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alumni plaza project

iowa ag secretary

alumni attitudes

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Bill Holm Distinguished Artist


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A magazine for alumni & friends of Southwest Minnesota State University

Fall 2008 volume 28 number 1

Contents 2 southwest news 5 get to know us 6 feature: bill holm 8 alumni connections 10 alumni spotlight: northey 11 alumni plaza project 13 athletics 15 class notes President Dr. David C. Danahar Executive Director of Foundation Bill Mulso ʼ93 Director of Alumni Relations and Focus Editor Tyler Bowen ʼ95/MSʼ08 Designer Marcy D. Olson, ʼ93/MBAʼ05

Senior Writer and Photographer Jim Tate Contributors Stacy Frost ʼ93 Sara Granheim ʼ02/MBAʼ04 Crystal Kruger Kelly Loft ʼ97 Andy Schlichting ʼ06 Front Cover Photograph © STAR TRIBUNE/ MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, 2008

All hometowns are in Minnesota unless otherwise noted. Focus (USPS 565-770) is published twice each year for alumni and friends of Southwest Minnesota State University by the Alumni Office. Opinions expressed in Focus do not necessarily reflect official University policy. Send correspondence, name changes and address corrections to: Focus, Alumni Office, Southwest Minnesota State University, 1501 State Street, Marshall, MN 56258 or call (507) 537-6266. Focus is not copyrighted. Unless otherwise noted, articles may be reprinted without permission if credit is given to Southwest Minnesota State University. Southwest Minnesota State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action educator and employer. Southwest Minnesota State University is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. This document can be made available in alternative formats to individuals with disabilities. Please make your request by calling 507-537-6266, 1-800-260-0970, or through the Minnesota Relay Service at 1-800-627-3529.


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southwest news

SMSU Science Labs Receive Renovation Funds SMSU received $9 million from the 2008 Legislature to fund science and HRA lab renovations, as well as funding to plan future projects and support ongoing improvement projects on campus. The $9 million will be used to renovate the majority of science labs in the Science and Technology building, and the biology and chemistry labs in the Science and Math building, said Cyndi Holm, Facilities Director at SMSU. The HRA/Culinology area in the IL Building will also be renovated. That will include renovating kitchens and the labs that adjoin the kitchens. Construction will begin in 2009. Construction documents must be finished, and then the project will be put out for bid. Design money totaling $200,000 was also received for planning of improvements to the physics lab,

agronomy lab, plant science learning center (greenhouse) and the astronomy lab (Planetarium). Construction money of approximately $5 million will be requested in 2010 for those projects, said Holm. Several Higher Education Asset Preservation and Renewal (HEAPR) projects on campus were also funded by the 2008 Legislature. They include: • Phase II of the central chiller plant, $798,000, for a second chiller and cooling tower, with construction to start in the fall; • Improvements to the astronomy lab infrastructure, $274,000, with construction to begin in summer 2009; and • Infrastructure improvements to the plant science learning center, $528,000, with construction to begin next year.

SMSU Participates in Largest Teach-in on Global Warming Over a thousand campuses helped focus the nation on solutions to global warming. SMSU participated in Focus The Nation, an unprecedented teach-in on global warming solutions for America occurring at more than 1,000 universities and colleges and in all 50 states on Jan. 31, 2008. As the largest teach-in in U.S. history, Focus The Nation aimed to prepare millions of students to become leaders in the largest civilizational challenge any generation has faced. Panel presentations by faculty and students discussed: "Global Climate Change: Science, Perceptions and Actions." Panelists included: Dr. Thomas Dilley, Environmental Science;

Dr. Linda Jones, Environmental Science; Dr. Will Thomas, Accounting; Dr. Christine Olson, Psychology; Dr. Steve Kramer, Philosophy; Katie Freeman, student; and Andrew Spencer, student.

SMSU Receives Special Olympics Award from State Level SMSU was named the Outstanding Service Organization by Special Olympics Minnesota at its recent 2008 awards banquet in Bloomington. The University was honored for its October 2007 Motorized Activities Training Program (MATP), a day of activities for those with more severe developmental motor skills disabilities. It is the only event of its kind in the state, said Marilyn Strate, associate professor of Wellness & Human Performance and one of the organizers of the

event. “What a great honor this is for the University,” she said. “Our students had a great opportunity to work with Special Olympic athletes. It’s a very special day for the athletes, and for our students who help,” she said. The MATP event drew participants from age eight through seniors, said Strate. She said there used to be four MATP events throughout the state each year, but that SMSU now hosts the only MATP event annually.

Ryan Chimzar Finalist In Lennon Scholarship Competition Ryan Chimzar, a sophomore Vocal Music Education and Chemistry major from Woodbury was selected as a finalist in the national John Lennon Music Scholarship Competition, sponsored by the Music Educators National Conference (MENC) and BMI Records. Ryan composed and recorded a new song for 2

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submission to this year's competition. The John Lennon Music Scholarship aims to support the music education of America's youth by providing them an outlet to share their talents and by bringing together experts in music and the music industry. Ryan's song was reviewed by experts in both fields and made it through two rounds to the finals.

southwest news

Go green with a twist special to FOCUS by Joseph Bakken, public relations major or those who want to experience fine dining right on campus, green, a New American Bistro, is open for business. The student-run restaurant, part of the SMSU Hospitality Management Program, offers premium entrees at an affordable price. With a focus on using locally grown ingredients, students create dishes using fresh spices, produce, meats and dairy products. “The goal of the restaurant is to prepare the food ‘a la minute’ which is French for ‘cooking to the minute,’” says Michael Cheng, Professor and Director of the Culinology® Program. In the past, many hospitality programs nationwide taught quantity-style cooking, says Cheng, which is cooking for large groups of people. “A lot of students these days are no longer interested in working in institutional settings, hospitals or school cafeterias,” says Cheng. “They want to work in restaurants where….they cook to order, so at the green Bistro we practice ‘a la minute’ cooking and prepare everything fresh.” The menu at the green Bistro covers the basic food groups from vegetarian and seafood to traditional steak and potatoes but presents it all “with a twist,” says Cheng. “We don’t present the steak and potatoes like a steakhouse would,” he says. We use a flatiron steak, which is [more tender], topped with gastrique foam as a sort of gravy. Then we do garlic mashed potatoes with French green beans. The flavor is a little different, and the presentation is going to be different,” says Cheng. The restaurant does not directly target a specific demographic, but it does aim to attract customers interested in experiencing something diverse.


“We designed a menu with the thought that it is going to be the new American cuisine,” says Cheng. “We’re trying to [attract] people who are willing to try something new.” Each week students take on different jobs in the restaurant. “We want everybody to be able to rotate between the three key positions,” explains Cheng, “but if someone excels in one position, they will be placed there five out of 10 times.” The green Bistro is open every Monday from 6:30-7:30 p.m. during the semester. Attendance has been strong and feedback positive from students, parents, faculty and staff. Eventually Cheng hopes to open the restaurant two nights a week. “Eating at the Bistro was an out-of-Marshall experience,” says Marianne Zarzana, Assistant Professor of English. “My husband Jim and I loved the food, and we’ll be going back again.” The current Culinology® Program is new at SMSU. The original Hotel and Restaurant Management Program had closed in the 90’s and evolved into a joint program through the University of Minnesota-Crookston until 2005. However, the program lacked staff and resources. The SMSU administration worked to start the Culinology® Program with a focus on the science of cooking. “I was brought on board in 2005,” says Cheng. “When we launched the Culinology® Program in Fall 2006, we also started the Hospitality Management Program at the same time.” The two programs are staffed by three full-time faculty members, Cheng, and Professors Kurt Struwe and William Bennett.

