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The University of Minnesota Duluth

BRIDGE - Fall 2009, Volume 27, #1

Alumni Notes




2001 2002 2003
2004 2005
The University of Minnesota Duluth Bridge publishes Alumni Notes. You can send us notes by e-mail:, by fax at 218-726-6186. If you are in the U.S., you can send your note in to: Alumni Director, University Relations, University of Minnesota Duluth, 315 DAdB, 1049 University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812. This issue of the Bridge reflects the notes we received before September 1, 2009.







PASSING --Remembering those who have left us.



UMD 2008-2009
Alumni Association
Board of Directors

Susan Bathory ’75 – Duluth, MN
Mitchell Berg ’97 – Mahnomen, MN
Bill Branum ’98 – Maple Grove, MN
Beth Brown ’79,
Director Emeritus – Sun Lakes, AZ
Michael Dean ’67,
Past President – Duluth, MN
Joy Degruccio ’67 – Costa Mesa, CA
Patty DeLano, Alumni Director
Matt DeWerff ’05 – Minnetonka, MN
Bonnie Edwards ’83 – Eveleth, MN
Jeffrey Feldman ’88 – Eden Prairie, MN
Bridget Huberty ’98 – Minneapolis, MN
Margaret “Peg” Haley Kepner ’68
– Tucson, AZ
Jake Konerza ’04 – Woodbury, MN
Rodney Landin ’99,
President – Shoreview, MN
Bea Levey ’68 – Duluth, MN
Mike Miller ’01 – St. Paul, MN
Tracey Muench ’99 – Duluth, MN
Julie Munger ’98 – Duluth, MN
Beth Niemi ’66 – Duluth, MN
Cory Otto ’04 – New Brighton, MN
Luanne Paquette ’69 – Duluth, MN
Alan Peterson ’73 - Duluth, MN
Janet Petersen ’36,
Director Emeritus – Duluth, MN
Lisa Pratt ’77, Associate Alumni Director
Nicholas Schmidt ’02 – Minneapolis, MN
Bill Shipley ’66 – Duluth, MN
Sharon Weber ’04 – Shoreview, MN
Catrina Whitehead ’04 – Duluth, MN
David Zollar ’91 – Lake Elmo, MN
Wayne Gatlin ’10 – Duluth, MN scholarship recipient

The UMD alumni office would like copies
of UMD year books. Please mail to
Alumni Association, 315 Darland, 1049
University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812.


James Denney reports that there are three generations of UMDers in their family, their son James Denney, Jr. ’80 and grandson, James (Jimmy) Denney III, who now attends UMD.


Beatrice Ojakangas, Duluth, received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, at the UMD Commencement Ceremony in May 2007.


Robert M. Anttila and his wife, Maxine, San Diego, Calif., celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in September 2007.

John N. Sandness, Princeton, B.C., Canada, retired from his job as a science and woodshop teacher. He started a small enterprise relating to fly fishing and published a book titled Trout Talk.


Corinne R. Carlson and David Carlson, Duluth, recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.

Beatrice Lee Zane has retired from the Hawaii Department of Education after working for 42 years with the organization. She has two daughters and four grandchildren.


Susan Randall Fedo ’64 and David Fedo ’65, are in their second year of a two-year adventure in Singapore. David is executive director and visiting scholar for Wheelock College’s Center for International Education, Leadership, and Innovation and Susan is adjunct faculty in Wheelock College’s new Singapore bachelor’s program. They both will conduct orientation programs for faculty and students, as well as coordinate services between Wheelock’s Boston and Singapore campuses. .


Robert O. Harder, Chicago, Ill., is a commercial pilot, certified flight instructor, and newsletter column freelance writer. He flew 145 combat missions in Vietnam during his military service.


James L. Nichols was elected to the board of directors for the Minnesota Society of CPAs.


David Graffunder has recently retired after working 30 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Daniel Klenow, Ph.D., is the chairman of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Emergency Management at North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D. The department offers the only Ph.D. program in the country in Emergency Management.


Bonnie Baker, BAS ’71, MA ’78, Superior, Wisc., retired from the Superior School District after 35 years as a speech therapist.

During a ceremony at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in December 2007, Four Star General Bruce Carlson, was inducted into the AFMC Order of the Sword, the highest honor given to a person who has contributed significantly to the enlisted corps.

Roger I. Grumdahl is a financial planner in Plymouth, Minn. He and Connie, his wife of 35 years, have four children.

Vivian Hart and Aethan Hart, ’76, Hudson, Wisc., are Gold Award recipients of the International Audio Visual Awards 2007 competition for their award winning production, Funny Faces, about early childhood education.

Michael J. Santi retired from the Air Force in 1991 after twenty years of active duty service. He currently
works for the State of Washington. He and his wife, Yuki, have two sons.

Tim W. Schwanke served for 22 years on active duty in the Minnesota Air National Guard. He made the rank of Lt. Col. and currently lives in Fla.

Kurt Soderberg retired as executive director from the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District in Duluth, after almost 28 years.


Cathy A. Armstrong retired in 2006, after teaching 26 years at Congdon Park Elementary School. Cathy and her husband now reside in Sun City West, Ariz. and have recently traveled to Poland, Alaska, and Mexico.

Richard A. Mickelson, Eau Claire, Wisc., was the recipient of the Fuji New Approach Award for creative photography, from the University Photographers Association of America.


Donn Johnson, professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark., received the 2007 ESA Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management from the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America.

Thomas E. Larson, Cedar, Minn., is chair of the First Street Gang group which holds a golf tournament each year, the UMD First Street Golf Classic. The proceeds of the tournaments now stand at over $45,000 and the First Street Gang has awarded student scholarships for the past eight years.

Bruce L. Smith is a professor for the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University. His book, Engaging Public Relations: A Creative Planning Approach, was recently published by Kendall/Hunt Publishing.

John Ward a member of the House of Representatives for the State of Minnesota, District 12A, was named the 2006 Wal-Mart Minnesota State Teacher of the Year.


In 2007, Gale Anderson presented three students $500 scholarships from the scholarship fund named for her husband: the UMD Bradley A. Anderson ROTC Memorial Fund.

Mary C. Hassinger was appointed as vice president for academic affairs at Stephens College in Columbia, Mo.

Ella R. Inglebret received the 2007 certificate of recognition for special contributions in multicultural affairs from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. She co-authored a book entitled The American Indian and Alaskan Native Student’s Guide to College Success. Ella is an assistant professor in speech and hearing sciences at Washington State University.


Margie R. Bodas has been reaffirmed as the vice president of practice management at Lommen, Abdo, Cole, King & Stageberg, P.A. by the firm’s board of directors. She is a shareholder in the firm and practices in the areas of bankruptcy-related litigation, workers’ compensation-related litigation, and legal malpractice.

James R. Koepke, who works for Hennepin County, released his fourth book, Good Enough for Government Work.


Thomas C. Borg is an associate director of advanced marketing for AIG American General in Houston, Texas, where he provides training on products and advanced sales concepts.

Reed Hanson works for American Airlines marketing frequent flyer miles. Reed and his wife, Caroline, have two children.


Vicky Knickerbocker has taught at several colleges since 1992 and is currently teaching at Inver Hills Community College. Vicky is on several planning/advisory committees and is planning to attend the International Holocaust Educators Conference in Israel this summer (where she will make two presentations).


Patti Tolo, Interlochen, Mich., is the new director of annual giving for the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Dirk J. Barrett, St. Michael, Minn., was appointed north central regional manager for Jet Edge, Inc. He has 20 years of experience in sales and marketing in the floor coverings industry.


Karen L. Durst, Berea, Ohio, is director of the honors program at Baldwin-Wallace College. She will use her 30 years of experience in higher education to direct a program that focuses on academic excellence and the development of future leaders.

Paul A. Rajkowski, St. Cloud, Minn., was elected president of the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association in August.


Sharon (Midkiff) Randolph has published the first two volumes of a four part series titled Connecting Us to the Sun. This is a historical exploration honoring travelers on their journey as they build Minnesota and Montana, develop small communities, and create Glacier National Park. Sharon has been the student development coordinator at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Mont. for the past 17 years.


Ann M. Beste-Guldborg, MA ’84, completed a Ph.D. in educational leadership. She is employed as principal of Northside Elementary School in Wolf Point, Mont.

Thomas R. Cleveland, Castro Valley, Calif., is a senior manufacturing technician for Novom Nordisk Delivery Technologies.

Karl William Oestreich, Eagan, Minn., has joined UnitedHealth Group, Minnetonka, Minn., as director of external media relations.


