction, Cul de Sac, a book at SMSU from 1994-1998. about suburban life centered on middleaged males. Wrobel works at Anoka1987 Ramsey Community College as an English Tom Bosch is the Vice President of professor, with a focus on writing. Hospitality Services at the Avera 1978 “Laughter was the first goal,” Wrobel said. Terry Bentele was honored as the 2011McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D. 2012 Class A Minnesota Athletic Bosch brings 13 years of experience to the “I wanted to make the stories entertaining.” Administrator of the Year. Bentele has been job, previously working as the general 1997 a long-time athletic director and physical manager of the Holiday Inn City Centre in Ann (Schmeling) Adams has been busy education teacher in the GranadaSioux Falls. Bosch says that adapting the raising her three children, Alivia, 8; Grant, Huntley/East Chain school district. “I was same focus on guest satisfaction from a 5; and Will, 3. “Who doesn’t love hugs?” very surprised when I found out about the hotel to a hospital setting is a responsibility she asked. In her spare time, she enjoys award,” he said, “but I’m happier that little to “demonstrate the compassion that goes shopping, cooking and baking. Granada-Huntley/East Chain school got along with healing not only the body but Alvin Ashley returned to the Sioux Falls recognized at the state level. We must be the mind and soul as well.” Storm football team for his second season doing something right.” Jon Smith enjoyed watching his son as the wide receiver coach. Previously, he Lee Henschel recently published his first Brandon quarterback the Zimmerman worked 11 years in the Arena Football novel, Knight Sky. The novel features a High School football team to the 2011 League and also held a position as an young man who is in a branch of the Minnesota state playoffs. Smith and his son assistant coach at Dakota State University. military. The book begins with seven ships are third- and fourth-generation football During his career at SMSU, Ashley gained being diverted to Sector Z7 in mid-flight. captains. Smith said that what he enjoyed over 7,500 receiving yards and scored 162 “When they arrive at the sector, they most was the camaraderie he experienced touchdowns. discover that the marine base on the hub when playing high school football. “I’m still Cory Hubbard has been awarded the has been destroyed and no one is friends with most of the guys I played professional insurance designation, answering the hails of the ships,” Henschel with,” he said. Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter, said. He is currently at work on a sequel to 1990 by The Institutes, an educational Knight Sky, but is not certain about the organization that confers the CPCU Richard Zieske has joined the Avera release date. designation on persons who complete eight Medical Group, Mitchell, S.D., where he rigorous requirements. Hubbard began works as a certified physician assistant. 1979 working for North Star Mutual Insurance Ron Moorse served as Afton, Minnesota’s Zieske’s most recent professional interim city administrator between April experience included working as aphysician of Cottonwood in 2004. He currently holds 2010 and February 2011. Later, he served assistant in the Sanford Acute Care Clinic the position of underwriter for the Farm Underwriting Department. as the government affairs consultant for the in Sioux Falls. He is also a member of the Gary Whitney was awarded the learning city from March 2011 to June 2011. South Dakota Academy of Physician leadership award by Chief Learning Officer Assistants and the American Academy of 1982 magazine. Whitney was recognized during Physician Assistants. Terrence Fogarty, internationally known the Fall Chief Learning Officer sports artist, has been asked to create the 1992 Brett Carlson is working as the director of Symposium. He is vice president of Global third and final mural planned for Hotel Learning at InterContinental Hotels downtown Marshall. “I feel honored to be engineering for Crenlo LLC in Rochester. Group, Twin Cities. asked to do it,” Fogarty said. The mural will Crenlo is a leading manufacturer of cab 1998 and enclosure products to protect people depict children participating in various Wendy (DeVorak) Kohler has coached the sports. The completed mural will be on the and electronics. Carlson and his wife, Alexandria (Minn.) Cardinals girl’s east wall of the Varsity Pub building, at the Loretta, live in Rochester. Shawn Mueske was one of four recipients basketball team since the 1980s. She has led corner of College Drive and Main St. the team to seven state tournaments and of the Minnesota State Colleges and Randy Serreyn has taken a position with Universities Educator of the Year award in won the state title in 1997. “We have a great Bremer Bank in Marshall. Most recently, staff that’s loyal and dedicated to each other 2012. He teaches biology at Ridgewater Serreyn worked at Wells Fargo as the and we have a lot of fun,” Kohler said. “The College in Willmar. community bank manager. He started his girls know we are in their corner.” In financial career in the leasing industry with 1994 Schwan’s Business Credit Leasing. Scott Snobl recently finished his first year addition to coaching, Kohler teaches high as wrestling coach at tradition-rich Canby school physical education. 1983 2000 Brad Skoglund, baseball coach at High School. From 1997-2007, Snobl was Alice (Greisch) Grove married Mark Paynesville (Minn.) High School, was the head football coach. He took over the Grove on July 11, 2010. They live in *Cities are in Minnesota unless noted.