For more information about green Bistro, visit: or contact Professor Michael Cheng at 507-537-6436 or

Pawlenty pays a visit to SMSU during Boys State Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty made a surprise visit to Boys State, hosted by SMSU June 15-21. Pawlenty was in Marshall to make a judicial appointment and took time to visit the 400 Boys State participants who gathered on campus for the 60th annual event. He spoke with them about the importance of public service in today’s society. SMSU will host Boys State through 2011. “I can’t tell you how happy we are with the University,” said Boys State Director Mike Bredeck. “Everything is first class, from the facilities to the housing arrangements to the food that’s prepared.” Boys State participation topped 400 for the first time in several years, thanks to an aggressive

recruiting effort. Boys State is a weeklong, hands-on exercise in democracy and citizenship. Boys become members of one of 14 cities and have the opportunity to participate in local, county and state politics. Each is assigned a party, and contributes to party discussion and the formation of the various platforms. The election of a Boys State governor highlights the week. Participants will be high school seniors this fall, and any who attend SMSU will receive a $500 scholarship. Boys listened to an array of speakers, including Pawlenty, former Gov. Al Quie, Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau and Associate Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson.


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southwest news

SMSU Musicians Visit China in June

Above: SMSU Glee Club members in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China. Below: SMSU instrumental ensemble members perform at the Great Wall outside Beijing, China.

The SMSU Men’s Glee Club and members of several of the University’s instrumental music groups had an opportunity to participate in a pre-Olympic musical festival in China over the summer. A dozen members of the Men’s Glee Club traveled to Xi’an, Beijing and Shanghai from June 3 through June 14. Another twelve indviduals from four instrumental groups traveled to Beijing and Shanghai, meeting up with the Glee Club members June 8 through June 14. The Men’s Glee Club is a new ensemble comprised of male students, faculty, staff and community members who enjoy singing. It is under the direction of Russell Svenningsen. Members from the SMSU concert band, marching band, symphonic band and jazz ensemble also participated. They were under the direction of John Ginocchio. Both groups participated in several concerts while in China including the large pre-Olympic festival that drew musicians from around the world as well as performances with the Chinese National Police Choir. “For me, the highlight was a concert in the Oriental Arts Center in Shanghai,” said Ginocchio, who was making his first trip overseas with SMSU musicians. “It’s a professional stage, really.” Svenningsen said the SMSU groups had the chance not only to perform in historic venues, but also to learn a lot about China’s history and the rituals and nuances associated with Chinese culture. “I had no idea what a thrilling experience we were in for,” said Svenningsen. It was a trip to remember, and both Ginocchio and Svenningsen rated it among the richest musical experiences of their lives.

Erickson, Fuhr, Miller: In Memoriam The entire SMSU basketball circles community mourned throughout the country. the loss of three He coached the Rolling devoted employees who Mustangs for nine years passed away during and supported his players spring semester 2008. both on the court, and SMSU Librarian off. He was a tireless Sandra Fuhr, 60; advocate for all students wheelchair basketball with disabilities. Sandra Fuhr Dale Erickson Pat Miller coach Dale Erickson, Dale was a 2007 49; and staff member Pat Miller, 57, all passed away inductee into the National Wheelchair Softball following courageous fights with cancer. Their Association Hall of Fame, and helped establish the losses touched the campus community deeply. Marshall Area Youth Baseball Assn. (MAYBA). He Sandra Fuhr graduated from SMSU in 1990. was active in Marshall baseball at all levels. He After receiving a master’s in library science, she passed away on Feb. 26, 2008. worked at Gustavus Adolphus for seven years before Pat Miller worked at the Southwest for 32 years returning to her alma mater. At SMSU she was the in a number of offices, including University distance-learning librarian before being named Relations, Transcripts, Registration, Business, Word SMSU Librarian, overseeing the entire library. Processing Center and, at the time of her passing, She had a great rapport with faculty, staff and the Housing Office. students and approached her position with Her devotion to the University and its students enthusiasm, intelligence and leadership. She was and her pleasant, helpful manner made her a committed to serving students’ academic needs. campus favorite over the years. She passed away on Sandra passed away on Jan. 29, 2008. Feb. 29, 2008. Dale Erickson was known in wheelchair


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get to know us Kevin Andrews staying busy on the court and in class Luckily for Kevin Andrews, he knew something about time management when he came to Southwest Minnesota State University. “In high school, I was involved with everything,” said the Marion, Iowa, native, who will be a junior in the fall. The 6-foot, 4-inch Andrews was recruited by assistant coach Brad Bigler to play basketball at SMSU, and was named to the 2008 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District V College Division third team, the only Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference player named to the first, second or third team and just one of four Division II athletes so honored. He is an accounting and finance double major, “but I’m thinking of adding Management to that,” he said.

The son of Dave and Jan Andrews, he has little free time, even during the summer months. He is working as an intern at Schwan’s University this summer, and is playing with several Mustang teammates in a Sioux Falls college summer league. “The summer league helps keep you sharp, and I work out with weights, try and keep strong.” He believes in getting involved, and is a member of the Accounting Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) group at SMSU. He is a member of the Honors Program. “Being involved is a good way to meet people,” he said. Andrews said his coaches know that “as a student-athlete, being a student comes first,” he said. “They stress that.”

Kevin Andrews

George Seldat teaching business on a global level Associate Professor of Business Administration George Seldat has spent 23 years at SMSU and his classroom expertise has affected students, literally, all over the world. Back in 1996, Seldat traveled to Europe with Ted Radzilowski and Gerry Toland to explore the possibility of developing working relationships with European universities. One of the colleges they visited was the University of Economics in Bratislava, Slovakia. A relationship was born. Seldat recently spent six months teaching at the University of Economics. His classroom included students from Italy, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Thanks to technology, he was teaching the same course online to SMSU students. “The students were engaged, and they worked in culturally diverse groups,” he said. “We worked out business problems on an international level. [We] prepared cultural videos for each country and shared that information with each other.”

Seldat is also working with the U.S. embassy in Slovakia, the American Chamber of Commerce in Bratislava, and several Minnesota-based companies to develop an institute that will offer corporate training, the SMSU MBA program and study abroad opportunities for U.S. students. Seldat is an Illinois native who met his wife Peggy in Germany while she was traveling throughout Europe on vacation. They have four children: Erin, Jonathan, Lara (Bump), and Brigid (Lunder). He received his business finance and economics degrees, and later, his MBA, from Illinois State University. He made a career change from financial administration after nine years which brought him to SMSU in 1985. He has also been the women’s tennis coach for the past 14 years. “The students here are unique, a very special group of young people,” he said. “I also like the flexibility of the University in terms of the way you can do your job and the professional opportunities it can create.”

George Seldat

Deb Labat staying young after 31 years at SMSU One of the benefits of working at a university for a number of years is seeing a second generation of students come through the doors. That’s the case with Deb Labat, the Science office and administrative specialist at SMSU. Labat has worked at the University for 31 years, and feels that being around students “helps keep you young.” “I’ve met a lot of people, made good friends over the years. It’s fun to have the students come back for events on campus, and I’m seeing a lot of our former work study students have children who attend SMSU now,” she said. “They stop by and see us and introduce their kids.” Labat is a Hector native and is married to husband Russ. They have three children: Kari Labat-Bailey, Kelsey and Kimberly. She attended Willmar Vocational and Technical

Institute (now Ridgewater) where she received an accounting degree. She worked for the Marshall accounting firm of Gold, Carlson and Minehart for a year before coming to SMSU, where she began in the Science and Math area. She has also worked in the Office of Admission and the Registrar’s Office before returning to the science program seven years ago. Labat is an ambassador for the University, and does not hesitate to list the benefits of attending SMSU. “It’s a smaller campus, you get to know most of the other students. The faculty cares about you. It’s a place a person would want to come.” Working around science faculty and students with science majors has rubbed off on her. “I have learned more about the environment, and the different career choices a person can have with a Science degree. It’s really wide open,” she said. FOCUS MAGAZINE

Deb Labat

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BILL HOLM poet, essayist, teacher always true to his roots, in Minneota and in Iceland, he’s the 2008 McKnight Distinguished Artist Photo courtesy of the Marshal

l Independent, Cindy Votruba

In today’s connected world, Bill Holm is something of a dinosaur. “I’ve never turned on a computer,” said the recently retired English professor, poet, essayist, musician and Renaissance man. He was sitting at the round, wooden kitchen table at his home in Minneota, Minnesota, 12 miles northwest of Marshall. It is the place where he grew up once he moved to town from the family farm. It is lived in, filled with more books than you could read in a decade. There’s a piano/music room, as well, and a front porch swing. Next to the swing is a “Boxelder St.” street, a gift from a friend who picked it up at a garage sale in Arizona, a reminder of his book, Boxelder Bug Variations. Holm is a throwback. When he writes, he doesn’t click on “Microsoft Word.” He clicks the end of a ballpoint pen. He writes on yellow legal pads, in a quiet place, bereft of noise or other distractions. “The way literature was originally created,” he said. Holm retired at the end of the fall 2007 semester, ending a career that spanned 24 years at SMSU. During that time he built a reputation, and a following, most authors only dream of. Holm received his undergraduate degree from Gustavus Adolphus and his master’s from the University of Kansas. He found his way to SMSU after receiving a Fulbright Scholarship. “I needed work,” said Holm in his customary blunt fashion. Holm has been described as an Icelandic Santa Claus, and his jovial face and easygoing manner support that perception. He is not impressed with himself at all, though his accomplishments give him reason to be. A past Bush Arts Fellow, National Endowment for the Arts Fellow and Fulbright lecturer, he is a two-time Minnesota Book Award winner. He has read from his work all over the world, big


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audiences and small, and goes out of his way to accommodate reading requests. He does not stray too far from his roots. His most recent honor came from the McKnight Foundation, which tabbed him its 2008 Distinguished Artist of the Year. The award celebrates Minnesota artists who have left a deep imprint on the state’s cultural scene. Artists in all disciplines (ceramics, dance, film, literature, music, theater and visual arts) are eligible for the McKnight award. It goes to an artist who has worked in Minnesota over a span of decades. There’s also a $50,000 stipend that goes along with the award. “I’m touched and honored,” he said of the distinction. “It’s a great honor.” Just as quickly, Holm puts a bit of levity into the discussion. “It’s awarded as much for stubbornness,” he said. “I stayed here.” Holm splits his time between southwest Minnesota and Iceland, the country of his ancestral roots where he lives for part of the year in a cabin called Brimnes in the village of Hofsos, overlooking a fjord. It is in Iceland that he writes in the summer months, when the daylight lasts long and sleep, at times, is hard to come by. It is in his simple fishing cabin where he penned his most recent book, The Windows of Brimnes: An American in Iceland. Holm also hosts the Iceland Writer’s Workshop each summer, as well. The prairie of Southwest Minnesota has always held a special spot in his heart. Though he’s been all over the world, it is where he returns, where he is energized. Holm was born in 1943 to Bill and Jana Holm. To the oldtimers in Minneota, he’s still known as “Little Bill.” He grew up on the family farm, and attended Country School 90, complete with “cob stove, two outhouses and eight grades in one room,” he said.

BILL HOLM As a boy, Holm gravitated toward More importantly, for 24 years he reading, writing and music. When he has shown SMSU students and was 13, the family got a piano, an event colleagues that they can in fact that would change his life. “It drove my convert their own small place into father crazy,” he said. Today, he major-league literature. And most delights in performing on the piano importantly, for me at least, he with SMSU music professor Dan fights the good fight against Rieppel. bureaucracy and stupidity at all He is the author of 10 books of levels and in all places.” poetry and essays, and his work reflects Phil Dacey, a well-known poet his personality: witty, concise, honest. and former colleague in English, He has a knack of putting complex realappreciates Holm on many world issues through a cheesecloth, so different levels. Now living in New they are understandable to Everyman. York City following his retirement, Holm taught at Hampton Institute in he recalls with fondness his good Virginia, the oldest African American Bill at his home in Hofsos, Iceland. friend. (Photos: above, Milkweed Editions; below, the author.) college in the country, then at Centurian “I look forward to the next time I College in White Bear Lake, now known can exchange bear hugs with him. as Lakewood. As a Fulbright scholar, he A brainy bear. That’s Bill. Did I lectured on American Literature at the forget to say that as a writer he’s a University of Iceland for a year before genius? To translate a compelling coming home to Minneota. English human voice on to the page the way professor Phil Dacey took a sabbatical he can is a rare achievement. leave and Holm had his foot in the “I also love his unrelenting door. He stayed through his retirement. intolerance of politicians who are a Howard Mohr, former SMSU discredit to the Republic.” English faculty member from 1970 to Dacey said Holm is “no ivory 1982 and author of the classic How to tower professor. He made the Talk Minnesotan: A Visitor’s Guide, first classroom an arena for intellectual met Holm at a pizza place in Lawrence, adventure and discovery.” Kan., where Holm was playing the He started his career before piano for a few extra bucks while students began to rely on internet pursuing his master’s. “I liked him search engines, back when the library right away. When we returned (to was the place to study. Even libraries Minnesota), every once in a while I’d today, though they hold a special hear something about him. Then he place in his heart, have changed. showed up in Marshall, along with “There’s no books in them anymore,” Steve Dunn and Phil Dacey. I got a he said. “My advice to students today call from him saying that we were would be: don’t go to Google or neighbors.” Wikipedia. Get off your ass and go to the library.” Mohr and Holm were part of a traveling poetry troupe in He enjoyed writing “terrible poetry” as a child, and says he those days. “I joined them for a couple of years. We’d read is “smart enough to know that most people don’t read poetry. poems, Bill would play the piano. He always opened with They are frightened of it. They think poets don’t say what ‘Mapleleaf Rag.’ they mean,” something Holm has never been accused of “Bill is opinionated, and he’s a performer,” said Mohr. “If doing. you get him in a crowd—and a crowd is basically you, him “Prose and essays, people will read them,” he said. He steers clear of writing fiction. “I’m Lutheran, and can’t lie.” and maybe two other people—then he holds court. I figure Quadruple bypass surgery three years ago has slowed his then my main duty regarding Bill is to let him have it, stick it body somewhat. “Illness is not one of my favorite subjects,” to him with small satire,” he said. “He’s a good hearted guy, said Holm, who prefers to keep his feelings about that to some don’t know that. And he’s well-read. And he does himself. prepare (for class).” Holm and his wife of three years, Marcy Brekken, live a SMSU English professor Dave Pichaske has worked with happy life in Minneota, where Holm remains something of a Holm on many projects and said Holm connected the local celebrity. It’s not everyone who has a community University to the important writers of the region. “He knew celebration named after one of their books, after all. or knows them all,” he said. “Robert and Carol Bly, Fred Minneota annually celebrates Boxelder Bug Days, a nod in Manfred, Paul Gruchow, and Garrison Keillor. appreciation at its famous son, Bill Holm. “He showcases our region to the state, nation and world.


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alumni connections

Alumni Event Photo Review

Kimberly Enck ’02: Chicago Teacher DRIVE Award Kimberly Enck doesn’t really see the difference between high school students from rural southwest Minnesota and those from the inner city of Chicago. “Kids are kids, no matter where they are from,” said Enck, a New Ulm native and 2002 SMSU graduate now teaching in the Chicago school system. She had a double major in Spanish and secondary English. Enck was one of 24 Chicago teachers honored last October with DRIVE Awards (Delivering Results through Innovative and Visionary Education). “I was surprised by it,” said Enck, who taught Spanish for five years at the south side Harlan Community Academy. Next year, she will be teaching at Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, a north side high school. At Von Steuben, she will teach Spanish and be the Avid Program coordinator, a program that targets students with a GPA of 2.0 to 3.0 in an effort to help better prepare them for college. There are over 20,000 teachers in the Chicago school system, the third largest in the country, putting Enck in the top one percent of her peers. “I was well prepared with the training I got at Southwest,” she said. “I am proud to say I came from a great, great Education program. I know a lot of students didn’t get the opportunities I had that first year to teach a lesson.” She completed student-teaching in the Redwood Valley and Marshall school districts. Talk to her for long, and the word ‘pride’ will be used when talking about her approach to teaching. “I started a Spanish A&B club, to give students recognition for good grades. I wanted to make them want to achieve. So much in their neighborhoods is pulling them away from wanting to do well in school. “I did everything possible to make the students proud about their high school,” she said.

Rochester Honkers

Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Twins Game

For upcoming SMSU Alumni Wicked show Events visit

Wear Your Brown & 10K Gold Pride The great traditions of Southwest now exist in more than our memories... presenting



The Official Ring is a symbol of accomplishment for Southwest graduates and a new part of the Mustang tradition. The Official Ring is reserved exclusively for graduates and students who have achieved Junior status. 10

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alumni connections

Author!Author! Relucant Smuggler is the third suspense novel in the To Catch a Thief series by Jill Elizabeth Nelson ‘79 of Madison, MN. The book is published by Multnomah Books, a division of Random House. More information about Jill and her other books is available online at

Bible Moms: Life Lessons from Mothers in the Bible is the first book by Amber Albee Swenson ‘96 of Rochester. The book is published by Trusted Books, a division of VMI Publishers. To order a copy or see a sample chapter visit A new book, River of Hope: My Journey with Kathy in Search of Healing from Lou Gehrig's Disease by David Tank has been published by Planert Creek Press, June 2008. The true story chronicles the frustrations and joys of Kathy (Ludewig) Tank (BA 1972) as she fought to beat Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) as told by her husband, David Tank. River of Hope is available online at Bill Turgeon, who served as SMSU Director of University Relations from 1981-1997, has authored a book Hiram Hill Homestead: Back to the Land at 50 (Mill City Press). The book recounts how he and his wife, Kathy, left their jobs to pursue their common dream of a life close to the land in northern Minnesota. To order the book or see an excerpt visit the author’s Web site:

The SMSU Alumni Association does not sell or distribute alumni books, unless otherwise noted. Please visit the provided Websites for ordering information. To have your book considered for our next issue, please send a complimentary copy and description of its contents to: SMSU Alumni Association, Attn: Alumni Books, 1501 State Street, Marshall, MN 56258.

Pride, Support & Challenges Alumni survey reveals high satisfaction and a few recommendatinos SMSU graduates are glad they attended Southwest Minnesota State University, according to results of a survey of SMSU alumni. The survey, the most comprehensive ever taken of the attitudes of Southwest alumni, also found that alumni want the ongoing value of their diplomas to be protected and enhanced by current SMSU activities. The survey also found that alumni are anxious to help fellow SMSU students and alumni make job connections, and that those who live outside Minnesota tend to feel less connected to their alma mater. Performance Enhancement Group (PEG), an alumni polling firm, conducted the survey for the Alumni Association in the spring of 2007. The survey included responses from 1,194 alumni who returned an e-mail questionnaire. In general, SMSU and the SMSU Alumni Association received ratings on a par with, or slightly higher than, similar universities and associations around the nation, said Tyler Bowen, Director of Alumni Relations. Bowen cautioned that overall, survey respondents might be a slightly more supportive, positive group. “The fact that SMSU has valid e-mail addresses for responding alumni means they tend to be more connected to Southwest Minnesota State from the outset,” he said. The Alumni Attitude Study revealed six major recommendations:: • Communicate better to alumni about how the SMSU diploma is increasing in equity. • Increase job and career-related activities. • Create a stronger branding presence on campus for the Alumni Association. • Provide opportunities for alumni to provide feedback and engage in activities. • Find additional ways to engage out-of-state alumni. • Communicate differently with younger alumni (30-and-under). “The SMSU Alumni Association Board of Directors will use these recommendations to shape its strategic plan to engage alumni in the life of Southwest Minnesota State University,” stated Bowen. “Communicating with alumni effectively with both print and electronic communications, along with emerging social networking such as Facebook and LinkedIn, will be a critical component in strengthening our connection with our alumni.”

Own a piece of

SOUTHWEST HISTORY! A $25 tax deductible donation to the SMSU Foundation buys a 3”x5” piece of the famous dome! Great for your home or office. A piece of the dome makes an excellent gift for any Southwest fan!


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Alumni Spotlight Bill Northey M.S. in Management, 2004


ill Northey laughs about the fact that his name is on every gas pump in the state of Iowa. Given the price of gas today, he’s not sure that’s such a good idea. But Iowa’s first-term Secretary of Agriculture knows it just goes with the job. Northey was elected the state’s 13th Secretary of Agriculture in November 2006, and took office in January 2007. Northey took advantage of one of Southwest Minnesota State University’s off-campus program opportunities, and earned a master’s in Management degree in 2004. He took classes in his hometown of Spirit Lake, Iowa, a northwest Iowa community. “It took me two and a half years of Saturdays, but I did it,” said Northey.

“The master’s program was just six miles away in Spirit Lake, so it was wonderful to be able to get the degree.” —Bill Northey on the SMSU master’s in management program.

His new position puts him in the spotlight in a state known for agriculture. “I guess I had it in the back of my mind for years,” he said about his decision to run for office. “I got involved in farm organizations (he was president of the National Corn Growers Association in 1995-96) and in corn farm policy, and was active in ethanol promotion and policy. I thought that if the stars aligned, I could do it. I love agriculture, and ag policy matters.” The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship covers a wide range of responsibilities and employs 400. The Division of Soil Conservation employs half of those 400 employees. The other half work in regulatory positions, overseeing meat processing, commercial feed and fertilizer, pesticide application, and dairy production and processing. It also oversees the Weights and Measures Bureau—thus his name on each gas pump—and the state climatologist, entomologist and veterinarian. The department helps promote the more than 170 farmers markets, as well. “I think there is a perception that the office is policy driven,” he said. “While we do talk about big issues, we also have a lot of regulatory functions, so the most important part of the job is to make sure the regulatory functions continue to go.” Iowa has seen a tremendous growth in agricultural production over the past 10 years. It is the top corn, soybean, hog and egg producing state in the nation. It is also the number one ethanolproducing state, though Iowa does not mandate that ethanol be sold at the pump. “Overall, it is the No. 2 ag state in the country. Until last year, we had always been number three behind California and 10


SMSU alumni shine brightly in their chosen fields. Texas. Last year was the first year we became the number two ag state (surpassing Texas).” Iowa is a farm state, and though the traditional family farm remains, it has changed. “It looks different than it once did,” he said. “It’s bigger. Most are still driven by families, and young people are returning to the farm after some tough times years ago when many left. There are a lot of different pieces to agriculture, and they include the production side, and the processing side. Farmers today continue to adapt to changes.” Those changes include incorporating new technology in operations, something Northey has done at his 800-acre farm near Spirit Lake. “There are more computers, more GPS equipment.” Advances in research have also helped today’s farmers, he feels. “Biotechnology has helped improve yields and defensiveness (of crops),” he said. While grain farmers are pleased with the high commodity prices, livestock producers are being hurt by them. Both groups are watching the weak U.S. dollar and increasing fuel prices eat away more of the farmers’ bottom line with each increase in the price of a barrel of oil. Nearly all farm activities require fuel and many farm products are produced from oil. “It’s not just the fuel in the tractors and trucks, but the impact on fertilizer prices, all sorts of ag-related things, including transporting the crops, the fuel costs in building equipment, things like that. It’s changed so much, and we’re all waiting to see the whole impact.” Northey has added urban conservationists to his department, something he felt was needed as development continues to seep into the countryside. He got the idea from being on the soil district board in Dickinson County. “We were working on rural issues to protect Lake Okoboji and Spirit Lake. People came to us and we then came to understand urban impact and development in rural areas,” he said. Northey and his wife, Cindy, are the parents of three grown daughters, and one of the reasons he went back to college for his master’s was to set an example for them. “The master’s program was just six miles away in Spirit Lake, so it was wonderful to be able to get the degree,” he said. “My three girls were in high school and headed off to college and I wanted to let them know that an undergraduate degree is important, but to also think about a master’s program, if they were interested. I decided to put my money where my mouth is.”

alumni connections

SMSU Alumni



hen Deeann Griebel heard about the Alumni Plaza project from Alumni Director Tyler Bowen, she didn’t have to think long before throwing her support—and money—behind the idea. “I remember when I attended SMSU, that area was used by students to get from the (residence halls) to the academic areas,” she said. “There was nothing there, it looked like the back of a barn.” That’s why Griebel has pledged $200,000 in matching funds toward the Alumni Plaza project, which was formally launched in May. The area is located to the west of the Student Center, south of the R/A Facility and north of the residence halls. The project will transform an area heavily used by the campus community into a welcoming, multi-functional recreation and gathering space that will add an entirely new dimension to campus and attractively connect the residence halls with the R/A Facility and Student Center. “We hope that it will become the social and recreational hub of the University,” said Bowen. The Alumni Association is coordinating the project. Griebel will match the first $200,000 raised of the $600,000 project. Construction will begin in May 2009, and will be finished by the fall semester 2009. The Alumni Plaza includes many aspects, including an amphitheater for outdoor concerts, theater productions and readings; multi-functional recreation and gathering spaces; a sculpture by SMSU alumnus John Sterner; an outdoor terrace

extending from the Conference Center; and beautiful landscaping that creates a visually attractive space. Griebel received a Business Education and PE degree from St. Cloud State and taught in Nebraska and Minnesota for several years before deciding to change careers. She received an accounting degree from SMSU in 1980. After graduating from Southwest, the Pipestone native headed west. Today she is a financial advisor for Wachovia Securities LLC in Mesa, Ariz. Deeann has been a supporter of the University since graduation, and thinks too many graduates, of any college, don’t remember their alma mater once they leave. “I like to hear about success stories, to know that alumni have gone on to good things,” she said. She is one such success story, and encourages alumni to get involved. “It is a project that will benefit the University and the region,” she said. “There have been so many improvements to the campus over the past six years, this project will enhance the entire campus.”

To support the Alumni Plaza visit


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alumni connections

At a

Glance Name of Facility: Regional Event Center Cost: $16 million Seating Capacity: 2,500 permanent seats; portable seating allows for additional capacity; berm seating available on east side. Uses: SMSU football, soccer; Marshall High School football; regional high school football and soccer; meetings, conventions, concerts, symposiums, band competitions, and recreational activities. Suites: Eight. Used for event viewing, classroom and meeting space; can be subdivided and are available for campus and community use. Call 507-537- 7271. Surface: Field turf. Scoreboard: Daktronics state-of-the-art scoreboard with a 13-by-22-foot Pro Star video display. Parking: Majority of parking in the R/A Facility lot; parking also available to the west of the Regional Event Center. New Green lot at the corner of Birch St. and Mustang Trail. Contact: Director of University Event Services, 1-800-642-0684.

Regional Event Center Takes Shape


he Regional Event Center has been going up steadily over the past two years and is now open for the fall athletic season. It is a welcome addition to the campus, and southwest Minnesota. The $16 million, 2,500-capacity structure is located north of the Recreation/Athletic Facility on campus. The grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 6. The Minnesota Legislature appropriated $11 million of the $16 million for construction. The remaining $5 will be raised privately. The Regional Event Center is the new home to the Mustang football and soccer teams, and serve as a venue for campus and regional events. Such events include conferences, speakers, symposiums, concerts, graduations, marching band competitions and recreational events, to name a few—events that require a space that can accommodate larger crowds. The permanent seating capacity is 2,500, though that can be increased considerably with portable seating options. Seating runs from goal line to goal line. There are eight suites that can be used for viewing events and hosting meetings. They are available for SMSU and public use. The press box will also serve as a classroom. State-of-the-art video editing

equipment will be available to Radio/TV students. “It’s a very unique and versatile space in the region,” said Bill Mulso, Associate Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of the SMSU Foundation. “We anticipate a lot of usage, both hosting University events and events from within the region.” The Minnesota State High School League has contacted the University to rent the facility for upcoming high school section playoff games. The Regional Event Center will also be home to Marshall Tiger high school games.

New Residence Hall Construction Begins

Above: With the existing Residence Hall skyline in the background, work on the new 252-bed residence hall complex on campus began in July. The three-story structure will feature two-room suites and is located on the southwest part of campus, next to the “C” parking lot. Right photos: Architect’s renderings of exterior and interior views.


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The new 2009 Residence Hall is located on the west edge of campus near Mustang Trail, between the existing complex that includes Antipodes, Lhasa, Methedras and Naoutha Halls and the “C” Parking Lot. It provides closure at the west end of the existing village of residence halls. Outdoor plazas and a mini-ampitheater create formal and informal outdoor sitting, gathering, event and reflecting spaces. Native grasses, plantings and trees will provide a flow of landscape from the site to the neighboring vegetation. The Residence Hall will have glassy towers that will allow interior light to spill outdoors, highlighting features of the building while adding a glow of security and ambience to the site at night. The exterior will be comprised of similar brick that is used throughout campus. Stone bands will highlight the change in material color and building features. The new residence hall is scheduled for occupancy in Fall 2009.

Mustang Athletics

Tyler Fischer named 2008 William Britton Scholar-Athlete


he Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference announced in May that Southwest Minnesota State University senior football player Tyler Fischer was named the 2008 Dr. William Britton ScholarAthlete Award winner for the second consecutive year. The Britton Scholar-Athlete Award for Academic Excellence, in its 24th year, recognizes the NSIC’s top male student-athlete. A native of Gettysburg, S.D., Fischer becomes the first student-athlete to repeat as the NSIC Britton Award. In 2007, Fischer became just the second SMSU male student-athlete to earn the award. Former football player Bruce Saugstad earned the award in 1989. The member institutions of the NSIC nominate one male and one female student-athlete for the Britton Award. The nominees must meet the following criteria: a grade point average of 3.2 or better (on a 4.0 scale); evidence of academic excellence beyond the minimum grade point average (scholarship prizes and other academic recognition), evidence of participation in the life of the institution, and evidence of participation in at least two-thirds of the varsity events of the individual’s primary sport. Fischer was recognized at the 2008 NSIC Hall of Fame Banquet in St. Cloud in July and will receive a $1,000 post-graduate scholarship. Fischer, an agribusiness major with an emphasis in management, finance and marketing, was a three-year starter and four-time letterwinner for the Mustang football team. Fischer has completed his pre-chiropractic curriculum and plans to work for NFO in Washington, D.C., after graduation from SMSU. Academically, Fischer holds a 3.76 GPA while being named to the Dean’s List every semester. He was also a three-time NSIC AllAcademic team member, awarded the SMSU Presidential Academic Scholarship, the Paul Pearson Memorial Scholarship, the Cenex Scholarship and was named SMSU Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year in

MUSTANG CAREER TOTALS: • 213 stops • 20 tackles for loss • 7.5 sacks • 3.76 Grade Point Average 2007 and 2008. Fischer has been the President of the SMSU Student Athlete Advisory Committee since 2004. He is also involved with the Intercollegiate Athletic Advisor Board, College Republicans, the University Sportsman Club, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, as well as being an officer of the Ag Club. He was also a part of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team in 2007. On the football field, Fischer competed in 43 of 44 games over his career and was awarded the Glen Galligan Award, as the conference’s top football senior student-athlete. He was an honorable mention AllNSIC selection in 2005 and 2007 and SMSU Special Teams Player of the Year in 2004. In his spare time, Fischer is a participant in Mustang Readers (reading in elementary schools); YMCA Youth Day; was captain of the Relay for Life team raising $3,700 for American Cancer Society;helped organize a food drive which obtained over 1,500 pounds of food and over $1,000 for the Marshall Food Shelf; and was involved in many other volunteer jobs on campus and in the community.

SMSU Athletics To Induct Seven into Hall of Honor SMSU Athletics announced its latest class members to be inducted into the SMSU Athletics Hall of Honor. The induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009, beginning at 1 p.m. in the SMSU Conference Center. Joining the SMSU Athletics Hall of Honor in January include Carolina Gomez (tennis), Paige Karno (volleyball), Chris Pack (baseball), Bruce Saugstad (football), Link Steffen (wrestling/baseball), and Sheldon and Marge Haaland (community members). The ceremony is open to the public and tickets are available by calling 507-537-7271. 2009 SMSU Athletics Hall of Honor Class: Carolina Gomez (tennis): Four-year letter winner (1986-89) ... honorable mention NAIA All-America in doubles (1988) ... second team NAIA All-America in doubles and singles in 1989 ... career singles record of 99-22 (.818 winning pct. ranks first all-time) ... finished career with combined record of 195-48 in singles and doubles ... four-time All-NSC honoree including #1 singles and #1 doubles in 1989 ... four-time NAIA All-District honoree ... member of four conference championship teams. Paige Karno (volleyball): Four-year letter winner (1992-95) ... ranks second all-time in SMSU history in kills with 1,661 ... member of 1993 squad that qualifed for NAIA national tournament ... first team AllNSIC in 1994 and 1995 ... named NSIC female athlete of the year in

1995 ... two-time SMSU female athlete of the year ... ranks in top five in school history in kills and attack attempts, while ranking first with 2,619 digs. Chris Pack (baseball): Four-year letter winner (1995-98) ... four-time first team All-NSIC honoree ... 1995 NSIC Pitcher of the Year ... member of 1996 NSIC championship team ... named SMSU team pitcher of the year three times ... led NSIC in ERA in 1995 (1.23) ... ranks first in school history in innings pitched, wins, strikeouts and complete games. Bruce Saugstad (football): Four-year letter winner (1985-88) ... first team Academic All-America in 1988 ... two-time NAIA AllAmerica Scholar-Athlete ... honorable mention All-NSIC in both 1987 & 1988 ... member of 1987 NAIA playoff team ... 1988 NSIC Glen Galligan Award winner ... 1989 NSIC Male Athlete of the Year ... team captain in 1988 ... finished career with 132 solo tackles setting a-then school record ... played in all 43 games in his career. Link Steffen (wrestling/baseball): Four-year letter winner (1994-98) ... 1998 NCAA II national champion at 190 lbs. ... two-time NCAA All-America ... three-time NCAA national qualifier ... four-time AllNSIC honoree ... 1998 Midwest Region Wrestler of the Year ... finished with 39-1 record in 1997-98 ... finished with 114 career victories ranking second all-time ... played two seasons (1995-96) of baseball. FOCUS MAGAZINE

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Mustang Athletics

South Dakota Volleyball Coach of the Year

In Memoriam

Andy Wiersma Andy Wiersma, a former SMSU men's basketball player, was killed on July 27 in a two-car accident east of Balaton, Minnesota. Originally from Chanhassen, Wiersma, 26, played five seasons for the Mustang men's basketball team from 2001-06. Following a redshirt season in 2001-02, he played in 112 career games, making 36 starts. He scored 418 points while grabbing 237 rebounds in his four-year career. He shot 42.6 percent from the field (135-of-317) including 37.7 percent from three-point range (69-of-183). Following his playing career in 2006, the men's basketball program honored him by renaming its "Mustang Award" the "Andy Wiersma Mustang Award," given each year to a player who exemplifies the qualities of being a men's basketball student-athlete.

Kacy Heiss Kienholz ’00 knew she had a good core group of seniors last year. She didn’t know just how good. The Pierre High School coach was named South Dakota volleyball coach of the year after last season’s 23-1 team claimed the Eastern South Dakota (ESD) championship and took second in the Class AA state tournament. They lost a five-game heartbreaker to Rapid City Stevens. Kienholz took over the job two years ago after expanding the Junior Olympic program in Pierre following a move there five years ago with her husband Peter. A stay-at-home mother of three young children, Kienholz jumped at the chance to coach the high school team when the opportunity presented itself, and in her second year, took the team to its first-ever ESD title and second-place state finish. She graduated from SMSU in 2000 with an Elementary Education degree and played four years of volleyball for the Mustangs. She was recruited by Deb Denbeck out of Page, Neb., and helped coach Junior Olympic volleyball with current SMSU volleyball coach Terry Culhane. Her husband Peter is a 1998 graduate of SMSU. He is a sales representative for Pitney Bowes. They have three children: Miah, 5; Lincoln, 4; and Lola, 1.

UPDATE • UPDATE • UPDATE • UPDATE • UPDATE • UPDATE • UPDATE Senior Matt Fletcher (North Branch) wrapped up his career at SMSU by earning second team All-NSIC honors for the third straight season, while finishing as only the third player in NSIC history to make over 300 threepointers in his career. Senior Travis Krenske (Faribault) was named third-team All-NSIC. Both Fletcher and Krenske finished their careers with over 1,000 points and helped SMSU to a third-place finish in the conference this past season. Junior Sara Leidall (Rochester) was named honorable mention All-NSIC after averaging 10.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for the women’s basketball team. A young team, the Mustangs graduated just one senior, Laura VanOverbeke (Marshall), who finished her career with 86 points and 82 rebounds. The SMSU wheelchair basketball team was led by senior Nathan Peitz (Hartington, Neb.), who was named first team All-America and junior Evan Thorn (Elk River), who was second team All-America. The Rolling Mustangs finished fifth at the national tournament. Junior Tyler Johnson (Harrisburg, S.D.) qualified for the NCAA tournament, becoming the first Mustang wrestler to qualify in two years. Johnson became first-year head coach Jesse Nelson’s first national qualifier after 14

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Johnson placed third at the North Regional tournament at 184 pounds. The Mustang tennis team finished second in the NSIC, its highest placing since 1993. Senior Diana Naatz (Marshall) was named NSIC Senior of the Year, while freshmen Cailey Grupe (Trimont) and Trisha Baldwin (Montevideo) earned first team AllNSIC honors at fifth and sixth singles, respectively. Baldwin also earned honorable mention All-NSIC with No. 3 doubles partner, sophomore Amy Daniels (Marshall), while Grupe and sophomore Danielle Hildebrandt (St. James) earned honorable mention at No. 2 doubles. Hildebrandt and Naatz also earned honorable mention All-NSIC at Nos. 3 and 4 singles. Four Mustang baseball players were honored by the NSIC, led by senior pitcher Brandon Wilhelmi (Clements) being named first team All-NSIC. Senior shortstop Lex Reinke (Shoreview), junior second baseman Greg Laughlin (Eden Prairie) and sophomore pitcher Jared Pick (Luverne) were all named honorable mention All-NSIC. Laughlin was named first team Daktronics All-Region and first team Academic All-District. Wilhelmi was

named to the second team ABCA all-region team. The SMSU baseball team finished in fourth place in the NSIC. The SMSU softball team enjoyed one of its best seasons ever, led by senior catcher Erin Dickhausen (Watertown) and junior pitcher Amanda Johnson (Fremont, Neb.). The duo earned numerous postseason honors, including all-region. Dickhausen was named NSIC Player of the Year, while Johnson earned NSIC Pitcher of the Year and Daktronics North Central Region Pitcher of the Year. Senior shortstop Amanda Opatz (Annandale), juniors Amanda Burkhart (Omaha, Neb.) and Jessica Paczosa (Inver Grove Heights) and sophomore Andrea Fennern (Wabasso) were all named first team All-NSIC. Junior Amanda Tucci (Oakdale) was named honorable mention All-NSIC and head coach Shawn Semler was named NSIC Coach of the Year. Semler’s squad won its third consecutive regular season NSIC title and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season. The Mustangs were ranked seventh in the nation in the April 9 NFCA poll, its highest ranking in school history.

class notes

VAL ROMBERG ’78 RUNS GOOFY RACE t was a love of Mickey Mouse that led 1978 SMSU graduate Val Romberg to participate in the Goofy’s Race-and-a-half Challenge at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., last January. The event consisted of a half-marathon the first day, and a full marathon the next. Romberg managed a Disney store in Indianapolis for a dozen years and is a bona fide Mickey Mouse aficionado. She has one room crammed full of her favorite Walt Disney character. She received support during the two-days of racing from fellow alumni David Sanderson, class of 1978, Plymouth; Jane (Klinkner) Soukup, class of 1980, New Ulm; and Jason Mortvedt, class of 1978, Twin Cities. “They inspired me,” she said. “I don’t think I could have finished without them.” Romberg decided to run because of the medals awarded for those who finish each race. “You got a Donald Duck medallion for the half marathon, a Mickey Mouse medallion for the full marathon, and a Goofy medallion for both. You have to be a little bit goofy to run both of them.” Romberg has returned for every SMSU homecoming since graduating, and it was through those gatherings that she became close to Sanderson, Soukup and Mortvedt. “There’s a whole group of us who come back each year,” she said. “I don’t have any children, so my SMSU friends are like my family.” She admits her two days of running may seem a bit crazy, “but I really wanted those medallions to add to my collection,” she said with a chuckle.


1971 YVONNE (HOFFMAN) SIEVE received the 2008 Celebrate Literacy Award from the Minnesota Reading Assn. She teaches first-graders in the Worthington School District. 1972 TIMOTHY BURNS is “truly enjoying seeing our college grow” and has been on the SMSU Foundation Board of Directors for three terms. He is married to wife, Julie, and they have three grown children: Rob, 20; Tony, SMSU grad now working for KELO-TV in Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Molly. Timothy works in sales for Principal in Sioux Falls, S.D. MURIEL (ODDEN) AND JOHN (1971) COULTER live in Tracy, where she has taught elementary school for 34 years. John is a retired social studies teacher and markets artwork for his friend, Josh Spies of Watertown, S.D. They have four grown children. PAMELA (STEHLEYSWANSON) PAPPAS has been a kindergarten teacher at St. Francis Elementary in Rochester, for 18 years. She is married to husband, Walter, and has three grown children and three grandchildren. 1973 JAMES BOTHMER was recently promoted to Assistant Vice President for Health Science and director of the Health Sciences Library/Learning Resources Center at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. He was elected to the board of directors of the Association of Academic Health Science Libraries. NANCY (BERTELSEN) MARCO works at Worthington Regional Hospital in Worthington, and teaches medical coding parttime at Minnesota West Community and Technical College. 1974 BOB NOSBUSCH has been a teacher for the past 20-plus years and currently teaches

special education in the Pipestone, school district. He took the Pipestone job to be closer to his parents. “Wishing the best to friends and alumni … Those years were some of the best ever.” PAMELA (BINNEBOSE) WOLTERS teaches K-6 music and beginning band at Swanville Schools in Swanville. She also has a beef herd, “with the possible intent of going organic.” 1974 RICHARD AND JEANNE (DEPAW) TOEWS are proud grandparents for the first time. Richard recently retired from a 33-year career of teaching special education. They live in Spring Valley. 1977 JANNA (CADWELL) AND CRAIG COBB live in Huron, S.D. Janna teaches for the Huron School District and Craig is senior vice president and chief financial officer at American Bank Trust. 1981 RICHARD “DICK” CRUMB completed a master’s in telecommunications at St. Mary’s University in Minneapolis in June 2008. 1985 BRIAN FLANAGAN had a display for his “K9 Solar Lodge” at the June Minnesota Inventors Congress in Redwood Falls. 1987 LEE CLARK lives in Dakota Dunes, S.D., and recently accepted a new teaching position at Elk Point-Jefferson School in Elk Point, S.D. He will be head boys and girls golf coach and assist with the girls basketball program while teaching K-8 physical education. He had been at Maple Valley-Anthon-Oto (Anthon, Iowa) prior to moving to Dakota Dunes. 1989 JEAN (AALDERKS) SORENSON is a full-time mother living with her husband and three children in Plymouth. 1990

PAUL HARTZEL works for Hennepin County (Minneapolis) and is just one of 16 people in the world certified in Forensic Video Analysis from the Law Enforcement Emergency Video Association (LEVA). “It wasn’t an easy task; it involves years of training, seminars, testing and peer review… The degrees I obtained from Southwest and the University of Nebraska contributed toward the number of credit hours required for this certification.” 1991 PATRICIA (GRIESE) ALCORN and her husband, Tony (’90), got a lot busier in October 2007 with the birth of twins, Chase and Eli. 1992 SANDRA (OKERMAN) MAEYAERT loves her teaching job, and sends this note to students who think they may be too old to go to college: “I was 47 years old when I became a student for the first time. I struggled but loved every minute. I graduated with four BS degrees. I have enjoyed teaching and will be 65 next year. My only regret is that I wish I could have had more years to teach. I got a wonderful education at SMSU, at that time SSU.” TERESA (HABERMAN) LANGTON teaches third grade and was named 2008 Teacher of the Year for the Delano School District. She lives in Buffalo. 1993 STEPHANIE (UDELL) DAHL and her husband, Dale, welcomed a son, Blake, in May 2008. JANE (KROGMAN) HARMON is principal of Moffat County High School in Craig, Colo. She married Matthew Harmon in July 2007. LANCE HUSTON works for CHS, Inc., based in Inver Grove Heights, as a certified energy specialist. His wife Stephanie (Toma) is a former SMSU student and works as the travel coordinator and


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class notes special assistant to the president at Carleton College in Northfield. They have one son. JULIE (RUPP) NORDAUNE lives in her hometown of Granite Falls with her husband and two children. She was a stay-at-home mother and recently took a position as a student aid at Bert Raney Elementary School. SCOTT VANDERMILLEN is the new athletic director at Harrisburg S.D. High School after serving in Mitchell, S.D. for 10 years as athletic director. He was also head girls’ basketball coach for three years in Mitchell. 1994 JASON ADAMS entered into a partnership with a local Sioux Falls, S.D., attorney. The law office is called Tschetter & Adams Law Office, P.C. The practice is focused on criminal defense and family law. He is the father of a new daughter, Emma, born in March 2008. CATHY (BERNARDY) JONES married her husband, Jason, in November, 2007. She edits, writes and takes photos on a freelance basis out her home. A large contingent of SMSU alumni was in attendance at the wedding, helping make her special day even more special. 1995 PATRICK AND MARCIE (PINSKE) HAGGERTY live in Coon Rapids where Patrick works for Waymore Transportation and Marcie is a human resources manager for Target Corp. They had their third daughter last September. AMY (HONKEN) MOAN lives in Omaha, Neb., with her husband, Tim. They have two sons: Logan, 6, and Jack, 4. 1996 KIMBERLY “KIM” (HANSON) WERMERS is employed by Dakota State University in Madison, S.D., where she is a communications network specialist. She is the administrator of the university’s ID card, works with meal plans, the onand off-campus Trojan debit system, and is responsible for the hardware and software that operates the transaction system. 1997 JEN (BAYER) HENDRICKSON and her husband, Rob, are the proud parents of a daughter, Zoe., born in December 2007. MARYALICE (STUDER) LANGEVIN is a speech language pathologist in the Farmington School


FALL 2008

District and lives in Lakeville with her husband, Mark, and son. 1998 ELIZABETH (MULSO) SHERMAN and her husband, Bob, are the proud parents of Jacob Robert, born in September 2007. MIKE AND MELISSA (SMITH) NESDAHL live in Eagan where Mike is a senior manager in finance and marketing for Toro and Melissa works for Park Nicollet as a physician’s assistant in orthopedic surgery. They had a baby girl, Brooke Anne, last July. Melissa was inducted into the St. Bernard’s High School Athletic Hall of Fame last September. 1999 KYLE HAGEMAN is manager for General Nutrition Center in the Har Mar Mall and continues to be a diehard Mustang fan. “I make it to Marshall every chance I get to see the teams play. Can’t wait to see the first game in the {Regional Event Center.}” AARON AND MICHELLE (CHRISTENSEN) SINCLAIR live in Little Falls and welcomed a baby girl, Sophia, last July. Aaron is the head football coach and an English teacher at Little Falls. 2000 KRISTI (ARENDS) WIESE will begin her fourth year of teaching kindergarten in the Marshall school system this year. Kristi and her husband welcomed a daughter, Lily Elaine, in August 2007. 2001 NICKOLE (HAFFEY) BOWIE is a teacher and received the state Rising Star Teacher Award from the Oklahoma Board of Education in 2007. She lives in McAlester, Okla. JANICE KESTELOOT married Eric Brunsvold in September 2007. She works for Agency 318, a department of The Schwan Food Co. 2002 NICKOLE (HAFFEY) BOWIE is returning to the state from Oklahoma. She will be teaching band in southern Minnesota, and is happy to be back in Minnesota. CHRISTINA BRUSVEN was honored in March with the Inspiring Efficiency Leadership Award by the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. She is a lawyer with Fredrikson & Byron, a 225-member Minneapolis law firm, focusing on renewable energy and wind development issues. She also works at the Minnesota House of Representatives as a


research assistant. TRACY (NORDMEYER) OEY and husband Alex (2003) welcomed Steven David on Jan. 10, 2008. KIMBERLY PEHRSON is an assistant Nobles County attorney and lives Some SMSU alumni in in Worthington. attendance at Cathy (Bernardy, '94) and Jas 2003 on Jones' wedding inc luded, fron t row, from left: Vicky BRIAN WILLIAMS Burdick, Janet (Saxton, '92) and Jim Gla ser , Julie (Porter, '95, bridesm recently started his duties aid) Erchoffas the Valley High School Costet, Jason & Cathy Jones, Diane Ptak ('92 , maid of honor), Crystal (Pe derson) and Dave Me principal in Elgin, Iowa. ek, and Lisa Jacobsen. Back row : Brian Linville ('95, LINDSAY videographer), Jenny (Porter, bridesmaid) Wil (SPRINGMAN) ley, Jackie Porter, Keith ('94 ) and Jody (Rolf, '95, COOLEY married cross bearer) Cushman, and Steve and Aimee (Kruge husband Jared in 2005. r, '94) Fisher. They have two children. 2004 CRYSTAL (FANGMEIER) BLANKERS married husband Allen IN MEMORIAM in March She is employed at Western ELLEN (JOHNSON) ADEN, 1971, Mental Health in Marshall. Allen passed away on Nov. 5, 2007. works for Minnwest Bank in KEITH BUBOLTZ, 1976, passed Marshall. away. RANDY STEIL is a district executive KELSEY EBERLE, 2009, passed for Boy Scouts of America and lives away in June 2008. in Willmar. LORI (DIRCKX) FEHRMAN, 2005 1982, passed away on Oct. 1, 2007 KRISTIN (ANDERSON) MCNEIL PAUL FEST, 1987, passed away on marred Perry McNeil on Sept. 15, Aug. 24, 2007. 2007. KURT GIGSTAD, 1979, passed 2006 away on Oct. 17, 2007. STEPHEN PENNERTZ married PATRICIA (PATTERSON) HAY, Julie Hofmann in June 2007. 1991, passed away on Sept. 25, 2007. RACHEL PETERSON is a preDIANE (BRUNS) HOLUM, 1989, school teacher and lives in Edina. passed away. 2007 LAURA (ST. CLAIR) HEATHER GRUBA finished her HOVDESVEN, 1996, passed away first year as a math teacher at East on Dec. 9, 2007. High School in downtown Denver, JORY LEE ISAKSON, 1971, passed Colo. “It was a great time, but vastly away. different than southern Minnesota,” TERRY JENNEN, 1976, passed away she writes. on Dec. 9, 2007. KELLY MACE had a daughter, DALE KILLE, 1973, passed away. Amelia Grace. “You might have seen JACKIE KOLSTAD, 2005, passed her at graduation ’07, but now she’s away on Sept. 15, 2007. running like a future track star, GLEVA (BINGER) though mommy hopes for a basketball KRONLOKKEN, 1971, passed away star,” she writes. JEROME LADWIG, 1972, passed MEGHAN NELSON is the assistant away on May 23, 2007. women’s basketball coach at the FRANCES MCCORMICK, 1987, University of Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls, passed away. S.D. She is the top assistant and BRETT THOMPSON, 2009, passed recruiting coordinator. She is active in away July 16, 2008. the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. PA DAO VANG, 2008, passed away 2008 on March 3, 2008. JEN LINK accepted a full-time ROSELEE (HOWLETT) position as general manager of WEATHERLY, 1981, passed away in operations for Quality Forklift Sales Dec. 2007. and Service. ANDY WIERSMA, 2006, passed away in July 2008.

L eaving a L egacy Vi Johnson “The construction of the college has meant a lot to the region. It offers so many things — the arts, sports, speakers, Senior College, the (Hospitality Management) restaurant. My husband and I raised our children in Marshall, we feel as though this is our town.” Violet “Vi” Johnson and her late husband, Frank, were college supporters from the beginning. Frank was on the Marshall School Board for a dozen years and a founder of Olson & Johnson in Marshall. They had talked about the importance of a college education often, and last September, Vi established the Frank and Vi Johnson Scholarship through the SMSU Foundation. “It was something we wanted to do, help students earn a degree. It was important to us.”

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. 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

Contact the SMSU Foundation at 1-800-260-0970 or E-mail for details.

Making a difference for future generations of Mustangs

The Southwest Minnesota State University Student Activities Committee and 105.1 FM KARL Country present Lyric Street Recording Artist

(We Weren’t Crazy, Nothin’ to Lose, Stay With Me, I Want to Live )

American Idol Season 2 Final Four

Thursday, October 23, 2008

SMSU R/A Facility, Marshall, Minnesota 7pm Doors Open · 8pm Showtime General Seating Advance General Admission Tickets Available: $20 with SMSU Student ID (limit two per ID) $25 General Public · $30 Day of Show (everyone) (No Refunds or Exchanges)

For information and tickets visit: Accepting Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover Questions, contact the Student Center at 507-537-6394. SPONSORED BY SAC. FUNDED BY SAFAC. ADA Act/Section 504: Individuals with a disability who need a reasonable accommodation to participate should call the University Relations office at SMSU at 1-800-642-0684 or through the Minnesota Relay service at 1-800-627-3529. Please call at least 5-7 days in advance of the performance.

Published by SMSU Alumni Office 1501 State Street • Marshall, MN 56258

SMSU FOCUS Alumni Magazine  

A publication for alumni and friends of Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN.

SMSU FOCUS Alumni Magazine  

A publication for alumni and friends of Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN.