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A Magazine for Alumni & Friends of the University of Minnesota, Crookston

Volume 43, Number 2 summer 2011


Background photo courtesy Crookston Daily Times.

From the Chancellor “Our campus has faced many challenges over the years, and every time, we have come back stronger and more determined in our efforts,” Charles H. Casey, D.V.M.

Life presents us with many kinds of tests. As students we take tests during the semester in preparation for a final exam. These tests are expected, and we prepare by studying the course material, our notes, and information provided by the instructor. The results of a test are best when we prepare and use the tools we have been given. Budget challenges, program changes, reallocation of resources, and strategic planning provide an opportunity to closely examine our values and our vision for the future. Over the past year, we have spent a great deal of time gathering input for an action plan. This planning process has led to rich discussion, the exchange of ideas, and an opportunity to re-evaluate our past as we consider the best steps to take as we look to the future. We are preparing for a test of sorts, and in order to prepare, we reviewed programs, held forums, encouraged input and feedback, and drew from the past. We looked at all aspects to help design a plan that encompassed our strengths and isolated possible weaknesses. Our efforts resulted in a document to guide our decision making—the Campus Action Plan for 2015. Decisions were made to strengthen areas by providing additional support for programs in accounting, criminal justice, health management, and natural resources while maintaining our strong programs in agronomy, business management, biology, communication, animal science and many others. We are looking for ways to increase enrollment in horticulture, aviation, agricultural systems management, and early childhood education, and we are making some strides in these areas. On the other hand, we struggled with decisions to end the programs in agricultural education; hotel, restaurant, and tourism management; and organizational psychology. Made with deliberation and careful assessment, these decisions reflect the kind of changes taking place on campuses across the state, and they are not easy ones. Our campus has faced many challenges over the years, and every time, we have come back stronger and more determined in our efforts. We believe in our mission that the campus “provides its unique contribution through applied, career-oriented learning programs that combine theory, practice, and experimentation in a technologically rich environment.” We remain true to that mission and to serving students by offering a remarkable student experience leading to a degree from the University of Minnesota. We are proud of our alumni and encouraged by their passion for this place. As we face tests in the future, we will continually prepare and draw on our experience handling change, along with information gathered from those who believe in us both on and off campus. Our faculty, staff, and students remain our most valuable resources, and we will continue to steward this great institution to 2015 and beyond. Sincerely, Charles H. Casey, D.V.M. Chancellor

TABLE OF CONTENTS Director’s Letter............................................................. 4 Focus on the Board.......................................................5 Campus Headlines........................................................ 6 Dr. Kari Torkelson........................................................... 8 Bonita (Bohnsack) Rotvold...................................... 10 Auer Family..................................................................... 12 Nancy (Tish) Leyh.........................................................14 Minnesota Rouser........................................................16

Alisha Aasness...............................................................18 Jamal Jihad....................................................................20 Brittany Novak.............................................................. 22 Nicole Sorlie..................................................................24 Alumni News.................................................................. 26 Reunion Wrap-Up....................................................... 30 3

“Students are building an important network when they choose to attend the U of M, Crookston,” Corby Kemmer, director, Development & Alumni Relations.

Corby Kemmer congratulates new graduate Derek Ricke ’11 who worked as a student assistant in the Office of Development & Alumni Relations.

From the Director of Development & Alumni Relations

Corby Kemmer and Sherry Just, along with big sister Jordyn, welcomed a new addition to their family with the arrival of Colin Jack, on April 8, 2011. Congratulations to Corby, Sherry, and Jordyn!


With commencement in May and the Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA) Alumni Association Reunion in June, I can say with confidence, alumni from this campus make me proud to be a part of the University of Minnesota, Crookston. We recognized Alumna Kari Torkelson, O.D., ex. ’91 during commencement exercises with the prestigious University of Minnesota Alumni Service Award, and most recently, we honored our Top Aggies at the NWSA reunion. What does it mean to be recognized with an alumni award? It takes a special individual, and our campus has graduated many of them. Those we have honored, both now and in the past, have lived exemplary lives of integrity, hard work, and dedication both personally and professionally. They make us proud as an institution because of their depth of character even when life throws them a curve. These outstanding individuals are often the same ones who give generously to support students, volunteer their time, or provide leadership

by serving in an advisory capacity. Over the years, we have recognized many alumni accomplishments. Through this recognition, we have had the chance to honor these individuals surrounded by their friends and family. We do not attain success in a vacuum; any accomplishment takes a network of family, friends, and colleagues, both past and present. Students are building an important network when they choose to attend the U of M, Crookston, and they strengthen that network of faculty, staff, and peers as they navigate their collegiate career. These connections are vital to their future, and they are vital to our campus. We work diligently to give students an experience that will prepare them to take their place in the global community. We want our alumni to fondly remember their time here, but more importantly, we want alumni to take the U of M, Crookston with them wherever they go, to come back often to visit, and to support this institution for the students who will follow in their footsteps. Sincerely, Corby Kemmer, director Development & Alumni Relations

Focus on the Board New board members were welcomed to both of the alumni boards recently and officers were elected. Joining the Northwest School of Agriculture Alumni Association are Jim Chandler ’67 and Bob Kliner ’68. Serving as president is Allan Dragseth ’57 and completing the executive board are Don Deidrich ’56 as vice president and Beulah (Stolaas) Vad ’58 as secretary. Other members include Lowell Hamrick ’53, Chuck Holmquist ’52, Melvin Larson ’55, Barbara (Hylland) Lunsetter ’56, David Haugo ’52, Berneil Nelson ’42, and Jean (Stromstad) Vigness-Parker ’55. Alumni of the Northwest School of Agriculture recently celebrated their annual alumni reunion in June and honored Top Aggies Allen ‘51 and Lorraine (Zipoy) ‘54 Love, East Grand Forks, Minn.; Dell Christianson ‘56, Detroit Lakes, Minn.; David Eblen ‘56, Fargo, N.D.; and Adrian Van Dellen ‘61, Woodville, Texas. They join the more than 135 alumni and staff who have been recognized with the award since 1970. The University of Minnesota, Crookston Alumni Association (UMCAA) Board welcomed new members this year as well. The newly elected president of the UMCAA Board is Juanita Lopez ’08. She joined the board in 2008 and has enjoyed working to make the board more visible. She

currently works at the Crookston Chamber of Commerce as the event planner. Other members of the board include Carl Melbye ’77, Cindy Bigger ’79, Linda (Knutson) Morgan ’85 and ’09, Bill Thielke ’94, Nancie Hoerner ’95, Amy (Peterson) Lubarski ’02, Kari (Vallager) Moe ’03, Jennifer (Novak) Nelson ’06, Katie (Becker) Shaw ’07, Donna Hartel ’07, Karl Syverson ’11 and Paige Eskelson ’08. The UMCAA is planning homecoming activities scheduled for Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1. Make plans to attend homecoming and invite your friends and classmates to do the same. The 2011 homecoming theme is “Golden Eagle Empire.” We will be recognizing our Outstanding Alumni: Ann Bailey ‘79, Kevin Fee ‘80, and Eric Klindt ex. ‘99, and Athletic Hall of Fame inductees: Luther Huggins ex. ‘84 football, Nathan Pitt ‘97 hockey, and Ed Odland, avid supporter of Golden Eagle athletics. We want you to join us for the best alumni gathering ever! Watch for details coming in the mail later in the summer, but plan now to attend. If you would like information on homecoming, contact Rose in the Office of Development & Alumni Relations at 218-281-8439 (

With her U of M Alumni Service Award, Dr. Kari Torkelson ex. ’91 was joined by UMCAA President Juanita Lopez ’08 during a special reception. Lopez also welcomed the Class of 2011 to the alumni association during commencement exercises.