Federal Bay, Wash. Angela Kesteloot is a first- and secondgrade teacher at the Marshall Area Christian School. Ryan Luft is serving a term on the Central Lakes College Foundation Board of Directors. The Foundation is a non-profit organization responsible for providing scholarships and other student financial support at the community and technical college in Brainerd and Staples. Luft is currently working as the principal of Staples-Motley High School. His previous experience included working as a middle and high school principal in the Southland School District and teaching in the Marshall and Kerkhoven-MurdockSunburg districts.

2001 Tim Moline and his wife, Erin, took part in the 2011 Jingle Bell Run/Walk in Marshall. His son, 4-year-old Carson, was the honoree for the event, which helps raise awareness and funds to support the Arthritis Foundation. “Through the Arthritis Foundation, we’ve found many helpful tools and resources to understand our son’s juvenile rheumatoid arthritis,” Moline said.

2002 Gretchen (Johnson) Moore published her first book, The Joy of Deception and Other Stories. The book was published by Lamar University Press. Moore and her husband, Ryan, live in Beaumont, Texas. Brad Stromdahl is the head baseball coach at Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, Ga. Stromdahl has 13 years of collegiate baseball coaching experience, most recently working as the recruiting coordinator and hitting coach for Georgia State University. A native of Napa, Calif., Stromdahl and his wife, Tessa, along with their son, Leo, reside in Atlanta, Ga.

2003 Joseph Hauger is currently working for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, Marshall. He lives in Granite Falls, Minn.

2004 Nichole Olson appeared on a January episode of the television show, The Price Is Right. “I don’t recall hearing my name,” she said. “I was very surprised.” Olson correctly guessed the exact price of a chaise lounge, earning her $500 in cash and an opportunity to play the game “Now and Then.” After completing the game

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Alumna Named One of 2011’s Top Women in Finance Kristina (McCourtney) Wright ’00 was named one of the 2011 Top Women in Finance by Finance & Commerce, Inc., a Twin Cities-based financial newspaper. The award honors outstanding efforts of women who are making notable contributions to their professions, their communities and society at large throughout Minnesota. Wright is Vice President of Association Services at the Minnesota Credit Union Network, where she oversees the dues-supported operations and manages staff of eight. Wright graduated in 2000 with a degree in English/Creative Writing. “I was looking for a career in the communications field, and ended up with the Minnesota Credit Union Network,” she said. She began as a communications specialist, and has moved up within the Minnesota Credit Union Network since joining it in the fall of 2000.

successfully, Olson was awarded a six-night stay at the Casamagna Cancun Resort in Mexico. Matthew Schreurs is the agricultural and business lender at First Independent Bank, Russell. He has 10 years of banking experience, half of which were in South Dakota. Schreurs’ primary responsibility will be to work with the agricultural and business customers associated with the company’s Russell office. Schreurs, his wife, Terri, and their two children live in Marshall.