Mark E. Chapman was ordained as pastor at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Portland, Ore. Mark and his wife, Linda, are living in LaBolt, S.D., where Mark has been serving as pastor of Labolt Covenant Church since 2004.

Brad Johnson is a conservation officer with MN DNR. Brad and his wife, Gayle, recently moved to Maplewood, Minn.

Lynn M. Wiljanen, MA ’87, Greenbackville, Va., is the dean of student development at the Wor-Wic Community College.


Marianne Bohren has been named the executive director of the Western Lake Superior Sanitary District and started the new position in July. Marianne and her family live in Cloquet, Minn.

Guy E. Farish, Brunswick, Ohio, is associate academic dean at Baldwin-Wallace College. He assists the vice president for academic affairs and the college dean on activities and initiatives.

Jennifer Lynn Hatfield, Phoenix, Ariz., is a senior analyst for Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.


Joseph J. Maijala, Wilton Manors, Fla., was named director of sales & marketing for the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale Hotel in Fla.

SuAnn M. Ojard, Vernon, Conn., is an academic literacy teacher for the Capitol Region Education Council. SuAnn and her husband, Greg, have twin daughters.


Chris J. Wyman serves as chief of the Department of Defense Intelligence Information System Programs Division at Langley Air Force Base, Va.


Shawn T. Foy and Maureen Foy, Minnetonka, Minn., were married in May 2007.


Lynn A. Hollatz, Duluth, a planner for the City of Duluth’s Department of Planning and Development, received a master’s degree in UMD’s Advocacy and Political Leadership program in 2006.

Ross G. Tollefson is currently the vice president and director of risk management for Wells Fargo Education Financial Services. He lives in Woodbury, Minn., with his wife Beth, and three children.


Michael Wahl, Orlando, Fla., is a financial administrator for ministries within Campus Crusade for Christ and also helps send people around the world on mission projects. He and his wife, Alisa, have three children. .


Amy Rutledge left her post at KQDS –TV Channel 21 and took a new job at Minnesota Power/Allete Inc.  


Bradley S. Bremer is vice president of retail operations for the Appliance Recycling Centers of America headquartered in Minneapolis. Before taking his current position in 2007, he served as retail operations manager for the company’s retail division, ApplianceSmart.

Ellen R. Erlenbusch is a senior financial analyst for Thomson West. Ellen and her husband, Guy, live in Farmington, Minn., with their son Lukas.

Kevin T. Kelly was appointed executive vice president/chief credit officer of Summit Community Bank in Maplewood, Minn., and appointed to the bank’s Board of Directors.

Joyce J. Peppin was re-elected in November 2006 to the Minnesota House of Representatives to represent district 32A in northwest Hennepin County.

Alan P. Wright was recently certified in production and inventory management and was promoted to world wide distribution analyst with Emerson Process Management. He and his wife, Kate, live in Chaska, Minn., with their three children.


Jean Michael and husband, James, are parents of a baby girl named Amelia. Amelia was born on August 21, 2008.

Laurel Osterkamp has won a 2008 National Indie Excellence Book Award for her first novel, Following My Toes. It is a book about a young woman who moves from Duluth, fresh out of college, to make a new start in Minneapolis. It mirrors some of Laurel’s life experiences. Laurel is a creative writing teacher at Columbia Heights High School and hopes the book can inspire her students.


Gordon Ramsay, Duluth’s (youngest ever) Police Chief, received a UMD Criminology Program Distinguished Alumni Award in June 2007.

Pam Spencer, Associate Academic Advisor, Student Affairs Office, UMD College of Liberal Arts, received a UMD Criminology Program Distinguished Alumni Award in June 2007.


Carrie (Rossow) Boberg and husband, Steven Boberg, live in Duluth. Carrie is co-owner of her own film company, 4 Track Films LLC. Carrie Boberg and Jason Page ’95 have been in the movie world for 13 years. After spending five years in L.A., they decided to move back to Duluth and make their own independent films. Their first production in Duluth was the comedy Newton’s Disease. In fall 2007, under the patronage of the A.H. Zeppa Foundation, they began production on the mock-rockumentary, ... and on the 7th day, God Rocked.

David W. Dahlen and his wife, Carissa, Eagan, Minn., had a baby girl, Brenna Madison Dahlen, in March 2007. Dave is an actuary at Travelers Insurance in St. Paul.