CAMPUS HEADLINES University of Minnesota Welcomes 16th President, Eric Kaler, Ph.D.

Students interested in earning a degree online have three additional options to choose from at the University of Minnesota, Crookston.

On July 1, 2011, Eric W. Kaler, Ph.D., assumed responsibilities as the 16th president of the University of Minnesota. He most recently served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs and vice president for Brookhaven affairs at Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, New York. President Bruininks ended his tenure as president on June 30, after nine years in that position. Everyone at the Crookston campus thanks President Bruininks and First Lady Susan Hagstrum for their support and welcomes President Kaler and First Lady Karen Kaler to Minnesota.

Associate Professor Soo-Yin Lim-Thompson Recipient of Horace T. Morse U of M Alumni Association Award

Recognized for excellence in teaching, Soo-Yin LimThompson, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Minnesota, Crookston was honored as one of seven receiving the Horace T. Morse U of M Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education. Lim-Thompson is an associate professor in early childhood education on the Crookston campus. The 2010-11 Distinguished Teaching Awards Ceremony, held in April, honored the University’s best teaching professors for their contributions to undergraduate, graduate, and professional education.

Associate Professor Harouna Maiga Recognized with Award for Global Engagement

Associate Professor Harouna Maiga, Ph.D., was named a recipient of the Award for Global Engagement for 2010, by the University of Minnesota. Maiga teaches in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department at the U of M, Crookston. The all-University Award for Global Engagement is given to faculty and staff members—active or retired—in recognition of outstanding contributions to global education and international programs in their field, discipline, or the University. An awards ceremony was held in March 2011.

Three Degrees Added to Online Offerings

Students interested in earning a degree online have three additional options to choose from at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. The U of M Board of Regents approved the online delivery of Information Technology Management, Health Management, and Communication. The University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers ten degrees online through the Center for Adult Learning in collaboration with the academic departments. The new online degrees join the seven existing programs including accounting, applied health, applied studies, business management, marketing, manufacturing management, and quality management. For more information about online degrees, visit or call 218-281-8680 (


“If you come back, then I’ll come back.” HOMECOMING 2011 Enjoy all the homecoming events including: Friday, September 30

6 p.m. Outstanding Alumni and Athletic Hall of Fame Social, Banquet, and Program Outstanding Alumni: Ann Bailey ‘79, Kevin Fee ‘80, and Eric Klindt ex. ‘99 Athletic Hall of Fame inductees: Luther Huggins ex. ‘84 football, Nathan Pitt ‘97 hockey, and Ed Odland, avid supporter of Golden Eagle athletics.

Saturday, October 1 10:30 a.m. 11 a.m. 11 a.m. 11:30 a.m. 1 p.m. 4 p.m. 8 p.m.

Homecoming Parade around Campus Mall Golden Eagle Soccer vs. Northern State Wolves, Soccer Field Tailgating with music by Four Wheel Drive, Parking Lot E Campus tours following parade, Meet at the Sargeant Student Center Golden Eagle Football vs. U of Mary Marauders, Ed Widseth Field Post-game social, Minakwa Country Club Homecoming Dance, Crookston Eagles Club

Visit the Web site for information at Facebook: search for the University of Minnesota, Crookston Homecoming page Contact Rose in the alumni office at 218-281-8439 (


“I had a great student experience. I wanted to come back and I wanted to help any way that I could,” Dr. Kari Torkelson.

Dr. Torkelson conducts an eye exam on one of her patients at the Lifetime Vision Center in Grand Forks, N.D.

Power of Participation Involvement in campus activities plays an integral role in a student’s collegiate experience and Alumna Kari Torkelson, O.D., ex. ’91 is a prime example of the depth of that connection. In 1989, when Torkelson applied to the University of Minnesota, Crookston she wanted to play basketball and volleyball. “I loved athletics and still do,” Torkelson says. “Not only did sports give me a group of friends right away, it helped to keep me focused on doing well in the classroom.” Her dad put up a basketball hoop for her when she was only 8 years old after she won a free throw shooting contest in school and a second at the regional competition. “I never had shot a basketball before then,” she remarks. “I was surprised as anyone at my success.” When she was 10 years old, she placed third in the state competition. “I spent many hours in the shed shooting baskets on the farm,” Torkelson recalls. “It is still a stress reliever for me today, and I find it relaxing.” In her sophomore year at the U of M, Crookston, she took on a new challenge as a residential advisor (RA), known today as a community advisor, in what


was then Brink Hall. “I grew a lot as an RA,” Torkelson says. “I developed my communication skills, practiced conflict resolution, and honed my leadership ability by putting it into practice every day. “I developed close friendships with the other RAs and some of my closest friends now were RAs on campus when I was,” she says. She fondly remembers cookouts with Director of Residential Life Gary Willhite and his wife, Lynn. The RAs found camaraderie in planning activities and spending time together. “I remember one time, after all the students had left for the semester, playing dodge ball with a tennis ball through the halls of Skyberg,” she smiles. “We had good times together.” Being an RA helped Torkelson pay for some of her college expenses, and it meshed well with her athletic schedule. She enjoyed working with Andrew Svec, the current director of communications, public relations, and marketing, when he was first hired as the assistant director of residential life. She also enjoyed JoAnn Westburg who was the senior secretary in residential life. “Gary, Andrew, and JoAnn were good to us and really helped me grow in my role as an RA,” she says.

She also recognizes the friendship she continues to have with her former advisor Associate Professor Jerry Knutson, who taught biological sciences on the campus for many years until retiring in 2004. Torkelson also participated in choir and campus ministry as a student and went on to work as an RA at North Dakota State University (NDSU), where she transferred to pursue a bachelor’s degree. It was during her sophomore year at the U of M, Crookston that Kari decided she wanted to pursue a career in optometry. She transferred to NDSU and then, to Indiana University, Bloomington, where she completed her bachelor’s degree and her doctorate of optometry as well. She is currently an optometrist at Lifetime Vision Center in Grand Forks, N.D. When Torkelson moved back from Indiana to this area she said it was natural for her to return to the Crookston campus for athletic events. “I felt at home with so many people I knew when I was a student,” she states. “I had a great student experience. I wanted to come back and I wanted to help any way that I could.” Torkelson has given back generously of her time to the campus, serving on the Teambacker board, the All-College Advisory Committee, the U of M, Crookston Alumni Association Board, the Athletic Hall of Fame Committee, and a number of others. Volunteering has become a huge part of Torkelson’s personal life. She serves on the foundation board for the North Dakota School for the Blind as well as the board of Habitat for Humanity in Grand Forks, N.D. For a number of years, she was a member of the Grand Forks Master Chorale and served on their board. Torkelson has found connections to what is important to her through service. It is one of the reasons she was honored with several awards in the past year, like the Teambacker of the Year Award. She followed that with the prestigious University of Minnesota Alumni Service Award presented to her by U of M President Robert Bruininks during graduation ceremonies in May. For Torkelson though, it isn’t about recognition, it is about service and trying to ensure students on the campus today have the same great experience she had. “I believe in getting involved,” Torkelson explains. “By choosing to be involved, I have made great connections throughout my life, and when I am asked to serve, I say ‘yes’ because I believe in the U of M, Crookston, and for me, serving has helped build lifelong relationships I value deeply.”

Top Right: When Torkelson was a sophomore at the U of M, Crookston, she decided to pursue a career in optometry. Bottom Right: A number of her family members, including her father, Wallace, celebrated with Dr. Torkelson when she was honored at commencement with the U of M Alumni Service Award.

Reconnecting the Class of 1962 “The Northwest School provided the perfect setting for us to be involved and live right on campus,” Bonita (Bohnsack) Rotvold.

Typewriting, office training, and bookkeeping were the classes taught by Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA) instructor Fae Hughbanks. Her students gained valuable skills but even more significant is the legacy left by Miss Hughbanks for her keen attention to detail and the high regard her students had for her years after they left school. Miss Hughbanks was a favorite of many, including Bonita (Bohnsack) Rotvold, ’62. “Any typing test I ever took for a job interview, I had very few errors,” Rotovld says. “I credit that accuracy to Miss Hughbanks and her standard of perfection. She was a great teacher.” Growing up in Bohnsack Township on a small grain farm near Hillsboro, N.D., Rotvold came to the NWSA with an established work ethic. “I had seven brothers and two sisters, and we grew up working for neighbors cleaning house, babysitting, helping on the farm, or working in the community,” Rotvold recalls.

Most of her siblings attended a tworoom school through the eighth grade. Redistricting and consolidations meant they had choices when it came to high Bonita (Bohnsack) Rotvold in school. Like so her graduation photo in 1962. many others, the 6-month school year made the NWSA a desirable option. Rotvold’s older brother Philip ’59, and older sister, Roberta ’60, both attended the Northwest School, so when it came time for Bonita and her twin sister, Carole, to go to high school, they naturally followed in their older sibling’s footsteps. “We were active in so many activities in high school that our parents would have had to drive many miles back and forth

Rotvold was one of the members of the National Honor Society at the NWSA. 10

Rotvold hopes to see all her classmates from 1962 and friends at the Northwest School of Agriculture Alumni Reunion in June 2012.

if we had gone to school anywhere else,” she says. “The Northwest School provided the perfect setting for us to be involved and live right on campus.” Her favorite memories of campus include working in the library with Berneil Nelson, the Aggie Inn, Sunday night movies and staying out all night, dormitory life, and “the bushes.” For those who may not know, Rotvold explains, “The bushes were bushy trees located just before McCall Hall. Our boyfriends would walk us home from Aggie Inn and we would stop at “the bushes” to kiss goodnight.” But her best memory is how much she enjoyed meeting all the other students. Rotvold was never campused, at least not to her memory, but in reading in her yearbook, she saw a note from “Nels” (classmate Gloria Nelson Holte) referring to spending time in the “green room.” It seems the roommates used a little bit too much water cleaning their dorm room floor. Back then when rules were broken, students had to spend time in the “green room” after school. There also was recollection of a water fight that broke out one

Torch Volume 43, Number 2, Summer 2011, Torch is a publication of the University of Minnesota, Crookston. Director of Development & Alumni Relations Corby Kemmer 218-281-8434 Support Staff Rose Ulseth ‘87 218-281-8439 Sue Dwyer ‘74 218-281-8401

weekend involving several girls. One of them Sandra (Risser) Reynolds ’62 crawled into a garbage can with a lid to hide. When the girls heard someone coming they ran to their rooms, except for Sandra who popped up out of the garbage can just in time to be caught. Rotvold can’t remember their punishment but thinks it may have involved the infamous “green room.” She loved literature class and chorus, glee club, and just plain singing and still does. “In the fall after graduation, a girlfriend and I hopped on a bus and went to Phoenix, Ariz.,” she says. “I started out working as a waitress and ended up as a secretary for a tax attorney.” After four years, she returned to North Dakota to work at the Farm Service Agency for 26 years in Hillsboro, the Goose River Bank for 10 years, and then moved to Fargo where she now works part time for State Bank & Trust. Her plans are to retire at the end of 2011. Rotvold and her husband of 36 years, Les, have a daughter, Lavonne, and two grandchildren. As the class of 1962 prepares for its golden year class reunion in 2012, Rotvold hopes her classmates will

UMCAA Board Cindy Bigger ‘79 Paige Eskelson ‘08 Donna Hartel ‘07 Nancie Hoerner ‘95 Juanita Lopez ‘08 Amy (Peterson) Lubarski ‘02 Carl Melbye ‘77 Kari (Vallager) Moe ’03 Linda (Knutson) Morgan ’85 & ‘09 Jen (Novak) Nelson ‘06 Katie (Becker) Shaw ‘07 Karl Syverson ’11 Bill Thielke ‘94 NWSA Alumni Association Board Jim Chandler ’67 Don Diedrich ‘56 Allan Dragseth ‘57 Lowell Hamrick ‘53 David Haugo ‘52 Charles Holmquist ’52 Bob Kliner ’68 Melvin Larson ‘55 Barbara (Hylland) Lunsetter ’56 Berneil Nelson ’42, ex officio Beulah (Stolaas) Vad ‘58 Jean (Stromstad) Vigness-Parker ‘55

come back and get reacquainted. “I would love to see you all,” she says. “Do you think we could match our senior pictures with who we are now? I have taken that old age pill, you know, the one that makes you look older. “I used to think people coming to a fiftieth class reunion were old, but I know now, they really aren’t!” Mark your calendar now, the Northwest School reunion is slated for Saturday, June 30, 2012, and members of the Class of 1962 are preparing to celebrate their golden anniversary. Make the Crookston campus your summer place.

Contact information: Torch Elizabeth Tollefson ’02, editor University of Minnesota, Crookston 2900 University Avenue Crookston, Minnesota 56716 Phone: 218-281-8432 Fax: 218-281-8440 E-mail:

The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status or sexual orientation.

The University of Minnesota, Crookston is a public, baccalaureate, coeducational institution and a coordinate campus of the University of Minnesota. The Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA) was a residential high school serving students from 1906-68 and the predecessor of the Crookston campus. The Torch is named for the historical passing of the educational torch between the NWSA and the U of M, Crookston in 1968.

Printed on recycled and recyclable paper with at least 10 percent post-consumer material using agribased inks. On the front cover: Alumna Kari Torkelson. O.D., ex. ’91 accepts the U of M Alumni Service Award from President Robert Bruininks during commencement. On the back cover, Because feature: Student at the high school in Climax, Minn. weighs sediment sample.


NWSA was “Auer” School “Going to school there taught me to work for a goal and to adjust to circumstances and it taught me if plan A doesn’t work, take plan B,” Gladys Auer.

Part of the series “Four or more” focusing on families who attended the NWSA or the U of M, Crookston Annually, a list is compiled identifying the year’s most fascinating people, and if the Northwest School of Agriculture were to compile a similar list, you might find Alumna Gladys Auer ’45 located near the top. Auer grew up near Mahnomen, Minn., on a farm with her parents, Anton and Anna Auer, and her nine siblings. Seven of the ten children graduated from the Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA), including siblings Paul ’41, Helen (Auer) Ahmann ’44, Donna (Auer) Svihel ’48, Herbert ’51, Mary Ann (Auer) Hoffman ’52, and Rosemary ’56. Paul and Herbert earned degrees from the University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks. Paul majored in journalism and Herbert in industrial arts education. Herbert further earned a master’s degree from UND and a doctorate from Arizona State University. Donna received her degree in elementary education from the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn. Two women on staff at the Northwest School were particularly influential in Auer’s life as a student. Berneil Nelson, the campus librarian, who Auer describes as “so very helpful” and Margaret Larsen, who taught journalism, literature, and history from 1943 to 1961. Larsen encouraged Auer to go to college in an era when only 5 percent of women in the nation attended college. She followed

Helen (Auer) Ahmann 12

Gladys Auer

Larsen’s advice and attended the College of St. Benedict majoring in chemistry with minors in biology and philosophy, fields solidly dominated by men. Over the years, Auer kept in touch with Larsen and recalls writing to tell her she was considering going back to school for a master’s degree. Larsen, ever the education advocate, wrote back and told her she should definitely Gladys Auer get the degree if she wanted it. In 1982, her family grown, Auer would graduate with her master’s degree in human relations and behavior from Northern Arizona University. Auer’s chemistry degree was used for employment in a quality control lab at an ice cream plant in Minneapolis, Minn., in a research study on pesticides in milk at the Arizona State Health Lab, and in a lab that processed “rare earth elements” for research. Later, she was employed in a brewery lab, in research work at the National Center for Disease Control and in research work at the U. S. Department of Agriculture Water Conservation Lab. She continues playing an active role in her community as a volunteer. She was

Herbert Auer

Paul Auer

Rosemary Auer

president of the Board of Directors for the Homeowners Association, ARC Cares Coordinator for a retirement community of 1500 households, and for the past eight years, she has served as a volunteer usher for The Phoenix Stages including the Arizona Opera, the Arizona Ballet, and The Phoenix Symphony. Although a good student at the Northwest School, Auer recalls

Mary Ann (Auer) Hoffman

being “campused” by Retta Bede, perceptress of the girls’ dorm for not being in her room one evening when the lights blinked their evening reminder. “Campused” meant Auer was not allowed to leave campus for any reason for an entire week. One of the reasons for sending students to the Northwest School was the six-month academic year allowing children to help on the farm in the spring and fall.

Donna (Auer) Svihel

Auer says being a student at the NWSA taught her to set goals and adjust to circumstances; if plan A doesn’t work, use plan B. Her father told all his children, “If I give you money, one mistake and it is gone; if I give you an education, no one can take it from you.” The Auer children heeded their father’s wisdom using their education throughout life’s journey.

It’s an authentic Bill Tyrrell Bobblehead and he can be yours! For only $20 (plus $3 shipping/handling) you can own a limited edition Bill Tyrrell Bobblehead. Help support scholarships and get a Bill Tyrrell Bobblehead of your very own. Place your order by sending your $20 (plus $3 shipping and handling) payable to UMC Teambackers to: Bill Tyrrell, director of athletic fundraising University of Minnesota, Crookston Kiehle 115 2900 University Avenue Crookston, MN 56716 E-mail: Phone: 218-281-8436


A Taste for Food and Fitness “... I loved the size of the Crookston campus and found myself engaged in as many things as I could when I was there,” Nancy (Tish) Leyh.

Her menu for life includes a tasteful combination of food and fitness, and for Alumna Nancy (Tish) Leyh ’70, that combination has given life just the right zest. Active as a young girl in the 4-H organization, Leyh loved working on projects in the area of foods. “I knew when I went to college, I wanted a degree related to foods,” she says. “I found what I was looking for at the University of Minnesota Technical College in Crookston in the food management program.” In fact, she graduated from the Tech, as it was called, with high distinction on a sunny Friday in June 1970, and began her role as a home economist assistant at General Mills the following Monday. “My first cookbook as a child was Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls, and it was exciting for me to go to work in the kitchens at General Mills fresh out of college,” Leyh recalls. She was the first home economist assistant they hired. Her work included testing and developing recipes and Nancy (Tish) Leyh in her graduation photo in the 1970 working on products, cookbooks, package directions, and Trojan yearbook. Sphere, the Betty Crocker magazine. She even tested menus. “I would prepare a full meal and serve it to a panel,” she explains. “I worked on the Dinner for Two cookbook and as part of the project, I would recruit couples working at General Mills who lived in a two-person household to come in at lunch to eat a meal I would prepare and serve.” Following the meal, panelists would fill out forms reacting to aspects of the menu and food items. One of the most significant projects she managed was a Bisquick baking mix recipe promotion. “The Bisquick project interfaced with so many different departments in the company, like the research labs, marketing, and others,” she says. “It was encouraging for me to be trusted to manage such a large project.” Like every other job, it had its stresses, but Leyh found great satisfaction in her work. She also led a vigorous life outside of her job with friends, family, church and sports. “I was active as a student in Crookston,” she says. “I graduated from a small high school in Welcome, Minn., and I loved the size of the Crookston campus and found myself engaged in as many things as I could when I was there.” Involvement is something she has never shied away from. Wayne and Nancy (Tish) Leyh on their 12th anniversary camping trip along the Superior Hiking Trail.


In the Betty Crocker Kitchens, Nancy (Tish) Leyh is joined by actor, singer, dancer, and comedian Danny Kaye.

A member of student government, campus ministry, yearbook staff, choir, and band, Leyh flourished as student. “I was even a member of the Tech Target Masters, a shooting club on campus,” she smiles. “I love athletics, but at the time, there were no athletic programs for young women. “I enjoy fitness activities particularly,” Leyh says. She continues to be engaged in many activities including walking, running, biking, cross-country skiing, snow

shoeing, camping and canoeing. She was even a member of the General Mills bowling team and enjoyed downhill skiing when she was younger. Her focus on fitness continues as she explains, “I exercise daily, even when I travel.” Like so many companies experienced, General Mills downsized in the late 1990’s, and Leyh’s position was eliminated. For the next several years, she did assembly work for the company her husband, Wayne, worked for, but found she needed more of a challenge. “Ten years ago, I took a job as an education

assistant in the Robbinsdale, Minn., School District in special education,” she says. “I am on summer break right now and deep cleaning my house, but when that is finished, I plan on spending my summer enjoying walks with friends and some travel. “ Wherever she goes, Leyh will carve out time for being active. “Just like when I was a student at the Tech, I like to try everything. I never even minded the hikes across campus during a Minnesota winter,” she laughs. That statement says a whole lot about Leyh and how she has cultivated her appetite for fitness into a way of living.

Provost Stanley Sahlstrom surrounded by homecoming royalty in fall 1969. In the photo, l to r: Nancy (Tish) Leyh, Bev (Foss) Bernhagen, Sahlstrom, and Shelley (Newell) Overgaard. 15

Small Campus, Big Tradition Written by Jordan Melbye, Communications Assistant in University Relations

Minnesota, hats off to thee! To thy colors true we shall ever be; Firm and strong, united are we, Rah! Rah! Rah! For Ski-U-Mah (Shouted) Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah! Rah! for the U of M

Homecoming wouldn’t be complete without the singing of the “Minnesota Rouser.” It is one of two official songs of the University of Minnesota and, along with the original song, “Hail! Minnesota,” the fight song is sung at almost all University athletic events. The rouser was written in 1909 by Floyd M. Hutsell in response to a contest sponsored by the Minneapolis Tribune. Gopher fans were looking for a lighter, catchier tune to replace the hymn-like “Hail! Minnesota.” One fan noted, “Minnesota is beautiful, but too mournful to warm the feet at the bleachers.” The history of the “Minnesota Rouser” on the Crookston campus dates all the way back to UMC’s predecessor, the Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA). Founded in 1905, the NWSA was the area’s first agricultural high school. As part of the University of Minnesota system, the Northwest School adopted the University’s school songs in addition to their own original “Aggie” fight songs. The phrase “Ski-U-Mah,” pronounced SKY-YOU-MAH, is found not only in the rouser but in many of the songs and yells for both the University of Minnesota and the Northwest School. The Northwest Aggie Fight song even begins with the phrase, “Ski-u-Mah; Ski-u-Mah Fight, Aggies, Fight Fight Northwest Aggies Fight as you’ve fought for years…” While many students and fans use the phrase, its actual meaning and origin are not as well known.

The Northwest School of Agriculture Aggie Homecoming football game drew a big crowd during the fall of 1964. 16

The famous Minnesota phrase was coined in 1884 by two Minnesota rugby team members, John W. Adams and Win Sargeant, who were determined to create a fitting team yell. According to the U of M Marching Band Centennial Book, Minnesota Hats Off to Thee, Adams recalled a memory of a canoe race between four Native American boys he had witnessed the year before. As the first canoe passed the finish line, one of the boys put up his hand and

yelled “Ski-oo.” Adams remembered that this cry was used by Native American children when winning an athletic contest. The cry was combined with “U-Mah,” representing the University of Minnesota and rhyming with “rahrah-rah,” to create the team cheer. The phrase stuck and was incorporated into the “Minnesota Rouser” and many other schools songs and yells throughout Minnesota. From chanting the “Minnesota

University of Minnesota Technical College students show some Trojan spirit during the 1980 Homecoming Parade.

Rouser” at the football game to watching the annual homecoming parade, homecoming at the University of Minnesota, Crookston will always be rich with tradition. Come back to campus this fall on September 30 and October 1 to celebrate Homecoming 2011. It’s the perfect time to reminisce, reconnect with old friends, and perhaps even start a few new traditions of your own.

Homecoming royalty waved to the crowds of Aggie fans during the 1957 Homecoming Parade.

Trojan football players burst through the spirit banner before the 1980 Homecoming football game. Football cheerleaders cheer at a Trojan football game in 1977. In the photo, Top row: Shari (Sharp) Oravetz; Center Row: Denise Goroski, Cholice (Soltau) Koeller, Sheila (Torgerson) Willis (deceased); Bottom: Joni Myrold.


Madame President “ I also want to create an even greater awareness of what CSA does, and I have high expectations and standards for myself and the board,” Alisha Aasness.

Her interest in student government took shape when she was a high school student in Underwood, Minn. Senior Alisha Aasness knew when she arrived at the University of Minnesota, Crookston as a freshman that she wanted to make the transition from high school student government to the Crookston Student Association (CSA), the student governing body on campus. She definitely made the transition, honing her leadership skills as a senator to take on her new role as CSA president for the 2011-12 academic year. For Aasness, the role of president is a challenge she is looking forward to and one she is ready to assume. “I started out as the senator of recycling in spring 2010 and served as secretary last year,” Aasness says. “It is rewarding to be a part of the CSA board. I liked the camaraderie we shared under the leadership of last year’s president Shawn Friedland ’11, and I want to continue developing it during my time as president.

“I also want to create an even greater awareness of what CSA does, and I have high expectations and standards for myself and the board,” she says. Her leadership style finds balance between work and play through humor because she explains, “you can get more done when you are having fun, and I want to have fun too.” This production horticulture and environmental landscaping major is not the first in her family to attend the U of M, Crookston. Her brother, Austin, graduated in 2008, and she credits him with leading the way. “I worked in a greenhouse in high school as well as a local flower shop,” she

As the new student body president, Alisha Aasness hopes to create a greater awareness of what Crookston Student Association does.


Aasness, a production horticulture and environmental landscaping major would love to own her own landscape design business some day.

says. “I completed my internship at Colorful Seasons Garden Center in Alexandria, Minn., this past summer, and I really enjoy answering questions when people ask about plants. It helps confirm my choice of major.” Aasness enjoys the closeness with both the professors and students on the Crookston campus. “I graduated in a class of 39 students from Underwood High School, Underwood, Minn., and the horticulture program here is small and feels comfortable,” she reflects. “We get to work with one another a lot, and I believe that is one of the strengths the horticulture program offers.” As a work study student, she spends

her time in the admissions office. She is a student ambassador and finds time in her busy schedule to give campus tours, something she really enjoys. Some day Aasness would like to own her own landscape design business and eventually complete a second degree in business. “I believe it is important for a business owner to understand all aspects of the business,” she says. “It will help give me an edge.” For now, she is focused on her role as the CSA president and increasing student involvement, strengthening connections between clubs, and encouraging more communication across groups as well as with both

faculty and administrators. She also will be assisting with the Mid-American Collegiate Horticultural Society (MACHS) annual meeting which will be held for the first time on the Crookston campus this fall. It will be a busy semester for kicking off her presidency. It also will be a time for her to put her leadership skills into practice and grow more than just her passion for plants. Her time has come, and Aasness is ready to move the student body forward and to bring her best as a leader of the CSA, within her major, and as she prepares for a future career.


Straight from the Heart “I was nervous, more because I was thinking about the proposal than anything to do with graduation that day,” Jamal Jihad.

When Jamal Jihad ’11 “popped the question” following commencement exercises in May, it was all about timing. In fact his relationship with his fiancé, Laronda, which began three years ago, may never have happened at all if it weren’t for some lucky timing. “I had a friend who insisted I meet Laronda and he had his work cut out for him,” Jihad smiles. “It was more than 2 years ago, and I was getting ready to leave Robins Air Force Base for the University of Minnesota, Crookston. I wasn’t interested in starting any relationships right then, my life was taking me in a new direction and I was focused on the changes.” Jihad recalls his friend calling him when he was on his way through a drive through and asking him if he was ready to take down a phone number for Laronda, “I said yes, put the phone on mute, and placed my order at the drive through,” he remembers with a laugh. “Eventually, I gave in and agreed to a blind date with her so my buddy could forget about the whole idea.” Once he met Laronda, he couldn’t forget her. Their relationship took off and the miles between Minnesota and Georgia proved less of a barrier than one might think. Originally, Jihad was planning to propose to Laronda over spring break in

Jamal Jihad ’11 gets down on one knee to ask his fiancé, Laronda Ashley, to marry him following commencement in May. 20

March 2011, but circumstances changed and his plans fell through. Undaunted, he considered how he might surprise her and that is when the idea came to him. “I knew we would have close family with us at commencement, and I knew the focus of the day would be on my graduation,” he explains. “It was the perfect cover for my plan. “I was nervous, more because I was thinking about the proposal than anything to do with graduation that day,” Jihad recalls. “I wanted to wait for the right time and I figured I would know the moment was right.” He didn’t really have his proposal prepared because, as he describes, “I pulled it straight from the heart.” His instincts turned out to be right on target. Following the ceremony on a beautiful, sunny afternoon on the Campus Mall with close family around them, Jihad dropped to one knee and

She said “YES!” All smiles, the newly engaged couple poses for a photo.

asked Laronda to be his wife. “It turned out better than I could have imagined,” Jihad says. “All around me happened to be people I worked with on campus and they didn’t know ahead of time. Even more fun was when John Zak happened to walk by with the camera at the very second I was asking her. And, best of all, it was unplanned; it was like the stars aligned!” On September 17, 2011, with close family and friends around them once again, Jihad will marry Laronda in a ceremony in Georgia. Afterward the two will live and work at the Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico. Jihad will be back in the Air Force, this time as an officer. While he is proud of finishing his bachelor’s degree in applied studies, Jihad is concentrating on wedding planning right now. Who will be at his side as best man? Why, the friend whose persistence about the couple meeting paid off, and who, it turns out, had exactly the right timing too.

Best Day of the Year Across the country, springtime marks a very special rite of passage for college students—the commencement ceremony. It is an event that celebrates the completion of a student’s collegiate career and the beginning of a new chapter in life. For faculty and staff at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, the day is the highlight of the academic year, a day to celebrate the success of students and to wish them well on the road ahead. Commencement exercises were held on Saturday, May 7, 2011, when more than 190 students, including more than 10 international students and some 20 online students, participated in the largest graduation ceremony in campus history. A reception for the graduates was held prior to the ceremony and the weather even paid homage to the Class of 2011 by providing a beautiful afternoon in celebration. The U of M, Crookston choir, under the direction of George French, and the string ensemble, A Touch of Brass, also performed as part of the ceremony. Former U of M President Robert Bruininks gave the commencement address. Bruininks, the 15th president of the U of M, stepped down from the role in late June. He also presented Dr. Kari Torkelson ex. ‘91 with the University of Minnesota Alumni Service Award. The Honorable Clyde Allen, chair of the University of Minnesota Board of Regents brought greetings from the Board and assisted with the conferring of the degrees. University of Minnesota, Crookston Alumni

Association (UMCAA) Board President Juanita Lopez ’08 brought greetings from the UMCAA and welcomed the new graduates to the alumni association. Graduating senior Shawn Friedland, Crookston Student Association (CSA) president, spoke on behalf of the Class of 2011 and passed the torch of education, a Crookston campus tradition, to Junior Alisha Aasness, the incoming CSA president. For the second year in a row, members of the faculty and staff showered the new graduates with maroon and gold confetti, a fitting celebratory conclusion to a wonderful day. To watch the video of commencement or to view the photo album, visit the commencement Web page at Congratulations, Class of 2011! 21

Prescription for Success “What I love about work as a pharmacist is that I can help educate people and play a role as part of a health care team,” Brittany Novak.

Her hometown of Dahlen, N.D., has a population of 14 (when everyone is home from college), and she can name every one of the residents. For 2011 graduate Brittany Novak, the campus in Crookston was “right-sized” and it was one of the reasons she liked it. An active high school student at Fordville-Lankin, Novak found herself involved on campus in student government, chairing the committee to plan student activities, and co-managing the information desk among others. “One of the things I learned in college was time management skills,” Novak states, “I majored in biology, and for students in the major, that means not just lecture classes but lots of labs to juggle along with my involvement in activities. I met so many great people on campus and my involvement just connects everything for me. It is an important part of who I am.” Prior to graduation, Novak was already prepared for the next step in her education. She is continuing her education at the University of Minnesota, Duluth in the pharmacy program. “When we took our pre-internship class as juniors, we talked about the entrance exam, known as the PCAT, and developed a checklist of what needed to be done for our degrees, including a list of professional schools we would like to attend. Duluth was on my list, and I am excited to move forward.”

The application process for the professional program was lengthy, but Novak was prepared. She applied to several schools, but more importantly, she was accepted by her top two choices, and she made the decision for Duluth because of the rural focus of the program. “I want to work in a rural area,” Novak smiles. “I grew up in a small town, and that’s where I would like to live and work. What I love about work as a pharmacist is that I can help educate Novak worked at the people and Information Desk in the Sargeant Student Center and play a role served as a co-manager. as part of a health care team.” One of the aspects Novak likes about the U of M program is the focus on the team approach to health care. This trend is something Novak sees as a benefit to providing the best in quality health care. Her internship included working at RiverView Health in Crookston and at the pharmacy in Park River, N.D. Those experiences helped solidify Novak’s

Brittany Novak (left), homecoming queen in fall 2010, worked closely with Director of Student Activities Lisa Samuelson when she chaired Student Programming and Activities for Campus Entertainment (SPACE).


career goals, and it helped link the classroom to the real-world. “It is great to have spent time working and observing the role of rural practitioners,” Novak says. She is not the first graduate to attend pharmacy school. Alumna Ashley Walton, ’09, is attending the College of Pharmacy at the U of M, Twin Cities, and Brittany stayed with her when she went down for her application interview at the University of Minnesota. “It was great for me to learn from Ashley’s experience, and I appreciated her expertise and advice as I made my preparations,” Novak explains. Her favorite classes were histology, the study of cells and their structure, with Pam Elf, Ph.D., and microbiology with Brian Dingmann, Ph.D. “I am going to miss this place and my friends, including Lisa Samuelson, director of student activities,” Novak reflects. “Lisa and my advisor, Pam Elf, have really been there for me throughout my time as an undergraduate.” When Novak came to the Crookston campus as a freshman, she saw the first graduate from the new biology program. Even when the going got hectic, she never wavered from her decision. “I have enjoyed my classes, admired the dedication and hard work of my advisor, and appreciated the great atmosphere on this campus,” Novak notes. “As I move on, I will build my future using the tools I was provided here, and remember how this campus prepared me for the career I have been dreaming of for years.”

Novak’s parents joined her following commencement ceremonies to savor the achievement of her undergraduate degree.

REMEMBER THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA, CROOKSTON A will or living trust is a statement about what matters most in your life. It ensures that your intentions are clearly understood and will be followed by those administering your estate. If you value your experience at the University of Minnesota, Crookston or the Northwest School of Agriculture, you can leave a legacy through a gift to the campus in your will. Your generosity will help further the mission of the University of Minnesota, Crookston to provide education, research and outreach. The following language can be used by you and your attorney in your will: “I give, devise and bequeath to the University of Minnesota Foundation (percentage, sum or description of property) for the benefit of the University of Minnesota, Crookston.” If you would like more information, contact Corby Kemmer, director of development & alumni relations toll free at 1-800-862-6466, ext. 8434 or 218-281-8434 ( For more information about giving or to give a gift online, visit Excerpted from The Importance of a Will published by the University of Minnesota Foundation. 23

“I was especially interested in the animal science program because students have an opportunity to work with large animals,” Nicole Sorlie. Junior Nicole Sorlie joined other runners in the first annual Pi Run sponsored by Alpha Lambda Delta in April.

Running keeps Animal Science Major on her Toes Don’t be surprised if you get a little “run”-around from Junior Nicole Sorlie. The animal science major from Gilbert, Minn., got hooked on running as a child. She ran track in high school, and as a child growing up in a military family, she has literally run around the country as her family moved from place to place. Influenced by her father’s running example to maintain fitness, Sorlie also runs because she loves it. “I ran track when we lived in Washington State,”

Sorlie says. “Since then, I have run recreationally no matter where we lived. I used running to get around when I was little girl and it stayed with me as I grew.” Sorlie hopes to run Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn., in the future, but for now, she is happy fitting runs into her busy schedule. As a recreational runner, she heads to the gym when the weather is not conducive to running outdoors. “I like to get on the elliptical and go until I feel tired,” she explains.

The sheep enjoy a few treats from Sorlie through the fence in the barn.


“Running keeps me from getting bored. It gives me time to think, and I need that time.” She put her running to the test last spring when she ran the Alpha Lambda Delta (ALD) Pi Run in April. The run was the first ever for ALD and some 50 runners took part in running the 3.14 (as in pi) miles. The race day dawned with six inches of new snow, but the weather didn’t hamper Sorlie’s spirit a bit. Her enthusiasm for her major is the same way. “I was especially interested in the animal science program because students have an opportunity to work with large animals,” she says. “I would like to gain as much experience as I can to prepare me for veterinary school and help me decide where I would like to specialize.” Her passion for animals started when she was very young. Her childhood was filled with animals of all kinds and ignited a keen interest in them. “One day my dad brought home an injured cockatiel that he found being tormented by some children,” she recalls. “I knew immediately when it came in the house that I wanted to be the one to take care of it.” Sorlie enjoys the classes in her major, particularly those taught by ADawn Melbye. “She makes class so much fun because of the anecdotes she shares with us,” Sorlie smiles. She also especially liked the sheep and swine class taught by Terrill Bradford. Choosing to major in animal science and a preveterinary program were easy decisions for Sorlie. The more difficult decision may be choosing a specialty because she enjoys everything from birds to other more exotic animals. In the end, she thinks she would like to work with larger wild animals and perhaps travel to her patients. “I want to be well-rounded and my experience working with large animals here has been valuable,” she says. “I love knowing the instructors and getting the hands-on experience provided on this campus.” No matter where life takes her, she will take her affinity for running along with her. She figures it will be a constant, “Running has been a part of my life for a long time now, and like my interest in animals, I think it is here to stay.”

Junior Nicole Sorlie looks over some information on some of the sheep in the barn on campus. At top: Sorlie and Terrill Bradford (left), instructor in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, give some attention to a young lamb.


ALUMNI NEWS This alumni news reflects submissions received by June 8, 2011. News received after that date will appear in the next issue of the Torch. The deadline for alumni news for the next issue is October 3, 2011.

E-mail forwarding: If you are interested in reconnecting with a former classmate or acquaintance, the alumni office can help! Although we cannot release e-mail addresses due to privacy issues, we will be happy to forward a message to the person if he or she can be located in our database.



Donald ’55 and Janice Taus, Warren, Minn., celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Tabor, Minn. with an open house hosted by their children. They celebrated with mass, dinner, and a dance.

Palmer Pederson ’41, Mahnomen, Minn., and his wife of 63 years, Marion, share a room at the Mahnomen Nursing Home. He is on his sixth year of dialysis which he travels to Detroit Lakes, Minn., three times a week for treatment.

Ray Dusek ’57, Crookston, Minn., was recently inducted to the Crookston High School 2011 Hall of Fame at the Arts, Academic, and Athletics banquet held on May 2, 2011. Ray has been very active in many Crookston community activities including Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Elks, United Way, UMC Teambackers, Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce, and Big Brother Program. He also served nine years on the Riverview Hospital Board and the Crookston Park and Recreation Board. He is active at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception in various capacities. Ray and his wife, Terry, have four children; Jeff and wife, Katie; Michelle, and her deceased husband, Ramon; Brian and wife, Julie; and Jennifer. They have five grandchildren; Natalie, Mia, Aaron, Aidan, and Colin.

1980s Willis Roehl ’49, Fergus Falls, Minn., and his wife, Joyce, have farmed near Fergus Falls for more than fifty years. Recently, they were honored with the West Otter Tail Valley Farmer-Homemaker award for their commitment to agriculture and community. Joyce has served on auxiliary boards for church and the Pioneer Home. She performs with the Trinity Lutheran Church bell choir, sings in the choir, and is involved with a circle group. Willis has been a member of the West Otter Tail County fair board for more than 40 years and has been its president for the past several. He has served on numerous boards and was involved with the Crop Improvement Association. Willis also was a King Agassiz, the predecessor of the Emerging Leader honor. The couple has also received University of Minnesota Farm Family recognition. Willis and Joyce have five daughters, 11 grandchildren, and three great grandchildren; all of them live in Minnesota. The couple will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary this summer.


David Genereux ’80, Crookston, Minn., an independent crop consultant with Centrol of Twin Valley, Minn., was named consultant of the year by the National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants and BASF. Dave has worked as a crop consultant for 28 years and also serves as mayor for the city of Crookston.

Chuck Levine ’80, Roseville, Minn., recently received the 2011 Teacher Outstanding Performance (TOP) Award from the AnokaHennepin School District. In his third year with the Anoka-Hennepin School District as an agriculture teacher, Chuck splits his time between Anoka and Blaine high schools where he teaches horticulture, wildlife zoology, wildlife economy, floral design, and animal management. Chuck was the recipient of the University of Minnesota, Crookston Outstanding Alumni Award in 1998. Toni Rose ’82, East Windsor, N.J., is working as a horse trainer. Toni has trained two world champion horses, among others, in her career and has won the sport’s highest racing achievements. She helped train Donoto Hanover and watched as the horse won the Hambletonian Stakes, the first, and most prestigious, event in the United States Trotting Triple Crown races. Mike Pawloski ’85, Coon Rapids, Minn., is a Learjet 45 captain for Excel Energy in St. Paul, Minn. Shannon Stassen, ex. ’89, Crookston, Minn., is the new president and CEO of the Crookston Area Chamber of Commerce. Shannon and his wife, Jodi, have four children.

1990s Rita Resendiz ’95, Coon Rapids, Minn., recently accepted a position as academic technology designer for Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Coon Rapids. Rita will train faculty and staff in a variety of academic technologies, serve as backup to the D2L administrator, support faculty in using technologies in the classroom, research new technologies, and much more.

Eugene Vorobiev ex. ’95, St. Petersberg, Russia, and his wife, Eugenia, recently visited Crookston. He and Eugenia were married in November 2010. Eugene works for Lufthansa Airlines.

Ryan Schwenzfeier ’98, Kennedy, Minn., and his wife, Jeni, received special recognition for their commitment to leadership and their community at the Agassiz Leaders Awards Banquet held recently at the U of M, Crookston. The Schwenzfeier’s are Kittson County’s representatives in the 2011 Red River Valley Emerging Leadership Program. Ryan farms wheat, soybeans, sunflowers, and sugar beets with his father and uncle. Jeni is the chief financial officer of Kittson Memorial Healthcare Center in Hallock, Minn. They have one son, Evan Ryan, who was born January 21, 2011.

2000s Angel Normandin ’00, Bagley, Minn., became administrator of the Good Samaritan Society’s Blackduck, Minn., facility on January 4, 2011. Angel is a native of Crookston, Minn. Sheila Roux ’00, Normal, Ill., accepted a position with the Illinois State University women’s basketball program. She is the assistant coach under Stephanie Glance. Sheila is originally from Ada, Minn., and a former Golden Eagle women’s basketball player.

Kelly and Janelle (Mattson) Kilgore ’01 & 02, Grand Forks, N.D. Janelle received her master’s degree from the University of North Dakota in educational leadership in December 2010. Ryan Palm ‘02, Crookston, Minn., was recently hired as a loan officer for AgCountry Farm Credit Services in Crookston. Prior to this position, he was the manager and CEO of Agassiz Federal Credit Union. He enjoys hunting, fishing and golf. Ryan and his wife, Heather, reside in Crookston. Jess Brekke ’03, Edmore, N.D., and Jessica Reinke were married February 12, 2011, at Trinity Lutheran Church, followed by a reception at the Expo Center, both in Lisbon, N.D. Jessica is employed by Brekke Aerial Service and Jess is an aerial applicator at Brekke Aerial Service, Edmore. Wanda Clark ’03, Grand Rapids, Minn., retired from full-time lab work at Altru and moved back to her home in Grand Rapids. Since leaving UMC, she has used her skills learned in editing, primarily research articles through Edit Avenue, written essays for a reference on cancer which was published by Salem Press, and uses her database management skills in maintaining a subscriber list for Church and Life published by the Danish Interest Conference of the ELCA. Michael Harmon, ex. ’03, East Grand Forks, Minn., and Rachel Bremer were married May 14, 2011, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Grand Forks, N.D., with a reception following at Turtle River State Park near Grand Forks. Both are employed by Restaurant Technology Services, Grand Forks.


Brittani Boehlke ’06, Waverly, Minn., graduated in fall 2010 with a master’s degree in physician assistant studies from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, S.D. She recently accepted a job at Waverly Hematology Oncology in Cary, N.C.

We Want to Hear From You! To submit an item for the Alumni News Section, complete this form and send it to: UMC Alumni Relations 115 Kiehle Building 2900 University Avenue Crookston, MN 56716 e-mail: or complete the form on line at: keepintouch.html. Please include your name, address, phone number, e-mail, year of graduation/ attendance and information or news you wish to share (new job, career, or family achievements, etc.)

Jaime (Schaunaman) Rindels ’03, Kasota, Minn., and her husband, Luke, welcomed a son, Cade Terry Rindels, on November 6, 2010. Cade arrived three weeks early on the great Minnesota holiday, deer hunting opener, weighed 7 lbs. 4 oz. and was 20 inches long. Clayton Schmitz ’04, Norwood Young America, Minn., and Melissa Rae Kelly were married in Riviera Cancun, Mexico, on March 4, 2011. Clayton works for the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service office as a district conservationist and Melissa works at Target headquarters in merchandising as a business process consultant. Aaron Johnson ’05, Moorhead, Minn., and his wife, Shanna, are pleased to announce the birth of their first child. Piper Michelle Johnson was born on March 22, 2011, in Fergus Falls, Minn. The entire family is doing great. Katie (Carlson) Uttke ’05, Coon Rapids, Minn., is employed at New Horizon Academy as an assistant director, and husband, Chris, works for Center Point Energy in Minneapolis, Minn. They are overjoyed to announce the birth of their daughter, MaKayla Joy Uttke, on April 12, 2011. She weighed 6 lbs. 9 oz., and was 19 inches long.

Adam Johnson ’06, Alexandria, Minn., and Jill Casperson were married on July 2, 2011 at the Dave Johnson farm; a reception followed. Adam is currently farming in the Garfield, Minn., area and Jill is a registered nurse at Douglas County Hospital in Alexandria. Beth Jacobson ’07, Fargo, N.D., is the connections coordinator at Prairie Heights Community Church. She also provides counseling services as she works toward her North Dakota counseling license. Beth, along with several alumni classmates, is diligently planning and working to encourage everyone to return to campus for Homecoming 2011. “If you come back, then I’ll come back,” September 30-October 1. Brian and Melanie (Regan) Beckman ’08 & ’08, Las Cruces, N.M., were marred in July 2009 in St. Ignatius, Mont., where they moved following graduation. Brian is working with Monsanto as a research station manager in their vegetable division in Berlino, N.M. Melanie is working toward her master’s degree in animal science at New Mexico State University and has a full-time research assistantship in ruminant microbiology. The Beckman’s son, Wyatt John, was born on December 31, 2010. Mark Belanger ’08, Crookston, Minn., is an online student personnel coordinator in the Center for Adult Learning at the University of Minnesota, Crookston.

Read the Torch Online You can read the Torch, the alumni magazine for the Northwest School of Agriculture and the University of Minnesota, Crookston online by visiting: or on the U of M, Crookston Web site at 28

If you would prefer to receive your Torch online only, contact Elizabeth Tollefson at 218-281-8432 (

Lucas Walter ’09, Lakota, N.D., is working for the North Dakota Extension Service in Nelson County. In addition, he continues to farm with relatives in Warrick, N.D.

2010s Sarah (Christensen) and Craig Roerich ’08 & ’08, Holdingford, Minn., are excited to announce the birth of their son, Bryce Mathew Roerich. Bryce was born February 1, 2011, weighed 8 lbs. 8.5 oz., and was 21 ½ inches long. Dana Trickey ’08, Mentor, Minn., works in the Center for Adult Learning at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. She is an online student personnel coordinator.

Michael and Shawna (Steinbrink) Enright ’10 & ’09, Crookston, Minn., were married May 14, 2011, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, followed by a reception at the National Guard Armory, both in Crookston. Shawna is employed as an accountant with Essential Health in Ada, Minn.

Paul Krebs ’10, Little Falls, Minn., recently signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals as a catcher for the Kansas City Royals farm team. Paul was a former catcher, third baseman, pitcher, and outfielder for the Golden Eagles. He also had short stints with the Brainerd Blue Thunder of the Northwoods League and the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the American Association. Jill Zelinsky ‘11, Brooklyn Park, Minn., has been accepted into a master’s program in Intercultural Business and Communication in London, England which will begin in September.

In Memory Marion (Parbst) Sarver Mesa, Ariz. December 23, 2010 Northwest School of Agriculture home economics instructor from 1957-1959 Betty Brecto Crookston, Minn. April 12, 2011 U of M, Crookston associate professor from 1967 until her retirement in 1992 Art Stordahl ’27 Thief River Falls, Minn. January 6, 2011 Burnett Bergeson ’35 Reno, Nev. February 2, 2011 Belva (Holm) Collison ’36 Modesto, Calif. August 8, 2008 Stella (Omundson) Omdahl ’36 Warren, Minn. April 24, 2011

Alfred Olson ’36 Beltrami, Minn. March 8, 2011

Margaret (Johnson) Seemann ’45 Bemidji, Minn. December 15, 2010

Richard Sanderson ’61 Annapolis, Md. March 12, 2011

Marlan Augustine ’37 Thief River Falls, Minn. March 18, 2011

Ludwig Donarski, ex. ’46 Argyle, Minn. April 20, 2011

Lester Boe ’64 Felton, Minn. December 30, 2010

Patricia (Durbahn) Benson ’37 Fargo, N.D. October 11, 2010

Edward Nelson ’47 Adv. Ottertail, Minn. October 11, 2010

David Larson ’75 Moorhead, Minn. March 7, 2011

Robert Nelson ’38 Fergus Falls, Minn. March 20, 2011

Thomas Lapp ’50 Adv. Bemidji, Minn. February 9, 2011

Mark Einarson ex. ’82 Grafton, N.D. March 26, 2011

Amy (McVeety) Haack ’41 St. Paul, Minn. January 29, 2011

Wallace Thompson ’51 Arlington, Neb. October 18, 2009

Elizabeth (Gordon) Valley ’89 Backus, Minn. February 21, 2011

Jotham “Joe” Jansen ‘41 Golden Valley, Minn. May 12, 2011

Lillian (Friberg) Tolpingrud ’52 Baudette, Minn. March 11, 2011

Willard Johnston, Jr. ’44 Adv. Hopkins, Minn. April 25, 2011

Donald Rene ‘53 Lacey, Wa. February 25, 2011

Alva (Leshat) Sparby ’44 Grygla, Minn. October 8, 2010

Barbara (Kagg) Lekstrom ’55 Annandale, Va. March 10, 2011


Join us for the next reunion on June 30, 2012.

Top Aggies 2011, back row (l to r): Director of Development & Alumni Relations Corby Kemmer, David Eblen, Del Christianson, Chancellor Casey. Front row: Allen Love, Lorraine (Zipoy) Love, and Adrian F. Van Dellen

Reunion Brings Back Alumni, Memories, and More The Northwest School of Agriculture Alumni Association’s annual reunion is history and it was a great weekend on the Crookston campus. Highlights included the honoring of four individuals as Top Aggies during a special luncheon held at noon on Saturday, June 25, 2011. Honored as a Top Aggies were Allen ’51 and Lorraine (Zipoy) Love ’54; David Eblen ’56; Dell Christianson ’56; and Adrian Van Dellen ’61. These outstanding alumni fondly remembered their years on campus and the significant impact of their education at the Northwest School. During the day, there were bus tours of campus, class meetings, a fish fry supper followed by reminiscing, a video tribute,

and a great evening of dancing. The Class of 1961 celebrated their 50th reunion with some 70 classmates returning for the day. Overall, there were about 200 alumni, spouses, faculty, and staff who spent the day getting reacquainted and remembering their days as students when this campus was their home away from home. If you are feeling homesick for the days when you were a student, then plan now to attend the NWSA alumni reunion on June 30, 2012. It’s your Summer Place! It is easy to view and save reunion photos, visit nwsaphotos2011

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Office of Development & Alumni Relations 2900 University Avenue Crookston, MN 56716-5001 Change Service Requested Find us on Facebook™ Follow us on Twitter™ Watch us on YouTube™


August 15-19...................................................................................................ORIENTATION WEEK August 23.................................................................................................FIRST DAY OF CLASSES September 30-October 1...........................................................HOMECOMING WEEKEND October 26............................................................................................................TORCH & SHIELD

we want to inspire the desire to research.

Studying the quality of water near an old dump site on the Sand Hill River helps high school students discover the importance of accurate data gathering in research. Led by U of M, Crookston assistant professors Katy Smith and Brian Dingmann, along with their high school science teacher, these students are unlocking the river water's secrets and learning important skills as future scientists, teachers, environmentalists, and leaders. © 2011 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.


Summer 2011, Volume 43 Number 2