2006 Travis Morfitt and his wife, Tricia (Jochims), recently welcomed their second child, Cora Jean. The couple’s first child, Liam, is four years old. Travis is the perishables manager at Hy-Vee in Estherville, Iowa. Tricia as a Writing/Marketing and Media Assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College. The family lives in Estherville. Tammy (Holtey) Stahl, who received her master’s in Special Education from SMSU, has been named a 2012 New Special Education leader by the Minnesota Administrators for Special Education. She is director of special education for the SW/WC Service Cooperative in Marshall.

2007 Andrea Kopfmann is the director of the Walser Foundation, a subsidiary of the Walser Automotive Group, in the Twin Cities. Walser Automotive donates 5% of all pre-tax profits to Minnesota charities. Brent Lynch completed the requirements leading to the completion of the AIS program, which deals with improvement of service within the insurance industry. Lynch began working for North Star Insurance (Cottonwood, Minn.) in 2007 and is a programmer for the Information Technology Department. Rachel Norby recently finished her second novel, The Good One. It is about a collegeage girl named Natalie, who possesses a dark secret from her past. “The book is a love story and a mystery,” Norby said. “You get little pieces of the story all the way along until it all comes together. It’s kind of a story about facing your past, family

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reconciliation and the power of love.” She lives in Mora, Minn.

2008 Amy (Blum) White was named UniPro Employee of the Year for 2011. Originally from West Des Moines, Iowa, she now works as the Manager of Culinary/Culinology at UniPro Foodservice, based in Atlanta, Ga. She was nominated by Don Gillian, UniPro’s Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, for her efficiency, responsibility, supportive nature and leadership skills.

2009 Cat Abbott showed pieces from her personal design business, Cat de Novo, at the Southwest Minnesota Arts and Humanities Council art gallery. The pieces all reflect her common style — colorful, dreamlike and whimsical — but under an agricultural theme. “I have attempted to convey the beauty, process and hardships of the farmers who are working to preserve the land we live on,” she said. “It combines creativity with something that’s good for the environment.” She lives in Marshall. Kristina (Nelson) Blackwelder accepted a full-time position at Bert Raney Elementary School in Granite Falls, Minn. Blackwelder, who had previously worked as a substitute teacher at the school, said she is happy for the opportunity. “I’ve always enjoyed working with children,” she said. “That’s what encouraged me to become a teacher.” Kenton Johnson joined Edward D. Jones Investments as a new financial adviser in Spicer, Minn. Before joining the company, Johnson worked for more than 15 years in a variety of accounting and business management roles. Johnson earned an MBA from Southwest Minnesota State University. Johnson and his wife, Stacy, and their two children live in Spicer. Pat Moller, who earned his master’s in Education at SMSU, was named 2012 South Dakota Teacher of the Year. He teaches in the Mitchell (S.D.) School District. Tyson Rosa completed the requirements of the Associate in Claims program, which is

There are 143 credit unions in Minnesota, said Wright, and her organization provides more than 90 percent of them with services, which include compliance, communications, education, finance, technology and administrative support. Wright has been actively involved in international credit union development. She currently leads a state-level committee that maintains an international partnership with a credit union trade association in Paraguay. Working in conjunction with the World Council of Credit Unions, she has organized exchange programs to educate and train professional staff, regulators and public officials there. Wright is married to 2002 alumnus Jeremy Wright. They have two children, Jesse, 3, and Alex, 1.

an education program for claims representatives, management personnel and other interested in learning the claims aspect of the insurance business. Rosa began working full-time at North Star Mutual Insurance in Cottonwood, Minn., in 2009. He is an assistant claims representative for the Property/Casualty Claims Department.