Susan (Houle) Norman and Paul Norman, ’96, Broadlands, Va., celebrated their ten year wedding anniversary in September 2007. Paul is the director of sales/account management for United Healthcare and Susan is a registered nurse focusing in oncology. They have three children.

Andrew Kremer has been promoted to partner at one of the Midwest’s leading independent accounting and consulting firms, Boulay, Heautmaker, Zibell & Co. (BHZ). Andrew joined the tax department in 1999 and has been a manager since 2003.


Erik D. Finstad and wife Tabitha, Gordon, Wisc., welcomed their newborn son, Carter, into their family last July. He joins siblings Naomi and Tatianna. Erik was named chief financial officer of Anderson Lubricants, Inc. He also owns Finstad Holdings, Inc.

Joshua Meyer and Heather (McFarland) Meyer, ’97, live in Arlington, Va. Heather is in force development integrations at the Pentagon, and Joshua was deployed for a year in Baghdad.

Jenni (Dolezilek) Sternberg and husband Paul, Duluth, had a baby girl named Katarina, in May 2007.


Joel Green and Karen (Madrzak) Green, ’97, Prairie Du Sac, Wisc., and their two sons, welcomed a third son, Simon Elliott, into their family in September 2007. Joel is a forestry technician, and Karen is a speech language pathologist.

Cheryl Reitan MA ’97, MLS ’03, was awarded the UMD Outstanding Service Award on April 16, 2008. This is the highest award given to recognize members of the UMD staff.

Kathryn and Jason Sullivan married on October 4, 2008.

Dr. Mario Hesse, assistant professor, St. Cloud State University, received a UMD Criminology Program Distinguished Alumni Award in June 2007.

Max Welter and Kimberly (Gaspard) Welter, Otsego, Minn., had twins in November of 2006. Max is a technician for Toyota Lift of Minnesota, and Kim is an art director for Tartan Marketing.


Dominic Chiapusio is a F-15E Strike Eagle pilot working on the Instructor Pilot program. He lives in Idaho.

Paul A. Fassbender and his wife, Michele, Arlington, Va., welcomed their new son, Samuel, into their family in June 2007. Paul is serving as counsel to U.S. Senator Bob Corker for the State of Tenn.

Timothy J. Higgins is deputy chief, wing weapons & tactics at Tinker Air Force Base.

David Longhorn is at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. with his wife and three children. In 2008 he returned from the Combined Aerospace Operations Center at Al Udeid, Qatar and attained the rank of major.

Jingsu Pu, MS ’98, and wife Dongbing Hu are currently living in New York City with their son Henry. Jingsu is vice president and actuary for SwissRe, the world’s largest reinsurance company.


Mike Crooks is a KC-135 instructor pilot at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Becky A. (Smit) Eckhardt is the elementary principal of Harney Elementary in South Sioux City, Neb. She and her husband, Jim, have two children.

Liz and Ryan Friederich welcomed their second baby girl, Sidney Marie on September 10, 2008. She joins big sister Regan.

Tracey D. Muench, Duluth, was appointed to the Duluth Public Arts Commission for a term of three years. She is a member of the UMD Alumni Association Board.

Ellen M. (Strickland) Storck and William Storck were married in August 2006. Ellen is a school counselor at St. John School in Waupaca, Wis.

Katie and Jim Vetter are the new parents of Alec Jay Vetter who was born on May 9, 2008.

Andrew I. Wistrcill moved from the Royal Air Force base in Lakenheath, England flying F-15Es to be the A Flight Commander 390 Fighter Squadron at Wild Boars, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. He lives with his wife, Andrea, and daughter, Alyssa.


Michael Jason Browers was awarded a 2008 American Inhouse Design Award by Graphic Design USA for a website he designed. He is a communications coordinator for Lake Region Medical in Chaska, Minn.

Gregg McCall received a 2007 Five Star Elite President’s Club Recognition award from U.S. Bancorp Investments Inc. and U.S. Bancorp Insurance Services LLC. Gregg is a vice president and financial consultant for U.S. Bancorp in Duluth and was honored with this award based on his service, sales, and leadership excellence.


Rebecca (Johnson) Bergstrom and husband, Dan, live in Austin, Minn., with their two children.

Milton H. Luoma, Burnsville, Minn., is assistant professor for the Information and Computer Science Department at Metropolitan State University.

Jody (Rathe) Roberts and Jamie Roberts, ’05, were married in October. Jody is a service manager at Wells Fargo Bank in Duluth, and Jamie works in the accounting department for Sam’s Club.

Rhianna L. Williams is the government documents librarian for Michigan Technical University in Houghton, Mich.


Chris Kleist was named the 2008 Rookie of the Year by the Minnesota Wastewater Operators Association, an award given to new members of the professional wastewater treatment industry who show great potential in the field.

Anton Mett and Melissa (Reibel) Mett, Pine Island, Minn., had a baby girl, Amelia Ann, in March 2007.

Lori VanEssen-Omer and Wesley Omer welcome their new baby boy, Evan Wesley. Evan was born on August 7, 2008.


Kevin Eklund is a C-130H flight navigator with 50th Air Lift Squadron, Little Rock Air Force Base, Ariz. In August 2007, he left for his second deployment to Iraq. Kevin and his wife, Liz, have two children.

Christopher D. Murray, Winter Springs, Fla., was promoted to senior business manager of Alliance Sales & Marketing in Orlando, Fla.


John P. Kapla, Royal Oak, Mich., was featured in a Swedish publication from the Luleå University of Technology. He currently works for DaimlerChrysler on their advanced vehicle concepts and innovation team.

Troy E. Peterson and Nicole (Dullman) Peterson live in Duluth with their children Elise and Emery. Troy is a digital media project manager for Questex Media Group, Inc.

Dan J. Schone is deployed to AI Udeid Air Base, Qatar.


Rebecca (Carlson) Boll and Brian Boll were married on March 14, 2008 in Maui, Hawaii.

Tucker A. Hanlon was promoted to assistant district manager for Farmers Insurance in Duluth. He hires and trains new clients, and helps agents within the district.

Nicholas M. Peterson and Amanda (Magaard) Peterson, Duluth, were married in September 2007.

Katherine Sklors moved to Minneapolis and became a management trainee for The Buckle at the Rosedale location. Since then she became general manager of her own store in the Ridgedale Mall. Katherine returns to the Duluth area for the Jobs and Career fair, with her company.


Andrea Johnson, Duluth, owns the Duluth Running Company store and is active in the fitness field.

Jeffrey Sharkey won a software contest to create new programs for Google’s cell phone operating system called Anroid Developer Challenge. His program, AndroidScan, which was chosen out of 1,800 entries, uses a cell phone camera to read barcodes and will provide any type of information about that product: prices, reviews, online vendors, and nearby stores selling the same product.

Brian Skellenger, Long Lake, Minn., was nominated “The Best New Face in Twin City Theater” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2006, after his lead role in Vestibular Sense performed at Mixed Blood Theatre. In June, he opened the production of 1776 at the Guthrie Theatre.


Lisa M. Atkinson is the retail gallery manager at the Photography Gallery in Two Harbors, Minn.

Lee T. Church received his Air Force commission in June and is attending UMD’s Medical School.

Joel McKinnon Miller, a central cast member in the HBO series Big Love, returned to UMD to complete his degree. He came back after over 20 years of acting on the stage, in films and on television. He left UMD just two classes shy of graduating, but finished to be a role model for his children. “I did it for my kids, that’s the bottom line,” he said.

David M. Schindler recently completed the Navy Nuclear Power Training Unit course at Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in Goose Creek, S.C. David received instruction about nuclear theory, chemistry, physics, reactor operations, safety, and security. Upon completion of the course, David was designated a nuclear power operator.


Leslie N. (Les) Eskola, BS
February 13, 2008

Robert H. (Bud) Larson, BS
January 19, 2006

Beverly Denney, BS
October 18, 2007

Rose M. Burley
, BS
October 30, 2007

Ronald L. Keel, BS
May 31, 2007

David A. Specht, BS
April 23, 2007

John W. Hill Jr
., BS
May 16, 2007

Charles E. (Chuck) Holm, BA
January 4, 2008

Lucretia D. Bloyd
, BA
January 14, 2006

Dr. Kraig F. Strapko, BA
November 8, 2006



Edwin (Ed) Haller
December 12, 2007

John Verrill
January 2, 2008

Merle Bryant
June 3, 2008

Robert Falk
June 28, 2008

Donald Haynes
July 16, 2008



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BRIDGE, the UMD Magazine, 1049 University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812

The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer.