Vol. 41, No. 2 Summer 2009 - University of Minnesota, Crookston

Vol. 41, No. 2 Summer 2009 - University of Minnesota, Crookston

Vol. 41, No. 2 Summer 2009 - University of Minnesota, Crookston


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A Magazine for Alumni & Friends of the

University of Minnesota, Crookston

Vol. 41, No. 2 Summer 2009


From the Chancellor

One of the most enjoyable rites of spring, and of

our academic year, is commencement. I offer my

heartfelt congratulations to the Class of 2009, our

101st graduating class, on their achievements. We

wish them well as they pursue a graduate degree or

begin a career, like graduates Delano Robinson, an

information technology management major, who will

begin working as a systems analyst for Eli Lilly in

Indianapolis, Ind., and Mariam Maiga, a business

management graduate, who will be working as an

assistant manager for Finish Line in Minneapolis. We

are proud of all our graduates and hope they will come

back to campus whenever they have an opportunity.

This year has been filled with great success. Our

Students in Free Enterprise team won their tenth

regional championship, the NACTA team was the

four-year college division overall champions, and our

horticulture students took first place at the Mid-

America Collegiate Horticulture Society competition.

Student-athlete and Senior Amanda Peterson

competed at the Intercollegiate Horse Show

Association national competition and placed tenth, and

Senior Kerry Fredrich was selected to attend the

prestigious Jacobsen’s Future Turf Managers’ Seminar.

These are just a few examples of the many successes

our students have experienced this past year.

Through the generous giving of our alumni, the

new Alseth-NWSA Business Boardroom has become a

wonderful addition to the Business Department, and

we are looking forward to the opening of a new

apartment-style residence hall this summer. Erick

Elgin, ’09, and Chris Waltz, ’09 led efforts for

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

(LEED) certification for that new facility.

I also want to highlight a few of the outstanding

faculty accomplishments. Professor John Loegering,

Ph.D., was a 2009 recipient of the Horace T. Morse -

University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award

for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate

Education. Associate Professor Lyle Westrom, Ph.D.,

was inducted into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame,

and Terrill Bradford, animal science instructor, was

awarded the


Honorary FFA

Degree. We

laud all the



members across

this campus

who work

directly with

students every day

to help them

succeed. We have much

to be proud of at the

University of Minnesota, Crookston.

We have also faced a number of challenges over

the past year. As we wait to see what the legislature

decides about the budget for the University of

Minnesota, we work hard at both recruitment and

retention. With the current economic situation, we

strive to offer the best educational experience and

value for students. Offering a University of Minnesota

degree in a small-campus setting like ours has proven

to be a real benefit for students in this region and

across the world.

We also made the difficult decision to discontinue

the hockey program. We grappled with playing

schedules, travel expense, and lack of post-season

play. This decision was not an easy one, and I

particularly appreciate the work of Athletic Director

Stephanie Helgeson and Head Coach Gary Warren.

With commencement, we mark a year of great

accomplishment and great challenge, and as the Class

of 2009 leaves us, we look forward to the future. With

the support of alumni and friends, we will continue to

work hard to educate students and provide valuable

research and vital outreach to the region, the state, and

the world.


Charles H. Casey, D.V.M.



From the Director of

Development & Alumni Relations

On Saturday, May 9, 2009, I arrived on campus with a strong sense of

excitement to visit with soon to be graduates, their families, and friends.

As I entered a packed, energized Sargeant Student Center for the precommencement

social, one of the first individuals I spoke with was Calvin

McMullen, Milledgeville, Ga. He informed me he had been offered a job

and accepted. Shortly after, I visited with Megan Hulst, Crookston, Minn.,

who plans to attend graduate school this fall. Making my way to Lysaker

Gymnasium for commencement, more familiar faces presented themselves

in Arnie and Pat Osland, Mayville, ND, proud grandparents of Senior

Jacob Osland.

As commencement ceremonies began, I listened to each of the platform

speakers all echoing the importance of staying connected, involved, and

communicating with your alma mater and the responsibility of advocacy and

giving back. As Senior Marshall Johnson, Pomona, Calif., stood up and made his way

to the podium to address the crowd, I listened to him speak proudly on the Class of 2009 Legacy Scholarship,

which he and the senior class organized, created, promoted, and contributed to.

Following commencement, I walked across campus to Bede Ballroom where a special celebration was being

held for our international students who had become new alumni. There, I had the privilege to speak with Victor

Obisakin, Osun State, Nigeria, and his parents. Leaving campus, I felt honored to share in this special day and

confident of our graduates and their future endeavors.

Congratulations to the Class of 2009, and welcome to the University of Minnesota, Crookston Alumni

Association. I commend you on your philanthropic vision. As alumni, your support is vital in all we do on this

campus. Thank you.

Best Wishes,

Corby Kemmer

Director of Development & Alumni Relations

Upcoming Events

June 12

June 25

June 26 -27

July 9

Highway 2 Golf Classic,

9 holes in Fosston at 10 a.m.,

9 holes in Erskine, Minn., at 2 p.m.,

$40, five-person teams

Mark Olsonawski

Scholarship Golf Tourney,

Hallock, Minn., 11 a.m.,

$40, four-person teams

NWSA Alumni Reunion

Heart of the Valley/

Teambacker Golf Tourney,

Ada, Minn. 1 p.m.,

$40, five-person teams

July 18

U of M, Crookston Teambacker

Golf Classic,

Crookston, 11 a.m.,

$80, five-person teams

October 2-3 Homecoming 2009

“Flying Through Time in 2009

November 4 Torch & Shield Recognition

Contact Bill Tyrrell at 218-281-8436 for more

information on golf tournaments.

Visit www.umcrookston.edu/umcnews

to find out what is happening on campus!

4 www.umcrookston.edu

Far Right: Chuck Holmquist ’52,

NWSA Alumni Association President.

Right: Cindy M. Bigger, ’79,

U of M, Crookston Alumni Association President

From the Alumni Presidents

We bring you greetings from the University of

Minnesota Crookston Alumni Association (UMCAA)

Board and the Northwest School of Agriculture

(NWSA) Alumni Association Board. My how the time


We are both so happy to have attended this great

school and to have gotten our start on this campus.

The 2009 graduates must feel the same way. As they

begin their new life as U of M, Crookston alumni,

they have some responsibilities. Our message to them

is the same message we would give to all who have

come before them:

Come back to the Crookston campus. Visit and see

the new buildings, the student research, have lunch,

look up a favorite instructor, and rediscover the

University of Minnesota, Crookston. Come back


Stay connected to your campus and your friends.

It is the relationships you have established that have

made you who you are.

Encourage the youth in your life to visit and

enroll in this great institution. They will always thank

you for introducing them to Crookston and helping

them earn a degree from the University of Minnesota.

It will change their life.

Give back to this place. It is our responsibility as

alumni to give back to the place that has given so

much to us. Whether the gift of time or a financial

gift, we want to encourage you to give back. You will

love how it feels, and together we can achieve


So that is the message to all of us. Come back, stay

connected, encourage youth to come here, and give

back to the University of Minnesota Crookston.

If you are looking for a reason to come back, the

Northwest School Reunion and homecoming are just

around the corner. Join us and others from your class

as we gather in Crookston for the Northwest School

Reunion, June 26-27, when “Rock and Roll Goes

Hawaiian” or homecoming weekend, October 2-3, to

celebrate “Flying Through Time in 2009.” We will see

you there.

Chuck Holmquist, ’52

NWSA Alumni Association President

Cindy M. Bigger, ’79

U of M, Crookston Alumni Association President


From the Chancellor......................................................................3

From the Director of Development & Alumni Relations ........4

Upcoming Events ..........................................................................4

From the Alumni Presidents ........................................................5

Call for Nominations–Torch and Shield Award........................6

Campus News................................................................................7

Graduation ......................................................................................8

Penny (Hedstrand) Moe ..............................................................9

Holly (Wildman) Kovarik ............................................................10

Robert Landry ..............................................................................12

Farhan Hussein............................................................................13

Anthony “Justin” McMechan ..................................................14

Faculty Women’s Association ..................................................16

Kaarina Visness ..........................................................................18

Enrique Julien ..............................................................................19

Keep in Touch ..............................................................................19

Jeffrey Wilson..............................................................................20

Barbara Ricord ............................................................................21

Eric Burgess ................................................................................22

Focus on the Board - David Sorvig ..........................................23

Amanda Peterson........................................................................24

Focus on the Board - Carl Melbye ..........................................25

Alumni News................................................................................26

In Memory ....................................................................................29


Call for Nominations for Torch & Shield Award

Nominations are being sought for the Torch &

Shield Award at the University of Minnesota,

Crookston. It is the highest award an individual can

receive from the campus and the recognition event will

be held on Wednesday, November 4, 2009.

The Torch & Shield Award recognizes individuals

who have provided leadership and who have aided in

the development of the U of M, Crookston; Northwest

Research and Outreach Center (NWROC); and


The purpose of honoring someone with a Torch &

Shield Award is to

• Honor contributions of significance to higher

education, the Crookston campus, and the region

• Recognize champions of the U of M, Crookston;

NWROC; and Extension for their impact on the

region through teaching, research, and outreach

• Distinguish both high profile individuals and those

who have been “quiet” contributors to the success

of the Crookston campus

Recognition is considered when exceptional service has

been given by an individual and may include such

things as

• Legislative advocacy for higher education that has

positively affected the campus

• Advocacy within the University of Minnesota’s

Board of Regents and/or central administration

• Membership on advisory committees, alumni

boards, Program Improvement Audit Committees

(PIAC), etc. which provided exceptional service

and/or guidance

• Outstanding leadership or service by an individual

to the U of M, Crookston; NWROC; and/or


• Provided financial support to enhance the mission

of the campus

• Faculty and staff may be selected for exceptional

contributions and/or service to the campus

A nomination form is available at

www.umcrookston.edu/alumni or by contacting Corby

Kemmer, director of Development & Alumni Relations

at 218-281-8434 (ckemmer@umn.edu).

Abbreviations and Definitions Used in the Torch

A.A.S. – associate of applied science; a degree

which focuses more on course work within the


A.S. – associate in science; a degree that

focuses on course work in the liberal arts and is

geared for transferring. In 2008, the associate in

science degree programs were discontinued.

Adv. – advanced designates the additional or

fourth year of instruction at the NWSA

Alumna – refers to female, singular

Alumnus – refers to male, singular

Alumni – refers to unisex, plural (originally, male


Alumnae – refers to female, plural

6 www.umcrookston.edu

Applied studies – degree option designed to

meet individual needs and educational

objectives that cannot be met through traditional

degree programs

Campus kid – the child of an NWSA faculty or

staff member who lived on the campus

C.S.A. – Crookston Student Association, the

governing organization of the student body

D.A. – doctor of arts

D.V.M. – designates a doctor of veterinary

medicine, i.e., Chancellor Charles H. Casey,


Ed.D. – a doctorate focused on academic and

administrative positions in education

Emeritus – a title honoring the role of a retired

professional, i.e. Professor Emeritus, Chancellor


Ex. (exited) – designates the last year registered

at the U of M, Crookston by an alumna/alumnus

who has not completed a degree.

B.A. – bachelor of arts

B.S. – bachelor of science; the

U of M, Crookston confers bachelor of science


M.A. – master of arts

M.S. – master of science

NWSA – Northwest School of Agriculture, the

agricultural high school located on what is now

the U of M, Crookston campus

Ph.D. – designates Philosophiae Doctor (Doctor

of Philosophy)

U of M – University of Minnesota

Campus News

Hockey Program to be Discontinued

Facing the current economic climate, looming state

budget cuts to higher education, and difficulties in

scheduling, and after exploring many options, the U of

M, Crookston announced the discontinuation of the

hockey program. Head Hockey Coach Gary Warren

was reassigned to work with game management,

athletic facilities, and assistant athletic director duties.

In the time since the Crookston campus reaffirmed

its commitment to NCAA Division II athletics in

2007, Head Coach Gary Warren and Athletic Director

Stephanie Helgeson have investigated many

alternatives to maintain a viable hockey program. A

major challenge arose later in 2007, when the

Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association (MCHA)

decided to move exclusively to NCAA Division III in

its membership following the 2008-09 season.

As the U of M, Crookston Golden Eagles

transitioned out of the MCHA over the next two

seasons, officials explored developing a scheduling

relationship with the Northeast 10, a Division II

conference comprised of colleges in Vermont, New

Hampshire, and Massachusetts. Two west region

NCAA Division III hockey conferences were also

contacted, as was the Minnesota Intercollegiate

Athletic Conference (MIAC), a Division III

conference made up of Minnesota private colleges.

Officials gave additional consideration to joining the

American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA)

Division I.

National PairWise Ranking issues, divisional

affiliation issues, lack of post-season play, increased

travel costs and missed classroom time for studentathletes,

and budget constraints all combined to create

a series of challenges that ultimately led to the

decision. “We exhausted every possible option before

taking this step,” said Helgeson. “We certainly did not

take this lightly, but the reality of the economics of

the state of Minnesota, the need to manage our

University resources effectively, and the increasing

challenges of fielding an NCAA independent hockey

schedule with no post-season have led us to this

difficult decision.”

Bob Johnson Teambacker of the Year

Bob Johnson was presented the Teambacker of the

Year award by past president Ed Odland at

Teambacker Fun Nite held at the Crookston Eagles

Club in late April. Johnson, who served as faculty

athletic representative for almost 30 years on the

Crookston campus, was presented the award for his

years of dedicated service and commitment to the U

of M, Crookston athletic programs. This was the

fourteenth annual event raising nearly $18,000 for

athletic scholarships.

Criminal Justice Certified by POST

The Minnesota Board of Peace Officer Standards &

Training (POST) has approved the certification of the

criminal justice program in the Arts, Humanities and

Social Sciences Department at the University of

Minnesota, Crookston. The certification means

graduates from the U of M, Crookston are eligible to

become licensed police officers in Minnesota. The

program, under the direction of David Seyfried, is the

only certified criminal justice program in the

University of Minnesota system.

Understanding the criminal justice system and the

law, while gaining skills in communication and

management, are important aspects of program.

Whether new to the field or currently employed in it,

students can earn a bachelor of science degree with

either a corrections or law enforcement emphasis.

To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu/



Tradition Marks

New Century

A number of students graduated this spring with

their degrees from the University of Minnesota

Online. Graduates pictured are: Sarah Domoradzki,

bachelor of science in business, and Mohamed

Farah, bachelor of manufacturing management.

In the spring of 1968, a torch

was passed—figuratively and

literally—from the final graduating

class of the Northwest School of

Agriculture to the first graduating

class of the University of

Minnesota, Crookston Technical

Institute. The torch of education has

been a tradition on the Crookston

campus throughout the years it was

a technical college, and in the years

since 1993, when it became a

baccalaureate institution.

The original torch was on stage

at the 2009 commencement

exercises in May to commemorate

this historic event, and along with

it, the torch designed in 2002 by

regional artist David Badman. This

torch, a gift from Badman, continues to symbolize the torch of education

passed to this campus in 1968.

A new tradition was instituted this year to commemorate the 100th

anniversary of graduation celebrations on the Crookston campus. It marks the

101st graduating class since the very first one in 1909 from the Northwest

School. The graduating president of the student government, the Crookston

Student Association (CSA), passed a newly-created “Century Torch” to the

incoming CSA president. This new Century Torch, was inscribed with the five

core values of the campus: integrity, excellence, diversity, innovation, and learnercenteredness.

Special thanks to Lew Hanson, maintenance

carpenter at the U of M, Crookston and to

DeBoer Industries of Crookston for creating the

new torch and to Paul Dwyer of Munn’s

Jewelers for the engraving work. From today

onward, the Century Torch will symbolize the

ideals and achievements of all graduates of this


Note: Thomas DeBoer, ’03, who is employed

by DeBoer Industries, created the brass flame

for the Century Torch. DeBoer and his wife,

Annie, reside near Crookston with their son,

James, and daughter, Kaitlin.

Visit the 2009 Commencement Photo

Album at www.umcrookston.edu/events/


The Century Torch was

passed for the first time at

graduation this spring. It

stood at commencement

exercises on a table given in

memory of William

Thorkelson, a 1913

graduate of the Northwest

School of Agriculture.

Thorkelson was a very

active student involved in

campus activities like the

boy’s debate team and

senior basketball. He served

with the American

Expeditionary Force in

France during World War I.

Thorkelson operated the

Pontiac and Allis Chalmers

dealership in Fertile, Minn.

As an alumnus, he returned

often to the campus for the

Northwest School alumni


Incoming Crookston Student Association President Thomas Haarstick (left) walks in

with Marshall Johnson, outgoing president, who is carrying the Century Torch.

8 www.umcrookston.edu


School Reunion

Penny (Hedstrand) Moe, ’59, will be thinking about

her classmates this summer when they return for the

annual Northwest School of Agriculture Alumni

Reunion when “Rock ’n Roll Goes Hawaiian.” The

reunion takes place on June 26-27, 2009, and the

Class of 1959 will be

celebrating their fiftyyear


Moe, came to the

Northwest School in

1955, following in the

footsteps of her

father, Elmer

Hedstrand, ’27; aunt,

Selma Hedstrand,’33;

and older sister, Toni

(Hedstrand) Couch,

’57. She grew up in

rural East Grand

Forks, Minn., and her

parents told her that if

she wanted to be

active in high school, then she better attend the

Northwest School.

Living and learning on campus was appealing to

Moe. She loved dormitory life and was involved in

everything on campus she was interested in.

“I even loved the homework,”

Moe exclaims. “I know it is hard to

believe, but I loved the homework

that went along with attending the

Northwest School. I even felt

tearful when the last day of the

school year came because I knew I

had to wait six months until I could

start again.”

Moe served as secretary of the

class when she was a freshman and

again as a junior. As a sophomore,

she won the Caleb Dorr Progress

Award Scholarship.

Richard Moe transferred from Fertile, Minn., to the

Richard Moe and

Penny Hedstrand

started dating just

before Richard transferred

to the NWSA

when they were both


Penny Hedstrand was crowned

homecoming queen when she was a

senior in 1959.

Northwest School when Penny was a sophomore. “I

met Rich before he came to the Northwest School,”

Moe says. “We dated steady for the next three years

and married following high school graduation.”

When she was a junior, Moe was the runner up in

the Blue Ribbon contest for her homemaking project

and went to Leadership Camp that summer. She was

awarded for her high academic achievement on the

honor roll, and in 1957, was crowned queen of the

4-H Dress Revue at the Polk County Fair. The Crisco

trophy for the outstanding home economics student in

1959 was presented to Hedstrand for her A-average in

all home economics courses taken during her four

years of high school.

For Rich, the Northwest School brings back great

memories of football and dorm life. After the two

were married, Rich attended Whapeton State School

of Science, Whapeton, N.D., to become an electrician,

and after he finished, they moved to Seattle, Wash.,

and both went to work for the Boeing Aircraft.

Rich was drafted and served in the military for two

years. Penny worked at Boeing and eventually joined

Rich when he was on Okinawa. When they came

back, Rich became a hairdresser, and they operated

their own salon for many years. Penny kept busy

raising their family.

About four years

ago, they began

spending winters in

Arizona, and in the

summer, they enjoy

their cabin in the

foothills of western


Traveling is

difficult for the

Moes so they will

not be able to come

to this summer’s

reunion, but they

will be with their

classmates in spirit. If it works for you, plan to join

Rich and Penny (Hedstrand) Moe pictured

with their son and their twin daughters.

your classmates and friends this summer. The alumni

relations office is looking forward to welcoming you

back when “Rock ’n Roll Goes Hawaiian!”


Watershed Experience

Nothing demonstrates the value of an education from the University of Minnesota, Crookston like the stories

of the alumni whose lives the campus has shaped. For Holly (Wildman) Kovarik,’00, the road to her current

position was shaped by her undergraduate experience.

Kovarik, a first generation college student, came to the U of M, Crookston as

the result of a scholarship she received during Ag Activities Day when she

was in high school. Growing up near Brooten, Minn., a small town in the

central part of the state, Kovarik pictured herself working with

Extension one day.

Associate Professor Lyle Westrom, Ph.D., served as Kovarick's

advisor. Hard work and determination led her to complete her

degree in 3 1 ⁄2 years. She graduated in December 2000 with a

bachelor of science in animal industries management and an

associate of applied science in agricultural business.

She did manage to work with U of M Extension during an

internship she held in Douglas County, where Kovarik worked

closely with Extension Educator Larry Zilliox and also had an

opportunity to work with Alumna Cindy Bigger,’79, who is

also an extension educator. Kovarik’s work was focused on

entomology and horticulture.

Before she graduated, Kovarik began working as a recruiter

for Land O’ Lakes. After classes, she would work her way

through files of potential candidates to fill animal nutritionist

positions in the local cooperatives by conducting phone interviews.

She was offered a permanent position with Land O’ Lakes in February

2001 as a staffing coordinator in the feeds division, a position that required

Holly (Wildman) Kovarik, ’00, is

married to Kip Kovarik, ’99, who

works for Midwest Machinery in

Glenwood, Minn. They have two

children. (Photo by Magic

Memories of Alexandria)

site as well. She also initiated the first water fest

in Pope County. It began with three schools and

about 180 sixth graders. It was a huge

undertaking and required collaboration and

coordination with a number of agencies. Kovarik

also helped institute the first-ever conservation

day for fifth graders which included topics on

wildlife and soils.

Today, Kovarik is the administrator for the

Sauk River Watershed District. She manages six

full-time staff and three interns and loves the

wide variety of responsibilities she has in the

a great deal of travel in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota,

Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas.

After 2 1 ⁄2 years with Land O’Lakes, Kovarik accepted a position with the Pope

County Soil and Water Conservation District. She developed their marketing

materials and

their first Web

10 www.umcrookston.edu

Kovarik manages six full-time employees, three interns, and a seasonal weed

harvest crew in her role as administrator of the Sauk River Watershed District.

ole. “I learned so many useful

skills as a student at the U of M,

Crookston,” explains Kovarik. “I

worked for Richard Nelson in the

Agriculture Department where I

had the opportunity to learn a lot

about office operations. Plus,

carrying a laptop with me all the

time helped equip me for the way I

would use computers in my


Kovarik has extensive

knowledge in grant writing and

understands firsthand the

importance of collaboration with

partners across the county and state

to conduct research. Every day,

Kovarik works to ensure water

Kovarik is secretary of the county fair board and helps organize the Pope County Fair every summer.

quality for the future and to help

the landowners who live nearby.

The mission of the watershed

district probably says it best: to

apply our unique abilities and

authorities in ways that protect and

enhance our watersheds resources

for today and tomorrow.

Kovarik is using her own unique

abilities to lead and to influence

and protect our precious water

resources—a career that will affect

those who live near the Sauk River

and the entire state of Minnesota.


Friday, October 2 – Outstanding Alumni and Athletic Hall of

Fame Banquet and Program, Bede Ballroom

6 p.m. Social

6:30 p.m. Dinner

7 p.m. Recognition Program

Saturday, October 3 – “Flying Through Time in 2009

11 a.m. Homecoming Parade on the Campus Mall

Noon Teambackers’ Tailgate

1 p.m. Football, Ed Widseth Field,

Golden Eagles vs. Northern State Wolves

Postgame Social at Minakwa following

the football game

5 p.m. Volleyball, Lysaker Gymnasium;

Golden Eagles vs. Southwest State

Minnesota Mustangs

Honoring classes from

’69, ’74, ’79, ’84, ’89, ’94, ’99, ’04, and ’09.

Encourage your class to “come home” for

homecoming, October 2-3, 2009!


And the Emmy

goes to...

From news footage on the tragic crash of

TWA Flight 800 and the 81-day standoff by

Montana Freemen in 1996 to the antics of

today’s reality TV, Alumnus Robert “Bob”

Landry, ’83, has witnessed it all from behind

the camera.

Landry came to the University of

Minnesota, Crookston Technical College

after playing junior hockey with the Des

Moines, Iowa, Buccaneers. He wanted to

continue to play hockey, but he also wanted

to go to college. The U of M, Crookston

offered him both. The honor of being named All-

American while playing Trojan hockey was a proud

moment for Landry and a highlight of his athletic


“I remember how I found out I was an All-

American,” Landry smiles. “I was sitting in Bruce

Beresford’s horticulture class when he announced that

‘we have an All-American in this

room.’ He was a great guy, and

he really took me under his wing

while I was a student.”

After graduating with a degree

in landscape, turf, and grounds,

Landry took a job with the golf

course in his hometown of Detroit

Pictured in 1982, Bob

Landry received an

Emmy for his work as

a camera operator on

the reality show The

Osbournes in 2002.

He also was one of

the nominees in 2005

for his work on The

Contender, another

reality show.

Lakes, Minn. “I had worked at the

golf course in the summer, and

decided one day that I wanted to

become a camera operator. How

come I don’t know; it was just

something I wanted to do.”

Following a year of training,

Landry took his first job at

WCCO TV in Minneapolis,

Minn., and from there he went on

to a number of stations, finally landing a job at CNN

where he was a camera operator covering the O.J.

Simpson trial, the Montana Freeman standoff, and the

crash of Flight 800. “I remember the eerie, calm of the

day that we flew from Los Angeles to New York to

cover that tragic accident,” recalls Landry. “It is a day

I will never forget.”

Bob Landry, second row third from the right, was an All-American.

Row 1: Student Manager Nancy Greenwood, Co-Captain Tim Brown, Bernie Foss, Joel

Johnson, Jim Pelowski, Joe Magnusson, Co-captain Scott Pieper, Student Manager Chris

Lindquist. Row 2: Asst. Coach Chuck Habstritt, Jim Norlander, Bob Clauson, Scott Morse,

Mark Perreault, Robin Brekken, Kenny Thunder, Bob Landry, Todd Fisher, Head Coach

Tom Kelly. Row 3: Scott Brolsma, Jeff Hedlof, Steve Biermaier, Steve Bade, Elliot Solheim,

and Milo Ravndalen.

Shooting film for a news broadcast “teaches you

shoot to edit and you edit your own stuff,” Landry

explains. Now, this seasoned camera operator no

longer edits but has a body of camera work that is

long and varied. He has worked behind the scenes on

popular television shows like The Bachelor, Survivor,

The Biggest Loser, Dateline, Big Brother, Good

Morning America, Fox Sports, and Wife Swap to

name just a few. “It is about who you know in

Hollywood,” Landry remarks. “A production company

will call you based on what you have worked on and

what they know about you.”

He doesn’t miss a beat when asked what he

considers the project he found most satisfying.

“Working on the Osbournes was probably the most

rewarding,” Landry says. “I have an Emmy from my

work on that show, and Ozzie Osbourne and his

family treated us like we were part of the family. They

were just so nice.”

Working on The Contender is another standout

experience. The reality show follows a group of

boxers as they compete with one another and face

elimination. “They worked so hard at their sport, and

they went through so much,” Landry reflects. “They

really gave it their all.”

Landry also doesn’t hesitate when asked what he

remembers about his collegiate experience. “I

remember my fellow hockey players and my wingers,

Erick Grafstrom, ’84, and Bobby Clauson,’82. I had

such a great experience at the U of M, Crookston,” he

confirms. “It is a great campus with the best

instructors. I was surrounded by great people all the


12 www.umcrookston.edu

Inspiring the Aspiring

Helping young students discover their potential is

the responsibility of University of Minnesota,

Crookston Alumnus Farhan Hussein, ’02. He is the

director of the Lighthouse Academy of Nations in

Minneapolis, Minn. The high school, which focuses

on creating a caring learning community for students

from all over the world, is a charter school designed

for youth from immigrant and refugee communities

and focuses on preparing them for college or technical

school. He provides leadership for some 200 students,

ages 13 to 21, representing 10 different nationalities.

Hussein is serious about education, and he

definitely “walks the walk.” He has worked for

Minnesota charter schools for the last 14 years, all the

while attending graduate school. In 2002 with a

degree in information technology management,

Hussein became the technology coordinator for the

Higher Ground Academy in St. Paul.

“I remember when I came to the University of

Minnesota, Crookston in the late 90s, the field of

information technology management was a great place

to find a career,” Hussein says. “I had Bruce Brorson

for my advisor, and I enjoyed what I learned on the

Crookston campus and used those skills in my

professional career.”

During the time he was at the Higher Ground

Academy, Hussein began taking education courses in

the evening and graduated with a project management

degree, and later, a school administration degree from

St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. He went on to

earn licensure as both a principal and superintendent

in the state.

In 2005, he became principal of a charter school in

Rochester, Minn., and later, moved back to

Minneapolis to take on his current role.

With the two master’s degrees completed, Hussein

didn’t slow down, but rather, went right to work on a

doctorate in educational leadership at the University

of North Dakota in Grand Forks. He will graduate in

summer 2009.

“I have been working and going to school steady

since I left the University of Minnesota, Crookston,”

explains Hussein. “I am looking forward to receiving

my doctorate and using what I have learned to help

students succeed. Learning is very important to me,

and I want to use my education to inspire others.”

Farhan Hussein, a native of Somalia,

lives in Minneapolis with his wife and

three children. This photo was taken in

Somalia when Hussein visited there

about two years ago.

Stand By Me

American humorist and writer Mark Twain said, “It

is wiser to find out than to suppose.” For 2009

graduate Anthony “Justin” McMechan, supposition is

not an option. His education has taken precedence

over other aspirations, and this brand new graduate is

just getting started.

“My father has always encouraged me to pursue

my goals,” says McMechan. “He told me that it is

never a waste to get more education.” Those valuable

words and the support of his family and professors at

the University of Minnesota, Crookston have

McMechan heading to graduate school next fall.

McMechan planned a study abroad experience in

China this summer after graduation. “I like cultural

change, and I love to travel,” he explains. “It is like I

am getting two educations at once.” He adapted to

college in the United States after graduating with an

associate’s degree from Assiniboine Community

College in Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. The daughter

of one of his faculty members there, Loni Powell, ’05,

attended the U of M, Crookston.

Originally, McMechan planned to return to the

family farm in Pierson, Manitoba after he earned his

degree from Assiniboine. All that changed when he

McMechan (left) and Senior Adam Stoe, Badger, Minn., were a part of a

two-member team that competed at the Collegiate Crops Judging Contests

in Kansas City and Chicago, coached by Associate Professor Chuck


had an opportunity to visit the University of

Minnesota, Crookston and decided to complete a

bachelor of science in agronomy with an emphasis in

crop production. “Chuck Habstritt really sold me on

the program, and I was comfortable right away,

McMechan remembers. “I believe where you study

matters as much as what you study.”

He was impressed with the help he received as a

transfer student. Not only did all his credits transfer,

his advisor, Associate Professor Chuck Habstritt,

“helped me with any questions I had regarding my


The farm where McMechan grew up feeds 200

head of beef cattle and raises small grains. He is no

stranger to long hours and hard work. His love of

agriculture influenced his decision to choose a degree

in agronomy. He hopes to

work as an extension

educator some day.

While a student,

McMechan was a member of

the Agronomy Club, the

Study Abroad Club, and the

crops team. He received an

All-American award for seed

analysis from the Kansas

Ian McCrae, Ph.D., helped McMechan

as he worked through the decisions he

had to make about graduate school.

14 www.umcrookston.edu

Justin McMechan at work in the lab during his class in plant breeding and genetics.

City Collegiate Crops Contest and identification from

the Chicago Collegiate Crops Contest.

As a student, he felt the influence and support of

many on the Crookston campus including Rob

Golembeski, Ph.D., his plant pathology professor.

“Rob brought a great deal of enthusiasm to the

classroom and a new paradigm to my learning


“I also owe my gratitude to associate professors Ian

McCrae, Ph.D., who helped me with the graduate

school application process, and Jochum Weirsma,

Ph.D., because I have learned so much from them.”

McCrae and Weirsma have teaching appointments in

addition to the work they do at the Northwest

Research and Outreach Center and with Extension.

“Charla Hollingsworth, Ph.D., helped make sure I

got to know people in the industry,“ continues

McMechan. “She was willing to put her reputation on

the line in order to give me an opportunity to prove

myself. Charla solidified my desire to work in

Extension and her dedication to work is something I

only hope I can achieve.” McMechan worked with

Hollingsworth on research on a variety of diseases in

wheat and barley.

McCrae, who teaches entomology, would like to

see McMechan pursue a graduate degree. “Justin is

the kind of student you'd really like to see go to grad

school,” McCrae says. “ He's smart, keen to learn, but

most importantly, he is inquisitive, and he cares about

finding answers to problems.”

McMechan credits his success with “having a lot of

people standing behind me.” He is looking for that

supportive environment in a graduate school as well.

“I have become socially fluent in this inviting

environment, and I want to find a graduate program

that nurtures my education in the same way.”


Frolicking for Fun(ds)

In 1966, Batman and Robin began fighting crime on TV, and “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” aired the

last of their 380 episodes. That year was also the inaugural year for the University of Minnesota, Crookston

Faculty Women’s Association. These talented and dedicated women would create a legacy for the Crookston

campus through their fundraising efforts and their support of campus activities.

Former First Lady Mary Beth Sargeant; Jeannine Windels, wife of Harvey Windels, Ph.D., a former research

specialist in animal science at the Northwest Research and Outreach Center; Mary Ann Knotek, wife of Dale

Knotek, who was an instructor and director of student activities; and

Diane Bachmeier, wife of former athletic director Marv

Bachmeier, were all an integral part of the women’s

association. They remember the hard work it took, but

more than that, they remember the fun.

The Faculty Women’s Association used many

familiar methods to raise money at the time, like bake

sales, style shows, and luncheons, but this group of

the university’s women also offered unique

opportunities for the campus and community, like a

foreign film series. These films were shown three

Four of the women involved with Faculty Frolics over the

years, reminisced about the fun they had during a luncheon

last winter at former First Lady Mary Beth Sargeant’s home.

(l to r): Diane Bachmeier, Mary Beth Sargeant, Mary Ann

Knotek, and Jeannine Windels.

times during one weekend each month from October to

May in Kiehle Auditorium. Money raised from the film

series funded the first scholarships given by the women’s


A scholarship committee drafted criteria for the University

Faculty Women’s Club Scholarship. Members of the committee were Doris Flom, communications instructor;

Betty Brecto, secretarial studies instructor; and Dorothy McCulla, public relations. The first $150 scholarship

recipients were announced at a tea for women students at the home of First Lady Mil Sahlstrom, wife of

Founding Provost Stanley Sahlstrom. Judith (Laude) Bremer and Sheryl (Hoeft) O’Gorman, both ’69 graduates,

were the first-ever recipients of the scholarship.

After several years, the women decided to abandon the foreign film series for something more fun. On

November 12, 1971, the first-ever

Faculty Frolics debuted. This

popular variety program, put on by

faculty and staff members along

with their spouses, included skits,

musical and dance numbers, walkons,

and even poetry. Admission

was $1 and all the proceeds

benefitted scholarships. That first

year, Faculty Frolics raised enough

money to double the number of

scholarships given. The hour and

Batman (Dale Knotek), left, was joined in the

fight against crime with Robin (Marv

Bachmieier) in this photo taken in 1975.

16 www.umcrookston.edu

The chorus line was a popular act during Faculty Frolics in 1975. Members of the line

included (l to r): Ellen Leake, Mary Beth Sargeant, Clara Hodgson, Jeannine Windels,

Jan Opgrand, Christ Habstritt, Diane Bachmeier and Karen Johnson.

half program, filled with spoofs of all kinds, was a

crowd pleaser.

Highlights of programs through the years included

the talents of faculty member Lynne Mullins as

columnist Erma Bombeck, a women’s chorus line

mimicking the Rockettes, while an “older” group of

dancers was fondly known as the “Wreckettes.”

Horticulture instructor Bruce Beresford and his wife,

Barbara, played “ma and pa,” John Bywater, director

of admissions and financial aid, took on the role of

W.C. Fields, Jeannine Windels joined then Vet’s Club

advisor, Al Vouk, ’87, to become Sonny and Cher for

the lip sync “I Got You, Babe,” and a beauty pageant

featured future chancellor Donald Sargeant as “Miss

Crookston.” Phil Buckley, from the Ag Division, often

served as the event’s emcee.

In 1973, Faculty Frolics raised $700 in support of

scholarships, and in 1974, tickets were raised to $1.50

at the door and proceeds came in at a whopping

$1,203. With a cast that included as many as forty

people, the faculty women planned the programs,

wrote scripts, and organized rehearsals in preparation

for the two performances. Mary Ann Knotek was

responsible for all the music that served as a

background for the performances.

“Every year after the second night of Faculty

Frolics, we all went to Sahlstrom’s,” recalls Windels.

“We had an after-the-frolics party.” The date for the

event was always the weekend after football season

ended and before the basketball season began.

Holiday dinners, children’s parties, and a host of

other events kept the women busy, but Faculty Frolics

remained a mainstay for seven years. In 1978, the

Crookston Daily Times reported sterling performances

by Marlena Dietrich (Mil Sahlstrom) along with the

antics of the caped crusader Batman (Dale Knotek)

and his trusty sidekick Robin (Marv Bachmeier).

Always at the center of these activities was First

Lady Mil Sahlstrom. When the Sahlstroms retired in

June 1985, Faculty Frolics ended. Diane Bachmeier,

president of the women’s association at the time,

praised Mil Sahlstrom and her leadership; with her at

the helm, the women’s association had raised enough

money to provide $10,000 in scholarships to U of M,

Crookston students.

Knotek recalls warmly the feelings shared by the

women, “The one thing that stands out for me is the

continuing friendships we formed and the closeness

we felt as part of the Faculty Women’s Association.”

That sentiment is echoed by Sargeant, “Our

children grew up together and because many of us

came from different areas of the United States, we

became a family—the UMC family.”

The legacy of the Faculty Women’s Association

continues. Today, the Women’s Project Fund carries

on the tradition of raising money for scholarships.

Events like the Valentine Gala held in February 2009

are providing support for students. It all started with

six women and ten children back in 1966. Over the

years, campus and community women have given

their time and energy to a most important cause—

helping students on the Crookston campus pursue

their academic dreams.


Five horticulture students won first place at the annual Mid-

America Collegiate Horticulture Society (MACHS) Competition in

fall 2008 hosted by the Northwest Missouri State University at

Maryville. Team members included (l to r): Kaarina Viseness,

Kristine Neu, Kim Keunyung, Stepheni Tietje, and Jennifer Zoch.

Planting Passion

Growing up in the garden sounds like the

description of the ideal childhood. Imagining Kaarina

Visness, ’09, growing up in that setting is not difficult

at all. “I always loved the garden,” Visness explains.

“I love flowering plants, but my passion is in

sustainable agriculture and gardening to grow your

own food.”

Gardening has many benefits,

and research reminds us that

gardening is good for the

mind, body, and spirit. It

is also good for the

environment. “There

are multiple rewards

in the simple task of

gardening,” Visness

says. “We reap

rewards physically,



psychologically, and


In the face of economic hard

Kaarina Visness is pictured

with Assistant Professor Eric

Castle examining a branch in

the Nature Nook area near

Owen Hall.

times, gardening has gained

popularity. “I find gardening

relaxing, but I also feel a sense of

my heritage,” Visness

continues. “My dad

farmed for many years. A big garden was

always a part of our life on the farm. Both

my parents enjoy the garden, and they

passed that love on to me.

“There is a sense of satisfaction that

goes along with raising your own food. It

is both rewarding and aesthetically


When she was in high school, Visness

considered other majors, but she found her

niche in horticulture. “Each semester at the

University of Minnesota, Crookston just

seemed to confirm my decision to major in

horticulture,” Visness reflects. “Over time

I also discovered my particular interest in sustainable

agriculture and my love for growing food.”

Visness will be getting married in July, and then

she and her husband will move to Florida for training

at the HEART Institute. HEART, the acronym for

Hunger Education and Resources Training, is an

interdenominational training center designed to

prepare people to serve effectively in Third World

countries. The training covers a wide spectrum

including small animal husbandry, sustainable

agriculture, primary health, and community


“We would like to work in a Third World country

at some point,” Visness says. “The training at HEART

will help us gain the practical skills we need to do


Visness’s degree in environmental landscaping and

production horticulture at the U of M, Crookston has

given her a great background no matter where life

takes her.

Regardless of where she lives in this country or

around the world, Visness says, “I hope to be growing

plants for the rest of my life. I grew up in the garden,

and it is a place I would like to continue to grow for

for the rest of my life.”

Visness works on the Campus Mall.

18 www.umcrookston.edu

Eagle 1 News

Takes Flight

A digital audio and video production class taught

by Tom Sondreal, senior media producer, led to the

creation of a new way for students to get campus

news highlights. Eagle 1 News, the brainchild of

Enrique Julien, ’09, Miami, Fla., is a news program

that keeps students informed about what is happening

on campus using video interviews and highlights.

“As a member of Students in Free Enterprise

(SIFE), it was a new avenue for me to get involved in

the organization,” Julien explains. “I went to the

Black Student Association and to SIFE to see what

they thought, and I got great support from both of


Julien relied heavily on the work of his reporters

Calvin McMullen, ’09, Sparta, Ga.; Senior Alyssa

Jensen, Cameron,

Wis.; Junior Kyle

“KWhy” Myers,

Palmyra, N.J.; Raldy

Romero, ’09, Miami

Springs, Fla.; Senior

Yvonne Valgren,

Stanley, N.D.; Senior

Enrique Julien, shown working during

Support the U Day, majored in sport and

recreation management and

manufacturing management and minored

in business management.

Deborah Halstad,

Fertile, Minn.;

Nestor Sai, ’09,

Ivory Coast; and

Senior Chansouda

“Souda” Rattanavong, Warroad, Minn.

“My reporters were always willing to help me,”

says Julien. “I depended on them, and they always

Enrique Julien, who graduated in May is heading back to Miami to look for

a job. His fiancé, Senior Rose Vigness, an accounting and business

management major, and their daughter, Amiya Rae, will join him as soon as


came through. It was a big job to coordinate Eagle 1

News, but I learned something new every day about

video production.”

Julien and his Eagle 1 News team produced five

shows in fall 2008 and another four during spring

semester 2009. It takes a lot of preparation and

planning for each episode. “We had to coordinate

interviews with instructors, coaches, students, and that

meant we had to be dedicated to making it happen.

“I could not have done Eagle 1 News without Tom

Sondreal; he works magic with his editing and

technique. I also would like to thank all the coaches

who gave me their time and helped me so often with

features. And, I want to thank Rose Vigness, my

fiancé, who encouraged me and supported me in this


Next year, Eagle 1 News will be headed by seniors

Athena Mussenden, Kenosha, Wis., and Alyssa

Jensen. To watch past episodes of Eagle 1 News, visit


eagle1.htm, and watch for new episodes in fall 2009.

Three New Ways to Keep In Touch and Informed

Visit the U of M, Crookston on Facebook at www.Facebook.com. If you don’t have your own

account, create one, and keep in touch. Look for the University of Minnesota, Crookston

Alumni—it’s the official group for all graduates of the Crookston campus.

You can also follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com! Just search for UMCrookston and

follow all the latest news from the Crookston campus.


While you are at it, sign up to get the U of M, Crookston Alumni eNews. Send an e-mail to

Sue Dwyer at sdwyer@umn.edu to get your name added to the mailing list.


Wilson enjoyed scuba diving

at the Great Barrier Reef.

Outback Living

The mountainous island of Tasmania with its great

natural beauty and acres of protected land is the

perfect place for a natural resources student to study.

University of Minnesota, Crookston senior and natural

resources major Jeffrey Wilson, Spooner, Wis.,

describes his study abroad trip as, “the best experience

of my life so far.”

Wilson’s trip took him for a semester of study to

Strahan in Western Tasmania. He arrived in Australia

in July two weeks before classes started to sightsee

before making his way to University of Tasmania.

When classes ended the first of November, Wilson

took advantage of an opportunity to spend the rest of

his time visiting Australia. The father of a friend he

met during his semester of study had a place for him

to stay in Mission Beach, Queensland.

“I lived with a row of palm trees and coconut trees

between me and the ocean,” explains Wilson. “I

would wake up with the sun and head to the ocean for

a swim.”

He took advantage of whitewater rafting on a

nearby river and snorkeling near the Great Barrier

Reef, but the highlight of his adventure came in the

form of a two-week road trip from Mission Beach to

Melbourne, Victoria, in the southeastern corner of

Australia, with friends he made during his stay in

Mission Beach.

In the car were four

different people from four

different countries which, Wilson says, “led to

interesting discussions on many topics.”

A 1970 Holden Kingswood car without air

conditioning, took them on their 1,693 mile adventure.

They stopped every day along the way to buy fresh

produce to eat. “Every night we spent camping at

spots along the beach, swimming, hiking, and visiting

Wilson, front row, second from the right, was one of 29 natural resources

students enrolled in the park and recreation management class at the U of

M, Crookston who completed training to become Project WET (Water

Education for Teachers) educators.

the countryside,” Wilson recalls. “We only drove as

far as we wanted each day, allowing us to take time

for exploration of beautiful beaches, rivers, and

anything we felt like stopping to see.”

“I would like to have stayed longer,” explains

Wilson. “But, going half way across the world makes

you realize that family is very important. My sister

was expecting a baby and my brother was getting

married, and I knew I wanted to be home for both.”

He smiles when he says his current ambition is to

graduate from the U of M, Crookston, but one thing

Wilson knows about his future is he wants to continue

traveling. “If I were to give someone advice, I would

tell them to take advantage of study abroad

opportunities. Leave yourself time to explore and find

the unexpected. It will be the best experience of your

life… so far.”

Senior Jeffrey Wilson is majoring in natural resources with an emphasis in

park management. He is also passionate about flying and intends to go to

flight school after he completes his bachelor’s degree.

20 www.umcrookston.edu

Barbara Ricord has

served as the assistant to

the chancellor since 2004.

Wishing Fair Well

Big changes are in store for the chancellor’s office this spring.

Barbara Ricord, assistant to the chancellor, is retiring after a 19-

year career at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. She came

to the Crookston campus in 1990 when she began working in the

campus computer center.

“The computer took up the entire room back then,” Ricord

says. “I worked with Don Medal in a position that was half-time

and grant funded. When the grant ran out, I worked in the

morning with Dick Christenson in the registrar’s office and in the

afternoon for Bruce Brorson in Continuing Ed.” She also worked

for Bob Nelson doing payroll for student affairs.

While she was working in Continuing Ed, she became part of a

cohort group that completed a master’s of education through the

University of Minnesota. “I took classes with many from U of M

Extension who also were interested in completing their graduate

degrees,” Ricord recalls. “It was a great opportunity for me to

earn my degree.” Ricord’s bachelor’s degree was in education

from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks.

After moving to the Red River Trade Corridor, which later

became Northern Great Plains (NGP), she worked half time in

Continuing Ed and half time with

Jerry Nagel at NGP.

There was a lot of travel

included in working for NGP. She

assisted Steve Hannah, who is

currently the coordinator for the

Center for Teaching, Learning, and

Techology, and Del Wright with

A retirement reception was held in

late April for Barbara Ricord,

assistant to the chancellor, and

Professor Barney Selzler, Ed.D., who

taught in the Arts, Humanities, and

Social Sciences Department.

computer training sessions, and at

one time, conducted interviews for

the book Renewing the

Countryside: North Dakota

published by NGP.

In 2004, Ricord moved to the

chancellor’s office and remained in the role of assistant to the

chancellor until her retirement in June 2009.

Filling the time after retirement will be easy for Ricord. Her

thirteen grandchildren are a big part of her life.

“I am headed to New Jersey in May to visit my daughter and

her family,” Ricord smiles. “I am going to spend my summer

there helping my daughter and playing with my grandchildren. I

am looking forward to traveling and spending more time with my

family. It is a big change for me, and I am excited about it.”


Volume 41, Number 2, Summer 2009

Torch is a publication of the University of Minnesota,


Director of Development & Alumni Relations

Corby Kemmer

218-281-8434 ckemmer@umn.edu

Support Staff

Rose Ulseth, ’87

218-281-8439 rulseth@umn.edu

Sue Dwyer, ’74

218-281-8401 sdwyer@umn.edu

UMCAA Board of Directors

Cindy Bigger, ’79

Brandy (Lietz) Chaffee, ‘00

Nancie Hoerner, ’95

Kylene (Odegaard) Lehmann, ‘01

Juanita Lopez, ’08

Amy (Peterson) Lubarski, ‘02

Carl Melbye, ‘77

Kari (Vallager) Moe, ’03

Jen Novak, ‘06

Michelle Ramstad, ‘03

Leah (Stratton) Reitmeier, ’93,

Kari Torkelson, O.D., ex. ‘91

NWSA Alumni Association Board of Directors

Allan Dragseth, ‘57

Lowell Hamrick, ‘53

Charles Holmquist, ’52

Bob Kresl, ’53

Norm Landby, ‘55

Melvin Larson, ‘55

Barbara (Hylland) Lunsetter, ’56

Berneil Nelson, ’42, ex officio

Gerhard Ross, ‘45

David Sorvig, ‘47

Jean (Stromstad) Vigness-Parker, ‘55

Contact information:


Elizabeth Tollefson, ’02, editor

University of Minnesota, Crookston

2900 University Avenue

Crookston, Minnesota 56716

Phone: 218-281-8432

Fax: 218-281-8440

E-mail: ltollefs@umn.edu

The University of Minnesota, Crookston is a public, baccalaureate,

coeducational institution and a coordinate campus of the

University of Minnesota. The Northwest School of Agriculture

(NWSA) was a residential high school serving students from 1906-

68 and the predecessor of the Crookston campus. The Torch is

named for the historical passing of the educational torch between

the NWSA and the U of M, Crookston in 1968.

The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all

persons shall have equal access to its programs, facilities and

employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national

origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status,

veteran status or sexual orientation.

Printed on recycled and recyclable paper with at least 10

percent post-consumer material using agribased inks.

Designed and printed at FinePrint of Grand Forks, Inc.

On the cover: Senior Calvin McMullen shakes the hand

of University of Minnesota Board of Regents Vice Chair

Clyde Allen after receiving his diploma during

commencement exercises on Saturday, May 9, 2009.

Photo taken by Mike Christopherson and used courtesy

of the Crookston Daily Times.


All Business, All the Time

The U of M, Crookston SIFE Team won their tenth consecutive

regional championship this spring under the direction of

business instructors, Eric Burgess, Ph.D., and Kenneth Johnson.

He is all business. That’s right, Eric Burgess,

Ph.D., instructor in the Business Department at the

University of Minnesota, Crookston, means business

in the classroom and when he is advising the Students

in Free Enterprise (SIFE) or the Black Student

Association (BSA). He is all business, all the time.

Burgess grew up in St. Louis, Mo., where he

attended a segregated school until he reached the

seventh grade. His mother instilled in him the

importance of education, never allowing race to be an

excuse to underachieve, and to take charge of his own

destiny. Aptitude tests indicated strength in

engineering, and when he graduated high school, he

headed to junior college for an associate’s degree in

electrical engineering. “At first, I did all right,” says

Burgess. “However, I seemed to get bored early on

and ended up dropping out.”

After looking for a job, Burgess secured one as a

draftsman at a utilities company. “I went to work as

an apprentice draftsman,” he explains. “My military

draft number was high enough that I never got called

and many of my co-workers were. During the

Vietnam war, I worked my way up to construction

draftsman, but when the guys came back from the

service, I got bumped back to apprentice; that’s when

I decided I better go back to school.”

More serious this time, Burgess completed his

degree at Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Mo., in

business with minors in marketing and economics.

“This time I applied myself, and made the dean’s list

all the time,” Burgess says. “I finished in three years

by going year round. I really wanted to get my

master’s degree in business administration so I

continued and graduated as one of the first graduates

in Lincoln’s MBA program.”

When recruiters came to campus, Burgess was

always there to interview. It was good practice for a

real interview and

created a nice

network for him.

When he graduated

with his MBA, he

had three job offers

on the table, “I took

a job with Proctor &

Gamble in St.


He stayed with

Proctor & Gamble,

moving to Chicago,

Ill., then Cincinnati,

Ohio, and even

worked a year on a

special assignment in

London, England.

Eric Burgess, Ph.D., came to the U of M,

Crookston ten years ago and recently

earned his doctorate from the University

of North Dakota.

When the company went through restructuring,

Burgess decided to take the retirement offer and try

consulting. He also had in his mind that he would like

to try teaching.

“I always enjoyed training and development,” says

Burgess. “It seemed so similar to teaching and that

sparked my interest in being an instructor.” He took a

job in Holly Springs, Miss., 30 miles from a home he

had built in Memphis, Tenn., where he was in charge

of the adult learning program for the business school

at Rust College. To his credit, Burgess was

responsible for starting the Rust College SIFE


22 www.umcrookston.edu

One day, while reading the

Chronicle of Higher Education,

Burgess noticed a job opening at

the U of M, Crookston and the rest,

as they say, is history. He is

celebrating his tenth anniversary at

the Crookston campus, and he

hasn’t let any grass grow under his

feet. He completed his doctorate in

educational leadership from the

University of North Dakota, Grand

Forks, and has led one of the most

successful SIFE teams anywhere.

“I want to work until I die,”

Burgess smiles. “I love the

environment in higher education.

My own education is something I

worked to achieve as a personal

Burgess advises Senior Tyler Wolden, a business management major from Wadena, Minn.

goal. The opportunities I have

through SIFE and through teaching

allow me to work to inspire

students to pursue their own

dreams. It doesn’t get any better

than this.”


When David Sorvig, ’47, graduated from the Northwest School of Agriculture, he headed to California to

work. He was employed by Standard Oil and later worked in a garage. “John Sjostrand taught me

a great deal at his garage,” Sorvig says. “I learned how to weld, paint cars, and everything in


Eventually, Sorvig came back to Minnesota, married, and began farming. He was

drafted, spent two years in the army, and when he came home decided to open an

implement dealership in St. Hilaire, Minn. Transitioning from farm implements to

wholesale plumbing supplies was an important move for him. In fact, the

business he established, St. Hilaire Supply, recently celebrated its 50th


Serving on the NWSA Alumni Association Board is something Sorvig

enjoys, and he says, “It is because of my fond memories of the Northwest

School that I enjoy my work with the board so much.” They are currently

preparing for the alumni reunion on June 26-27, 2009. Sorvig and the board

members would encourage all Northwest School alumni to come back for a

weekend of reminiscing and renewing friendships.

Sorvig has four sons and a daughter. Two of his sons are graduates of the U of

M, Crookston Technical College, David, ’74, and Joe, ’75. Sorvig and his wife,

Claudia, live on Maple Lake, Minn.


The Western Equestrian Team finished sixth place

overall at the national semifinal competition at the

University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio. Peterson (top

row, second from the left) finished fourth in open

horsemanship and fifth in reining. Members of the

Western Equestrian Team, back row (l to r):

Kayla Klein, Amanda Peterson, Mary Hurley,

Coach Nikki Overgaard, ’96. Front row: Kaitlyn

Tollefsrud, Melissa Zanotelli, Anna Steen

Riding Smart

For Amanda Peterson,

Rochester, Minn., it is not just

horsing around. Competing on the

equestrian team at the University of

Minnesota, Crookston is serious

business for this student-athlete.

She was the top western rider Zone

9, Region 3 and competed for the

2009 American Quarter Horse

Association (AQHA) Trophy

against 22 other riders. The

national competition for the

Intercollegiate Horse Show

Association (IHSA) took place in

Murfreesboro, Tenn., at the end of


Peterson says she was ready

for this year’s competition, “I

have been working hard and

riding smart and that was my

goal at nationals as well.”

She did ride smart. The

junior finished in tenth place

overall in the competition,

and with that, ends her

season on a high note.

The equestrian

team’s Head Coach

Brooke Leininger

is impressed

with Peterson’s

skill. “Amanda

is a focused

rider, she was


against all the

best riders in

the nation, and


24 www.umcrookston.edu

represented the team with

proficiency and even under

pressure, she handled herself like a

true professional.”

Peterson has been riding horses

since she was in third grade and

back home continues to enjoy

showing Paints. Riding with the U

of M, Crookston Equestrian Team

means shows five to six weekends

during the season with two shows

per weekend. During that time,

riders accumulate points, and the

top two in regions go to seminationals

and the top four go to

nationals to compete

for the AQHA Cup.

Riding is very

competitive; both

the western and

hunt teams in

Region 3


against teams like North Dakota

State University, Fargo, N.D.;

South Dakota State University,

Brookings, S.D.; St. Cloud State

University, St. Cloud, Minn.;

University of Minnesota, Twin

Cities; and University of Wisconsin

campuses in Eau Claire, Madison,

La Crosse, River Falls, and

Milwaukee; along with several


Always active and keeping

herself busy, Peterson considers

herself to be good at prioritizing

tasks. Something this studentathlete

has had to hone as a double

major in equine science and

agricultural business.

When she looks back on her

collegiate career thus far, she says

two things stand out in particular.

“I have my two best friends as

roommates in Centennial Hall, and

they are both on the equestrian

team with me,” Peterson reflects. “I

will always remember when

our team qualified for

semifinals; qualifying as a

team capped off an amazing

season for all of us.”

If you are interested in

supporting scholarships for

student-athletes, contact Bill

Tyrrell, director of athletic

fundraising at 218-281-8436


Amanda Peterson was named Outstanding Female Athlete of

the Year this spring. Peterson double-qualified for regionals in

horsemanship and reining and was the high point or reserve

high point rider in eight shows. She scored 75 points, good for

top point earner recognition on the team and in the region.

Amanda Peterson was a member of both the hunt and western teams and served as a co-captain of the hunt team when she was a sophomore. Her focus

now is on competing as a member of the western team.


Douglas “Carl” Melbye, ’77, is an experienced member of the University of Minnesota,

Crookston Alumni Association Board. He has been on the board every decade since the

70s, serving as president in the 90s and currently serving as vice president. While

president, he was instrumental in bringing back the annual homecoming parade; he

says serving on the board helps him keep in

touch with campus.

One of the outstanding memories

Melbye has of campus life was a trip

DECA (Named for Distributive Education

“It is great to share times with

fellow alumni.”

- Carl Melbye

Clubs of America) took to Brainerd, Minn. As a computer programming major,

he recalls Donald MacGregor’s computer technology system project class as

his favorite.

“As a member of the board, one of my goals is to raise money for

scholarships,” says Melbye. “I also enjoy the get-togethers we have away from

the meetings. It is great to share times with fellow alumni.”

For the past ten years, Melbye has been the bookkeeper/circulation manager at

The Crookston Daily Times. He and his wife, Maribeth, have a daughter, Jordan, and a

son, Beau.


Alumni News

This alumni news reflects submissions

that were received by May 11, 2009.

News received after that date will be

in the next issue of the Torch.

John Christgau, campus kid, Belmont,

Calif. Author John

Christgau’s newest

book is Kokomo

Joe: The Story of

the First Japanese

American Jockey in

the U.S., published

in April 2009.

Visit his Web site

(www.johnchristgau.com) for

information about Kokomo Joe and his

other published works.


Paul Proulx, ’46, Crookston, Minn., was

recently honored

with an 80th

birthday party

hosted by his

children. The open

house celebration

was held at

Minakwa Golf Club in Crookston.


Minnesota, Crookston! Have you

thought about getting your class

together If you are interested, contact

Rose Ulseth in the Office of

Development & Alumni Relations at

218-281-8439 (rulseth@umn.edu).

Ronald Reitmeier, ’68, Fisher, Minn.,

and his wife, Julie, were recently

honored as Valley Farmers and

Homemakers for West Polk County at

the 71st Annual Honor Banquet

sponsored by the Minnesota Red River

Valley Development Association. They

were chosen for the good example

they have demonstrated in their family

life, their community service, their

farming or agribusiness operations,

and their efforts to conserve natural



Arlene (Putikka) Tucker, ’73, Duluth,

Minn., is the finance director for the

city of Hermantown, Minn., a position

she’s held since September 2008.

E-mail Arlene at tuck5080@yahoo.com.

Cindy (Pexsa) Zirngible, ’78,

Reedsburg, Wis. E-mail Cindy at



Timothy “Tim” Johnson, ’80, Cook,

Minn., recently took over the State

Farm Insurance and Financial Services

Agency in Cook. E-mail Tim at


Paul Amundson, ’85, Fargo, N.D., was

named vice president by Forum

Communications Co.

Amundson has been

with the company

since 1987 and

created i29, an

Internet access

business, in 1989. He

helped launch online

initiatives for the entire company in

1996, which includes more than fifty

newspapers and broadcast Web sites

in a four-state region.

Scott Rocholl, ’85, Underwood, Minn.,

is senior vice president of Farmer’s

State Bank in Underwood. He and his

wife, Leah, have two children, Hannah

and Noah, who attend Underwood

High School.

Jose Ortiz, ’88, Juarez, Mexico. E-mail

Jose at dop@live.com.mx.

The Class of ‘68 and the Class of ‘69

had a great reunion gathering during

homecoming weekend last fall. Thank

you to everyone who worked so hard

to encourage classmates and friends

to return. It was a weekend to

remember, and we loved having you

come home to the University of

Jeff Norby, ’79, Detroit Lakes,

Minn., is a soil conservation

technician with the USDA/NRCS,

Detroit Lakes Field Office. He

recently traveled to Haiti, as a

member of the board of directors

of TeacHaiti, to meet with

students and their families and

explore the effectiveness of the

organization. To learn more, visit

www.teachaiti.org or e-mail

Jeff at jeff.norby@hotmail.com.

26 www.umcrookston.edu

2 3 4

Falls, Minn. Dan is a diesel mechanic

at Redstone Construction in Mora.


Pictured at a recent get-together are: Front row, l to r: Kenny Bond, ex. ’96; Chad Simons, ’94; Brian

Weiner, ex. ’93; Jon Labine, ex. ’93; Jesse Maruska, ’95; Glenn Marcotte, ex. ’93. Back row, l to r: Kyle

Gowin, ’95; Mike Liljestrand, ’93; Chad Priewe, ’92; Bill Tyrrell, director of athletic fundraising and

former athletic trainer; Ryan Mullikin, ex. ’94; Jim Miller, ex. ’92


1 A group of former University of

Minnesota, Crookston football

teammates gather informally on a

yearly basis.

Matt Wallace, ’91,

Eagan, Minn., and

wife, Jennifer,

celebrated their fifth

wedding anniversary

on June 5, 2009.

They are also happy

to announce the birth of their daughter,

Natalia Brooke, who was born October

3, 2008. E-mail Matt at


Jeff Bergsgaard, ’95, Irvine, Calif.,

recently accepted a new position as

vice president relationship manager

with American Business Bank in Los

Angeles/Orange County. E-mail Jeff at


Jeff Hellermann, ’97, Starbuck, Minn.,

was recently elected as a chapter

officer and member of the executive

committee of the Minnesota Chapter of

the Soil and Water Conservation

Society (SWCS) and represents the

Red River of the North region of the

SCWS. He has 18 years of work

experience and has served as the

district conservationist for Stevens

County since 2004.


An informal group of softball alumni

recently visited the U of M, Crookston

campus. Pictured at the gathering are:

l to r: Katie Delohery, ’08; Lisa Erickson, ’06;

Katie Murray, ex. ’04; Jean Korkowski, ’04;

Kerry (Stinar) Casper, ’04; Dena (Schauland)

Conrad, ’03

2 Darin and Kylene (Odegaard)

Lehmann, ’01, Fertile, Minn., along with

brother Otto, are excited to announce

the birth of their daughter, Sena Karine,

on March 9, 2009. She was 7 lbs. 12 oz.

and 19 1 ⁄2 inches long.

3 Becky (Kuechle) Stueber, ’02, Mora,

Minn., and her husband, Dan, are

proud to announce the birth of their

son, Noah Daniel, on December 29,

2008. Becky is a loan officer for

USDA/Farm Service Agency in Little

Lonnie Spokely, ’03, Cummings, N.D.,

was seated as a United States Potato

Board member at the organization’s

annual meeting recently in Denver,

Colo. He was named to serve on the

board by former Agriculture Secretary

Ed Schafer. Spokely Farms is a family

farm that has been in operation since

1871, and Spokely has been growing

potatoes for 31 years. Spokely also

serves as secretary of the Minnesota

Seed Potato Growers Association.

Michelle Bakken, ’04, Ormond Beach,

Fla., and R. Sean Walker were married

on February 13, 2009.

Cameron Brauer, ’04, Olympia, Wash.,

is a consultant for EDS, a Hewlett-

Packard company. His current project

title is business analyst working on the

Next Generation Tax System (NGTS)

Project in the Employment Security

Department of Washington State.

Sue Hanson, ’04, New Rockford, N.D.,

is working as dietary manager/dietetic

tech at the Lutheran Home of the Good

Shepherd in New Rockford. E-mail Sue

at hans1622_s@hotmail.com.

4 Tiffany Hasbrouck, ’04, Carbondale,

Ill., and Eric Schmidt will be married

June 12, 2009, at the Cathedral of

Immaculate Conception in Crookston,

Minn., with a reception and dance

following the ceremony at the

Northland Inn. Tiffany is currently

employed by Deloitte and Touche as

an auditor. Eric is a Southern Illinois

University football coach.


Alumni News

Cheryl (Isder) Heard, ’04, Lake Wilson,

Minn., currently represents the

Minnesota and Missouri River region

of southwestern Minnesota with the

Soil and Water Conservation Society.

She is the district conservationist with

the Natural Resource Conservation

Service in Clarkfield, Minn.

Josh Jaeger, ’04, Chippewa Falls, Wis.,

recently completed his doctor of

chiropractic degree, passed his final

boards, and is a certified chiropractor.

He’s working in a large Eau Claire, Wis.

clinic that’s been in business for 51

years. Jaeger is pictured with Corby

Kemmer, director of Development &

Alumni Relations, during a recent

campus visit.

Russell Kleinschmidt, ’05, Long Prairie,

Minn., is the district conservationist for

the USDA-Natural



Service in Wadena,

Minn. He was

recently elected as

president elect of

the Minnesota

Chapter of the Soil and Water

Conservation Society. Kleinschmidt’s

family includes his wife, Jessica and

5-month old son, Hunter.

Lauralee (Nicholas) Tupa, ’05, Bemidji,

Minn., was recently named program

coordinator for the Northwest Small

Business Development Center (SBDC).

Tupa previously served as a facilitator

for the SBDC.

Jason “Jake” and Jessica (Cowan)

Rarick, ’06 & ex. ’06, Crookston, Minn.,

announce the birth of their daughter,

Anna Rayne, born March 6, 2009. Jake

works as a fabricator at Eickhof

Columbaria and as a Visa specialist at

Scheels. Jess works as a customer

service representative at Alerus


Tara Sylvester, ’06, Warren, Minn., and

Jerred Copp, ex. ’07, were married

March 28, 2009,

at Trinity

Lutheran Church

in Crookston,

Minn. Tara is

employed by

Community Bank

of the Red River

Valley in Warren

as a customer

service representative. Jerred is an

agronomist at Argyle Chemical, Argyle,


Amy Konradi, ’07, Chaska, Minn., and

Justin Bosshart

were married

May 16, 2009, in

Sherburn, Minn.

Konradi is

employed as a

teacher at

Primrose School

of Eden Prairie.

David LeTourneau, ’08, White Bear

Lake, Minn., is a federal agent with the

U.S. Border Patrol. After he completes

training this fall in Artesia, N.M., he will

work out of Ajo, Ariz.

Juanita Lopez, ’08, Crookston, Minn., is

the executive assistant/event

coordinator for the Crookston Area

Chamber of Commerce. She started as

a summer intern and moved into her

full-time position in 2008. Her son,

Logan, is 15.

Do you know alumnus/alumna who should be recognized for his/her athletic accomplishments at the

University of Minnesota, Crookston Nominate them for the Athletic Hall of Fame.

The criteria and nomination form are available at www.goldeneaglesports.com/halloffame.

28 www.umcrookston.edu

In Memory

In the spring 2009 issue of the Torch,

Eric R. Sureda, ‘07, was inadvertently listed in

the In Memory section. The information provided

to us was incorrect, and we apologize for the

error and any inconvenience caused by it.

Marlowe Moe, ‘41

Hallock, Minn.

April 21, 2009

Dr. Kent Hanson, ‘44

Phoenix, Ariz.

July 25, 2008

Cecil Parr, ‘45

Belle Plaine, Iowa

(formerly of Drayton, N.D.)

February 2, 2009

Francis Mireault, ‘46

East Grand Forks, Minn.

May 3, 2009

Isabelle (Grembowski) Sten, ‘47

Stephen, Minn.

March 12, 2009

Richmond H. Lapp, ’48 adv.

Grafton, N.D.

April 16, 2009

Wilford Dostal, ’49 adv.

Angus, Minn.

April 19, 2009

Jean Ellen (Friberg) Johnson, ex. ‘61

Roseau, Minn.

February 25, 2009

Arne Roseland, ex. ‘73

Crookston, Minn.

March 11, 2009

Gary Vizenor, ’82 & ‘84

Spring Valley, Wis.

December 18, 2008

Jeff Burke, ex. ‘83

Crookston, Minn.

April 26, 2009

Paul M. Anderson, ’86

Hillsboro, N.D.

April 3, 2009

Will Language

Remember the University of Minnesota, Crookston

A will or living trust is a statement about what

matters most in your life. It ensures that your

intentions are clearly understood and will be followed

by those administering your estate.

If you value your experience at the University of

Minnesota, Crookston or the Northwest School of

Agriculture, you can leave a legacy through a gift to

the campus in your will. Your generosity will help

further the mission of the University of Minnesota,

Crookston to provide education, research and

outreach. The following language can be used by you

and your attorney in your will:

“I give, devise and bequeath to the University of

Minnesota Foundation (percentage, sum or

description of property) for the benefit of the

University of Minnesota, Crookston.”

If you would like more information, contact Corby

Kemmer, director of development & alumni relations

toll free at 1-800-862-6466, ext. 8434 or 218-281-

8434 (ckemmer@umn.edu).

For more information about giving, visit


*Excerpted from The Importance of a Will published by

the University of Minnesota Foundation.


Northwest School Alumni,

Can you help

She is the “girl of the hour”

the photograph says, but we

want to know more!

Can you help us identify the

people is in this photograph and

what the story is behind it We

are always looking for stories

from the Northwest School. If

you have someone or something

you think would make an

interesting interview or story,

contact Elizabeth Tollefson,

assistant director of

communications, at 218-281-

8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu).

Watch the fall 2009 issue of

the Torch for all the reunion

photos and stories!

We Want to Hear From You!

To submit an item for the Alumni News Section, complete this form and send it to UMC Alumni Relations, 115

Kiehle Building, 2900 University Avenue, Crookston, MN 56716, e-mail: rulseth@umn.edu or complete the form on

line at: www.umcrookston.edu/alumni/keepintouch.html.






Year of Graduation or years of attendance

May we include your e-mail in the news section of the Torch ____________________________

Can we publish it in our online directory ____________________________

Information or news you wish to share (new job, career, or family achievements, etc.)

30 www.umcrookston.edu



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