Page 1


Fall 2016

young alumni

REAL WORLD successes



in this issue

Sharing the Journey Blogging with Sophia Koch...................... 10

Young Alumni in the Real World New graduates moving on.......................... 12

Campaign Celebration A total success........................................... 22

Greening up the Minnesota State Fair with UW-River Falls greenwall research exhibit UWRF proudly displayed its greenwall research at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair. The greenwall research exhibit at the fair was made possible in part from generous donations from McCaren Designs, the DeLonais Foundation, the Minnesota State Fair Foundation, and the UW-River Falls Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity Office.

2016 Homecoming Falcon pride on display. ........................... 20

Sections Up Front...............................................4 Along the South Fork....................... 5 Falcon Sports.....................................18 Alma Matters.....................................24


A multidisciplinary team of UW-River Falls students and faculty researchers studied the benefits of a greenwall in a UWRF classroom setting over the 2014-15 academic year, including indicators such as workspace satisfaction, psychological restoration, academic self-efficacy, student worry, and mood. Results from the most recent greenwall research at UWRF has confirmed the psychological benefits of living plants and provided preliminary evidence that plants may also improve academic performance. Future research is dependent on funding, but may include expanding the study to examine the effects of the greenwall on other human subjects such as staff and professors. Ongoing research includes analyzing and testing the greenwall for optimal design features and upkeep protocols to maintain a healthy and sustainable greenwall system. Photo: UWRF student Mikayla Mack, plant and earth science major, explains the many attributes of a greenwall to visitors at the Minnesota State Fair.




up front with Chancellor Dean Van Galen

Impacts of the 2015-17 Reduction in State Funding on UWRF




million base budget cut (share of $125 million UW System cut)


Staying the Course It is with great pride that I share with you in this edition of Falcon Features some of the many stories of the university’s progress. As the cover suggests, you will read about “real world alumni successes” including UW-River Falls seniors who secured jobs before they graduated, exemplifying that our graduates are well prepared for the next step in their lives. You will also learn about some new academic programs, including the companion animal emphasis in our renowned Animal Science Department, and a cutting-edge neuroscience program. It is important for a university to be responsive, and we continue to develop new and innovative academic programs that respond to student interest and to the knowledge and skill needs of tomorrow’s workplace. Also, I hope you enjoy reading about the success of our firstever comprehensive fundraising campaign Rising to Distinction. Thanks to the generosity of our alumni and friends over the past five years, together, we have exceeded our ambitious goal of $20 million, raising nearly $22 million in funds that are already making a difference to our students, faculty and staff. In spite of the serious impacts of recent state budget reductions (summarized in the graphic to the upper right), the university’s faculty and staff continue to focus on providing opportunities to our students that will help them have productive and rewarding careers, but also will – as stated in our mission – help them become “productive, creative, ethical, engaged citizens and leaders with an informed global perspective.” Public support is critically important to the university at this time in its history. Whether you have provided charitable support for scholarships, helped recruit a prospective UWRF student, or found ways for your business, school or non-profit to engage with our campus, we thank you for your support. It matters, and it is appreciated.

Dean Van Galen, Chancellor



reduction in base state support

reduction in state/tuition supported positions equaling 38 FTE full-time equivalent (as of Oct. 2015)

18 permanent layoffs/non-retentions

FALCON FEATURES Volume 64. Number 1. Fall 2016 University of Wisconsin-River Falls 410 S. 3rd Street River Falls, WI 54022 715-425-3505 or 1-877-258-6647 Falcon Features is published once a year by the UW-River Falls Foundation and the UW-River Falls Alumni Association. Parents: If this issue is addressed to your child who no longer lives at home, please contact the Advancement Office to provide a correct mailing address. We appreciate your assistance. Postmaster: Send form 3579 to Falcon Features, University of WisconsinRiver Falls, River Falls, WI 54022. EDITORIAL TEAM Assistant Chancellor for University Advancement Chris Mueller

Executive Editor Susan Walker, 1991 Art Director Tony Bredahl, 1986 Contributors Amber Dohlman, 2008 Sophia Koch Deb Toftness Susan Walker, 1991 Jacob Wissing Photography Kathy M Helgeson Sophia Koch Hailey Smith Tori Lynn Schneider Design and Illustration Ritch Ellingson, 1987 Karen Zander

along the south fork A Summary of Noteworthy Events, Milestones, Programs, Happenings.

Edward Matsushima, a business administration and exercise science double major, with the EZ Protein Pod.

EZ Protein Pod The UW-River Falls innovation teams Hippy Feet and EZ Protein Pod placed first and third, respectively, at the Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament in Madison, April 9. First place winner Michael Mader, a senior marketing major, won a $25,000 Ideadvance Grant and a place in the International Business Model Competition with his Hippy Feet idea which is based off the Salvation Army’s findings that the number one requested item in homeless shelters is socks. Hippy Feet provides a solution by offering a buy-one give-one product. Edward Matsushima, a business administration and exercise science double major, and Zach Merrick, a business administration major, took third place with their Protein Pod which offers a convenient transportation method for nutritional protein to maximize benefits by reducing the amount of time between a workout and administration of the supplement. Both teams had competed earlier in the UW-River Falls Innovation Challenge offered through the Center for Innovation and Business Development within the College of Business and Economics. Associate Professor Marina Onken served as faculty adviser. Derrick Edwards, AGS Data Systems president, mentored both teams.

UW-River Falls annual Innovation Challenge was created to support business startups on campus and reward innovative ideas. The challenge is modeled around recent research in Lean Startup that guides entrepreneurs to “get out of the building” and test their business assumptions utilizing tools such as the Business Model Canvas. This process is different from the typical Business Plan Competition. Entrepreneurs are rewarded for creating a hypothesis, testing their assumptions with potential customers and pivoting their business idea based on the high-quality feedback. The Lean Startup methodology helps entrepreneurs reduce the risk of failure through testing their business assumptions. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to find failure points early in the process. In fact, the more weaknesses that are identified and pivots to their ideas based on that feedback, the better. UW-River Falls recently awarded the College of Business and Economics funding to move forward with an “Accelerating Innovation” program. This program intends to create a culture of innovation on campus by consolidating a MakerSpace and offering specific coursework in innovation, design and diffusion of new ideas.



along the south fork

Service dog training program initiated at UW-River Falls UWRF has initiated a service dog training program. Similar programs are offered on at least 12 major campuses across the United States, but this is the first of its kind within the University of Wisconsin System. The primary goal of the program is to provide hands-on educational opportunities for students in the companion animal emphasis, comparable to what UW-River Falls offers for students in the meat animal or equine emphases in animal science. UW-River Falls is partnering with Coco’s Heart Dog Rescue of Hudson in this effort. All dogs entering the program are evaluated and must be socially mature, free from illness or health issues, and have a good temperament. The first dog was accepted into the program in February. A group of students provide socialization, habituation and foundational training for the service dog-in-training, with the hope that the dog will be able to enter an advanced level service dog training program. Dogs that do not enter service will be available for adoption.



Service dogs are different from therapy dogs or emotional support dogs. They are individually trained to perform specific tasks as required by a disabled person. Examples of tasks include guiding a blind person, alerting a deaf person, or calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during an anxiety attack. Service dogs are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and are allowed to accompany the disabled individual anywhere the general public is normally allowed. “We see this program as a bridge between dogs facing euthanasia and entering service. Even though great care is taken in selecting the dogs to enter the training program, approximately 70% will not qualify to go on to the advanced level of service dog training,” said Beth Rausch, assistant professor of animal science. “I compare this to the training to becoming an astronaut. A lot of individuals enter the training program, but very few actually end up at NASA on a space flight.” The program itself fits within the curriculum of the companion animal emphasis, however, financial support for the care of the dog while in the program will be covered through donations.