2010 Lucas Bryce has been given the opportunity to share his love of cooking. His parents opened the Solar Drive-In in Sleepy Eye, Minn., a couple years ago. It is a restaurant that specializes in good, fresh food, finished in 15 minutes or less. They began offering classes to teach the locals how to cook. Bryce is teaching these classes hands-on, including learning accessible recipes, entertaining tips and kitchen strategies. Amber Buysse taught her fourth grade students at Tracy Area Elementary School about math in a fun and creative way. Buysse introduced her students to the idea of fantasy football. Students had the opportunity to select teams and work in pairs to complete math problems to help their teams gain yards on the football field. “It’s been great,” she said. “The kids love it.” Daniel Krenz and Andrea Gronbeck were married at the Zion Lutheran Church of Amor, Battle Lake, Minn., on August 13, 2011. The bride’s father officiated the ceremony. Andrea teaches kindergarten in Milroy. Daniel works for the Del Monte Corporation in Sleepy Eye, Minn. The couple live in Redwood Falls, Minn. Nissa Nordland and Eric Eichenlaub were both cast in the Buoyant Theatre Collective’s production of Three Sisters. The performance shows the decay of the privileged class in Russia and the search for meaning the modern world. Nordland was cast as Natasha, who begins the play as an insecure, awkward young woman, but gradually achieves everything she desires through manipulation and control. Eichenlaub took the stage as Tuzenbach, a lieutenant in the army, who possesses an unrequited love for one of the three sisters and is killed in a duel in the final act. The

Buoyant Theatre Collective is comprised of Twin Cities artists. Both received positive reviews. Robin (Hull) Rott is currently a dental student at the University of Louisville. Rott and her husband, Aaron (2010), live in Louisville, Ky.

2012 Kelly Fitzgerald, Marshalltown, Iowa, was awarded the 2012 Outstanding Senior Award by the SMSU Alumni Association during the commencement ceremony on May 5.

FACULTY/STAFF Terry Culhane, head volleyball coach at SMSU, has been named one of the top five head girl’s high school basketball coaches in Minnesota state history by the Minnesota State High School League. Culhane, a Hall of Fame coach in basketball as well as volleyball, compiled a basketball coaching record of 425-85 with four state championships. A native of Marshall, he became the head volleyball coach at SMSU in 2004 and has led the Mustangs to the NCAA tournament every season since. Culhane won state championships at Tracy-Milroy (1992, 1996) and at Marshall High School (2001, 2002). As SMSU’s volleyball coach, he has a 206-60 record.

IN MEMORIAM Former interim President Gary DeCramer, died of a heart attack on March 7, 2012. Katie (Greenman) Hancock, a longtime employee of SMSU, passed away on February 20, 2012. Leo St. Pierre, a longtime employee of SMSU, passed away on April 29, 2012.

*Cities are in Minnesota unless noted.


Leaving a Legacy Dick Kontz “I remember dad saying, when Marshall was named the college site back in the early ’60s, how big a day that was,” said Jim Kontz, son of the late Richard “Dick” Kontz. Jim is proud that his father planned the Richard and Marilyn Kontz Family Scholarship through the SMSU Foundation. He said, “Dad was very active in the community, and knew what an asset SMSU was to the region.” Dick served on the SMSU Foundation Board of Directors for many years as well as the Planned Giving Committee. In 1962, he started Prudential Financial in Marshall. Over the years he became a respected businessman and sportsman. He was active with Ducks Unlimited and other outdoor groups. He had a passion for conservation, education, and the development of the Marshall area. Dick’s wife, Marilyn (Maier), is a 1971 charter class member and continues to be an avid supporter of SMSU. Through the generosity and foresight of Dick and his wife, Marilyn, the endowed scholarship created through his estate will benefit SMSU students in the years to come.

You can leave a legacy. Start today. WWW.SMSUFOUNDATION.ORG

Creating an Endowed Scholarship at SMSU You can establish a named, endowed scholarship at Southwest Minnesota State by making a gift of $10,000 or more. A scholarship can be in your name or in honor of someone dear to your heart. An endowed scholarship can be funded over one, five or 10 years, depending on your wishes. You may designate your endowment to academic scholarships, a specific collegiate unit, or students in need of financial assistance. In some cases, donors prefer including a scholarship gift in their will. For more information contact Bill Mulso, SMSU Foundation Executive Director, at 1-800-260-0970 or Bill.Mulso@SMSU.edu. Consider These Advantages: • Tax deduction for charitable contribution • Membership in the Heritage Society • Helping SMSU students earn their degree in today’s challenging economic environment • Leaving a lasting legacy at Southwest


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