Contact Us
Alumni Relations
Phone: 715-425-4553
Location: 112 South Hall

UWRF Distinguished Alumni

The Distinguished Alumni Award continues to be the most prestigious acknowledgment of the accomplishments of our alumni. The criteria for being considered for the Distinguished Alumni award are: 

  • Personal accomplishments in their field.
  • Civic responsibility and contributions to their community.
  • Continuing interest in the university.
  • Highest integrity in professional, public and personal relations.

There has long been a tradition in the Ivy League, the land-grant universities, and many private colleges to award honorary degrees to their distinguished alumni and others who have made significant contributions to knowledge or to individual institutions for scholarships, professorships, and physical plant. Distinguished alumni have been honored by building, room, and program namesakes. Each commencement season, the news media carry stories of the honors bestowed upon those who have added distinction to the academic world in some way.

In general, institutions have awarded honorary degrees that roughly correspond to the highest degrees awarded in established programs, often changing only the name of the degree. An Ivy League university might give a doctorate in letters while another might award master’s degrees in various fields. However, it is common in the small private college field to award master’s or doctoral honorary degrees even though the bachelor’s degree is the highest earned degree offered. Thus, a small private college or some larger institution might give only an honorary master’s degree even if they have several doctoral programs.

In state colleges and universities, which have evolved from normal schools to state teachers colleges to state universities, there has been no tradition of honoring graduates who have achieved distinction. With the great growth in enrollment and programs after World War II, these institutions began to change. The usual direction was to make a distinguished alumnus/alumna award rather than an honorary doctorate.

The new awareness came to UW-River Falls with the same tide of affairs that brought the establishment of alumni chapters, the Foundation, and the awarding of liberal arts, agriculture, and education degrees. The faculty committee, which was wrestling with the problem of establishing local alumni chapters, first expressed concern on this point. The minutes of that committee for April 14, 1959 thus recorded:

Recognition of an outstanding alumnus should be considered by this group. Perhaps have the chapters nominate candidates for recognition. Could it be done this year? Wayne Wolfe to present the idea to President Kleinpell.

One week later the Alumni Committee recorded the next step:

President Kleinpell asked Wolfe to have the committee set up criteria and make recommendations for the award this year. Also we need not limit ourselves to the class of 1909 (or the 50th anniversary class).

The committee then proceeded to establish criteria for selecting the first distinguished alumnus/alumna, listing these requirements:

  1. Personal accomplishments in their field.
  2. Civic responsibility and contribution to the community.
  3. Continuing interest in the college.

A month later, the committee added a fourth criterion: "Highest integrity in professional, public, and personal relations," and placed four names in nomination.

The committee wrote to a number of alumni and other friends seeking information on the accomplishments of these graduates, and then nominated Dean Smith as the first to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award at the June Commencement, 1959.

In the ensuing years the committee invited nominations from the alumni and annually selected one person to be honored at commencement. This tradition was interrupted in 1967 for the first time when the award was made not only to LeRoy Luberg (1930) but also to Melvin Wall (1936) who had recently lost his life on an educational mission in South Vietnam. Since 1969, two alumni have been selected each year except in 1973, 1982, and 1983 when three were chosen and in 1977 when four were honored.  Since 1986, the committee has selected one alumnus/alumna each year for the award, reinstating the tradition established in the award’s inception.

The committee has always had a dozen or more nominations for consideration. It has conscientiously evaluated the achievements of each one, and though all of them deserved the Distinguished Alumnus Award, has made its selection after much discussion and by the secret ballot. Their frustrations came from the problem of choosing a candidate who may have achieved great distinction elsewhere but has never shown "continuing interest in the college”; deciding between a graduate at the peak of his/her career and one who has retired; or between one who contributed much to the college over many years but has only a modest business or professional reputation. Despite these problems, the list of distinguished alumni represent the best who have walked through these halls as students-each one having won distinction in his or her unique way. Astute and observing professors might well have predicted when these alumni were students that some day they would make their mark upon the world. All were good students; their colleagues may have elected them to office, and they may have distinguished themselves in extra-curricular activities.

The careers of these distinguished alumni have developed from the teacher preparation and academic base provided by this institution and are varied areas such as agriculture, aviation, business, dentistry, education, law, medicine, government service, nuclear and biophysics research, and other specialized areas. A number have had careers teaching on university campuses, writing books, and advancing the frontiers of knowledge in numerous fields.

It is difficult to judge all the factors that led to the selection of individual alumni for this award.  It seems evident that in addition to their professional contributions in their respective fields, their continued interest in campus life through scholarships and other enrichments have been factors.  Civic contributions have also played a role.  Chancellor Gary Thibodeau said it well when he remarked that these alumni are distinguished because "they made a difference."

As mentioned previously, nominations for the Distinguished Alumnus Award are made by former students and faculty. Information about each nominee is collected by the Director of Development and Alumni Relations, and copies are presented to the Alumni Committee, which is composed of both students and faculty. After initial discussion on the process, each member is asked to independently rank the nominees and submit their ranking to the committee chair. After votes are tallied, a meeting is held to discuss those candidates who have received the most votes. Only one distinguished alumnus is forwarded to the Chancellor for consideration. Unlike past years, only one distinguished alumnus/alumna is voted into the Hall of Fame each year.

The committee recognizes that there will always be more distinguished alumni from the thousands of former students than can ever be recognized.  Those chosen are distinguished through their many years of university, civic, and professional contributions.  It seems certain that they have done what the UW-River Falls pledge song says, "add just a gem/to shine forever in thy diadem."

Foreword from the book

It is not uncommon among U.S. institutions of higher learning to find in some prominent place a gallery of distinguished alumni with name and date of graduation. Faculty, students, and visitors who pass by may wonder what the distinguished alumni did to be honored. If one were to go to the library, it is doubtful that an answer could be found. Working through the alumni records might reveal the answer, though requiring considerable time.

The Faculty-Student-Alumni Committee at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls has selected one or more distinguished alumni each year since 1959. Appointed by the Faculty Senate, the committee members change, and students might find themselves disadvantaged in knowledge about past selections and the nomination process. To provide information on distinguished alumni chosen since 1959, this book is available. It will also serve as a family archive record for the distinguished alumni as well as give this university an opportunity to express pride in its graduates.

The original drawings of the distinguished alumni were done by artists H. Brewer Wilson and Benita Fernandez Close; photographs of the drawings were taken by Jens Gunelson of UW-River Falls Photography Services. Special thanks are due to both artists and the photographer for their contribution; also to my colleagues, Wayne Wolfe and Michael Norman, who have assisted in this project, and to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Foundation for support of the project. The author must assume all responsibility for errors of fact and judgments made.

UWRF Section Separator

Paul Dykstra is an independent board member and recent past Chairman, President and CEO of Viad, a $1.1 B NYSE (VVI) company with domestic and international operations in Marketing and Event Services, Travel and Recreation Services, and formerly Payment Services. Dykstra oversaw the consolidation of businesses and growth through acquisition and global expansion.

Prior to leading Viad, he was President and CEO of Global Experience Specialists, a $600M global exhibition and event company. Over his six years in this position, he transformed the company by streamlining operations, focusing resources on developing new technology for the exhibition and events industry, and instilling a values-based winning culture. Before his time at GES, he served as the Sr. Executive V.P. for MoneyGram International, Inc., a $550M payment systems company.

Paul has a long history of service on community and industry boards. Currently, he is a member of the UWRF Foundation Board since 2017 and has chaired the investment committee for four years. He also served previously from 1998 to 2003. Paul also serves as Vice President of Finance for Whispering Hope Ranch Foundation, which provides hope and healing to children with special needs through the wonders of camp and the human-animal connection. In addition, he served for nine years on the board of The Boys and Girls Club of Metro Phoenix. He served as Vice Chairman and Treasurer, Chaired the Finance Committee and served on the Executive Committee. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.

Carole Mottaz is a lifelong educator and has taught every grade from K-12, special education and at the university level. Her primary interest has been in working with children who are less fortunate than others and/or struggle in school. In 1999, she designed the Renaissance Charter Academy high school in River Falls and was its principal from 1999 to 2008. She has presented at many conferences on subjects including innovative reading strategies, mainstreaming alternative education students, positive discipline, assessing middle school programs, innovations in environmental education and alternative education programs. Mottaz is also an accomplished author. The scariest time of her long career remains the time she was a reading specialist and taught kindergartners. She was a Senator Herb Kohl Fellow-Wisconsin Teacher of the Year candidate and was recognized as a Stephen Skank Exemplary Mentor. 

In addition to teaching, Mottaz's passion is community service, especially when it benefits children. She was assistant chief of the River Falls Ambulance Service. During that tenure, she was the construction manager for the new ambulance building (scary, but not like teaching kindergartners) and taught CPR/first aid courses in the community. She was co-founder of Our Neighbor's Place homeless shelter for families with children and ran the homeless shelter. She designed and manages Sporting World, the first Big Brothers Big Sisters retail store in North American. She has also been a longtime member and president of the River Falls Rotary Club, regional board chair of Big Brothers Big Sisters, chair of the River Falls Police and Fire Commission and EMS Advisory Board. She is currently a member of the American Association of University Women and the River Falls Lions Club.

Roger Williams is a consultant/mediator after serving 33 years as a University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension professor and two years as a vocational agriculture instructor at Darlington (Wis.) High School. He grew up on a Waukesha County dairy farm and for the past 40 years has provided leadership initiatives to assist farm families under stress including self-help programs, videos, and guidebooks to foster stress management, improve communication and plan for the future.

He has worked with others to form a federally-funded Sowing the Seeds of Hope initiative for dealing with farm stress in a seven-state area of the Midwest and has taught hundreds of programs on farm stress, farm family communication and intergenerational farm transfers in Wisconsin and beyond. 

Williams is also the founder of the Harvest of Hope Fund which provides financial assistance and hope to Wisconsin farm families in distress. Since it was founded in January 1986, the fund has granted more than 1,660 gifts totaling more than $1,082,000 to Wisconsin farm families.

He is a volunteer mediator with the Wisconsin Farm Center (Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection) mediating farm family conflicts across the state, and he also serves on the advisory board for AgrAbility of Wisconsin and on the governing board of the Food, Faith and Farming Network.

In addition, Williams has worked with the Dane County Alliance for the Mentally Ill to organize a nation-wide conference that resulted in the formation of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to support families of persons with persistent mental illnesses and advocate for the needs of persons with serious mental illnesses. NAMI now has over 1,500 state and local chapters with more than 500,000 members across the U.S. 

He has coordinated and taught educational sessions related to prevention and wellness and was one of the founding members of the Wisconsin Prevention Network (WPN). He served on the governing board of  WPN, chaired the WPN Public Policy Committee and worked with others to organize the Annual Wisconsin Prevention Conference for several years. He has also made significant contributions in teaching and programming related to men’s issues: organizing a major conference “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover” and organizing an innovative boys to men initiative that included a Wingspread Conference and a cultural exchange program for African American boys from inner city Milwaukee and Native American boys from the Red Cliff Band in northern Wisconsin.

Williams received a bachelor’s degree in vocational agriculture from Wisconsin State College-River Falls and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in adult and continuing education from UW-Madison. In April 2003, he was honored with the Outreach Award for Distinguished Teaching from UW-Madison.

Steve Wilcox is president and founder of The Resultants, a leading Twin Cities business advisory firm. As a business advisor, Steve works side-by-side with company owners and management, building teams of great people that positively change lives.

After graduating from the UW-River Falls in 1974 with a degree in biology, Steve's entrepreneurial experience has encompassed more than 40 years of starting, operating and selling various businesses. He has served as an innovator within many of those businesses including Invisible Fence dealership and Sport Court, a multi-state distributorship. In 2004, the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce honored him with the Community Volunteer of the Year Award. In 2009, he and his wife, Terri, received the Marie Blakeman Lifetime Community Service Award.

Steve's community service also encompasses over 40 years of board chair and leadership positions throughout the St. Croix Valley and the Twin Cities including the UW-River Falls Foundation, St. Croix Valley Foundation, Junior Achievement, Big Brothers Big Sisters as a "big," the Executive Board member of the Northern Star Council as well as vice president of technology and operations. Steve was also honored with the Silver Beaver Award, one of the highest honors in volunteer scouting. During his years supporting Rotary International, Steve served as Club President, District Governor and International Training Leader. In recognition of his commitment, Steve received the Rotary's Service Above Self Award. In 2006, Steve and Terri created a Visioning Program to help Rotary Clubs plan for their future and sustain their vitality. Since then, they have traveled the world speaking and training in support of the International Visioning Council.

Steve has many family ties to UWRF beginning with his parents ('49, '50), his wife Terri ('77), his in-laws ('48, '50) and two brothers-in-law ('73, '76). Steve and Terri reside in Hudson and have two adult children Chris (Kristen) and Kiira (Nick).

Cathy Wurzer is the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Alumnus Award. Wurzer is a 1992 graduate of UW-River Falls with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and urban studies. She is a four-time Emmy Award winner for her work on the Twin Cities Public Television program “Almanac” where she has co-hosted since 1995. She is also host of “Morning Edition” on Minnesota Public Radio. Prior to her career in radio, Wurzer was an anchor and reporter for WCCO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Minneapolis. She has also worked as a producer for KMSP-TV, a talk show host for WCCO-AM radio and a political reporter for KSTP-AM radio.

Wurzer is a current member and former president of the Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She also served on the Board of Directors for the UW-River Falls Foundation from 1997-2005.

Wurzer has received numerous awards including the prestigious Edward Morrow Award, which honors outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism. She has also received awards for her published work, which includes “Tales of the Road: Highway 61,” for which she received the 2009 Midwest Independent Publishers Association award. She is also the author of “The WPA Guide to the Minnesota Arrowhead County: The Federal Writers’ Project Guide to 1930s Minnesota.”

In her spare time, she trains and shows horses, fly fishes and sculpts clay.

Education - B.S., University of Wisconsin-River Falls, 1986, Accounting
Hometown - Bay City, Wis. 
First Position - Working on a family farm
Current Position - Chief Executive Officer, Fastenal Company (Winona, Minnesota)

Daniel Florness is the chief executive officer of Fastenal, a global industrial supply company with annual revenues of $4 billon. For two decades, Florness has played a central role in executing the company's strategy.

In his previous role as chief financial officer, Florness developed Fastenal's growth and profit drivers, while also serving as an executive vice president. At one point, he led the company's National Account sales division, representing more than 40 percent of their business. In 2012, The Wall Street Journal recognized Florness as one of the nation's ten best CFOs. He was also named "CFO of the Year" by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. Before joining Fastenal, Dan spent ten years with the public accounting firm of KPMG, LLP.

Florness is a board member for the Winona chapter of the American Red Cross and serves on the endowment committee of Faith Lutheran Church in Winona. He is also a board director for PlastiComp Inc., a global provider of long-fiber reinforced materials and technologies, and Winona Golf and Dining, a restaurant and golf operation. Florness recently joined the Gundersen Health System's Board of Trustees. He previously served the Winona Community Foundation and was a member of the National Sponsors Board for the National FFA Organization. Florness and his wife, Jennie, reside in the Winona area with their four children. 

Brad Hewitt serves as chief executive officer of Thrivent Financial, the country's largest fraternal benefit society. A fortune 500 organization, Thrivent 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.

Hewitt 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. Following the sale of DPS to SmithKline Beecham, he felt called to serve in a role with the Lutheran Church Extension Fund. From 1998 to 2003, he served as chief administrative officer of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod in St. Louis, Mo.

A native of Minneapolis, Hewitt graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics. He completed the Harvard Graduate School of Business Program for Management Development in 1995.

Hewitt has been active within 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.

Hewitt currently serves on the board of Habitat for Humanity International , the board of the International Cooperative and Mutal Insurance Federation and the board of managers of the Ron Blue Institute. He also volunteers as vice-chair of Itasca, an employer-let cross section group that works to improve the quality of life for all in our 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.  He is co-author of the book, "Your New Money Mindset: Create a Healthy Relationship with Money," published in 2015.

Hewitt and his wife, Sue, live in St. Paul, and have two adult children.

John Butler, immunologist and professor emeritus of microbiology at the University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine, was honored at the 2015 commencement ceremony May 16. Butler graduated from UW-River Falls in 1961 with a degree in chemistry and biology.

In a career that's spanned decades, Butler pioneered groundbreaking research on the antibodies of cattle and swine, mucosal immunology and solid phase immunoassay - a procedure for measuring or detecting proteins and other substances through antigens or antibodies using a solid surface. He is the author of more than 250 published articles and has received two distinguished veterinary immunologist awards.

Butler was raised on a farm in Rice Lake. The youngest of seven children, he spent much of his early life taking care of farm animals, raising pheasants, managing the family woodlot, and helping with his father trap beaver and muskrat.

His rural childhood fostered an interest in animals and the outdoors, which came to fruition during his years at UW-River Falls. He was the first member of his family to attend college, something Butler said he never expected to do.

"I had never planned to go to college," he said. "UWRF gave me a start for a successful career at a price I could afford."

Upon leaving UWRF, Butler served as a ranger naturalist at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon and was featured in a 1962 article in National Geographic Magazine. He obtained his doctorate in zoology and biochemistry from Kansas University, and then spent four years working at the Agriculture Department in Washington, D.C., where he became a leader in antibody research and mucosal immunology.

He spent three years in Germany performing research funded by the Max-Planck Society and the Fogarty Foundation. Butler maintains a variety of foreign scientific collaborations throughout Europe, primarily in Germany, France, Sweden, Hungary and the Czech Republic. He has twice received the distinguished veterinary immunologist award and is a strong advocate of comparative immunology/biochemistry, basic research in veterinary immunology as well as the use of the swine in biomedical research.

Butler established both the J.E. Butler Molecular Biology Scholarship for students interested in a career in eukaryotic biology research, and the John E. Butler International Research Scholarship to promote undergraduate research abroad. In funding them, Butler said he wanted to help students who are struggling to afford college like he once did.

"I think it's an investment in the future," Butler said. "It helps somebody who needs a chance."

Julie Bushman, Senior Vice President for Business Transformation and Information Technology at 3M and a 1983 graduate of UW-River Falls, has been named the 2014 UW-River Falls Distinguished Alumna. 

Upon graduating from UW-River Falls with a Bachelor's of Science, Business Administration and Communicative Disorders, Julie joined 3M as a materials control analyst. Over the past thirty years she has risen through the ranks to become one of 3M's top executives. As Senior Vice President for Business Transformation and Information Technology, Julie leads the development and implementation of the company's ERP infrastructure, global business process and service delivery models, and Corporate Information Technology.

Prior to her current role, Julie was Executive Vice President of 3M's Safety, Security, and Protection Services (SS&PS) Business, an approximately $4 billion leading global provider of personal protective equipment, solutions that identify, authenticate, and locate people and assets, cleaning and protection products for commercial establishments, and infrastructure protection products. Bushman has also served 3M as Vice President/General Manager of the Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Division and Staff Vice President of Information Technology. Julie was one of the original directors comprising the leadership team that successfully deployed Six Sigma at 3M.

Julie led the 3M United Way Community Giving Campaign Chair for two years and was a member of the 3M Foundation Board. She currently serves as a Director for Johnson Controls, Inc.

Julie was the fall 2012 Executive in Residence in the College of Business and Economics at UW-River Falls. She spoke to UWRF students about significant organizational change resulting from a business transformation via challenging assumptions, taking risks, busting myths, changing minds and creating a new vision.

Boyd Huppert, a 1984 graduate of UW-River Falls and Emmy award-winning journalist for KARE 11, has been named the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus.  

Huppert has been a reporter at KARE 11 in the Twin Cities for 17 years and his work has appeared on both CNN and NBC. He has won numerous awards including a national Emmy for feature reporting, more than 60 regional Emmys, eight national Edward R. Murrow Awards, three national Sigma Delta Chi Awards, three Gabriel Awards, six National Press Photographers Association awards, and a National Headliner Grand Award. 

Although he is one of the most recognized reporters in the Twin Cities media market, anyone who has ever seen one of Huppert's stories would likely be more inclined to describe him as a "master storyteller" as his love for the storytelling aspect of his job and the people who bring his stories to life is apparent in every piece he creates. 

Huppert has also become widely known for his work as an instructor. He has presented more than 100 video storytelling sessions at venues including the National Writers Workshop, Danish Broadcasting in Copenhagen, NRK in Oslo, and TV New Zealand in Auckland. He is also a longtime faculty member at the NPPA's Advanced Storytelling Workshop, held each spring at Texas State University-San Marcos. 

A high school journalism class originally sparked Huppert's interest in journalism and at age 16 he landed a part-time job at local radio station, WEVR, in River Falls. Huppert's broadcasting days continued at the campus radio station, WRFW, when he began school at UW-River Falls and double majored in journalism and political science. 

Huppert began his post-graduation career in 1984 with a position at WSAW-TV in Wausau, and worked at two more TV stations, KETV in Omaha, Neb., and WITI in Milwaukee, before joining KARE 11 in 1996 as a general assignment reporter. 

One of Huppert's regional Emmys, presented by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Television Academy in 2006, is on display in the UWRF Journalism Department. This is not unusual, however, as Huppert is known for giving away his Emmys, often to the subjects of his stories. A similar Emmy of Huppert's is on display in the lobby of the Falls Theater in River Falls in honor of a story he did about former theater owner Stan McCulloch. 

Huppert has been back to River Falls numerous times to cover stories and on campus throughout the years as a featured speaker, master of ceremonies, and as a guest lecturer in many journalism classes where he provides career advice for UWRF students and answers students' questions about the joys and challenges of working in television news.

Dr. Marv Lansing, a 1954 graduate of UW-River Falls, has been selected as the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus. Dr. Lansing is an award winning educator and a highly respected civic leader in the Chippewa Valley. Upon completing his bachelor’s degree in history at UWRF, Dr. Lansing began his career as a teacher in Rhinelander. Dr. Lansing went on to earn an M.S. in Education Administration from Northern Colorado in 1960 and a Ph.D. in Education Administration from UW-Madison in 1967.

Equipped with 13 years of experience as an educator and his terminal degree, Dr. Lansing was named assistant superintendent of the Eau Claire Area School District in 1967 and superintendent in 1969, a position he held until his retirement in 1990. Dr. Lansing later served as interim superintendent of Boyceville Community Schools. Dr. Lansing has been recognized for his work as an educator by numerous local, state, and national associations and publications including the Distinguished Service Award from the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators and the Lifetime Membership Award from the Wisconsin PTA.

Having founded, chaired, or served on numerous civic and professional boards, Dr. Lansing continues to serve as a civic leader through the Lions Club, a commitment he has maintained for over 50 years.  Dr. Lansing recently established the Marvin and Margaret (Helmer) Lansing Scholarship through the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Foundation. This scholarship will be awarded to a student from Dunn, Eau Claire, St. Croix, or Pierce County, Wisconsin who has financial need.

Each year the University of Wisconsin-River Falls recognizes one outstanding alumnus. This year, the award of Distinguished Alumnus was bestowed upon 1984 graduate Juleen Zierath.

“I was deeply honored when I read the notification. The news was incredibly unexpected. I am particularly aware of the significance of this award, since one of my own mentors, Dr. Emogene Nelson, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1982,” said Zierath.

Earning her masters degree in exercise science at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and her Ph.D. in physiology at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Zierath currently works as a professor of clinical integrative physiology in the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery Section for Integrative Physiology at the Karolinska Institutet.

“When I was an undergraduate student at UWRF, I never imagined that one day I would be a professor at a medical school, leading a group of scientists and conducting research to understand the causes and treatment of diabetes,” said Zierath.

As head of the Section of Integrative Physiology, Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery at Karolinska Institutet, Zierath’s research focuses on cellular mechanisms underlying the development of insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes.

Zierath helped accomplish the development of methodology for translational studies to delineate molecular mechanism for insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetic patients. Her group provided the first evidence for physiological regulation of insulin signaling pathways and revealed key steps along this pathway that are impaired in diabetic patients.

Using genetically modified experimental models of insulin resistenceresistance, she has systematically revealed the contribution of specific genes to whole body and cellular physiology. Through functional genomics, she has validated novel diabetes prevention targets.

The ultimate goal of her work is to identify and validate molecular candidates for pharmacological therapy to treat insulin resistance. By improving insulin sensitivity, it is possible to alleviate diabetic complications and improve quality of life for the diabetic patient.

“I am acutely aware that my education at UWRF laid the ground work for my future academic, administrative, and research experiences,” said Zierath.

Zierath was also awarded the Prestigious Minkowski Prize from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, the Datta Lectureship Award for outstanding achievement in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology from the Federation of European Biochemical Society and a Distinguished Professor Award form Karolinska Institutet.

“There is a long tradition amongst the faculty and staff at UWRF to go out of their way to give students specialized attention and this really helped me feel confident to take on greater challenges in my career,” Zierath said.

Zierath has also published more than 200 original research papers and review articles.

In 2005, she was a recipient of a Future Research Leader award from the Foundation for Strategic Research.

In 2006, she was appointed to the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet and since 2008 she is member of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine. She is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Keystone Symposia and member of the Executive Committee of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

Most recently she was awarded an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council, one of five awarded to Sweden in 2009.

“I had tremendous role models and mentors to turn to at UWRF that guided me through my early academic development and helped me make important choices that shaped my career,” said Zierath.

She currently holds editorial positions with several leading scientific journals in the area of endocrinology and metabolism and is currently editor-in-chief of Diabetologia. Her research accomplishments have been recognized at both the national and international level.

Zierath has been asked to return to UW-River Falls to accept her award as Distinguished Alumnus at spring commencement on May 14.

“I have very fond memories of my time at UWRF and vividly remember my own graduation in 1984. Graduation is a wonderful celebration of achievement and I look forward to participate in the coming ceremony and festivities that mark this significant milestone for the graduating class of 2011 and also to salute the returning alumni from the class of 1961,” said Zierath. “In addition, I look forward to visiting with current and emeritus faculty members of the Department of Health and Human Performance, as well as a few of my classmates from my own days at UWRF.”

Arlin Albrecht attributes his entrance into the field of journalism, the field that would later shape his prestigious career, to the time he spent as a student at UW-River Falls. Like so many who have attended UWRF, Albrecht was a first generation college student. Originally an agricultural education major, Albrecht chose to attend college only after his high school agriculture teacher insisted that he was up to the challenge.

Albrecht credits his decision to become a journalism and economics dual major to “the country boy seeing the bright lights of the city and realizing perhaps milking dairy cows wasn’t what I wanted to do the rest of my life.”

Through what he describes as “an unusual set of events,” Albrecht was named editor of the Student Voice during his sophomore year. As editor, he worked under the advisement of Dr. Wayne Wolfe, a training he describes as more important than any class he ever took.

While working as editor of the Student Voice, Albrecht came to know and work closely with the staff at the River Falls Journal.

“In that era, this whole business was full of characters,” Albrecht said. “There were line type operators who would intentionally insert typographical errors just to see if this college newspaper editor could catch them.” Albrecht obviously did so successfully as he was hired by the River Falls Journal upon graduating from UWRF in 1958.

After working with the River Falls Journal Arlin Albrecht became a reporter for the St. Paul Pioneer Press and a graduate student at the University of Minnesota with his sights set clearly on obtaining a job in one of the nation’s largest media markets.

To obtain experience as an editor and a chance to work with Phil Duff, “one of the best country newspaper editors in Minnesota at the time,” Albrecht passed up job offers in San Diego and Hollywood to work in Red Wing, Minnesota. Still focused on establishing a career in a major media market, Albrecht  asked for assurance from Duff that after one year, Duff would provide him with a letter that would help him secure the big city opportunity he coveted.

However, Albrecht never ended up leaving Red Wing. In fact, he and his wife Marilyn (a 1956 graduate of UW-River Falls) married in 1962 and went on to raise two daughters, Rebecca & Elizabeth (Beth), in the Red Wing area. Rebecca and her husband, Mark Poss, and their two children, Huck (13) & Lucy (7) still live in Red Wing. Beth and her husband, Peter Sagal, now live in Oakpark, IL with their three daughters – Rose (13), Gracie (10), and Willa (7).

But despite never heading to the “big city,” Albrecht still cultivated an award winning career that is respected and honored by all those who work in journalism, regardless of what size market they work in.

Albrecht also made a bold decision to cover the Vietnam War more personally by becoming a Vietnam War correspondent for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. “It was the last great war for journalism,” Albrecht said. “You could go anywhere you were dumb enough to go.”

With a portable typewriter, three cameras and half a dozen lenses, Albrecht chronicled the lives of soldiers from Red Wing and mailed their stories back for publication in the Republican Eagle. These stories took on special meaning for readers, particularly the friends and families of those serving overseas.

In a few tragic cases, Albrecht was the last person from Red Wing to have interacted with the soldiers prior to their deaths. In those instances, his chronicles took on extra meaning and resulted in strong connections between Albrecht and the soldiers’ families.

Publishing and Community
Albrecht eventually became CEO of Red Wing Publishing, which under the leadership of Albrecht and his wife Marilyn, grew to include 21 daily community newspapers in Minnesota and Wisconsin from Red Wing to International Falls. Today, over 50 years later, the Albrechts still own Red Wing Publishing, although they sold off approximately 10 of the 21 papers in 2001 and their son-in-law, Mark, now serves as COO for the company.

Albrecht recognized early on the futility of trying to micromanage so many newspapers covering a large geographic area, and always encouraged his editors to work independently. He knew the key to success was for each editor to engage the communities they lived and worked in through service. Service would increase connections between the public and the newspaper and improve the product Albrecht was selling by ensuring the editors were knowledgeable about their subject matter.

Albrecht’s philosophy of community was proven effective when several of Red Wing Publishing’s newspapers won “Best in Nation” awards. Albrecht was also personally awarded the Herman Roe Editorial Writing Award by the Minnesota Newspaper Association (MNA) in 1990 and the Al Mcintosh Distinguished Service to Journalism Award by MNA in 1997.

Commitment to SERVICE and the environment
Through the years, Albrecht’s commitment to service has affected the Red Wing community in  profoundly positive ways.

As board chair and director of Fairview Red Wing Health Services, Albrecht successfully merged a hospital and medical clinic that had previously suffered from a confrontational relationship. He also oversaw the acquisition of land that allowed the newly merged medical campus to expand and therefore better meet the needs of the growing Red Wing community.

Through his involvement in community banking, Albrecht worked to make sure that local businessman and women could obtain the capital they needed to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

Additional examples of Albrecht’s service to Red Wing include his tenures as president of the Red Wing United Way and Chamber of Commerce, as well as his extended run as director of the Red Wing Area Fund, a philanthropic organization which has invested  more than $11 million in the community since 1980.

When the Mississippi River became dangerously polluted in the 1960s, Albrecht formed a citizen’s organization with the motto, “We can’t all live upstream.” This citizen’s organization played a key role in securing federal legislation requiring cities to improve sewage treatment practices.

Today, Albrecht is continuing his commitment to water quality through the Lake Pepin Legacy Alliance, “an ad hoc citizen group seeking to save the lake from sedimentation and phosphorus pollution.” Keeping the importance of community in mind, Albrecht is seeking a way to clean up Lake Pepin that respects the realities of all those in the Red Wing community, including the agricultural industry.

Mark Lacek believes in the power of a dream. And the 1979 University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate continues to dream big and deliver.

In recognition of his extraordinary creative vision, his entrepreneurial acumen, and his generosity, Mark Lacek was named the 2009 University of Wisconsin-River Falls Distinguished Alumnus.

Already an entrepreneurial thinker, the Mercer, Wis., native’s ideas started taking shape when he arrived on the UW-River Falls campus in 1975. While working toward his bachelor’s degree in economics, Lacek started a pizza delivery business on campus and even thought about starting a restaurant with his roommate Ron, to be called McRonald’s (to compete with McDonald’s).

After graduating in 1979 with a degree in economics, Lacek  landed a job in strategic planning at Republic Airlines, which later merged with Northwest Airlines. Lacek’s career took off after he was named marketing director and was the major creative force behind the WorldPerks frequent flyer program.

As the first of many honors to follow, Advertising Age magazine hailed Lacek as “one of America’s best and brightest in advertising and marketing.”

In 1993, Lacek co-founded Lacek Group Worldwide. Under his leadership, the company re-launched the Delta Sky Miles program and established loyalty programs for a host of global brands, including National Car Rental, Starwood Hotels and Singapore Airlines. In 1998, Lacek was named Ernst and Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year-Midwest Region.” Lacek’s experience with a wide array of companies is impressive and diverse. He has served as CEO and president of Milepoint, an Internet loyalty application and technology company. He co-founded BidPal Technologies, which specializes in wireless devices for charitable and silent auctions, and Bonfire Partners, a full service loyalty and brand-marketing agency. Lacek is currently managing partner of Denali Marketing and is set to launch his next enterprise.

In addition to his many successes, big game hunts, world travels, and meetings with the rich and famous (he once shook hands with President Bill Clinton), nothing compares to the joy his family members, wife Susan and daughters Emmy and Ally, bring him, or is as rewarding as the nonprofit organization that he and Susan founded as a tribute to their late daughter to help grieving parents and families.

Named for their first child, Faith, who died at birth, Faith’s Lodge was born in response to the anguish the couple endured. They raised $3 million and donated 80 acres of Wisconsin land to establish the lodge as a retreat for parents who have suffered the loss of a child or for those who have chronically ill children. Faith’s Lodge has been featured in local and national newspapers and on TV shows including NBC’s “Today” show. 

Sang Hahn, a highly successful Silicon Valley real estate entrepreneur and noted philanthropist, is the 2008 University of Wisconsin-River Falls Distinguished Alumnus.

Sang Hahn, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a master’s degree in agricultural economics in 1975, has given generously to UWRF and to a host of international efforts, including helping to feed and clothe the “street boys” of Manila and to educate hundreds of orphans in Papua, New Guinea.

“Upon meeting Sang it becomes almost instantly clear why he is one of UWRF’s great success stories,” said UWRF interim Chancellor Connie Foster, who presented the honor based on the recommendation of the Faculty Senate External Relations Committee. “He is a remarkably generous, caring, and insightful man. We are truly fortunate to have him as an alumnus and as a friend.”

Hahn arrived in the United States in 1974 with his wife and three children, $8,000 in his pocket, and dreams of a better life. Born in 1938 in Japanese-occupied Korea, his early years were filled with uncertainty, as his country became the frontline of the Cold War.

Separated from his family during the Korean War, Hahn managed to complete high school, earn a college degree, and become a high school teacher. He came to the United States in 1973 and soon thereafter relocated to River Falls on the recommendation of a friend. After earning his degree from UWRF, Hahn selected the newly burgeoning Silicon Valley as home base for his operations and invested in an apartment complex.

Working 16-hour days as the apartment complex gardener, maintenance man, painter, manager and promoter, he was able to sell the complex for a $300,000 profit. He had developed a formula for success in the real estate business that would allow him to eventually share the wealth he had accumulated.

Hahn says he has given generously to UWRF in order to help other students like himself in hopes of creating a greater focus on international students and globalization. His philanthropy has extended beyond UWRF and the United States, and includes saving a South Korean hospital from bankruptcy and giving a generous gift to World Vision for tsunami relief.

"My senior year of college I had the opportunity to spend time in the operating room of my hometown physician. After that, I knew I wanted to become a physician and a surgeon," says Clemons. "My professors and adviser became very enthused, and I received a lot of encouragement from my River Falls teachers."

Clemons received his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin Medical School in 1962, after which he interned at Gundersen Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse, Wis. for a year. He continued to work for Gundersen Lutheran as a surgical resident until 1965, when he accepted a residency in otolaryngology, a field of medicine which studies the anatomy, function, and diseases of the ear, nose and throat, and a residency in head and neck surgery at the University of Iowa.

In 1969, Clemons established the first cleft lip and palate clinic in Western Wisconsin in association with the Gundersen Clinic. The clinic's team of workers includes professionals from all aspects of health, including plastic surgeons, dental workers, dieticians, and social workers.

Clemons also began an outreach clinic in Winona, Minn., in order to better serve his patients who were unable to travel to La Crosse. Clemons' idea became a trend for other departments at Gundersen Lutheran, and today more than 135 outreach clinics in 44 locations exist.

"Attending UW-River Falls was an excellent background in the practice of medicine. It helped me relate well to my rural patients," says Clemons. "I remember one patient I had was sort of grumpy and reluctant until I started talking farming, which allowed me to establish a rapport with him. I had no problems with him after that."

In 1970, Clemons instituted a multi-specialty head and neck tumor clinic as part of a national study in the treatment of head and neck cancer, in connection with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The study was one of the earliest programs to discourage the use of tobacco and alcohol due to their connection with cancer.

The University of Iowa invited Clemons to join their staff to teach residents at the university's clinic in 1986, where he taught for a short time. Clemons was also appointed to be a clinical professor with the UW-Madison after creating a residency for two UW students at the Gundersen Clinic.

A surgical technique by Clemons used in the reattachment of severed ears was presented to the Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and is now known as the "Clemons Technique." The method has also been applied to assist in reattaching other body parts, such as the nose.

Clemons holds professional membership in the American Academy of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, the American Cleft Palate Society, the American Medical Association, the Wisconsin State Medical Society, the Wisconsin Society of Otolaryngology, and served as president of the Tri-State Society of Otolaryngology 1976-77.

Now retired, Clemons continues his education by taking classes at UW-La Crosse. A skilled artisan, Clemons carves and paints intricate wooden songbirds, and writes for medical literature. His autobiography, "Tending My Flock," is currently in the process of being published.

Boehm, a 1970 graduate of UWRF, is a senior vice president at the Kroger Co. in Cincinnati, Ohio. He received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and went on to earn a master of science degree in 1972 and a Ph.D. degree in 1974 at Purdue University.

He became an assistant professor of agricultural economics at Virginia Tech before joining the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1976. There he served as a senior economist and research manager until 1979.
From 1979 until 1981, Boehm was the senior economist for Food and Agriculture with the President’s Council of Economic Advisors.

In 1981, Boehm joined the Kroger Co., one of the largest retail food companies in the United States, as the director of economic research. He was promoted to vice president of corporate planning and research in 1986 and then to vice president of grocery procurement in 1989.

In October 1994, Boehm became vice president of logistics for Kroger. He was in that position until 2001, when he became a member of Kroger’s senior management.

Boehm has also been an active member of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity since his initiation in 1968. He served as the Noble Ruler at UW-River Falls (Alpha Psi) and was Chapter Advisor at Purdue (Delta) and Virginia Tech (Beta Eta). He also was elected to the AGR national Board of Directors in 1996, served as the financial vice president from 1998 to 2000 and was elected Grand President at the fraternity’s convention in 2000.

Along with being involved in his fraternity, Boehm has been actively involved in a number of professional and civic organizations.

He was the FFA Wisconsin State President in 1967 and the National Vice President in 1968. Boehm was also on FFA’s board for six years, from 1995 to 2000, and raised $7.4 million dollars while serving as chairman in 1999. He was the first national FFA officer to chair the sponsor’s board.

Boehm was named recipient of the Purdue University School of Agriculture Outstanding Alumni Award in 1999.

Babbitt, a 1942 graduate of UW-River Falls, was recognized posthumously for his extensive work in pediatric radiology. Babbitt was known as the world’s leading expert regarding Pancreaticobiliary Maljunction, a disease of the pancreas. His individual research largely contributed to the discovery of the disease. He traveled around the world to speak and present information on the disease and published several articles and other information to books and the American Medical Association.

Dr. Yasuhisa Koyanagi of the Tokyo Medical University wrote about Dr. Babbitt’s pioneering work in a letter of recommendation.

“His work has formed the basis for much pre-clinical and clinical work throughout the world in this field. His work has had huge effects on the diagnosis and treatment of countless patients around the world,” Koyanagi said.

Babbitt was also instrumental in proving that children do, in fact, get gallstones, contrary to conventional medical beliefs at the time. Dr. Babbitt also realized that children needed medical care regardless of whether or not they had health insurance and often used his own resources to care for children medically.

Babbitt graduated from UW-RF with a pre-med degree before earning his degree at the Marquette University School of Medicine, now known as Medical College of Wisconsin. He also attended the U.S. Army Medical Field Service School in 1947 before serving as the Chief of Radiology at the 250th Army Station Hospital in Regensberg, Germany, from 1947 to 1949.

Following his service in the Army, Babbitt was a resident at Madigan General Hospital in Fort Lewis, Washington, Milwaukee Children’s Hospital and Milwaukee Hospital working in radiology.

Beginning in 1958, Babbitt was employed at the Medical College of Wisconsin, serving various roles such as instructor in radiology, associate professor of radiology and clinical professor of radiology.

Babbitt had more than 70 works published, gave nearly 60 presentations and created 16 scientific exhibits throughout his career.

In addition to his medical career, Babbitt was also involved in the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and was elected an alumnus member in 1968. He was elected fellow of both the American College of Radiology and the American Academy of Pediatrics. He was involved in various professional societies including the Milwaukee Academy of Medicine, Wisconsin Radiological Society, Society for Pediatric Radiology and the American Medical Association.

Additionally, Babbitt was involved in the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, a Century member of the Boy Scouts of America and served on the St. Francis Children’s Center Board of Directors.

Other awards Babbitt has received are the Milwaukee Children’s Hospital and Medical College of Wisconsin’s Medical Education Recognition Award, the Who’s Who in the Midwest and Who’s Who in the World.

A 1978 graduate of UW-River Falls, Steve Swensen entered the field of medicine and over the past 20-plus years has established a national reputation as an instructor, researcher and leader in radiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. 

Current chair of the radiology department, Swensen manages a $400 million budget and oversees 1,200 employees, including 152 physician-radiologists.  He has headed up three National Institute of Health grants, worth more than $10 million, that have led to advancements in the early detection, understanding and treatment of cancers and lung disease.

Swensen has guided a technological revolution in digital imaging that has vastly improved diagnostic capabilities. He has recently been tapped to head up a quality and safety initiative for the nationwide network of Mayo-owned institutions. The project is designed to make Mayo the world's first high-reliability health care institution, completely eliminating needless injuries and deaths caused by human error.

Sigurd Hanson, with more than 25 years with humanitarian relief agencies, currently serves as the Country Director for World Vision-Pakistan. Stationed in Islamabad, the Onalaska, Wis., native oversees a consortium that is carrying out a $15 million USAID democracy program. He oversees policy implementation, budget and fiscal control, security and personnel management, and represents the agency to government agencies, partners and the media.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have been home to Hanson for the past five years, which included serving with the International Medical Corps and as the Country Director for the International Rescue Committee.

His goal throughout his career has been to help individuals and families to be healthy, self-reliant and safe.

Those best acquainted with Mr. Hanson cited his compassion for those whose lives he seeks to improve.

Roxanne Emmerich is a nationally-renowned entrepreneur, business consultant and motivational speaker.

A 1981 UW-River Falls graduate with a major in agricultural business, Emmerich is familiar with the struggle most students face when beginning their careers. Starting out with nothing, she began her career in banking, building on what she learned to found her own banking company with a partner in 1997. Today her banking company, North American Banking Company in St. Paul, is an $80-million bank holding company.

In 1988 she founded The Emmerich Group, Inc., working as a business strategist and consultant to present speeches and develop audio and video training systems for hundreds of clients. She has produced 24 video training programs.

She has also published more than 500 articles and five books on topics ranging from technology to financial services. Two more books will be published this spring. She has twice been voted Entrepreneur of the Year.

Today, Emmerich is one of the 12 most requested speakers in the country for national sales meetings. Her topics motivate financial institutions toward growth. Her popular presentations include: “Acquisitions Are for Wimps: How to Grow your Institution Without Merging, Acquiring or Marrying Into It;” “Nine New Realities and Why Most Bankers Are Being Blindsided;” and “Thank God It’s Monday: How to Build a Motivating Workplace.”

Emmerich rejects much of what she learned in business school. She says banks don’t know how to talk to their customers--how to ask the right questions, give the right answers and follow through. They need to create their own sales system and that is what she can help them with.

As an organizational consultant, Emmerich was one of 15 people appointed by Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson in the early 1990s to the Study for Administrative Value and Efficiency in state government.

Her other activities include a position as chair of the Certified Speaking Professional Council, the highest certification in the speaking profession. She is past state president of the American Society for Training and Development, and director of the YWCA Foundation.

Emmerich is the founder of a youth scholarship program for underprivileged college freshmen, and a board member of Youth Horizon. She has also served as host mother to three high school foreign exchange students since 1998.

As an undergraduate student at UW-RF, Emmerich was voted outstanding senior by the faculty in the College of Agriculture. She graduated with high honors and received the prestigious Chancellor’s Award.

Wong began his career in 1975 after graduating from UW-River Falls with a double-major in journalism and art. He worked as a free-lance journalist for Asian magazines and Architectural Digest. In 1979 he began exploring the remote areas of China and its minority peoples.

Then in 1982 he led the first of six major exploration and photojournalism expeditions for the National Geographic Society. In 1985 he led an expedition for several months across thousands of miles that culminated in him being credited with finding the true source for the Yangtze River in the rugged plateau regions of Tibet.

His work on this and then producing an educational interactive CD earned 11 international awards. A subsequent educational program on his explorations of Tibet earned Wong another five international awards.

In 1986 Wong founded CERS while living in Los Angeles and relocated to Hong Kong in 1994. Its mission is to explore the remote regions of China, while conducting multi-disciplinary research, implementing nature and culture conservation projects, and sharing that information through education and the media.

Since then he has led numerous expeditions and has initiated a dozen CERS conservation projects. Among them are preservation of the "hanging coffins" of the extinct Bo people of Yunnan province; locating, in concert with imaging from NASA, cities buried in the sands of the Silk Road caravan routes; documenting poaching of the world-protected Tibetan Antelope; initiating Tibetan mural conservation projects; protecting the endangered Black-necked crane, and preventing a natural destruction of a remote Tumu Monastery. Media world-wide have reported on Wong's work, including CNN, NBC, ABC, the BBC, the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel.

Wong lectures widely throughout the Pacific Rim and is an adviser to higher education institutions and government agencies in the People's Republic of China. He also has found the time to publish a quarterly magazine, "China Explorers," as well as the bi-lingual books, "Closer to Heaven" and "Closer to Earth." In 1999 his book, "From Manchuria to Tibet," won the prestigious Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Gold Award.

A 1965 graduate of UWRF with a bachelor's degree in speech and sociology, Knutson holds a doctorate in speech communication and educational psychology from Indiana University. He is a professor of communication studies at California State University in Sacramento and is a visiting professor at Bangkok University in Thailand. He also conducts a communication consulting practice in Sacramento.

In his civic activities, Knutson has served as the commissioner of the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training and he also served on the California State Board of Behavioral Science Examiners.

His numerous academic honors include twice being selected for a prestigious Fulbright Scholarship, to Korea in 1992 and to Russia in 1996. He also has served as president of Phi Beta Delta, the honor society for international scholars. He is listed in "Who's Who in the World, 2001" and holds the title of Fellow of the International Association for Intercultural Research.

Knutson is widely published. He has presented papers and speeches at scores of conferences and in scholarly publications. His research has ranged from such diverse topics as a comparison of Taiwan and U.S. rhetorical sensitivity and conflict style, to Russian democratization and cultural values, to communications training for retail sales people, to communication styles for pharmacists.

Patricia Kay Steiner, a Withee, Wis., native who has built a prestigious career as a classical singer with the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York has been named the 2000 Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

She joins the ranks of such other UWRF alumni luminaries selected for this honor as former NASA Chief Astronaut Daniel Brandenstein and Dr. Michael Ebersold, a neurological surgeon at the Mayo Clinic who has included among his patients President Ronald Reagan, the late King Hussein of Jordan, and President Zayed of the United Arab Emirates.

Since her graduation in 1979 with a degree in music education, Steiner's talent has garnered her the opportunity to perform with the Met and many other opera companies around the nation and the world. She has shared such stages as Carnegie Hall with opera and classical music icons Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, Marilyn Horne, Zubin Mehta and Mirella Freni.

Her talent as a singer was immediately recognized after her graduation from UW-River Falls. In 1980 she entered the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in Minneapolis, which seek to identify promising performers, and became the youngest person to ever win the competition. As a result she was invited to perform as guest soloist with the Apollo Men's Chorus at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis and with the Des Moines Metro Opera Company in Iowa.

Steiner next moved to Chicago to pursue a master's degree in the nationally acclaimed music program at Northwestern University, and continued her professional performances by appearing with the Chicago Lyric Opera Company and Chicago Opera Theatre. In 1985, she entered another Met regional competition and again took first place.

Moving to New York, she performed with regional opera companies and in 1991 successfully competed for an opening as an alto singer with the Met.

Her mentor, emeriti music Professor Elliot Wold, noted the significance of that achievement:

"To become a member of the Met is considered the ultimate goal for a classical singer. The company is one of, if not the best, opera companies in the world. There were more than 400 excellent singers auditioning for the coveted position and Patricia was hired."

At the Met, Steiner has performed solo and with the chorus on Met tours of Europe, Japan and the United States. She has been heard on the Metropolitan Opera Radio and Television broadcasts and has performed for President Bill Clinton.

Her Met roles have included the Page in "Rigoletto," the Hand Maiden in "Turnadot," the Beggar in "Death in Venice," and Lehrbub in "Die Meistersinger."

She also performs with many other operas and solo performances, including the New Amsterdam Vocal Arts Quartet, the Windham Chamber Music Festival, the Inwood Opera, and the New York Philharmonic.

Steiner also has performed in many charity concerts and has returned to Wisconsin for performances, including at UW-River Falls. This year she will perform in Withee to help in its celebration of its 150th anniversary.

Wold concluded, "Patricia's accomplishments are exceptional and outstanding. She is truly a special graduate!"

As a neurosurgeon and professor of neurological surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for more than 20 years, Dr. Ebersold's patient list included many well-known world leaders. Among them were former President Ronald Reagan, King Hussein of Jordan, President Zayed of the United Arab Emirates, and the wife of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Dr. Ebersold attended medical school at UW-Madison and served in La Crosse for two years before joining the Mayo Clinic as a resident in neurological surgery in 1972. In 1976 Dr. Ebersold became a neurosurgeon at the Midelfort Clinic in Eau Claire, Wis., and in 1979 returned to Mayo as an instructor in neurosurgery.

He served on numerous Mayo Clinic committees, including the International Activities Committee, the Administrative Committee of the Board of Governors as well as the Officers and Councilors of Staff. He received many honors, including election by his colleagues to receive the Distinguished Mayo Clinician Award in 1994. Professor Ebersold has had visiting professorships and guest lectureships across the United States, including Minnesota and Wisconsin. He has authored or co-authored many scholarly works and from 1970 to 1980 served as a major in the U.S. Army Reserves.

An education professor and literacy researcher who has had a long and productive career in the field of reading education has been named the 1998 Distinguished Alumnus at UW-River Falls.

Receiving the award is Robert Dykstra, a 1957 elementary education and guidance graduate Dykstra earned master and doctorate degrees in educational psychology and education from the University of Minnesota. He is a New Brighton, Minn., resident.

Dykstra's prolific literacy work, spanning three decades from the mid-60s to the early 90s, includes research that continues to be universally recognized as among the most important ever conducted in his field.

In 1967, Dykstra and colleague Guy Bond published the groundbreaking study "The Cooperative Research Program in First Grade Reading Instruction," commonly known as "The First Grade Studies." This national investigation remains the largest and most thorough study ever completed of beginning reading.

The study was so profound that the entire issue of "Reading Research Quarterly" in the summer of 1967 was devoted to publishing the findings. Furthermore, the publication has recently decided to reprint the study in its entirety because of its relevance today.

Among Dykstra's legacy to UW-RF are several faculty members who received their doctorates as his advisees at the University of Minnesota. They include teacher education Professor Brenda Shearer, College of Education and Graduate Studies Dean Kathleen Daly, the late Professor Ronald Johnson, who was instrumental in developing the master of science in education reading program, and Professor Marilyn Naylor, who recently retired from a long and distinguished teaching career in reading and learning disabilities.

Before attending college, Dykstra began his teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse near Plymouth, Minn.. After being drafted and completing a two-year stint in the Army, he taught a fifth and sixth grade combination class in Cedar Grove.

His career as a college professor began at the University of Minnesota in 1962 as assistant professor of education. He was promoted to associate professor in 1964, and to professor in 1969.

Recent honors for Dykstra include being elected to the international Reading Hall of Fame in 1996 because of his significant contributions to the understanding of the reading process and to the teaching of reading in schools.

In addition, Dykstra was selected for inclusion in a number of Who's Who publications, with biographies in the 1992-1993 edition of Who's Who in American Education, the 1992-1993 edition of Who's Who in the Midwest, and the 1997 edition of Who's Who in the World. And he has recently learned that he will be included in the 1998 edition of Who's Who in America.

Along with assuming various leadership positions at the local, national and international levels and being involved in numerous volunteer activities, Dykstra continues to remember his ties to UW-RF. He has been an active member of the UW-RF Foundation Board of Directors for two years.


A physicist who has carved out a remarkable career in scientific aerospace research for the national space, defense and intelligence communities, as well as private businesses, has been named the 1997 Distinguished Alumnus at UW-River Falls.

Receiving the award at the university's commencement ceremony on May 18 is Gerald D. Godden, a native of Hudson and 1960 graduate of Roberts High School, and a 1965 mathematics and physics graduate of UWRF.

Godden currently is a scientist and technical consultant for Physics Applications Inc., a self-owned company providing technical and managerial service to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the U.S. Customs Service, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Department of the Army/Research, Development and Acquisition, as well as to commercial enterprises.

His many projects have included serving as a deputy manager to NASA as a key member of it Earth Observation System Moderate Resolution Infrared Spectroradiometer team. For the U.S. Customs Service, he developed a technology survey and technical analysis of trucking and shipping containers that led to more affordable and comprehensive inspection of international cargo for narcotics or other contraband. His commercial projects include advising The Analytic Sciences Corporation for Motorola Iridium commercial satellite communications.

He also has worked as the vice president and chief scientist for the engineering and information technology sector of Science Applications International Corp. of Reston, Va., and as director of corporate advanced programs for The Analytic Science Corp. of Arlington, Va.. He also served as business manager of military and science payloads office for TRW Space and Technology Group of Redondo Beach, Calif., on a wide range of space projects for NASA, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy. These included NASA's Advanced X-ray Astronomy Facility, the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, as well as such defense projects as the Advanced Defense Space Project, Strategic Surveillance and Tracking Satellite System, and Anti-Submarine Warfare.

As the director for strategic operations at Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo., he led program development for the Lincoln Laboratory strategic surveillance Optical Airborne Measurement Program.

Godden earned a doctorate in physics from the University of Colorado where he specialized in high energy physics with a broad mathematics background. At the university, he also worked as a principal investigator for solar physics research with its Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, and as a researcher in its High Energy Physics Laboratory.

At UWRF, he minored in English in addition to his double major in physics and mathematics. Godden was a member of the Humanities Honor Group, received the Gold R Award for academic excellence, and the Stratton Hall Scholarship for the highest grade point average. He also participated in an internship in Frankfurt, Germany, and studied the French language at the Sorbonne.

"The University of Wisconsin-River Falls provided a solid foundation for my career," said Godden. "It was the inspiration for my technical career, and very importantly provided me a broad background and appreciation for the humanities. My undergraduate background and support group from key members of the faculty presented me several choices for my future."

The assistance of several faculty members, including Vera Moss, Francis Chisholm, Wayne Sukow and Earl Albert encouraged Godden to pursue his graduate studies and were critical in his achieving a National Science Foundation Fellowship at the University of Colorado.

"Through life's subsequent experiences and encounters, I have come to appreciate the outstanding humanities background I received from my undergraduate experience. I owe much to my UWRF background and preparation for life's major choices," Godden noted.


A successful financial adviser who has held careers with two nationally known investment firms and is currently responsible for Yale University's $3 billion endowment fund, David F. Swensen has been named the 1996 Distinguished Alumnus for the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

A native of River Falls, Swensen graduated from UW-River Falls in 1975 with bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees. He earned master of arts and master of philosophy degrees and a doctorate from Yale University, where he studied with James Tobin, a recipient of a Nobel prize in economics.

Swensen has successfully directed Yale University's endowment since 1985. He also oversees the various money managers who invest Yale's portfolio. His success has been measured by the fact that Yale's investment portfolio has outperformed many of the nation's institutional investors as well as the rest of the Ivy League's higher education institutions.

One reviewer of the Yale Endowment Brochure, Jack R. Meyer, president and chief executive officer of Harvard Management Company, Inc., commented: "This may be the best investment piece I have ever read."

Swensen also teaches a basic finance class that is one of the most popular in Yale's economics department, in addition to courses on finance and portfolio theory.

In 1977 Swensen began his career as an economist at the International Monetary Fund. There he assisted with the preparation of a new publication, "Government Finance Statistics Yearbook." In 1979 Swensen entered the private sector as an associate in corporate finance for Salomon Brothers, a nationally recognized investment firm, where he provided financial advice and services to corporate and public clients. He specialized in the development and analysis of new financial techniques, general capital markets analysis and government advisory work.

In 1981 Swensen initiated the concept of the swap market, the exchange of obligations denominated in different currencies. The following year he joined the investment firm of Lehman Brothers as senior vice president of corporate finance and directed its swap market subsidiary. By 1985 the operation exceeded $50 billion.

In 1992 Swensen was appointed as a member of the Pension Managers Advisory Committee to the Board of Directors of the New York Stock Exchange. He also was recently selected to be a member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Advisory Committee, which counsels the Institute on the management of its $6.9 billion investment portfolio. The Institute is a scientific and philanthropic organization that conducts biomedical research. Through its grants program, it supports education and research.

In announcing Swensen's recognition as Distinguished Alumnus, Chancellor Gary A. Thibodeau said he is "an example of a River Falls graduate who has gone into an extremely competitive career area in finance, with a rise in managing huge portfolios that is amazing for a person his age."

"He looks back to his training at River Falls as the foundation upon which he built his successful career. Bringing him back to the campus to honor him is great not only for Dr. Swensen, but for the university."

Swensen is the son of Dr. Richard Swensen, dean emeritus of the UW-River Falls College of Arts and Sciences, and Grace Swensen.

A widely published researcher, Foss has nearly 60 published papers devoted to soil archaeology. During his professional career Foss consulted internationally investigating soils sites to interpret the history and development of archaeological sites. His research varied widely and included the sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum, which were destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 69, and the site of the Emperor Hadrian's Villa and many other locations of Roman antiquities. His archaeological studies conducted through a grant with National Geographic included trips to Central America, Puerto Rico, Greece and Tunisia.

Foss headed the plant and soil science department at Knoxville in 1985, and previously chaired the soil science department at North Dakota State University and taught soil science at the University of Maryland. His other experiences included serving as a visiting scientist at the Forest Hydrology Laboratory in Washington State. Foss also taught soils courses at UWRF from 1960 to 1966.

Foss is a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and held numerous state, regional and national positions including chair of the national committee on book series, a judge of graduate student papers and a member of the CIBA-GEIGY award in agronomy. As a fellow of the Soil Conservation Society of America, he served on the board of directors, chaired its college and university relations committee, and held a variety of offices in the Tennessee chapter.

Other professional activities included service as associate editor of Soil Science magazine and membership in the Soil Science Society of America and International Soil Science Society.

Foss has been recognized through election to Sigma Xi and Gamma Sigma Delta, is listed in American Men of Science, received the Maryland Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching and received the Outstanding Teaching Award from the American Society of Agronomy.

George Beestman, who graduated from UW-River Falls with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural education in 1961, is internationally recognized as a leader in the formulations of agricultural crop protection chemicals.

He is a senior research associate with DuPont Agricultural Products of Wilmington, Del. Previously he was director of research and development for United Industries and senior research specialist and chemist for Monsanto, both in St. Louis.

Beestman’s career has included a long list of accomplishments, including five U.S. patents and more than 130 foreign patents. His patented areas of technology are in high concentration microencapsulation and corrosion inhibited formulations. Commercial products formulated by Beestman include Lasso Micro-Tech, a highly active time release form of Lasso herbicide; Polado, the first solid water soluble form of glyphosate; Limit, suspension flowable formulation of turf growth regulator; and Partner, microencapsulated dry solid, water dispersible formulation.

Beestman is active in numerous technical associations and has held leadership positions in the American Society of Testing and Materials and Sigma Xi. He has been listed in American Men and Women of Science, Who’s Who in the East, and Who’s Who in the Midwest. He has been an author or editor in a distinguished list of publications and has received several citations and awards including a Research Achievement Award from Monsanto and a Distinguished Service Award from International Voluntary Services, with which he served in Liberia from 1961 to 1963.

He received a master of science in 1967 and a doctorate in 1969 from UW-Madison.

LeRoy Lee’s involvement in promoting excellence in science teaching is exemplary. Administering special projects such as Science for the Handicapped, Science for the Mainstreamed Physically Handicapped Student, and Women in Science, he has inspired many teachers of science to expand their horizons.

Lee is executive director of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. He received his master’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1963 and continued at UW-Madison for additional graduate work. A native of Middleton, Lee previously was the chair of the science department of Madison Metropolitan School District, an instructor at Edgewood College as well as at UW-Superior, and a teacher in the Boyceville and Hawkins high schools.

Active in his profession, Lee has written numerous articles relating to education and research, and has conducted workshops for teachers and administrators on such issues as advanced placement, outdoor education, public relations, fund raising, and leadership development. He has delivered keynote addresses at 15 state science meetings as well as at national events, and is a member of professional organizations including the National Science Teachers Association, of which he was president in 1986-87.

Among his many honors, Lee has been named to the International Directory of Distinguished Leadership and Who’s Who in Wisconsin, has received the nation’s Outstanding Science Supervisor Award, the Ron Gibbs Award for Leadership in Science Education, the Outstanding Biology Teacher’s Award from the National Association of Biology Teachers, and the Outstanding Secondary Educators of America Award.

Chancellor Gary Thibodeau said that Lee was chosen because of his "continuing leadership in the field of education as evidenced not only while teaching biology, but in service to the profession."

When Father Paul Prucha returned to his alma mater 50 years after having graduated to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award, it was also a homecoming filled with memories of his student days when he built the background for a distinguished career in teaching and scholarship. His father had served as registrar and biology professor and his brother and sister had also graduated from the Teachers College. After teaching in Amery High School and receiving a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a Ph.D. from Harvard, he joined the Jesuit order and became a history professor at Marquette University.

In making the presentation of the Distinguished Alumnus Award, Chancellor Gary Thibodeau spoke of Prucha’s "absolutely incredible" listing of honors, academic achievements, and prestigious national awards. As the author or editor of more than 30 books and numerous scholarly papers, he is known as one of the premier authorities in the field of American Indian/Euro-American and policy on the western frontier in the early 1900s.  For his books, this distinguished alumnus has received numerous honors and awards such as the Alpha Sigma Nu book prize, the Billington Prize from the Organization of American Historians, Outstanding Non-Fiction Book of the Year by the American Heritage Center, and nomination for the Pulitzer Prize. He has held fellowships awarded by the Guggenheim Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Huntington Library, the Charles Warren Center of Harvard University, and others.

In his acceptance speech, Prucha spoke nostalgically of his campus days, remembering his teachers, including the late Professor Orville Hanna who required students to resubmit papers even if a comma was upside-down. Prucha said at the award ceremony that River Falls gave him "a good basis for the rest of my life," enabling him to make a difference as he taught history and authored books.

After Robert D. Nelson graduated from Amery High School, his first award was the River Falls Freshman Chemistry Award.  This might have provided some insight into a career that led to his selection as a distinguished alumnus in 1987.

Though he lists himself as a "scientist," Nelson earned a Ph.D. in pathology at the University of Minnesota.  He was a post-doctoral fellow in medical genetics, a post-doctoral fellow in pathology, and a special fellow at the National Institutes of Health.  Currently, he is associate professor in the departments of Surgery and Microbiology at the University of Minnesota, and directs the Department of Dermatology’s graduate studies.

This winner of the Freshman Chemistry Award developed a method of measuring human white blood cell responses that is now used in research studies worldwide.  As an author of 90 published research papers and a member of several professional organizations he gives UWRF the credit for having pointed him into the world of research.  Chancellor Gary Thibodeau, when presenting Nelson the award, said he "may be known around the world in medical research circles but from our perspective he is one of our own."

When Chancellor Gary Thibodeau introduced the distinguished alumnus for 1989, he remarked about the exceptional accomplishments of "truly exceptional people."   Distinguished alumni have one feature in common, he said, though they have walked down different paths in their professional careers.  That feature, Thibodeau said, is simply that, "they make a difference-a very positive difference-in the lives of people."  Arnold Cordes has truly made a difference in the lives of thousands of young people in this state.

Cordes taught vocational agriculture at Luck for three years and at Eau Claire for more than 17 years.  In addition, he served in the Army during World War II, became state supervisor of vocational agriculture programs for three years, and ended his professional career serving as state FFA executive secretary and member of the Department of Public Instruction for 16 years.  When he had completed his work in these occupations, Cordes established the FFA Foundation for which he served as executive director until his retirement in 1992.

Cordes has received various awards for his contributions to the FFA organizations.  They include the Governor’s Special Award, the National FFA Award, the Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award, and the Agriculture Teachers Outstanding Service Award.  Cordes’s contributions have had a positive impact on vocational education.

Stanley Peloquin, upon returning to the campus for the 1988 Commencement, said that UW-River Falls "had much to do with my interest, enjoyment, and success in teaching."  After a career that had brought him membership in the National Academy of the Sciences and many other honors, he recalled his appreciation of his undergraduate professors in chemistry and biology for their unusual abilities to teach difficult subject matter.

Peloquin grew up in Barron where he attended local schools. Graduating from UW-River Falls in 1942, he went on to obtain a master’s degree from Marquette in biology, a master’s from the UW-Madison in genetics, and a Ph.D. from UW-Madison in 1952. 

He has been a member of both the Genetics and Horticulture departments and involved both in teaching and research in crops, primarily potatoes. His major responsibilities were in developing new potato varieties for the world.  He holds the Cambell-Bascon Professorship and the Genetics and Plant Breeding Award of the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders. His career has contributed to solving food problems of the Third World.

When Roger Gerrits was informed that he had been selected to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award by the UW-River Falls faculty, he said he was honored and flattered to receive this prestigious award.  He remembered his days on campus where his agriculture studies prepared him "for the many situations I have encountered throughout my career."  He added that he "had always been a very proud alumnus and am thankful that I selected River Falls to start my academic roots."

This alumnus from Green Bay had moved on to the University of Minnesota to study animal science physiology where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.  His first position as a research physiologist, U.S.D.A. Animal Science Division, in Beltsville, Md., led to a continuous career as a research scientist. He is now national program director for Animal Production at the U.S.D.A.

Gerrits is the author of more than 60 research papers, has participated in many international conferences, and has been awarded the "Chevalier du Merite Agricole" by the French government; Distinguished Service Award by the National Pork Producers Council; as well as awards from the National Science Foundation and the U.S.D.A.  Gerrits should not have been surprised when Chancellor Gary Thibodeau said that the "significant contributions you have made in the field of animal science both nationally and internationally were primary factors in your selection."

Called "St. Paul’s Voice in Washington," Bruce Vento has represented Minnesota’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1976.  As a student at River Falls, he majored in biology and was active in various student organizations.  He began his career as a teacher of physical and social  sciences in Twin Cities public schools, and also was elected to the Minnesota House where he served as assistant DFL majority leader.  He has always been interested in legislation to help those in greatest need.

As a legislator, Vento has served on the Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs Committee; Select Committee on Aging; Interior and Insular Affairs Committee; as well as others.  His committee work and speeches in Congress and elsewhere indicates that his greatest concerns have centered on the aged, environmental problems, education, and the handicapped.

He has been honored by the National Council of Senior Citizens, Isaac Walton League, Federation of the Blind, and others for his work. Having majored in political science and taught public school for 11 years, he continues to use this experience to educate voters on protecting the environment, and helping the elderly and others extending beyond the 5th district of Minnesota.

When LaVerne Palmberg began his collegiate career in 1948, the college had its largest enrollment–831 students–which included many World War II veterans.  When he graduated, his alma mater had expanded its mission and changed its name to State College.  His studies centered on agriculture, but his campus interests were varied.  He formed an intramural basketball team, known as the "Polkers," named after his home county, Polk County.

Upon graduation Palmberg served as vocational agriculture instructor at Osceola High School for two years and then spent two years in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in the Panama Canal Zone.  His agricultural interests led him into various agricultural marketing organizations and to a career in 1960 with Northrup King Company.  He has been vice president, division manager, and held other positions in this national seed company.  Over the years he has written many articles and appeared on numerous scholarly programs.  In addition to these endeavors, Palmberg has found time and interest to serve as president of the Alumni Association and on the investment committee of the UW-RF Foundation.

In the letter of selection, Chancellor George Field said that Palmberg’s "University and Foundation work and the state and national recognition of marketing leadership with Northrup King were evidence of a career worthy of the honor bestowed by this University."

Polk County is noted for its dairy farms, good schools, and scholars such as Neal Jorgensen.  Having grown up on a dairy farm and having graduated from the River Falls program in agriculture, Jorgensen earned his M.S. and Ph.D. at UW-Madison, majoring in dairy science and biochemistry.  With the exception of the two years spent at South Dakota State University-Brookings, he has spent his career on the UW-Madison campus as a professor of dairy science.

Twenty-three years after receiving his degree from UWRF, Jorgensen became chairperson-elect of the UW-Madison Department of Dairy Science and soon thereafter became associate dean of the College of Agriculture and associate director of the Wisconsin Agriculture Experiment Station.

Honors have been many in Jorgensen’s career, starting with the Gold R and membership in Pi Kappa Delta and continuing with the "Babson’s Dairy Chair" at the Phoenix, Ariz. Stockman’s School in 1970, as well as many other awards.  His research has resulted in more than 80 scientific publications and he is recognized as making major contributions to his roots-the dairy farms of Wisconsin.

Upon receiving the distinguished alumnus honor, Jorgensen, who has received many rewards for his teaching and research and is in Who’s Who in America and the World, said, "I believe I am going to enjoy this.  I love agriculture and I appreciate the state of Wisconsin’s efforts to support higher education."

When Wayne Hendrickson arrived on the River Falls campus from Spring Valley in 1959, he lost little time in becoming involved and was on the debate squad during his freshman year. From then on, it was a story of increasing activity. Continuing in debate, he was also president of the sophomore class and served three years on the Student Senate. In his senior year he was a part of the Physics Colloquium that stimulated research on various problems in physics and presented papers for lectures and discussion. But his interests were broad; he was in the Liberal Arts Honors Society and served on the Concerts and Lectures Committee.

After graduating from River Falls with a major in biophysics, he went to John Hopkins University where he got his Ph.D. degree in 1968. He stayed there the following year as a research associate and then joined the Naval Research Laboratory as a post doctoral research associate of the National Research Council. He was then appointed as a research biophysicist and earned the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award and the Arthur S. Flemming Award for Outstanding Young Federal Employees.

In 1984 Hendrickson became professor of biophysics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. His research into the atomic arrangements in several oxygen-carrying molecules and his development of computational models have been widely acclaimed as having great potential in the medical treatment of severely anemic patients and for use with heart-lung machines during surgery. He is listed in American Men and Women of Science.

When he was a student at River Falls, H. Gaylon Greenhill got a taste for politics that would prove useful in his later career. A social science major, he served as a Wisconsin congressional intern in his junior year and was a member of the Young Democrats throughout his campus years.

A native of New Auburn, he graduated from what was then Wisconsin State College at River Falls in 1958. He went to the University of Illinois where he had a James Garner Fellowship and got his M.A. degree in 1959. After taking a year out as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Oslo, he returned to Illinois and received his Ph.D. degree in 1962. An article based on his doctoral dissertation, "The Norwegian Agrarian Party: A Class Party" was published in Social Science, 1965. He is also the author of "Labor Money in Wisconsin Politics," a monograph written after a grant from the Citizens Research Foundation.

Joining the faculty at UW-Whitewater in 1962 as an instructor in political science, he became the department’s first chairperson three years later. He was named dean of the Summer Session and Extension in 1968, acting dean of the College of Letters and Sciences in 1970 and vice president and dean of faculties in 1971. He was appointed chancellor in 1991.

Greenhill’s political interests led him to be active in faculty governance issues and he had a special interest in retirement problems. He served on committees for the Association of Wisconsin Faculties and was appointed to the State Teachers Retirement Board in 1978 and again in 1982. He was also a member of the Employee Trust Fund Board. Greenhill was elected twice to the Whitewater City Council and is a past president of the city’s Police and Fire Commission.

As a student of agriculture and the sciences at River Falls, Thomas Ronningen participated in many campus activities, including FFA, YMCA, the Science Club, reporter for the Student Voice, and as a member of the debating squad. He served on the first Student Senate and earned membership in the Honor Society. After graduation he taught vocational agriculture, served as a chemist with DuPont, and then pursued graduate work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he was granted a Ph.D. degree in 1949.

In his career, Ronningen served as an officer in the U.S. Navy, was a professor of agronomy at the University of Maryland, and was principal agronomist with the Cooperative State Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For many years he was director-at-large at the Northeast Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Stations.

 Ronningen had many honors bestowed upon him for his leadership in agricultural experiment stations’ research programs. In 1968, he received the Honor Award of the Organization of Professional Employees of the Department of Agriculture and 11 years later received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Federal Executive Institute. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has been a delegate to the International Grassland Congress in Reading, England. During this University’s centennial year in 1974, Ronningen was invited to be a Centennial Visiting Professor and returned to the campus for a series of lectures.

Agriculture is indebted to Ronningen for having chosen a career in agronomy and research.

Back in 1954 the freshman class at River Falls elected a vice president from the little town of Pepin. In 1961, the UW-Madison School of Medicine awarded him an M.D. degree. After serving in the U.S. Public Health Service, he specialized in radiology at University of Minnesota-Mayo Foundation Graduate School of Medicine, and in 1970 joined the staff of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology. In those years he won recognition not only at the most distinguished medical institution in America but also in the larger world of medicine.

Hartman served on many departmental and institutional committees and as chairperson of the Department of Diagnostic Radiology, chairperson of Medical Specialties, associate director of the Mayo Foundation Division of Education, and others. He was a member of and an officer in the American College of Radiology, the American Roentgen Ray Society, the Society of Uroradiology, and a founding member of the American Association of Clinical Radiologists. Over the years he served as consultant to many institutions and organizations, reviewed books and articles for the American Journal of Roentgenology, and is listed in Who’s Who in America.

Hartman made contributions beyond his specialized field of medicine. He served as a sponsor of refugees, has been an officer in the United Way of Olmstead County and worked with Ability Building Center of Rochester, and spearheaded a drive to establish a scholarship for a pre-medical student at River Falls named in honor of Professor B.H. Kettlekamp.

When this graduate of Watertown High School attended UW-River Falls where he specialized in mathematics and physics, he was active in intramurals, was vice president of the junior class, served in the Student Senate, and belonged to other organizations. A career as a naval aviator might have been predicted, but hardly that of an astronaut.

Brandenstein entered active service with the Navy upon graduation, participated in 192 combat missions in Southeast Asia in 1967-70 while attached to the USS Constellation and USS Ranger, became a Naval Test Pilot conducting research on electronic warfare systems, and served as a flight instructor until he entered the training for duty as an astronaut. In his naval career he logged 3,800 hours and flying time in 22 different aircraft and made 400 carrier landings.

Captain Brandenstein played a pivotal role in advancing America’s space program through his activities as an astronaut, space Orbiter pilot, or commander aboard four shuttle missions. He piloted the Challenger on August 30, 1983, and commanded flights of the Discovery on June 17, 1985 and the Columbia on January 9, 1990. His fourth and final mission, on May 7, 1992, as commander of the maiden flight of the Endeavour, captured international attention during a daring rescue attempt of the crippled International Communications Satellite (INTELSAT) through three space walks, including a record three astronauts who exited the Endeavour to physically capture the satellite with their hands.

Brandenstein retired from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. Navy in October 1992 after 15 years of service. His last position was chief astronaut for NASA.

On May 23, 1993, Captain Brandenstein was awarded an honorary doctorate at graduation ceremonies at UW-River Falls. He was the second person to be chosen for that distinctive honor.

Fred Lanners, a resident of St. Paul, Minn., was attracted to the River Falls campus long before the reciprocity agreement between Minnesota and Wisconsin was made. After three years at River Falls taking the basic sciences, he transferred to the University of Minnesota where he received a chemical engineering degree. When he was appointed senior chemist at Economics Laboratory, a cleaning and sanitation firm that has more than 7,000 employees and a world-wide market for its products, he began a career that took him only upward on the corporate ladder.

Lanners’s next step with Economics Laboratory came in 1955 when he was named assistant to the president; four years later he became director of industrial sales and in 1960 he became administrative vice president with responsibilities for research and development, the dairy division, and international operations. Two years after being elected to the board of directors, Lanners became president of the company, and in 1978 was named chief executive officer and chairperson of the board.

This busy executive has always found time to be involved in community organizations. He has served as president of the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce, director of the National Organization of Manufacturers, director of the First Bank of St. Paul, of American Hoist and Derrick, and other corporations, and as a member of the Board of Regents of St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. The influence of Fred Lanners can be seen in corporate America and the civic organizations that make up the fabric of our society.

Long before the ERA and the Women’s Rights Movement caught the attention of universities and political institutions, Emogene Nelson was recognized as a strong voice in physical education and competitive sports for Wisconsin women. When the first Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference was created in 1978, she became its executive secretary and led the colleges and universities into the stream in women’s athletics.

Nelson grew up on a Pierce County farm and became an elementary teacher, teaching in Durand, Cornell, and Spooner before receiving her Ph.D. degree at the University of Minnesota in 1970. She joined the physical education staff at UW-River Falls in 1970 where she served as department chair from 1970-73, and as assistant to the vice chancellor after 1973. By a vote of students and alumni, she was presented with the Outstanding Teacher Award in 1978. She also served on the Board of Education of the River Falls Public Schools from 1975 to 1978.

There is hardly a state-wide committee on physical education in the UW System or the public schools on which Nelson did not serve. She was president of the Wisconsin Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, on the search committee for the president of the University of Wisconsin System, and dozens of others. In addition, she was elected to the Faculty Senate for a five-year term.

Nelson clearly met all the requirements for the Distinguished Alumna Award because of her accomplishments in her field, her contributions to Wisconsin, and her continuing interest in the institution where she launched her college career. She died Aug. 15, 1984.

When Duane Anderson came down from Gilmanton and began his college career in 1936, he earned his board and room by working on a dairy farm, often having to rush to an early biology class without changing from his work clothes.

 Professor Catherine Lieneman realized his potential and she asked him if he would like to work as a laboratory assistant. With this income he could give up milking cows morning and night. Besides, it opened up doors of the biological world to him. He later said that he had never considered pursuing a career in medicine until Lieneman suggested it to him.

While pursuing his studies he won membership in the Honor Society, joined several student organizations such as the German Club and the YMCA, and in his senior year was admitted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine. With his medical degree, he went on to the then University of Minnesota-Mayo Foundation for specialization in surgery and began his distinguished career as a surgeon in Madison.

Anderson is past chief of surgery at Madison General Hospital, past president of the Madison Surgical Society, past president of the Wisconsin Medical Foundation, past grand master of the Masonic Fraternity of Wisconsin, and has held various offices in the Madison Rotary and the Lutheran church. He has also served as clinical professor of medicine at the UW-Madison School of Medicine.

UW-River Falls may have helped him open doors that led to a distinguished career, but his early life in northern Wisconsin gave him a life-long hobby. Prior to his retirement, he personally planted 500,000 seedlings, and was able to sit in the shade of his own forest when he put away his lancet and scrubbed up for the last time.

The name of Stratton has been well known on the River Falls campus for many years. Stratton’s father, C.G. Stratton, joined the staff in 1914 and served as professor of geography and dean of men until his retirement in 1950. A residence hall is named in his honor.

Stratton joined the Los Alamos National Laboratory upon completing his Ph.D. degree in physics at the University of Minnesota, and has been involved in a wide range of nuclear physics and reactor safety issues.  He was a member of an ad hoc advisory group to the President’s Science Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Planning Committee of the American Nuclear Society, which gave him the society’s special award in 1981. He is currently chairperson of the Argonne Universities Association Review committee for the Experimental Breeder Reactor II. After the nuclear plant accident at Three Mile Island in 1979, Stratton served as the physicist on the investigating team and was the principal author of the staff report "Alternative Event Sequences." He also contributed to other documents of the Technical Assessment Task Force. Stratton was also a member of the special Nuclear Emergency Search Team that was sent to Northern Canada to assist in the search for, and recovery of, fragments of the Soviet satellite Cosmos 594.

Stratton’s work has international recognition. He was a delegate to the Second International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy at Geneva, Switzerland, in 1958, was the U.S. representative to the Cedarache Laboratory in France in 1965-1966, and has also been a consultant to the Swedish government.

His contribution to the nuclear age has made him a distinguished alumnus not only of UW-River Falls, but also the River Falls community in which he grew up.

"I believe that both medicine and literature are healing arts," wrote Banks who has carved out a career as a professor of literature for engineers and medical students. She has lectured on such topics as aging and the literary route to knowledge at the major medical schools across the country, written numerous articles for various journals and a volume on "Medicine and Literature," and has been co-editor of the six volumes of letters of Virginia Woolf. In her mid-career she became a national voice for keeping literature "in the forefront of society’s concerns" and making literature an important influence in the lives of medical students.

After her graduation from River Falls in 1962, she was awarded her master’s and Ph.D. degrees by Purdue University and taught humanities to engineers at Drexel University and to medical students at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine where she is currently director of the Hershey Center for Humanistic Medicine.

Banks was co-founder of the Journal of Literature and Medicine and serves on its editorial board. She has also served as a consultant and grant reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities and has become a figure on the national scene affecting medicine and literature.

Banks has deep roots on the UW-River Falls campus where her father, Philip, was athletic coach and her mother, Virginia, served on the library staff. To many medical students she is known as a teacher who has opened the doors of that science to the searching questions posed by the humanities. To those who measure scholars by their published works, Banks will be long remembered as co-editor of the six volumes of the "Letters of Virginia Woolf" which a London reviewer called "a monument to scholarship and an ornament to literature."

Agricultural education was a proper major for a Grantsburg farm boy to pursue when he entered the UW-River Falls in 1932. In the following four years he joined the Agrifallian Society, played intramural basketball and volleyball, served on such campus committees as Homecoming, Special, and Prom, and upon graduation became vocational agriculture instructor in the Milltown-Osceola high school system. Four years later he became agriculture extension agent for northern Wisconsin, a position he held for six years.

Wallin spent most of his distinguished career as the manager of the Midwest Breeders Cooperative, a position he held from 1945 to 1976. In that time this cooperative became one of the largest and best-known artificial breeding agencies in the Midwest. His leadership in agricultural circles was recognized by other agencies. He was director and chairperson of the Farm Credit Board of St. Paul, 1959-1970, director of the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives, director and president of the National Association of Animal Breeders, and chairperson of the State Board of Agriculture.

Wallin has been honored by many agricultural groups. His alma mater’s College of Agriculture named him "Wisconsin Agriculturist" in 1971. Honors and awards have also come from the Agricultural Records Cooperative, the future Farmers of America, the UW-Extension System, the National Association of Animal Breeders, the Federal Land Bank of St. Paul, and others. Wallin’s contributions to agriculture enhance the role played by UW-River Falls in opening the doors for farm youth and for building a strong farm economy in Wisconsin.

When Keith Wurtz was a student at River Falls, he found campus life just the stimulation he needed. Though he had a major in agricultural education and science, he became involved in a wide variety of student interests. He was a college debater, wrote for the Student Voice, was a member of the Agrifallians, the Science Club, intramural teams, and was also an officer of his class and a member of the Honor Society.

After receiving his M.D. degree from Northwestern University, he began a career in Arlington Heights, Ill. He was chief of surgery at Northwest Community Hospital, consulting surgeon at the Veterans Administration Hospital at Hines, Ill., and clinical surgical professor at Stritch School of Medicine, Chicago.

Though deeply involved in his profession, he has found time to serve as a member of the Arlington Heights School Board, the Board of Directors of the Arlington Heights Bank and Trust, and as executive director of the Northwest Suburban Chapter of the American Cancer Society. He gives credit to his college days at River Falls for opening the doors to the world of medicine, surgery, and community service.

This son of a Polish emigrant family came down to start his college career at River Falls to blaze a new trail in his family’s history. Working for board and room while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in science and mathematics was no problem since the work ethic had long been a part of his family life.

After serving in World War II, he pursued his D.D.S. degree at Marquette University and, upon graduation, practiced dentistry in Eau Claire, Ashland, and Hayward. He returned to his home community in 1974 to give dental service and leadership in civic affairs until his death in 1981.

Kliszcz built the first dental clinic in northern Wisconsin and also the Medical Center in Hayward. Though his professional life centered on dentistry in a region where medical and dental services were thinly spread, he found time to serve in various community organizations and to work with the youth of the region. For many years he hosted annual Halloween pumpkin parties for children and sponsored a ski-dental seminar at Telemark.

In 1977 he realized a lifetime dream by establishing a restaurant, Kliszcz Karozma, where authentic Polish food was served. Based on recipes from his own home and from the Polish tradition, the restaurant attracted many patrons who enjoyed ethnic foods, especially the sauerkraut which Kliszcz made himself.

Kliszcz’s career well illustrates the role played by UW-River Falls in offering opportunities for young people to reach levels of competence and service that has enriched many people. Kliszcz’s life as a dentist and civic leader enriched the Cable and larger community and left behind a name worthy of the award of distinguished alumnus of this university.

When Martin Abrahamsen graduated from UW-River Falls in 1930, the Meletean listed his extracurricular activities which included the debate team, Student Voice, Homecoming Committee, the Agrifallian Society, basketball and tennis. With a major in agricultural education and science, it was obvious that Abrahamsen would make his mark in the agricultural world.

Abrahamsen began his career as a teacher of vocational agriculture at Twin Bluffs. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees at UW-Madison and taught agricultural economics at North Carolina State University and West Virginia University before joining the staff of the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he served first in the Farm Credit Administration (1949-54), then in the Farmer Cooperative Service.

He is the author of the college text Cooperative Business Enterprise, editor of Readings in Agricultural Cooperation and has written hundreds of articles and reports on topics in agricultural economics. In his latter years he also offered courses in cooperatives at the University of Maryland.

Abrahamsen’s career was spent giving intellectual leadership to agriculture. Born on a Wittenberg farm, armed with degrees in agriculture from River Falls and Madison, broadened by experiences in debating, sports and other student activities, he wrote many books and articles and left the world of cooperatives enriched by his contributions.

The Meletean editor wrote in 1959 that he hated "to leave now. I've just begun." He must have been speaking for James H. Laue, for reading his undergraduate record is like calling the roll of student organizations. He was president of Kappa Delta Pi, on the Student Voice, in the orchestra and Glee Club, member of the French Club, and was elected to Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.

Upon graduation he received a Harvard fellowship and a Danforth Foundation grant (one of 87 in the nation) and continued his studies in sociology. But as the editor said, his activities had "just begun." After receiving a Ph.D. from Harvard, he served the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Service, taught classes at Harvard, Hollins College, Emory University, and at three major universities in St. Louis. Active in the human relations field, he served with the late Martin Luther King, Jr. and wrote Third Men in New Arenas of Conflict (1970) and First National Workshop in Community Crisis Intervention (1971). He was founder and director of the Community Conflict Resolution Program.

Laue was director of the Center for Metropolitan Studies at the University of Missouri in St. Louis and worked as co-chairperson (with Bryant Wedge and Ambassador Andrew J. Young) for the establishment of a National Peace Academy to serve the nation in resolving social and other types of conflict. "An understanding of conflict and systematic ways of resolving it are central to an understanding of what urban areas are all about," said Laue in a magazine article. Dr. Laue passed away on Sept. 25, 1993 at the age of 56.

When the class of 1930 graduated from the institution, the faculty advisor predicted that "this class will go down in history  .. ." Indeed, it has–Wroe Wolfe was a member of that class. He served as editor of the Student Voice, sang in the operetta and other musical groups, and then went on to a distinguished career in geology. In his senior year he wrote editorials on "Who is a Gentleman?,"  "Boost, Don’t Knock," and others critical of the "long-drawn-out ‘moos’ . . ." used in the "Ag Yell" at games.

Wolfe grew up on a farm near Roberts, majored in agriculture at River Falls and after graduation went forth with a box full of sandwiches and $23 in his pocket to study theology at Boston University. Soon he shifted his interest to geology and earned a Ph.D. in that field from Harvard. He joined Boston University’s staff in 1941 and five years later founded the department of geology in which he served until his retirement in 1974. Having a long, productive career, he authored or co-authored nearly 100 articles and these books: "This Earth of Ours-Past and Present" (1950), "Manual for Geometrical Crystallography" (1953), "Earth Science" (1953), and "Earth and Space Science" (1966). He was a fellow of the Geological Society of America and of the American Mineralogical Society. Two minerals have been named for him-Wolfeite and Wroewolfeite.

After his retirement, Wolfe taught at Salem State College in Massachusetts, served as consultant to the Nigerian government, conducted field trips and continued to publish his geological research. One of his faculty colleagues wrote about his "enormous creative intelligence (that) bubbles just below his craggy surface." In the "Wolfe Volume" written by his graduate students, it is said that he was many things-"farmer, crystallographer, family man, gemologist, preacher, world traveler, storyteller, clandestine poet, inventor, educator, and geologist." Though his greatest contribution may have been made as a teacher, his profession has also been influenced by his "blister hypothesis" in which he claimed that radioactivity was the source of the internal heat of the earth. He died July 17, 1980.

When Orville Fay of New Richmond attended the River Falls Normal to pursue the two-year course in agriculture, the enrollment was 518 and most of the students planned to be elementary teachers. He was a member of the public speaking society, the Lincolnian debating society, the Agrifallians, YMCA, "Meletean," and Camera Club, all of which contributed something to directing his career into plant breeding and the development of new varieties of several flowers. When he graduated, the Meletean had this line beneath his photograph: "I am more sinned against than sinning." This may have suggested a sense of humor along with  his interest in flowers.

After graduation, Fay served in the Navy, traveled extensively, and developed the hobby of wood-carving. From 1934 to 1952 he worked for the Nutrine Candy Company of Chicago. It was plant breeding, however, that earned Fay international fame. He received more than two and a half times as many horticulture awards as any other person in his field of plant breeding and had the distinction of being the only American to have three prestigious Dykes Medals and Stout Medals. In addition he received the Dave Hall Awards, the American Irish Society Medal, the Foster Memorial Award from the British Iris Society, and the Bertrand Farr Medal for his day lily and iris.

Fay was a member of the American Iris Society, the American Hernerocallis Society, the Daffodil Society, and the Peony Society. His creative career was a unique one among the distinguished alumni of UW-River Falls.

Back in the mid-1930s, faculty and fellow students of LaVernia Jorgenson might have predicted that she would carve out a distinguished career in physical education and athletics. As a student she was a leader in women’s athletics, played badminton, basketball, baseball, and tennis, and was president of the Women’s Athletic Association. Beyond these activities, she was also on the Meletean staff, was a member of the YWCA, and had a good academic record.

Since graduating in 1939, Jorgensen has taught in several high schools, earned a Ph.D. at Indiana University, and has been a member of the Physical Education and Recreation staff at the University of North Dakota where she retired as chairperson of the department. In the world beyond the classroom she has held numerous positions of honor and trust, including the presidency of three professional organizations, chairperson of various state and national associations, and editor of Delta Psi Kappa magazine. She is listed in 10 registers of notable women and is a frequent contributor to journals in the physical education field.

Jorgensen has been named "Woman of the Year" by the North Dakota chapter of Phi Sigma Alpha and has been recognized by several women’s organizations as the "Outstanding Woman in North Dakota Athletics."

In his student days, John W. Davison, known as ‘Jack’, was a leader–active in debating, extempore, and oratory–president of both Masquers and his freshman class, and a member of other campus organizations. Upon graduation he taught social science and coached debating at Clintonville and River Falls high schools, and then studied law at the St. Paul College of Law. He was a practicing attorney in River Falls from 1950 until his death.

Davison was a charter member of the UW-River Falls Foundation and served as treasurer, vice president, and president over the years. He was chairperson of the Sustaining Associates who undergirded the Foundation in its early days and served on numerous committees since that time.

Attorney Davison was active in community and alumni affairs, including the Lions Club, Masonic Lodge, and the River Falls Alumni Chapter. His greatest contribution to the University was the strong support he had given the Foundation during the years of his presidency (1971-75) and at other times.

Chalmer Davee grew up in River Falls, was a student in the Campus School, and graduated from the two-year mathematics and science course in 1922. As a student he was president of his class, was a member of the Meletean staff, Lincolnian debating society, and YMCA, and was active in dramatics. Following graduation he taught high school at Three Lakes and Neillsville before earning his medical degree at the University of Minnesota in 1929. His first practice was in Montana, but he soon returned to River Falls where he joined C.A. Dawson in private practice. During World War II Davee served as a Navy commander and saw action in the Pacific.

When Davee left private practice he joined the medical staff at the Veterans Hospital in Biloxi, Miss., and later was administrator of veterans hospitals in Marion, Ill.; Hot Springs, Ark.; Columbia, N.C.; and Phoenix, Ariz.

 Davee served on the Board of Regents from 1945 to 1953 and was a leader in broadening the mission of the State Teachers Colleges to include the Liberal Arts, which resulted in changing the title of these institutions to State Colleges in 1951 and to State Universities a few years later. When the new library was opened in 1954 at the UW-River Falls, it was appropriately named in his honor. It was his good fortune to be on the Board of Regents at a time when postwar enrollments were increasing and a multi-purpose institution was emerging, and he contributed to this process in an effective way. He retired to Sun City, Ariz., where he died on June 3, 1983.

The class of 1946 included the young men whose college careers were interrupted by service in World War II. Willard J. Jacobson of Hixton was one of these young men who left the halls of ivy for the Air Force and served in the European theater with a unit that won recognition in Belgium. As a student he was a member of the Honor Society, Mathematics Club, Science Club, YMCA, and played on the varsity baseball team. Following his graduation, he first taught science and mathematics at Palmyra, then moved to Lincoln, N.Y.  His master’s and doctoral degrees were taken at Columbia University.

Jacobson has been on the Columbia University faculty since 1950, serving in the Department of Science Education as professor and chairperson of the department. He also has been a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Hawaii.

This distinguished alumnus is co-author of "Modern Elementary School Science" (1961) and is the author of "The New Elementary School Science" (1970). He is also the author of several multi-volume science textbooks in the elementary field and is editor of science research publications. Jacobson has been a consultant to UNESCO, the Royal Afghan Ministry of Education, and the All-India Science Methods Institute. He has often been sought by other educational organizations, and over the years has been on the New York Examiner Advisor Committee and director of the Science Manpower Project, the Nutrition Education Research Project, the Citizens and Science Research Project, and co-director of the Population Education Project. He is listed in American Men of Science and Leaders in Education. The career of this young man from the small farm at Hixton has deeply affected the direction that science teaching in the elementary school has taken in recent decades.

Theodore P. Gleiter, a graduate of Hammond High School, entered River Falls as a sophomore and in the next three years he was active in the chorus, band, orchestra, YMCA, and intramurals, was a member of the Honor Society, and was listed in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. During World War II he served in North Africa and the Caribbean, part of the time being assigned to the Institute of Tropical Meteorology in Puerto Rico. His mathematics and science major along with this assignment affected the direction of his whole career.

After receiving this master’s degree and doing further graduate work at American University in Washington, D.C., he began his work for the U.S. Weather Bureau as a meteorologist. From 1956 to 1963 he was director of the Budget and Management Division of the Weather Bureau and special assistant to the chief from 1963 to 1966. He joined the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration as assistant administrator in 1966. In both groups he was active in developing programs that provided opportunities for various minority groups. In recognition of his work he was given Equal Opportunity Awards by the Commerce Department in 1971 and by the Atmospheric Administration in 1974.

His concern for the disadvantaged has extended beyond his professional life. He founded the Annandale, Va., Christian Community for Action which provides food for the needy, operates a day care center, and maintains a storehouse of usable furniture for low income rental units. In Washington, D.C., Gleiter was a founder of Home Buyers, Inc. that supplies down payments on houses for low income families seeking homes.

When Guy-Harold Smith was graduated from the principal’s course in 1919, he left behind this line below his photograph in the Meletean: "I am not among the Common Men." The career of this graduate of LaFarge High School indicated that he spent his life doing things that many people did not or could not do. While taking his bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he earned the Phi Beta Kappa Key and in 1927 was awarded the Ph.D. degree in geography. After teaching one year at the University of Illinois, he joined the geography staff at the Ohio State University where he spent the next 37 years teaching and researching in that field. For 29 of those years, he served as chair of the Department of Geography and directed the research of 24 doctoral candidates who wrote their theses under him.

Smith was listed in Who’s Who in America, American Men of Science, and other publications for outstanding educators. He was the author of numerous articles in scholarly journals and was the editor and principal contributor for the third edition of Conservation of Natural Resources.  The Distinguished Alumnus Award was made on Smith’s record as "author, editor, cartographer, teacher, and administrator." He was the first geography specialist to be so honored.

On the occasion of the Centennial, Anne Christianson Rose paid tribute to her alma mater in poetry:

   Within the future there will be a place
   For bright continuance of great array,
   Of pageantries in generating grace,
   Meeting the challenges of new ways.
   A host of students coming down the walk
   Will follow dreams of many golden spheres
   Of light and quest beyond the dust of chalk,
   To far horizons of the new frontiers.

After teaching eight years in Wisconsin schools, this distinguished alumna turned to poetry and in her career published 560 poems in journals, anthologies, and newspaper columns. She received more than 150 citations for her work. She is represented in New Poetry out of Wisconsin (1969) and Wisconsin History in Poetry (1969).

Rose was a member of the National League of American Penwomen, the Wisconsin Regional Writers Association, the American Poetry League, the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, and the Midwest Federation of Chapparal Poets. She was listed in the International Who’s Who in Poetry.

In the poem she read at the time of the conferring of the Distinguished Alumna Award she said of her alma mater:

   For it is here that knowledge will be measured
   Perceptively and ideals will be treasured.

Anne Christianson Rose was the first poet to have been granted the Distinguished Alumna Award.

This distinguished alumnus from Elk Mound attended River Falls at the time it was in transition from a Normal School to a Teachers College and graduated the year before it granted its first bachelor’s degree. His major was the three-year course in science and mathematics. The Student Voice spoke of him as "a good student" and prominent in campus affairs. He was obviously a campus leader for he was president of the YMCA, president of the State Student Council, a member of the Lincolnian debating society, a bass in the Glee Club, and a letterman in football in his third year. After leaving River Falls, he was granted a bachelor’s degree by the University of Chicago, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Jenson spent the first 20 years of his educational career as a superintendent of schools in Wisconsin, including Delavan, Fond du Lac, and Shorewood, and served as president of the Wisconsin Association of School Administrators. In 1957 he became professor of education at the Ohio State University and in 1962 became department chairperson. Three years later he was appointed dean of the College of Education at Bowling Green State University, a position he held until his retirement.

Jenson co-authored a leading textbook titled Educational Administration (1961) and also Practice and Theory in Educational Administration.  He served as educational consultant to Germany in 1954, was a member of the White House Conference on Education, and was listed in Who’s Who in America and in Leaders in Education.

In the early depression years when Norman Christianson entered the State Teachers College at River Falls, he had $1.50 in his pocket, a strong desire to study agriculture, and the will to work for that goal. As the Centennial History says of him, he "asked to have the college fees and room rent deferred until he had more cash, then got a job on a nearby farm part-time and soon was solvent. He cooked his own meals . . . (and) on weekends he would go home to replenish the larder . . ." When he was a senior, he went to the prom escorting a fellow student, Marion Hawkins, who also was to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award at a later date. He also left with a Gold R.

After teaching agriculture in Prescott High School and serving as a line officer in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he became a beef farmer near Roberts, raising purebred Angus on a 470-acre spread. His leadership role in agriculture is shown by the numerous offices and honors conferred upon him. He was a director and president of the Central Livestock Association of St. Paul, Minn., listed in Who’s Who in Wisconsin Agriculture, holder of the Honorary Farmer Degree, member of the Livestock Committee of the American Farm Bureau, and others. He also was named Mason of the Year, served on the River Falls School Board for many years, and held the office of president in the River Falls Alumni Chapter. From 1965 to 1972, Christianson was an influential member of the Board of Regents of the Wisconsin State Universities, and often served his alma mater in that office.

When he was on the coordinating Council for Higher Education, Chancellor George Field said of him: "Education has always been his dominant outside interest, and he has always shown particular concern for equitable treatment of the small campuses whose financial exigencies he appreciated." In retrospect, it seems fortunate that this farm boy had the courage to tackle four years of college with only $1.50 in his pocket and that the college somehow managed to defer the payment of fees for him.

In the summer of 1938, after graduating from Algoma High School, farm boy Richard J. Delorit was plowing when his high school agriculture teacher came to talk with him about going to college. He urged him to study agriculture, rather than music, and to attend UW-River Falls. That day Delorit made the decision to study agriculture and he now says, "It was the right decision. I would have set music back 20 years."

At UW-River Falls, Delorit was president of the FFA Chapter, state president of FFA, and received its American Farmer degree. After his graduation in 1942, he taught at Plymouth and Abbotsford, and in 1953 joined the River Falls High School faculty where he served as supervisor of student teaching for the UW-River Falls Department of Agriculture. Three years later he joined the college faculty and in 1957 became the dean of the Division (later College) of Agriculture. Dean Delorit became academic vice president in 1964 and served as interim-president in 1967-68. From 1968 to 1986 he was vice chancellor.

Delorit was granted the Ph.D. degree by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1959, doing his research on woodland pastures. He co-authored Crop Production, a high school text widely used throughout the United States and in translation in Latin America. He also contributed to Horse Science Handbook and is the author of An Illustrated Taxonomy Manual of Weed Seeds, which has been in use in most of the nations of the western world. C. R. Gunn of the Research Division, U.S. Department of Agriculture, said of this book: ". . . A major contribution in the field of weed identification and . . . a major milestone in the extensive use of color photography."

This distinguished alumnus served on the Governor’s Task Force on Local Government Finance and Reorganization, was president of the Wisconsin Association of Vocational Agriculture Instructors, and director of the River Falls Golf Club, the First National Bank of River Falls, and the UW-River Falls Foundation.

Neal H. Stoddard, a Madison contractor and real estate man, once said that he was "the one and only janitor" at the Downing High School from which he graduated. He "swept the floors, cleaned blackboards, cared for the playground, walks, and carried in the wood for each of the large wood burning stoves which were the entire heating system." When his ambition took him to River Falls to study agriculture, he boarded at a cooperative rooming house where the meals cost 18 cents. When he left the institution at the end of the two-year course, the yearbook quoted him as saying: "Oh, this learning, what a thing it is." As a first general farm boy to go beyond high school, he had "made it" the hard way.

After teaching agriculture at Sun Prairie, he became a contractor and, in the years between 1935 and 1970, he built more than 500 houses in the Shorewood addition of Madison. But Stoddard never forgot his old high school and River Falls, and his thoughts often turned to them. To quote The Frosting on the Cake: History of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls Foundation, 1948-1976:

But now on the 50th anniversary of his graduation, his thoughts turned to his old home town of Downing, his old college at River Falls, and the need to lend a hand to those who had come after him. Beginning in 1972-73, he first established a River Falls scholarship of $500 a year for a high school graduate from Downing (or Glenwood City if none qualified from his old high school). . . . In March, 1972, he also established a scholarship for a high school graduate from the Badger Conference which included Star Prairie where Stoddard had started his teaching career. Stoddard then turned to other ways to enrich campus life at his alma mater . . . (First) he gave a residence (in Madison) to the Foundation. This house, when sold for $23,000, was to provide an investment to sustain a ‘perpetual scholarship’ for some boy from the Badger Conference.

When Stoddard died, he left an apartment house in Madison and a piece of commercial property, appraised at $54,000. This graduate of 1918 had indeed contributed to that "margin of excellence" which the foundation had long sought.

When Louis M. Daniel received the Distinguished Alumnus Award 30 years after he entered UW-River Falls as a freshman from Grantsburg, he reminisced about the day when he first arrived on campus. He was met at the hotel by Professor John M. May and taken to a nearby farm where Daniel was to earn his room and board by doing chores. He remembered that his four years spent at River Falls studying agricultural education was "nothing but pleasurable." Active in student affairs despite working his way through school, he participated in intercollegiate debate and served on the Student Senate.

Following his graduation he became an agent for Equitable Life of Iowa and remained with that company since that time. He won all the major honors and awards given by his company: Member of the President’s Cabinet, President of the Chapter of Life Underwriters, life member of the "Million Dollar Roundtable," and on the roll of the Equitable of Iowa Hall of Fame, the highest individual award given by the company. For many years Daniel was district supervisor, and had offices in both St. Paul, Minn. and in Florida.

Always active in alumni affairs, Daniel was president of the River Falls chapter and served as national alumni chairperson. He was a long-time member of the Foundation Board and active on its committees. His alma mater had reason to believe the last two lines of the advertisement he ran in the Student Voice soon after he graduated from college: ". . . So thank God for the great endurance / Of the man who sells insurance."

The class of 1938 was an unusual class, for it included four students who were later to be awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award. One of these students was Marion E. Hawkins, who had the further distinction of being selected for the Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award the same year she received the Distinguished Alumna Award. As a student at UW-River Falls, she was an English and speech major, served on the debating teams, was one of the originators of the Student Senate, was elected to every class office, and held various other leadership positions. Following graduation she taught English and debate at New Richmond, Monroe, and Milwaukee, and in 1946 joined the English department at her alma mater.  She received her master’s and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her doctoral thesis being "Oliver Goldsmith as Essayist." At UW-River Falls she coached debating for 10 years, taught classes in literature, poetry, and English for foreign students, was advisor for the international student program, was a charter member of the Foundation, and in 1976 was elected president of the Board. For several years she served as provincial governor of Pi Kappa Delta and was chairperson of activities at the national conventions of Pi Kappa Delta and of the National Council for Teachers of English. Her Distinguished Teacher Award mentioned her dedication, knowledge, and enthusiasm.

At the Homecoming luncheon of Pi Kappa Delta in 1957, when she was retiring from the duties of directing speech activities, a telegram from a former student well expressed the high regard with which she has been held: "Debated against Marion in high school, lost. On same team with her in college, much better arrangement."

Following her retirement in 1981, Dr. Hawkins continued to travel and lecture in many areas. Her contributions to global understanding through education led to her recognition by the Minnesota chapter of the American Association of University Women for her promotion of international relations. Marion Hawkins passed away Aug. 22, 1999.

Reminiscing during UW-River Falls’ Centennial, Robert P. Knowles recalled that he had been closely associated with the University for fifty years. He was born in River Falls, attended the Campus School, and graduated from the State Teachers College in 1938 with a degree in history. Of the "firsts" that he recalled, he noted the time when he climbed through a basement window of North Hall and swam in the new pool for the first time. His interest in politics was first kindled by the experience of assisting a faculty member in a City Council race. "This whetted my appetite for politics," he recalled, "and I ran for and was elected to the first Student Senate on the campus .  .  ." The big issue before the Student Senate was whether the administration would allow them to have a smoking room in the South Hall basement.

Upon graduation, Knowles established an insurance and real estate office in New Richmond and, in 1955, was elected to the Wisconsin Senate, an office he held until 1976. During that long political career he served as president of the Legislative Council, Majority Leader, president pro tempore of the Senate, and chairman of the Joint Committee of Legislative Organization. He also served as assistant director of Housing for the 1960 Republican Convention, and in 1964 and 1968 also looked after the physical facilities for the National Republican Conventions. In 1965 he was elected president of the National Conference of State Legislative Leaders and was a member of the Advisory Committee of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University for many years, conducting seminars for promising young legislative leaders of the nation. When the issue of merging the State University System and the University of Wisconsin System arose, Sen. Knowles opposed it, saying that he feared "that for those of us whose eyes get misty on hearing the pledge song, some of the special and unique flavor of the school that we knew might be lost in the vastness of the University of Wisconsin .  .  ."  As a state senator, Knowles often assisted his alma mater in the vortex of the Wisconsin political system. He served on the UW System Board of Regents from 1981 until his death in 1985.

Beneath the picture of Carroll J. Brown in the Meletean the year he completed the three-year course at the River Falls Normal were these words: "Small men from small towns make big men in the world." This was far more prophetic than he or the editor could have known at the time. He was from the River Falls High School and was the first generation to see post-high school education. As a student he was on the yearbook and newspaper staffs, sang in the Glee Club, debated in the Lincolnian Club, and was a member of the YMCA. No doubt this young man looked upon his Normal as the high road to opportunity and the extra-curricular activities were the entrance to it. Later, as a major businessman in the graphic arts, he said that he owed his interest in that field to his years when he was manager of the Student Voice and Meletean.

After graduation, Brown went to work immediately for Buckbee Mears and served as a salesman of high school and college yearbook printing for 11 years. During this time he acquired an interest in Greene Engraving in St. Paul and, 25 years later, he and his sons bought complete control of the firm and changed the name to Brown Inc. Over the years Brown Inc., of which he was president, often lent assistance to the publications of his alma mater.

Brown’s civic activities included being an officer in the St. Paul Advertising Club, Twin Cities Graphic Arts Association, the first Presbyterian Church of Stillwater, Minn., the Cotillion Club, the Stillwater Country Club, and Croixdale. He was a charter member of the UW-River Falls Foundation and served as its president for one term. Indeed, this small town boy did make a niche for himself in the business world, one that was opened up for him by his yearbook work in his student days. Since that time he repaid his alma mater many times for opening this door for him.

Among the seniors of 1938 was a student from Baldwin, Daniel J. Dykstra, a product of the Dutch immigration to America that valued religious freedom and the work ethic. As a student he had won membership in the Honor Society, served on the debating teams and Student Voice staffs, was one of the organizers of the first Student Senate, president of the junior class, and a member of various intramural teams and other organizations. When he graduated with a major in the social sciences, he taught at Frederic High School until the war came, then became an officer in the Navy, serving in the Mediterranean theatre. When peace came, he studied law at the University of Wisconsin, and in 1948 was awarded the L.L.B. degree and later returned to receive the J.S.D. degree. As a law student he served as editor of the Wisconsin Law Review and received the Order of the Coif.

Dykstra joined the Law School faculty at Drake University in 1948, then moved to the University of Utah where he was professor of law, dean of the Law School, and academic vice president. After moving to the University of California-Davis Law School, he later became dean. In 1959 he was named Fulbright Professor of Law and spent a year teaching at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He has also served on the faculty of the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies in Austria. Dykstra was also visiting professor of law at the universities of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Stanford University, and other law schools. His research appeared in various journals of law and his monograph "The Right Most Valued by Civilized Man" was widely circulated. In 1960 Dykstra was commencement speaker at UW-River Falls.

When Ben Zaffke of Greenwood graduated from the two-year course in agriculture in 1917, he took with him memories of singing with the Glee Club and of the fraternal life. Below his picture in the oldMeletean are the words: "Never mind the expenses, we have lots of them." But graduation time was a time of war, and his first assignment was the U.S. Navy. Back at Camp Logan in January 1919, he was anxious to shed his uniform and get back to agriculture studies. President Ames had written all service men, offering to help them get early release, and so Zaffke wrote to Ames:

Dear Friend:

I received your letter stating, if I needed help to write you. I sure need it now and, if granted, it will mean much to me.

All men that can get letters showing they are of value in civilian life are given their discharges . . . I’ve spoken to the commanding officer and he said I needed a letter. I told him I’d like to get out to finish my work at school. Could you write him showing these things: that I’m a graduate of your Agricultural course; that I’d get full credit for my work at the ‘U’ as I intend to sometime if I could get out. Lay special stress on the fact that men are really needed in this line of work . . . I (am) losing lots by staying here besides losing valuable time . . ."

When Zaffke was discharged, he studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and from 1922 to 1958 he was associated with the James Manufacturing Company in Ft. Atkinson, serving as vice president and manager of the Poultry and Incubator Division. His other business activities over the years included chairman of the Board of the National Agricultural Supply Company, president of the Knob-Hill Builders, partner in the El Rancho Motel of Barstow, Calif., and director of Loganway of Ft. Atkinson. He was also a member of the World Poultry Association, State Director of 4-H Club work, and the author of Artificial Incubation by Single-Stage Method. His civic contributions included a membership and offices in the Wisconsin State Historical Society, Rotary, American Legion, and Shriners. Zaffke was long interested in alumni affairs, especially in the agriculture program. He returned to address the alumni banquet in 1957 and was a charter member of the Foundation Board of Directors when it was established in 1948.

When William H. Hunt left the campus in 1929 with his three-year diploma, the Meletean listed him as a major in mathematics and science with these extracurricular activities: YMCA 1, 2, 3; R Club 1, 2, 3; Band 1; Masquers 3; Class President 2; Football 1, 2, 3; Basketball 1, 2, 3; Baseball 3; Track 1, 3; Tennis 1, 2, 3; Prom Committee 2. No doubt there were many who predicted for him a career of unusual dimensions.

Hunt taught mathematics and coached at Algoma until 1935 when he became a salesman for Algoma Plywood and Veneer Company. When the company merged with U.S. Plywood, Hunt moved to Chicago to manage the Midwest Division which included six branch offices. By the time he was 45 he had become vice president of U.S. Plywood, and in 1957 he joined Georgia-Pacific as vice president. When he was given the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1969 he was executive vice president and a member of the Executive Committee.

His interests were always broader than his business responsibilities. He served on the executive committee of United Good Neighbors, was a trustee of Oregon State University Foundation, member of the Board of Trustees and Development Committee of St. Vincent Hospital, and the Corporate Committee of Fordham University. Hunt also gave a Challenge Gift for the construction of the Wall Outdoor Amphitheatre and contributed to the Walter H. Hunt Arena named in honor of his father who was a professor at UW-River Falls for many years.

When Ray S. Erlandson came to River Falls in the summer of 1912 to sell aluminum cookware door to door, he made the mistake of selling some to the wife of President James W. Crabtree. The president then convinced him that he should give up his salesman’s job and become a student at the Normal School. Two years later he graduated and became a teacher at Chippewa Falls and River Falls. During World War I he served as a second lieutenant in the Field Artillery. While serving as an instructor in the artillery, he wrote the president to tell him that he had "not received any information from old Normal as to what activity she is in, nor do I know how many of the boys are in the service. I wish you would delegate someone to enlighten me on some of these points as I am as interested in old R.F.N.S. today as at any time before." When peace finally came, he said, "The United States will continue to call for the ablest. River Falls will do her part."

After the war, he became first assistant secretary and business manager of the National Education Association (then headed by former President Crabtree). From 1925 to 1953, he was director of broadcasting for Majestic Radio, manager for automobile sales for Zenith Radio Corporation, vice president of the Wurlitzer Company, and educational director for Grigsby-Grunow Company.

In 1953 he became chair of the Department of Business Administration at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, and a year later he took the position of president of the Children’s Fund. In the years when he was involved with radio, he originated the American School of the Air, the first national radio program. His record indicated that the nation had called "for the ablest," and that River Falls had done "her part" in supplying talent, as he had written 41 years before.

The Student Voice was prophetic in 1927 when it said that,

"No River Falls College ‘Who’s Who’ would be complete without the name of John Burke, more universally known as ‘Jack.’ Jack’s entire career has been a series of successes and victories in many fields . . . He made the first team in debate, and many debates were saved on the strength of Burke’s rebuttal. In the year 1925-26 he represented the school in oratory and debated on the school team. He presided over many school fests and other school assemblies . . . His ready Irish wit and good humor have made him not only a successful speaker, but a popular man on the campus. Burke was elected president of the fourth year class. . ."

Forty years later, Burke returned to the campus to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award. In those years he had taught high school at Algoma and Belleville, served as a parole and probation officer, and since 1938 had been warden of the Wisconsin State Prison at Waupun. During World War II he took a leave to serve as a major with the Army Correctional Division but returned to his Waupun post until his retirement. During his career he served as president and committee chair of the principal professional associations, headed a survey of the Pennsylvania prison system, and received awards including the Knights of Columbus Wisconsin Layman Award in 1967, the Kewaunee County 4-H Alumnus Award in 1964, and the 4-H Club Award at the University of Wisconsin in 1965.

When he received his Distinguished Alumnus Award at the 1968 River Falls Commencement, he reminded the audience of the close relationship between faculty and students at River Falls, and cited the Code of Ethics of the old River Falls Normal School which had guided him with its first provision "I will be square," closing with living daily "the Golden Rule."

The Distinguished Alumnus Award was made to Melvin L. Wall posthumously following his accidental death March 25, 1967, while serving on a team of educators surveying universities in Vietnam. All eight members of the team were killed in a plane crash after having completed the first phase of their study arranged by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Born in Holton, Kan. in 1912, Wall and his family moved to a farm near Hawkins where he attended the public schools. He graduated in 1936 from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a degree in agricultural education and taught agriculture at the Roberts High School for the next two years. The University of Wisconsin-Madison granted him the master’s degree in 1939 and a doctorate in 1957. From 1940 to 1945 he served on the Soil Conservation Service research project at Richland Center. Wall joined the staff of his alma mater in 1940, served as chair of the Plant and Earth Science Department, and on the Campus Planning Committee. He was the originator of the campus beautification plan that included the Amphitheatre construction and the tree planting project along the South Fork of the Kinnickinnic. Most of this had been completed by the time of his death. The Wall Outdoor Amphitheatre and the fountain near Hagestad Hall are named in his honor.

In paying tribute to Wall, President E. H. Kleinpell said: "In addition to the sense of personal loss that his colleagues at the university feel in the death of Melvin Wall, there is also a great loss to the institution. Wall devoted 27 years of his life to the university from which he was graduated and had great influence on its students and alumni. His interest in the university went beyond the classroom and included all aspects of its welfare. As chairman of the campus planning committee, he did much to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of the River Falls Campus . . . Wall was unstinting in giving of himself and our only solace is that his death resulted from an important task in which he believed."

"If a vote were taken to determine who is the best all around man on the campus, ‘Bong’ Luberg would, without doubt, stand very near the top. There seems to be nothing he cannot do, and do well. He came to us from the River Falls High School and from the very first he has been a worthy addition to the school. He was elected president of the freshman class. He sang in the men’s glee club and in the male quartet. He played noteworthy football . . . made the debate squad . . . belonged to the YMCA and participated in dramatics . . . on the campus, he wins the admiration and acclaim of all his fellow students."

Thus did the Student Voice hail LeRoy Luberg when he graduated from the three-year course in 1927. Upon his graduation he became principal of West Junior High School in Madison but returned to River Falls in 1930 to complete his bachelor’s degree. His master’s and Ph.D. degrees were granted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During World War II he entered the army as a private and became a major with the OSS in the Burma theater. In 1946 he joined the UW-Madison staff as assistant vice president for Academic Affairs and later became assistant to the president and dean of students.

The advisor to the class of 1927 had predicted that its members would "go down in history in athletics, forensics, dramatics, publications, and scholarship." When Luberg was selected for the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1967 and to address the 525 graduated at Commencement, 40 years after his first graduation, much of that prediction had come true. He died in August 1982.

In 1966 Theodore Clymer was the youngest person to have received the distinguished alumni award. A native of Hudson, he pursued a career in the field of reading. He became a research assistant at the University of Minnesota upon graduation in 1949 but returned to his alma mater the next year to serve as a supervising teacher in the Ames Laboratory School. In 1952, when he was granted the Ph.D. degree in educational psychology, he was appointed assistant professor of education at the University of Minnesota, became an associate professor in 1957, and a full professor in 1959.

Clymer was chair of the studies and research committee of the International Research Association in 1961, served as president in 1964-65, and served as editor of the research issue of The Reading Teacher. He was also editor of Reading Research Quarterly and served as consultant on research in English for the Comparative Research Branch of the U.S. Office of Education. Clymer’s work in the field of reading includes writing numerous articles for professional journals and yearbooks and co-authoring developmental reading texts.

Of his early years, this distinguished alumnus once said: "Several factors had a strong influence on my professional and personal life: the good theoretical foundations in education, psychology and science; dedicated teachers who knew their fields but who also took sympathetic interest in their students; the part-time jobs I held. I worked in the library for Miss Gibson and Miss Fuller and for Bloom of the Social Science Department, but primarily for John Gage, the retired army sergeant who ran the college cafeteria and was a strong influence on both Mrs. Clymer and me. His good sense, his fairness, his practical attitudes toward life and his number 10 cans of leftovers for the weekend sustained us emotionally and nutritionally."

When the class of 1905 graduated from the River Falls Normal School, it was addressed by one of its members, Casper I. Nelson, on the subject of "Making the Most of Experience." This speech was prophetic, for in a career that included teaching, administration, and research, he ably lived up to the high hopes expressed as a senior in 1905. When he retired from the North Dakota College of Agriculture in 1954 and returned to raise flowers and shrubs near River Falls, even his old college class song came true:

And when in after years we roam
Far from these vine-clad halls
We’ll bless the one that tho’t of them
Then let our hearts responsive be,
And ready be our hand
Our watch-cry "For our Normal,
Our God and Native Land."

Following his graduation, Nelson became principal of the grade school at Stratford, where he had four or five different teachers in one year. For the next three years he taught at Viola, and then entered the University of Wisconsin where he earned a bachelor’s degree, was made a member of Phi Beta Kappa and, after graduation, began work for the General Purification Company. In 1914 he joined the North Dakota State College of Agriculture staff where he spent the rest of his career, except for a leave of absence while he pursued his Ph.D. degree at the University of Chicago. While serving as chair of the Department of Bacteriology, he worked with the experiment station developing plants for the dry area of the Great Plains. He also helped establish a University Health Center which later was named in his honor. His university also conferred upon him an honorary doctorate in 1967. Nelson was a teacher and researcher even after retirement when he established the Kinnickinnic Gardens near the scenes of his early days. There he developed a new lilac, "Diana," that was named No. 1 by the National Lilac Association. He was the author of Intimate Bacteriology, a college text and laboratory manual, and numerous bulletins issued by the experiment station and articles in scholarly journals. His greatest satisfaction in life, he said, had come from "having trained a number of students who now head departments of bacteriology in many parts of the nation."


Roy H. Sakrison, a freshman from Deer Park who entered the Normal School in 1910, helped increase the school’s enrollment to 301 and soon became a member of the football team and other campus groups. In later years he said that he still remembered how hard it was to make ends meet in his student days and, consequently, he has made gifts to the Foundation to help many deserving students through college.

Following graduation, Sakrison taught school before serving in World War I as a lieutenant. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross after being wounded on the Meuse-Argonne front. After the war he worked in the Deer Park bank, and then became the managing officer of the Bayport State Bank in Minnesota. Three years later he joined the Andersen Corporation’s Accounting Department and later became vice president for finance.

When Sakrison retired in 1962, his thoughts went back to the days when he struggled through the Normal School, prompting him and Mrs. Sakrison to establish an annual scholarship for a graduate of his high school who attended River Falls. Later, he gave the Foundation sufficient Andersen stock to grant a number of scholarships to students from the St. Croix Valley. He also served on the Foundation Board and assisted it in various ways to enrich campus life. Though his achievements in business and finance are many, his membership in the 1911 football team and his alma mater was one of his fondest memories.

It was the "accident" of having a teacher from River Falls that caused a Sleepy Eye, Minn., student named Reynold A. Jensen to enter the Normal School in 1922. Having completed the high school teacher training course and having taught rural school for two years, he was advised to go to River Falls for further teacher training by Virginia Wales, a former teacher who attended River Falls. While in college he was active in the YMCA and after graduation served as secretary of the Milwaukee YMCA while attending the Normal School there. He then studied at Columbia University, but returned to the University of Minnesota where he was granted the M.D. degree in 1938. In his career he had been a teacher and physician in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Utah, Louisiana, California, and Wisconsin and lectured nationally to medical and educational groups. Following his series of lectures at the Third Pediatric Conference in Guatemala in 1955, he was made an honorary member of the University of San Carlos. Most of his career, however, was spent as professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, and from 1942 until his retirement, he was director of the Division of Child Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota Medical School. In 1959 he spent his sabbatical year in Europe, including time at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Jensen gave credit to River Falls professors for his career, and said that these "stalwarts lived what they taught and vice versa." In his yearbook one of them had written: "Nuggets of character are greater than nuggets of gold, for they may be shared with all humanity and not degrade a soul." Perhaps it was this feeling of debt that caused him to establish the student loan fund in memory of Mrs. Charles W. Norris, to give to his alma mater a watercolor portrait of his favorite professor, the late YMCA advisor James P. Jacobson and to make other gifts to the Foundation. He was a member of the Foundation Board for many years. After his retirement from the University of Minnesota, he was affiliated with a hospital in St. Cloud, Minn. He died in 1982.

The fourth distinguished alumnus, Edwin P. Rock, spent his entire career as a teacher and administrator in public schools. Born in Ellsworth, he moved to River Falls in 1900 and, 18 years later, graduated from the science and mathematics course. He was a good student and his special extra-curricular activity was athletics. His first position was teaching mathematics and coaching in the Hudson schools, and five years later he became superintendent of the system, a position he held for the remainder of his long career in education. Always known as an administrator who ran a "tight ship," he well earned the accolade given him by a former student, Attorney General George Thompson, who said at the time of Rock’s retirement, "He is an example of stability which speaks more eloquently than words."

Indeed, Rock could claim to be "the richest man in this community," as he said figuratively when he left the public schools. In his 46 years in the teaching profession, he had also been president of numerous community organizations and professional groups, and from 1948 to 1957 served as the first president of the UW-River Falls Foundation Board of Directors.

After retirement he continued to serve on the St. Croix County Board of Supervisors and on the Foundation Board. Holding degrees from both the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rock‘s contributions to the public schools and to the organizations and associations of northwestern Wisconsin will long remain a monument to his work.

When Raymond P. Ensign returned to the campus in 1961 to receive the third Distinguished Alumnus Award, he rounded out a career as an artist and educator that was marked by many honors in art education. The Eastern Arts Association had presented him its Gold Medal "For long and distinguished service in the field of art education," and he had held some of the most honored positions in art education in America.

Ensign was a second generation graduate of the school, having been preceded by both parents in the early years of the Normal School. He served as principal of the Grand Avenue School in Chippewa Falls in 1902-03 and then went on to New York’s Pratt Institute where he graduated in 1905. For a time he served as a furniture designer for the W. & I. Sloane Co. but later returned to Pratt as an instructor. In 1919 he became head of the design department at the Cleveland School of Art and dean of the famed Chicago Art Institute in 1922. He ended his career as an art educator at the School of Fine and Industrial Art in Newark, N.J., where he served as director after 1928. In 1937 he represented the United States at the International Art Congress in Paris and wrote numerous articles in his field. His work in design, teaching, and administration in art and art education fields established him as a national leader and he was listed in Who’s Who in America from 1924 to 1945. Though he spent much of his career in the East, he sometimes came back to the campus and on one occasion, in 1907, he encouraged art students at River Falls to come to New York to continue their education in night schools.

When Helen C. Parkhurst graduated in 1907 from the two-year elementary course, her professors might have predicted an unusual career for her. Her thesis was titled "Child Heart," and she had written below her picture in the yearbook: "Here buds the promise of celestial worth." It took only a short time for this young woman from Durand to bloom. After teaching two years in Hudson, she took a position in Tacoma, Wash., and in 1910 founded the laboratory plan for elementary school individualized instruction. For this, she received her first award, the "Distinguished Gold Medal," given by the Board of Education, and was named "First Citizen of Tacoma."

Parkhurst returned to Wisconsin in 1912 to become the director of the Primary Department at UW-Stevens Point. Three years later she spent a year in Italy studying with the education pioneer, Maria Montessori. When Montessori came to the United States to lecture, Parkhurst joined her and for a time administered the Montessori schools across the nation. It was in New York, however, where she spent most of her distinguished career. Known as the originator of the Dalton Plan of Education, which became a model for countless schools throughout the world, she earned a place in the directory,100 Educators of All Time.

This distinguished alumna, who was one of the most influential educators of her era, expressed her philosophy through television and radio programs and in numerous articles and books. Her first books,Education on the Dalton Plan (1922) and Exploring the Child’s World (1936), became standard references for this system of elementary education. Before her death in 1973, she also wrote Growing Pains(1962) and Undertow (1963), and had been decorated by the Queen of Italy, Empress of Japan, and the Queen of the Netherlands. There is a "Helen Parkhurst Dalton School" in Rotterdam and Parkhurst Lecture Hall at UW-Stevens Point. Truly, her educational philosophy is an extension of her senior thesis "Child Heart." Montessori best summarized her career: "Her intelligent activity is truly rare and precious."

The first Distinguished Alumnus Award was made to Dean Smith, an otolaryngologist of La Crosse. He not only had made his mark in medicine but had also kept in contact with his alma mater over the years. He was a graduate of the Normal School in the days when only two-year courses for high school graduates were offered, when South Hall was the only building on campus, and when all 318 students were preparing for teaching careers.

As a student, Smith was active in campus affairs, serving as treasurer of the Inter-Normal Oratorical League, playing the part of "Flunk" in the senior class play, and showing his enjoyment of post-high school studies by placing below his picture in the yearbook these words: "A little folly, with my wisdom; a little nonsense now and then is pleasant." Following his graduation Smith taught at Burlington, Iowa, and then began his medical studies at the University of Illinois in 1911. This break with his teaching career may have been influenced by his professors in the sciences, or by some of the 6,500 books in the Normal School library, or possibly by the requirement that students take hearing tests.

When Smith returned to the campus he was asked to reminisce about the "old days" and he recalled the time when a supervising teacher set up the first hearing test in the nation.  He did not indicate that this influenced his decision later to specialize in this field of medicine. But he did remember that his grandfather, Osborn Strahl, a farmer in the Kinnickinnic Valley, helped locate the fourth Normal School at River Falls in 1874, and he was proud of that fact. When he received the first Distinguished Alumnus Award, he gave this advice to students: "Love your school and someone connected with it so you will talk about it, revisit it frequently, and promote its growth." And this he did.