Food science and technology program reinstated at UW-River Falls The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences has completed the process of reinstating its food science and technology program that was suspended several years ago. Students are now being accepted into the program. The original decision to suspend the food science and technology program was based around issues of enrollment, staffing and course availability. The college intentionally chose to suspend, rather than close the program, because suspended programs can be reinstated within seven years with appropriate approval from the campus. Once closed, a program would need to go through the full authorization process as would any other new program. “Our original decision to suspend the food science and technology program was difficult, but necessary, at the time given the factors involved. However, as circumstances both internally and externally have changed, reinstatement is the right decision for us now,” said Dale Gallenberg, Dean of CAFES. The college is engaged in a major renovation of its Dairy Pilot Plant, funded primarily through private donations from industry. Many supporters of this project indicated their interest in bringing back the program. “Reinstatement of the major within our department represents opportunity,” said Justin Luther, interim chair of the Animal and Food Science Department. “Our students will develop a greater appreciation for the relationship between animal production practices and the development of post-harvest consumer products. An increasingly strong job market exists for graduates with the level of expertise this major has to offer, which is evident by the immense support the food industry has offered in recent months.”

Perkins named interim provost at UW-River Falls Longtime faculty member, department chair and former interim dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies Faye Perkins has been named interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs for the next two years. Perkins assumed the post July 1. Perkins has been a faculty member in the of Health Faye Perkins and Human Performance Department since 1988, gaining full professor status in 1997. She has served as chair of HHP since July 2015 and previously held that same appointment from 2002-07. She also served as assistant department chair from 1997-2001. Her four-year term as interim dean spanned 2007-2011. Perkins served on the Faculty Senate for nine years in the 1990’s, and most recently 2015-16 vice chair. She serves on several committees, including the Athletic Committee, the Faculty Hearing, Grievance and Appeals Committee (chair), and the CEPS Diversity Committee. “Faye Perkins is a stalwart and committed member of the UWRF campus, and her understanding of the complexities of higher education administration coupled with her wealth of positive relationships will be a great asset to the office of provost,” Chancellor Dean Van Galen said when announcing the interim provost appointment. “She not only understands the campus mission and strategic goals, but pursues them personally and professionally. I am looking forward to working with her in this role.” Perkins has demonstrated her commitment to the institution’s strategic goal of increasing global education and engagement by teaching twice in the Experience China program and four times in the Experience Scotland program. Throughout her career she has co-authored successful grants, performed research and presented on topics ranging from Title IX to combatting homophobia, from wellness to leadership. Perkins and her husband, Joseph McIntosh, UWRF buildings and grounds supervisor, are well known in the River Falls community, but Perkins may be most recognizable for her 22 years as UW-River Falls head softball coach, with the winningest softball record in UWRF history. “I am honored to serve as interim provost,” Perkins said. “I feel incredibly fortunate to have spent the last 28 years of my professional life at UWRF. River Falls and UWRF are my home.”



along the south fork

Cutting edge neuroscience degree to be offered at UW-River Falls A new bachelor’s degree program in neuroscience has been approved to begin at UW-River Falls in fall 2017. This new degree will give students a solid foundation for traditional career paths in medicine, research or education, while also expanding their career options in new neuroscience-related fields. The Board of Regents approval makes UW-River Falls the only comprehensive campus in the UW System to offer the undergraduate major, and one of only a handful of schools in the Twin Cities metropolitan area to offer the degree. “As we continue to alter our curriculum to meet the needs of an everchanging world, I am very excited that we are adding neuroscience to a terrific array of STEM-related offerings within the College of Arts and Sciences at UWRF,” said Brad Caskey, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “This new program will take advantage of current strengths within our superb psychology, biology, and chemistry/biotechnology departments and will provide excellent academic training in a cuttingedge field.” In recent years, fields such as psychology, biology, and medicine have focused increasingly on the nervous system. This has led to tremendous growth in the interdisciplinary field of neuroscience. According to Hanover Research, a global information services firm, degrees in the neuroscience field are growing rapidly with a combined annual growth rate of 15 percent (well above the nationwide average of 3.6 percent for



all bachelor’s degrees), and these trends are likely to continue. At UW-River Falls, the neuroscience curriculum will emphasize an indepth understanding of research methodology, statistical analysis, and the fundamentals of behavior and biology, helping to prepare students for careers in traditional fields such as medicine, public health, education, and pharmaceuticals as well as emerging fields such as neurotechnology and neuroprosthetics. The neuroscience major will be housed in the Psychology Department within the College of Arts and Sciences and will include core coursework in psychology, biology and chemistry. Additional required and elective coursework will emphasize bioethics, statistics, computer science, mathematics, and other disciplines. Because of the wide array of possible career trajectories, UW-River Falls has worked to ensure that the program is broad-based and robust, helping to prepare students for a variety of choices in an everexpanding field of work and graduate study. “The UW-River Falls Department of Psychology is thrilled to offer this new program of study,” said Travis Tubré, professor and chair of the Psychology Department. “We look forward to working with university, community, and business partners to deliver this distinctive, innovative opportunity to students.”

PROFile Gary Onan

Professor and Chair Animal and Food Science

Animal and Food Science Professor Gary Onan’s teaching philosophy has always extended beyond the classroom. Throughout the year, but particularly in the summer, he devotes a considerable amount of time and energy to youth livestock activities. Onan provides project training sessions to youth groups during the year, and judging or ultrasound scanning services to county fairs in Wisconsin and Minnesota during the summer. Between early July and Labor Day, Onan typically works more than two dozen separate events, at times driving from one end of the state to the other during the overnight hours to accommodate fair schedules. We talked to Onan about this service he provides to the broader industry. Q: What motivated you to get so heavily involved in youth livestock activities? A: “The significant impact these kinds of activities had in my early life. My participation in 4-H has given me lifelong friendships. It allowed me to realize how broad the livestock industry is and introduced me to the wide variety of career options available in that industry. I wouldn’t be in my current career had it not been for 4-H. I also remember feeling a real sense of accomplishment as an exhibitor. If I put in the time and effort, I saw positive results.” Q: Briefly describe what you do as a livestock judge at a county fair: A: “I do some live animal shows which is probably the competition that comes to mind for most people. The exhibitors display their animals and I evaluate them based on their functionality for the industry as well as their appearance and eye-appeal. My primary activity, however, is judging

carcass shows. The ultimate value of an animal is the meat it produces. In carcass shows, the competition is intended to determine which animals have the highest value to the meat industry and/or the consumer. As a judge I go into the cooler as the meat is being processed and grade the carcasses, much like the USDA graders do in a commercial meat plant.” Q: How do you see this activity connecting to your work here at UWRF? A: “As an instructor, it’s crucial that I stay engaged in the industry I am teaching about. Outside activities, even youth activities have been immeasurably important as sources of new information regarding issues, trends and philosophies within the livestock sector of agriculture. It allows me to be current and relevant in my classroom and laboratory teaching. It’s also important to the institution and to me personally, that I be of service to the broader industry and society, and, of course, I hope it helps young livestock enthusiasts to connect to UW-River Falls.” Q: What do you find most rewarding about this activity? A: “I enjoy being able to help the exhibitors learn more about livestock production and seeing them improve their knowledge and skills from year to year. Increasingly, county fair committees are made up of local parents who have no background in agriculture, but became involved when their son or daughter joined 4-H and decided to raise an animal. I get lots of questions from these folks and because I’ve been exposed to the wide variety of approaches taken by various county livestock programs, I know what is important and educational, and what is trivial, and can offer helpful advice. I’ve seen counties change their program for the better based on my advice and that is very rewarding.” FALCON FEATURES FALL 2016


sharing the journey

Sharing the Journey by Sophia Koch In her words, Sophia Koch writes about all things “Travel and Science” in a way that is nothing short of poetic. She is a journalism major and biology minor who wraps you beautifully into her world at UWRF through her blog about everything from her Experience Scotland travels to her “science-y” love for the Kinnickinnic River. We are happy to be able to share an excerpt from just one of Sophia’s memorable blog entries as part of our Sharing the Journey series. Photo by Sophia Koch



In familiar territory, it is very easy to believe I know everything. In my home woods, I know the names of the birds calling and of the plants whose scents float on the breeze. I know how to check for ticks, swat for mosquitoes, and most importantly: I know when it’s going to rain. Here in Scotland, I almost made the mistake of thinking I still knew everything. It is all vaguely similar–rivers, maples, pines, underbrush and fields–but there’s a slight twist to my surroundings. Dalkeith palace sitting in the distance–my new home–is by far the largest. There’s also maple-like trees with bark that looks like velvet at a distance and holly bushes with thorny leaves. The birdsong is familiar in that it’s there, but listening closer, I hear a multitude of different tunes that the birds at home never sing. Still, though: I’m champion of the woods and little changes like that do not faze me. Still believing that, I set out on what was originally going to be a short jaunt through the woods. With me, I had a backpack with a rain jacket and a camera in a side satchel. I love a good woodland path, and I snapped photos as I ambled along, marveling at the thick, squat oaks whose trunk stumps are older than their branches and the blankets of purple, ineptlynamed bluebells.

At one point, I wandered across a stone wall that divided the woods and my path from a field and a distant road. I climbed it, just because, and took photos from atop it. The lighting was gorgeous; brilliant greens lit up by evening sunlight that slanted through distant banks of clouds in misty rays. This is the last photo I took of these wonders, just before things began getting interesting:

The hailstones slowly increased in size as I slogged on and rivulets of muddy water began running down the more beaten sections of the path. I began weighing my options as I felt my socks soaking through; turn back towards a certain hour and a half walk, or continue forwards into the unknown.

Those pretty clouds in the distance closed in far more rapidly than I was expecting. Rain began to patter against my face as I dismounted the wall and moved on, and out of consideration for my camera, I decided to pull my rain jacket from my pack and put it on over my satchel. That done, I walked on and casually observed that the rain was getting stronger.

Exactly one more curve in the path later, I found myself at a crossroads with one of the most beautiful things in the world in the middle of it: a map. Even better, it had a ‘You are here’ note posted on it. It was a short slog back to the house from there–a distance I would have more than doubled had I turned back–and I arrived back at the castle looking like a halfdrowned rat. The camera made it–praise be the miracle that is breathable raincoats!–but a raincoat, of course, can only protect what it covers. My sodden pants clung wetly to my legs as I climbed to my room, and my shoes squished with every step. Upstairs, I peeled off wet clothing, all the while praying for time to do laundry and mulling over my newfound respect for Scottish weather.

It dawned on me at some point that I was potentially in a very bad position. I was walking onwards in the hopes that the path I was following was a loop short enough to travel before the sun set. It was an hour’s walk to retrace my steps, and the rain was beginning to hammer down on me with such force that I had to put my hood up and draw the face opening closed. Presently, the pattering of water on my hood turned into a hard rattle, and after watching a few raindrops bounce off my sleeve I realized that I wasn’t in fact being rained on anymore. I was being hailed on.

One more corner, I told myself.



student success

Photo by Kathy M Helgeson



Ana Gonzalez is using what she learned to help others find hope. Spending her senior year interning at the Salvation Army, she immediately fell in love with the clients and the amazing staff and was quick to apply when a position opened up. The goal of her inspirational new position is to focus on homeless families, their strengths, and on raising hope by empowering them to overcome barriers one step at a time. No stranger to overcoming barriers herself, Gonzalez knows what it’s like to rely on others to empower you through trying times. “In the middle of my sophomore year I got really sick and was later diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and actually had to drop out of school,” said Gonzalez. “I honestly did not believe that I would have ever come back. But all of my professors would routinely reach out with words of encouragement that compelled me to come back and finish what I started. All the staff and

Ana Gonzalez

my amazing classmates in the social work program here at UW- River Falls pushed me to keep fighting and always encouraged me to do my best.” Now, with diploma in hand and well into her first year on the job, Gonzalez credits the UW-River Falls social work program for giving her the support she

Finding her own pathway of hope

needed and equipping her with the knowledge and hands-on experience that was vital to be successful. “Between my peers and professors, I

Ana Gonzalez, a social work major and new graduate, is giving back in a big way in her new role as a case worker for the Salvation Army in St. Paul. In charge of a program

had such an amazing support system that I don’t think I would have found anywhere else but here,” Gonzalez said. With a clear plan for her future and a passion for helping others, Gonzalez

called Pathway of Hope, she’s making a difference helping

is now providing the same hope-filled

families overcome poverty and homelessness.

she was given right here at UWRF.

guidance and support to her clients that



student success

Photo by Kathy M Helgeson



Dan Schraufnagel had the good fortune of being offered a full-time position with Aladtec after interning with the company for more than a year as part of his program of study at UW-River Falls. Aladtec offers online employee scheduling and workforce management systems that are suitable for both small volunteer services and large multilocation corporations. According to Schraufnagel, it was the wide variety of programming courses offered at UWRF that enabled him to learn the skills that he needed to work on a wide range of application levels at his new career. “Specifically, I am expected to competently design, write, and test code across all levels of our application,” said Schraufnagel. “I was offered a fulltime position as a software developer after working for more than a year as a programming intern at Aladtec.”

Daniel Schraufnagel Finding success right here at home

Daniel Schraufnagel, a computer science major and recent graduate, didn’t have to go far to his new career as a software developer for Aladtec, Inc., right here in his hometown of River Falls. He works on a team whose job it is to maintain and create content for Aladtec’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) application.

Schraufnagel also credits the encouragement of his UWRF professors, and the frequent opportunities for collaboration within his classes. It was just this kind of peer engagement that helped him learn necessary communication and teamwork skills that are an expected staple of any graduate’s skill set. Beyond the books and the classes, Schraufnagel credits studying abroad as part of the Wisconsin in Scotland program at UWRF as one of the best experiences of his college career. “It allows you to attain different perspectives and meet new people,” he said. “Having some form of an international experience also looks attractive to future employers that have a global presence.“ With his career as a software developer on track, right in his hometown, Schraufnagel is a shining example of the value of a college education from a university with a comprehensive program offering, strong business partnerships locally, and sound ties globally.



student success

Alexandra Davison

An unexpected opportunity in a far-away place Alexandra Davison, an English literature major and recent graduate, is using her degree to help others learn the English language at the Daegu English Village in Gyeongbuk, Korea.

Photo by Hailey Smith



As a young alum, Alexandra Davison’s

in a library, post office, grocery store, bakery, music studio, police

career began by jetting off to a slightly

station, even a full-size jet. There are also academic classes taught in

warmer climate in her new position as a

traditional classroom settings where teachers like Davison help instill

teacher at the Daegu English Village in

the linguistic elements of English.

Korea. The Daegu Gyeongbuk English Village (DGEV) is an English language immersion camp/school where students from Daegu Gyeongbuk and the surrounding area go to experience and

While there is no one simple set of factors that define the quality of the DGEV experience, no one would disagree that the DGEV teachers are one of the most critical components to the superiority of this school.

practice English. UWRF has partnered

“A passionate, nurturing, and caring teacher can leave a life-long

with this school since 2014 and plays an

impact on a student,” said Young Soo Margolis, director of Korean

important role in the DGEV partnership

Partnerships at UW-River Falls. “What makes the teachers at DGEV

recruiting qualified teachers, like Davison,

so exceptional is their positive attitude, flexibility, and cross-cultural

and working closely with the DGEV

competency. At DGEV English serves as a good medium for building

management team to ensure the quality

a solid bridge of understanding between diverse cultures and our

of the programs.

teachers play a key role in this global endeavor.”

“I found out about this amazing program when I was wandering around the second floor of the Kleinpell Fine Arts building,” said Davison. “UWRF allowed me to explore different avenues within classes, jobs, and the diverse campus organizations. Each one of these experiences allowed me to grow and challenge myself as a person. I was able to meet so many different personalities and cultures while I studied here at UWRF that I was able to better understand the importance of global relations and interactions amongst my fellow students.” Davison is part of a group of teachers from UWRF who dedicate a year to the school, helping to make the English language come alive for DGEV students and striving to make class communicative, encouraging, and motivational. As a teacher, she has access to their unique facilities with 101 classrooms in total, distributed across three main academic buildings -- the Main Building, the Situational Building, and the Creativity

For Davison and many of the teachers at DGEV, this is their first experience living and working overseas. Others bring years of international experience from living and working abroad. DGEV management works diligently to provide structured support for their teachers from day trips to local festivals, and special events for holidays, to encouraging teachers to have social gatherings.

Building -- plus the dormitory building

DGEV is a truly multi-cultural educational institute where all the

for students and teachers. Many of the

expatriate teachers, like Davison, Korean management and staff, and

classes that Davison teaches are content-

students learn to respect and appreciate one another. For Davison,

based and take place at any one of the

this experience is more than just another teaching job, it is a life

22 situational classrooms on the campus

changing moment in time for her and the students she will inspire all

uniquely set up to provide experience

year long. FALCON FEATURES FALL 2016


falcon sports Falcon winter sports teams had the highest combined finish ever this

Women’s hockey in national title game; cap season with runner-up finish The UW-River Falls women’s hockey team battled two-time defending national champion SUNY Plattsburgh March 19 in the NCAA National Championship game in Plattsburgh, N.Y. The Falcons took an early 1-0 lead over the host Cardinals before Plattsburgh scored five unanswered goals to take home the national title with a 5-1 victory on their home ice. UWRF finished their season with a 23-6-2 overall record and a second place national finish, the best finish in program history. Three Falcons were named to the All-American team, as senior Chloe Kinsel headlined the Falcon selections with first team honors. Junior forward Dani Sibley and junior defenseman Paige Johnson were named to the second team. Kinsel and Johnson are both repeat selections to the All-American team as both were named in 2015 as well. Head Coach Joe Cranston was runner up as National Coach of the Year.



past season Men’s basketball competes in first WIAC Tournament Final since 2012 The UW-River Falls men’s basketball team traveled to UWOshkosh Feb. 29 to compete in its first WIAC Tournament Final since 2012. In the game that determined which team from the WIAC received an automatic bid into the DIII NCAA Tournament, the Falcons (17-11, 9-5 WIAC) fell just short in their attempt to capture the WIAC Tournament crown. The Falcons fell to the Titans 63-66 in a closely contested game that saw the Falcons starters score 56 of the 63 points. Five members of the UW-River Falls men’s basketball team were selected to the 2016 All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Men’s Basketball Team. Senior forward Jon Christensen and junior forward Garret Pearson were both named All-WIAC first team. Junior guard Grant Erickson was named Honorable Mention and senior forward Jack Herum was named to the All-Defensive Team. Senior center Connor Goodwin was the Falcon’s representative on the All-Sportsmanship team.

Women’s basketball play in NCAA 2nd round The UW-River Falls women’s basketball team has its season end with a 67-46 loss to St. Thomas in the second round of the NCAA Division III national tournament on March 5. The Falcons finished their postseason run at UWRF, with a home-game record of 13-3, ending the season with 23 wins overall, the most since 1989. Cindy Holbrook was named Coach of the Year in WIAC and the Falcons had four players named all-WIAC: Richell Mehus, Brynn Liljander, Taylor Karge, and Kate Theisen.

Men’s hockey plays double overtime thriller in Commission Cup Final The UW-River Falls men’s hockey team hosted UW-Stevens Point in the Commissioner Cup Final at Hunt Arena March 5. The Falcons would go down 3-0, only to comeback to tie the game at 3 to force overtime. The Pointers scored 2:35 seconds into the second over time to win the Commissioner’s Cup. Six members of the UW-River Falls men’s hockey team were selected to the 2016 All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Men’s Hockey Team. In addition, UW-River Falls head coach Steve Freeman was chosen as WIAC Coach of the Year, sharing the honor with UW-Stevens Point head coach Chris Brooks. Junior defenseman Jeff Bergh, sophomore forward Kyle Gattelaro, and senior goalie Tanner Milliron were named All-WIAC First team. Junior forward Christian George and sophomore defenseman Terry Leabo were named Honorable Mention. Senior forward Zach Schrotenboer represented the Falcons on the All-Sportsmanship Team. For more information about Falcon athletics, visit www.




A Rousing Welcome Back! From families arriving to help their loved ones celebrate the joy of a new school year, to a football game and lively parade through downtown River Falls, UWRF homecoming was a whirlwind of fall festivities, family fun and Falcon pride.




Rising to Successful Campaign Celebration UW-River Falls celebrated the conclusion of its first ever comprehensive campaign, Rising to Distinction, on September 23 as part of UWRF’s Homecoming Weekend. The five-year campaign was a stellar success with an influx of gifts at the end of 2015 that enabled UWRF to cross the $20 million threshold six months before their anticipated June 30 campaign conclusion. During the event, Campaign Chair Bill Boehm announced that the campaign raised $21,920,619 from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2016. Even more remarkable, Boehm noted, was that 93% of pledges have already been paid and are currently at work on campus. Among the campaign’s most important accomplishments were increasing annual scholarship awards from $588,000 to $1.1 million, establishment of the Falcon Scholars program, renovation of Smith Stadium at Ramer Field, support for the Falcon Center project, and private funds raised to support the soon-to-be renovated Dairy Pilot Plant. “The campaign story is about the generosity of more than 10,000 donors who have supported generations of current and former Falcons,” said Chris Mueller, assistant chancellor of University Advancement and president of UW-River Falls Foundation. “The campaign was a fulfillment of President Eugene Kleinpell’s vision in 1949 that the Foundation would “give a spark and ensure the university’s progress.” In a testament to that vision, Chancellor Dean Van Galen shared four ways that the campaign is enabling UWRF to achieve many aspirations: to be an uncommonly student-centered university of academic excellence and opportunity, to be a national leader in undergraduate research, to be a national leader among our peers in internationalization, and to provide learning spaces that support active, engaged teaching, learning and student development. Boehm closed the evening with gratitude and thanks for all who were involved. “Thank you all for the part you played personally in making this evening celebration possible,” said Boehm. “Thank you for supporting higher education in Wisconsin in a most visible and impactful way. Thank you for positively impacting the lives of those that come here to teach and learn.” For more information about the campaign, visit



Celebration photos clockwise from top left: Chris Mueller, assistant chancellor of University Advancement; scholarship recipient BaileyVitek; Chancellor Van Galen dedicates Boehm Outdoor Classroom; and Regent Lisa Erickson, Dr. Bry Wyman and Bill Boehm.



alma matters Class Notes. Weddings. Future Falcons. In Memoriam.


Find out the latest news from your classmates—career changes, recent honors, retirements and more.

Class Notes Note: Cities listed without a state are in Wisconsin.

1960 Arnold Kaluzny, 1960 has published a book “Managing Disruptive Change In Healthcare,” Oxford University Press, 2015. It is the story of the implementation and sustainability of the program, and is co-authored with Donna O’Brien, co-advisor to the NCI program. Judith Green, 1965 was recognized in the Hudson High School Wall of Fame. She resides in Hudson. Michael Tillmann, 1968 was inducted as a former Minnesota State High School League Owatonna teacher, director and coach into its hall of fame. Tillmann directed and coached both speech and debate for 35 years at four different high schools across the state, but he first made his coaching and directing debut in Wisconsin.

1970 Dave Coggins, 1975 has been promoted to chief bank officer at Investors Community Bank in Manitowoc. He serves a chair of the Wisconsin Bankers Association’s Ag Section. David Swensen, 1975 was awarded the Frankel Fiduciary Prize. The prize was established in 2013 to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the preservation and advancement of fiduciary principles in public life. Jim Dickrell, 1977 was named Industry Person of the Year by the World Dairy Expo. He was nominated by the Dairy Today team and by his wife and daughter. He resides with his family in Monticello, Minn. Don Dipprey, 1977 is serving as part-time interim agricultural agent for University of Wisconsin-Extension in Polk County. He has served on the Polk County Quality Meats Committee 25 years, as Polk County Fair Sheep Superintendent for 20 years and as chairman of the Interstate Livestock Show for 18 years.

James Ertl, 1977 will retire as the Minnesota FFA Association’s executive secretary after 35 years of service. Although he will retire from Minnesota FFA, Ertl will continue to manage the CHS Miracle of Birth Center and the FFA Chapter House and Leadership Center as superintendent at the state fair. He resides in Rosemount, Minn. Gary Berger, 1978 has retired as superintendent of the Horicon School District which he has been part of since 2008. Berger has taught agriculture in the Edgar, Owen-Withee, and Loyal school districts. After completing his education leadership degree from Winona State University, he served as a high school principal in the Bonduel School District for seven years prior to arriving in Horicon to serve as district administrator.

1980 Jane Ballard, 1980 has retired from Detroit Lakes, Minn., public schools where she taught beginning band and elementary music for 22 years. Previously, she taught k-12 band, vocal, and classroom music for 10 years in Waubun, Minn., and Mahnomen, Minn. She continues to be active as a church organist of 30+ years, and plays trumpet in a big band and the Lakes Area Community Band. John Hoch, 1981 a long-time Lancaster football coach, was named the 2015 National Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. Last season, Hoch was inducted into the NHSACA Hall of Fame, and is also a member of the UW-River Falls Athletic Hall of Fame and the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He has also been named Coach of the Year by the Telegraph Herald, the Wisconsin State Journal, the SWAL, the SWC, the WFCA and the National Federation of State High School Association. Richard Lee, 1983 is the executive director and CEO of the Central Minnesota Mental Health Center. He resides in Willmar, Minn. Roger King, 1984 was named Wisconsin’s High School Teacher of the Year. He is an agriculture education instructor at Holmen High School, and has taught at the school for 31 years.

Pam Jahnke, 1985 is the 2015 recipient of State Superintendent Tony Evers’ Friend of Education award. Through her news reports, Jahnke connects families and schools to Wisconsin farms and is a tireless supporter of agricultural education and FFA throughout the state. Chuck Bloechl, 1988 has been promoted to director of dairy programs management and training coordinator at Kent Nutrition Group. He joined the company in 1997 as a territory sales manager in Southeast Wisconsin and Northeast Illinois. Greg Andrews, 1989 has retired. He worked as the Pierce County Agriculture Agent for 31 years. He lives in Bay City. Rob Bignell, 1989 is the author of “Best Sights to See at America’s National Parks” which covers sights at the 54 most accessible national parks. This is Bignell’s 17th hiking guidebook, almost all of which focus on Wisconsin and Minnesota. He lives with his son in Menomonie.

1990 Mark Davidson, 1995 joined Wenck Associates, Inc., as a geologist assisting the Real Estate and Development Services Group. His primary focus is conducting site assessments, investigations, remediation and emergency response services. Jake Mastel, 1995 is the head coach of the Connecticut Whale of the National Women’s Hockey League. Mastel was a part of the UW-River Falls team that won a D-III national championship in 1994 and lost in the championship the year before. He resides in Wallingford, Conn. Mark Olson, 1996 is a regional scout for the Detroit Lions. He had been a national scout for the Atlanta Falcons the past three years. Before that, he scouted the western territory for Atlanta. Olson also worked as a pro scout during his 18 years with the club. He resides in Park City, Utah. Bridgett Nottestad Neu, 1997 received the Honorary American FFA Degree presented at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky. The award is given to those FALCON FEATURES FALL 2016


alma matters

who advance agricultural education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment. She resides in Plymouth. Greg Toutant, 1997 received the Partners in Excellence Award at the Community Mental Health Boards fall conference. He has been in the field more than 23 years. David Yunger, 1997 is a social entrepreneur and consultant with nearly two decades experience in cloud and education technology. A former educator and UWRF Fulbright Scholar, Yunger brokers public-private partnerships in the area of ICT for education in developing economies. He launched GreenBridge Computing in 2010. Patty Edelburg, 1998 is the executive director for the Wisconsin Farm Service Agency, Madison, overseeing all aspects of federal farm-program delivery. Edelburg has served as a member of the Wisconsin FSA State Committee since 2010 and played a role in the implementation of programs outlined in the 2014 Farm Bill. Prior to this, she served as vice-president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union, secretary/ treasurer of the Wisconsin District 4 Holstein Association Board, and president of the Portage County Holstein Board. She resides near Amherst Junction. Brett Kallusky, 1998 had his photography showcased at The Galleries of The Phipps Center for the Arts. He resides in Stillwater, Minn. Lynn Loesch, 1999 is an early childhood aide at Lindgren in the Ellsworth School District. She resides in Ellsworth.

2000 Jeremiah Munson, 2001 is a community service officer with Savage City. He resides in Shakopee, Minn. Brenda Malinowski, 2002 is the finance officer with the City of Hudson. Her duties include investing the city’s reserve funds in certificates of deposit and state- and city-approved bonds, assisting City Administrator Devin Willi with the water and sewer utility budgets, and completing financial reports requested by the mayor and City Council members, department heads and state agencies. She and her husband, Stan Malinowski, have three children between them, ages 12 to 14. He is a contract project manager for a major financial firm. They reside in Woodbury, Minn.


Matthew Marek, 2002 is CEO of SelectAccount, a leading provider of medical savings accounts including, HSA, FSA, HRA, and VEBA. Marek is vice chair of the board of directors at CCStpa and also sits on the boards of Consortium Health Plans and Greater Twin Cities YMCA. He is a 2011 recipient of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 40 Under Forty Award. Jeff Sullivan, 2002 was named the Green Bay Packers High School Coach of the Week for Wisconsin Rapids Assumption High School. Sullivan, in his fourth year as the head coach of the Assumption football program, resides in Wisconsin Rapids with his wife and children. Ryan Egan, 2003 is the head coach for the Coulee Region Chill, proud members of the North American Hockey League. Prior to this, Egan spent five years as the assistant coach for Division III Saint Mary’s University Men’s Hockey team. A native of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., Egan was previously the head coach of the San Antonio Diablos Junior A Hockey Club of the Western States Hockey League where he compiled a 65-34-5 record. He was also head coach and program director for the Tier 1 Midget AAA Omaha Energy. Joshua Kriesel, 2004 is the recreation supervisor at Chippewa Falls Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department. He resides in Altoona. Kristin Nyquist, 2004 is a school counselor for the Ellsworth School District. She resides in River Falls. Kelsey Sparks, 2004 is the greenhouse and nursery manager at the Green Barn Garden Center near Isanti, Minn. She has hosted a flower fashion show where staff dress up in costumes, often of the same color as plants they bring to an audience so Sparks can talk about the plant and often explain how this year’s plant is improved over past versions. She is a third-generation member of the family business. Maria Woldt, 2004 is the director of industry relations at the Wisconsin-based Dairy Business Association. She resides in Sun Prairie, where she and her husband, Nick, milk 55 registered Holstein cows. She is also a member of the Badger Chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association and Dane County Farm Bureau. Casey Chantelois, 2005 is a part-time dentist at Shaw Dental in Ellsworth. He resides in Osceola with wife, Lauren, and son, Louie.

Kelly Schamberger, 2005 showed her collection of paintings at the Paradise Center for the Arts in Fairbault, Minn. She resides in Montgomery, Minn., with her husband and daughter. Erin Spritzer, 2005 joined the Orthopedic Center at Mayo Clinic Health System. She earned her a master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Midwestern University in Glendale, Ariz. She is certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants and is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants and Physician Assistants Orthopaedic Surgery. Previously, Spritzer worked as a physician assistant in orthopedic surgery at Integrated Medical Services in Goodyear, Ariz., and at Mayo Clinic Health System in Owatonna, Minn. Lindsay Jacobs, 2006 is the principal at West Side and Grayside Elementary Schools in Mauston. She lives in Cross Plains with husband, Jason. Brian Preder, 2006 serves on the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist Committee of the Farm Bureau’s Wisconsin Board of Directors. Before his appointment to the committee, he was the Waupaca County Young Farmer and Agriculturist chair. Preder volunteers at the Waupaca County Fair each August, where he assists dairy exhibitors. Gunnar Umnus, 2007 is a reproductive specialist at NorthStar Cooperative, serving dairy and beef producers in Brown, Calumet, and Manitowoc counties. Aaron Heit, 2009 is in Ethiopia with the Peace Corps serving as an environmental educator through April 2018. He is writing a blog at www. for others to follow his journey.

2010 Ross Bender, 2010 received his Ph.D. in crop physiology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His research entailed a thorough reevaluation of the nutritional needs in high-yielding corn and soybean production systems. He also led the design and installation of a state-of-the-art subsurface drip irrigation system to maintain season-long water and nutrient availability. Bender is a senior agronomist for The Mosaic Company where he educates and trains internal and external sales forces on products and balanced crop nutrition. Geoffrey Wagner, 2011 is a special education teacher at Prairie View

in the Ellsworth School District. He lives in Zumbrota, Minn., with wife, Jody, and four daughters. Steven Marich, 2012 is a fourth grade teacher in Cannon Falls, Minn. He resides in Cottage Grove, Minn. Tina Norris, 2012 is the director of the Hudson Area Library. She resides in Woodbury, Minn., with husband, Greg. Jeffrey Stenbom, 2012 showed his mixed media at The Galleries of The Phipps Center for the Arts. He works and teaches throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, including as an associate lecturer at UWRF in 2015-16. Stenbom joined the U.S. Army immediately after 9/11 and was subsequently wounded in Iraq. Cathy Tritz, 2012 received the 2016 Skyward Central Wisconsin Teacher of the Year Award. She is an English language arts teacher at Lincoln High School, Wisconsin Rapids. Mary Jo Veenendall, 2012 opened U Communicate! in the River Center Professional Building in River Falls where she helps children and teenagers overcome speech problems. Linda Warner, 2012 is a speech therapist in the Ellsworth School District. She lives in Ellsworth with husband, William, and their daughter. Kay Schultz, 2013 is a teacher for the Kiel Area School District. Schultz lives in Little Chute. Chelsey Weierke, 2013 is a school counselor at Jordan Middle School and Jordan High School. She resides in Farmington, Minn., with her fiance, Dylan. Margaret Hoffman, 2014 is a third grade teacher in Cannon Falls, Minn. Outside of the classroom, Hoffman likes Minnesota Twins baseball, traveling, and scrapbooking. She lives in Rochester, Minn.

Jaime Beskau, 2015 is teaching fourth grade in Cannon Falls, Minn. Beskau enjoys spending time with family and friends and resides in Hastings, Minn. Sherrie Hoogland, 2015 is a tax associate at United FCS in their Wausau office. Her experience includes an internship with the Farm Credit System. Hoogland grew up on a farm in southern Price County. Lauren Kostello, 2015 is an ag credit analyst at Investors Community Bank. She interned in the bank’s Ag Credit Department over the summer. She resides in Mason. Brianna Pezon, 2015 is sharing her experience with Asperger’s syndrome through a collection of non-fiction stories, “Autism Is Not My Name,” told through the eyes of people on the autism spectrum. She is working on her masters in social work at the University of Minnesota.

Weddings Lauren Schlichter, 2013, and G. Matthew Melkonian were married Aug. 2. Lauren is a middle school special education teacher at Rivendell Academy in Orford, N.H.

Future Falcons Danielle (Hammer) Clark, 2012, and Tim Clark welcomed a baby boy on July 6, 2015. They reside in Beaver Dam. Casey (Larson) Serum, 2012, and Brett Serum welcomed Tyson David Serum on Sept. 4, 2015. They reside in Mondovi.

Vanita Olson, 1942 died Nov. 24, 2015. Edna Mumm, 1944 died Oct. 22, 2015. Francis Ptacek, 1946 died March 22, 2016. Allen Linster, 1948 died Nov. 3, 2015. Jean Tubman, 1948 died Nov. 13, 2015. Thomas Wilkinson, 1948 died July 18, 2015. Clark Anderson, 1949 died April 6, 2016. Robert Haile, 1949 died Dec. 8, 2015. David Ruhsam, 1949 died March 15, 2016. Bernice Zimmerman, 1949 died Aug. 31, 2015.

About Alma Matters Send us your latest news. We will print your notes in the next issue. Here’s how: 1) e-mail us at; or 2) fax a letter to the Falcon Features editor at 715-425-4486; or 3) submit a form located on our website at and click “Update Profile.” In the interest of accuracy, encourage

Rocky Gonzalez, 2010, and Sarah Gonzalez welcomed Frederick “Freddy” Merle Gonzalez on July 6, 2016.

classmates to send us their news directly—

In Memoriam

We will not print a death announcement

Mariah Ross, 2014 is an agriculture teacher and the FFA adviser at Stoughton High School. She resides in Marshfield.


Elizabeth Simonis, 2014 is an associate product manager at Kent Nutrition Group. Prior to coming to Kent, she was a territory feed consultant with US Feeds and a dairy production specialist with Door County Coop.

A. Duane Anderson, 1940 died Oct. 1, 2015. Jean Earleywine, 1940 died Nov. 20, 2015. Doris Dierks, 1941 died Dec. 16, 2015.

Gertrude Jacobson, 1938 died Jan. 1, 2016.


don’t do it for them.

unless accompanied by a copy of a published obituary (such as an announcement from a local newspaper). Questions about Alma Matters submission policies may be directed to Susan Walker at 715-425-4613 or



alma matters

1950 James Barbee, 1950 died Oct. 11, 2015. Carolyn Dennis, 1950 died Dec. 5, 2015. Clarence Dimick, 1950 died Jan. 30, 2016. Frances Krause, 1950 died Dec. 27, 2015. Raymond Schirmer, 1950 died Dec. 16, 2015. William Shafer, 1951 died April 16, 2016. Leroy Stern, 1952 died June 9, 2015. Ernest Gay, 1953 died Feb. 2, 2016. Betty Murphy, 1953 died Sept. 30, 2015. Dolores Schmitz, 1953 died Sept. 14, 2015. William Lindenberger, 1954 died Sept. 29, 2015. Donald Malmo, 1954 died April 3, 2016. Jean Dodge, 1955 died April 3, 2016. Jeannine Ryan, 1955 died May 29, 2015. Robert Strain, 1955 died August 24, 2015. Carl Finstad, 1956 died March 22, 2016. Mary Nelson, 1956 died Dec. 4, 2015. Carl Weber, 1956 died March 30, 2016. Noel Falkofske, 1957 died Sept. 5, 2015. Raymond Franda, 1957 died Sept. 2, 2015. Douglas Jenkins, 1957 died April 13, 2016. Indulis Kancitis, 1957 died July 20, 2015. James Luehmann, 1957 died Dec. 2, 2015. Beatrice Raygor, 1957 died Dec. 19, 2015. Lloyd Johnson, 1958 died Nov. 4, 2015. Burke Marske, 1958 died July 26, 2015. Donna Omer-Schultz, 1958 died Aug. 19, 2015. Jeannine Uhrig, 1958 died June 18, 2015. Joan Fox, 1959 died Oct. 28, 2015. Clarence Dulek, 1959 died Jan. 31, 2016. Norman Haugen, 1959 died Feb. 26, 2016. Arthur Olson, 1959 died Jan. 15, 2016.



Elaine Olson, 1959 died April 13, 2015. William Pickerign, 1959 died Jan. 2, 2016. Keith Ronningen, 1959 died May 10, 2016.

1960 Charlie Bringman, 1960 died Feb. 6, 2016. Walter Bublitz, 1960 died March 10, 2016. Doug Johnson, 1960 died April 6, 2016. Eugene Prause, 1960 died May 10, 2016. Marylin Wussow, 1960 died Nov. 30, 2015. Russell Helwig, 1961 died March 10, 2015. Robert Pruzek, 1961 died Jan. 21, 2016. Gordon Thayer, 1961 died April 1, 2016. Gerald Handlos, 1962 died March 4, 2016. Edmond Hayes, 1962 died Jan. 22, 2016. John Schaffer, 1962 died Oct. 7, 2015. Frederic Trautmann, 1962 died May 12, 2015. Christian Christensen, 1963 died Sept. 24, 2015. Allen Ormson, 1963 died Jan. 9, 2016. Norbert Biss, 1964 died Oct. 18, 2015. Barbarann Martineau, 1964 died May 27, 2014. LaDonna Olsen, 1964 died Oct. 1, 2012. Michael Callies, 1965 died Jan. 2, 2016. David Dorner, 1965 died March 21, 2015. Walter Fowler, 1965 died March 28, 2015. Donald Nelson, 1965 died Sept. 27, 2015. Lyndon Weberg, 1965 died Dec. 28, 2015. Joyce Anderson, 1966 died April 10, 2012. Bruce Blado, 1966 died March 18, 2015. Rosemary Bodien, 1966 died Dec. 25, 2015. Lyle Kruschke, 1966 died Jan. 14, 2016. Gary LaCrosse, 1966 died July 15, 2014. David Martineau, 1966 died Jan. 2, 2010. Gary Melstrom, 1966 died March 24, 2016.

Stephen Palmquist, 1966 died Dec. 15, 2015. Timothy Schmaltz, 1966 died July 3, 2014. Raymond Somsen, 1966 died May 15, 2016. William Sweda, 1966 died May 6, 2016. Arthur Downing, 1967 died July 9, 2015. Violet Isaac, 1967 died Nov. 21, 2015. Barry Larson, 1967 died Oct. 10, 2015. Bruce Mitchell, 1967 died July 4, 2014. Patricia Nunyakpe, 1967 died Jan. 27, 2016. Carl Strom, 1967 died April 29, 2016. Susan Cernohous, 1968 died April 13, 2015. Patricia Dohls, 1968 died May 3, 2016. James Heuer, 1968 died March 3, 2016. Gene Kreibech, 1968 died Sept. 24, 2015. Susann Rohrer, 1968 died Sept. 7, 2015. John Berry, 1969 died Jan. 26, 2016. William Crownhart, 1969 died Sept. 13, 2015.

1970 David Carish, 1971 died Jan. 16, 2016. David Pederson, 1971 died April 6, 2016. Dan Quilling, 1971 died Nov. 18, 2015. Jackie Allen, 1972 died May 11, 2016. Leaon Gronlund, 1972 died Feb. 12, 2015. Wayne Albrightson, 1973 died Oct. 17, 2015. Gail Scherba, 1973 died March 27, 2016. Peter VanDyke, 1973 died April 26, 2016. Susan McIntyre, 1974 died March 13, 2016. John Nygren, 1974 died March 6, 2015. Mary Dodge, 1975 died April 11, 2016. Lynese Gulczynski, 1976 died March 10, 2016. Belinda Robinson, 1976 died Aug. 29, 2015. Keith Cobb, 1977 died Aug. 20, 2015. Robert Schlichting, 1977 died Feb. 27, 2016.

Jan Zinke, 1977 died Nov. 20, 2015. Stephen Castner, 1978 died Jan. 6, 2016. Robert Esswein, 1978 died Jan. 1, 2016. Ardelle Friday, 1979 died Nov. 7, 2015. Gregory Huset, 1979 died Dec. 9, 2015.

1980 Diane Matsche, 1980 died Dec. 26, 2015. Keith Vandewater, 1980 died March 5, 2016. Dean Sturz, 1981 died May 3, 2016. Danette Tellijohn, 1983 died March 21, 2016. Loretta Loncoske, 1987 died Nov. 9, 2015.

1990 Cyrus Irani, 1990 died Oct. 4, 2015. Patricia Alexson, 1993 died April 22, 2016. Linda Sauve, 1994 died Dec. 16, 2015. David Schaefer, 1994 died Nov. 30, 2015. Jason Succo, 1996 died Nov. 18, 2015. Lowell Smith, 1997 died Dec. 20, 2015.

2000 Robert Dopp, 2000 died Aug. 26, 2015. Jessica Acker, 2001 died Feb. 8, 2015. Joseph Becker, 2001 died April 28, 2016. David Lorenzen, 2001 died March 29, 2016. Timothy O’Connell, 2002 died Oct. 12, 2015. Mathew Baumgartner, 2006 died Dec. 7, 2015. Joseph Jensen, 2008 died April 11, 2016. Nicole Anderson, 2009 died April 3, 2016.

2010 Sabrina Foss, 2012 died Sept. 3, 2015. Kaila Fouks, 2014 died Nov. 7, 2015. Cathy Grunke, 2014 died Jan. 15, 2016.

Faculty/Staff Obituaries MARY BARRETT Mary, 86, died on Oct. 10, 2016. She taught printmaking, drawing, matrix and various art history classes in the Art Department from 1963 to 1992. After retiring, Mary continued a close relationship with the university and was very committed to supporting UWRF art students. She demonstrated this through the establishment of generous scholarship funds for art majors and creation of an Art Department library. A celebration of Mary’s life was held in St. Paul.

JANET QUINN Jan, 75, died May 26, 2016, at Lakeview Health Center, West Salem. Janet worked at UW-River Fall from 1972 until her retirement in 1999, as the assistant controller. For 10 years, she was the director of the Wisconsin in Scotland Program, study abroad for the UW Consortium. In her retirement years, she enjoyed gardening, traveling and golfing.  A celebration of Janet’s life was held June 2, 2016 at North Presbyterian Church in La Crosse.

CARL D. FINSTAD Carl, 86, died March 22, 2016, of heart failure. Carl taught science courses at UWRF, retiring in 1994. Biology, environmental science, animals, and botany were his passions, along with singing for many years with a barbershop group.

CLYDE C. SMITH Clyde, 86, died of congestive heart failure Aug. 5, 2016, at the River Falls Area Hospital. Clyde joined the UWRF history faculty in 1965, was promoted to full professor in 1972 and retired in 1990. An expert in ancient history, the Old and New Testaments, ancient Greek and Semitics, Clyde worked with students and colleagues over many years and wrote extensively for scholarly journals, biographical and encyclopedic works, and book reviews. Clyde’s wife, Ellen, died on July 21, 2015.

DOUGLAS L. JOHNSON Doug, 81, died April 6, 2016, of cancer. He was a UWRF alumnus. As a UWRF professor, he taught ceramics and glass in the Art Department from 1965-1997 when he retired. He started the glass-blowing program at UWRF in 1967, one of the first in the country. In 2011, Doug and his wife, Margel, established the “Doug and Margel Johnson Art Scholarship.” With music and merriment, a celebration of Doug’s life was held in Woodville. ELIZABETH OOSTENDORP Liz, 83, died Nov. 9, 2015, in River Falls. She joined UWRF in 1969 to teach speech, splitting her time with the Publications office. Within the next year, she became the full-time director of Publications, retiring in 1997. During her career, she served on UWRF athletics, alumni relations, public relations, and legislative advisory committees. Liz was also a faculty representative to the women’s athletic conference, WWIAC. A celebration of her life was held May 7, 2016, in River Falls.

RONALD SNELL Ron, 74, died March 27, 2016, in Minneapolis. He was a professor of communication studies for 31 years at UWRF, retiring in 2004. He was an active community volunteer in his retirement. A service was held April 18 in Minneapolis. LYNDON WEBERG Lyn, 72, died Dec. 28, 2015, in Tucson, Ariz. He taught mathematics and computer science at UWRF for more than 30 years, beginning in 1968. A service was held in Arizona.



UW-River Falls 2016 Alumni Awards



Distinguished Alumnus Award

Lifetime Achievement Award

Brad Hewitt is the recipient of the UW-River Falls 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award. He is the 80th recipient of the award, first presented in 1959 to Dr. Dean Smith. A 1982 graduate with a BS degree in mathematics, he completed the Harvard Graduate School of Business Program for Management Development in 1995. Hewitt currently serves as chief executive officer of Thrivent Financial, the country’s largest fraternal benefit society. A Fortune 500 organization, Thrivent is leading a nationwide movement of Christians and their communities to be wise with money and live generously. It is one of the 10 largest mutual companies in the U.S., serves more than 2.3 million members nationwide and manages more than $100 billion in assets.

Laura Gardner Salazar is the recipient of the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Alumni Award. A 1957 graduate of UW-River Falls with a BS degree in English and speech. She went on to obtain her master’s degree from Kent State University in theater and speech, and then her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in acting and directing. At the University of Michigan, her dissertation won “best of the year” and went on to be named the top dissertation that year by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education.

He began his career in 1982 with Securian in the Actuarial Services Department. He joined UnitedHealth Group (UHG) in 1986 as director of underwriting. From 1993 to 1998, he served as chief financial officer and later as CEO of Diversified Pharmaceutical Services (DPS), a division of UHG. From 1998 to 2003, he served as chief administrative officer of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in St. Louis, Mo. Hewitt has been very active with the UWRF community. In 2011, he served as Executive in Residence in the College of Business and Economics. He has also been a key supporter of UWRF’s Falcon Scholars program. He currently serves on the board of Habitat for Humanity International, the board of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation and the board of managers of the Ron Blue Institute. Hewitt also volunteers as vice-chair of Itasca, an employer-led cross sector group that works to improve the quality of life for all in the region. He is a member of The WHEREhouse Church, a new church plant in urban St. Paul. He is past chair of the Board of Regents at Concordia University, St. Paul. Hewitt is coauthor of the book, “Your New Money Mindset: Create a Healthy Relationship with Money,” published in 2015.


After Kent State, Salazar became known around the world for her contributions to the field of theatre and theatre education. In 1967, she founded the theatre program at a new university, Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., where she taught for 33 years. Salazar wrote six books in theater and education and over 60 professional papers. Her book “Teaching Dramatically” won the top prize for a book in the field of theatre education from American Alliance for Theater and Education. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Trinidad and Tobago in 1992 to study the original theatre genres of that country. She became interested in performance art, creating performances on four continents, including Australia where she lectured about Theatre Standards K-12 and did workshops in performance art. Her book, “Make Performance Arts,” is a standard in the field. She was very active in both her professional and civic affiliations. Salazar was on the founding board and served as the president of the American Alliance for Theater and Education, President Council of Performing Arts and Children in Grand Rapids, member of the International Amateur Theatre Association North America, the International Theatre for Youth (six international offices), International Amateur Theatre Association, and many more. She is also the founder of the Fabulous African Fabrics, a non-profit organization formed in 1999 devoted to raising funds for AIDS orphans and widows in Kenya.


Outstanding Young Alumni Award Dr. Bwarenaba Kautu is the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Dr. Kautu was born and raised in Kiribati (formerly known as the Gilbert Islands), where he completed his primary and secondary educations. He graduated from UW-River Falls in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. He went on to receive his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama in 2012 and completed his Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Baylor College of Medicine in 2013. He currently serves as an assistant professor of biology at Greenville College in Greenville, Ill. Dr. Kautu is also the very first person from the Republic of Kiribati to become a college/ university science professor in the United States. He has made numerous international scientific presentations, including at the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans, the 31st Australian Neuroscience Society meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco, and he has also been an invited guest lecturer at research institutions across the globe. Dr. Kautu is the recipient of several honors and awards including the American Society for Cell Biology Travel Award, Excellence in Teaching Award by a Graduate Student in Biological Sciences, University of Alabama, SpainHickman Rotary Scholarship – top international Ph.D. Student, Australian Neuroscience Society Ph.D. Student Travel Award, Australian Neuroscience Society, Tuscaloosa International Friends Scholarship, University of Alabama and many others.

donor profile Ed “Swami” Schlumpf has supported the University of Wisconsin-River Falls students for “as long as he can remember.” Now, by including the university in his estate plans, Schlumpf hopes to continue giving to UW-River Falls well into the future. Schlumpf, a 1960 graduate, spent years as a teacher and guidance counselor at Menomonee Falls High School. Ed and his spouse, Mary, support a $2,000 scholarship for a graduating student at Menomonie Falls High School who will attend UW-River Falls. They also support several other funds at UWRF including the Falcon Scholars Scholarship, James Hallen Memorial Scholarship, Dr. Edward Peterson Scholarship and the Fran Polsfoot Fund. “I got a great education at UW-River Falls,” Schlumpf said. “I want students to go there. It has outstanding, dedicated teachers.” Retired from teaching for more than two decades, Schlumpf said he’s made helping students receive a good education a personal mission. Including UWRF in their estate plan was essential for the Schlumpfs because it allows them to continue to support the things they care deeply about. “As an educator, I have a commitment to education,” Schlumpf said. “This is a chance to repay the place that got me into the field, and a chance to help those carrying it into the future.” To learn how you can support UWRF through your estate plan, visit

Donor Honor Roll Our donor list has moved on-line. For a full list of our generous donors, visit

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Upcoming UW-River Falls Alumni Events

• Cheers Pablo Art Event Nov. 4, 2016 • Twin Cities Speaker Series featuring Vicky Emerson, singer and songwriter Nov. 29, 2016 • Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas Musical” at the Ordway Dec. 10, 2016 • UWRF Undergraduate Research Fall Gala Dec. 13, 2016 • Minnesota Vikings Alumni Event Dec. 18, 2016 • Wisconsin Dells Alumni Event at Kalahari Resort Jan. 6-8, 2017 • Golden Jubilee Reunion May 12-13, 2017

For additional UWRF alumni events information, contact University Advancement toll-free at 877-258-6647, by e-mail at, or visit our website at

Profile for University of Wisconsin-River Falls


Falcon Features, Fall 2016, University of Wisconsin-River Falls Alumni Magazine


Falcon Features, Fall 2016, University of Wisconsin-River Falls Alumni Magazine