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  • Alumni Awards

Alumni & Friends

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  • Distinguished Alumni Awards

     

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    The MSUM Alumni Foundation seeks to recognize and honor accomplished alumni. We are proud of your success, and in turn, proud of the role MSUM has played in your lives. While many are deserving of recognition, only a select few are chosen each year. Each recipient exemplifies the high standards we have come to expect from graduates of Minnesota State University Moorhead and each has made significant contributions to the communities where they reside and work.

    Nominations may be submitted throughout the year, with review and selection occurring in the early spring. Nomination deadline for 2017 is Feb. 1. Recipients are honored at the Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony, an integral part of Homecoming festivities.

    Nominations are accepted for the following categories of recognition:

    Distinguished Alumni Award - recipients are typically at the peak of their professional careers. More than one alumnus may be selected.

    Outstanding Young Alumni – recipients are graduates of the past decade with notable career or community impact.

    Outstanding Service Award - recipients have given a significant contribution of time and talent to MSUM.

    To nominate an MSUM alumnus for a Distinguished Alumni Award, please complete the online form. For more information feel free to email alumni@mnstate.edu or call 218.477.2143.

  • 2017 Alumni Awards

    Minnesota State University Moorhead will recognize outstanding alumni at the Distinguished Alumni & Outstanding Service Celebration Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 in the Comstock Memorial Union Ballroom.

     David Berg 2

    David Berg ’78 (mass communications) was the president and CEO of American Crystal Sugar Company for nine years prior to retiring in 2016. He came to MSUM after serving four years in the U.S. Air Force. It was during this time that he became interested in learning to be a journalist. He became passionate about helping people understand what was happening in their government and in their communities. Now retired, he enjoys bicycling, motorcycling, hiking and softball.

     Paul Finstad

    Paul Finstad ’78 (physical education) was the president of the YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties for 25 years prior to retiring in May 2017. With a love and passion for fitness and athletics, he originally planned to teach and coach after graduation. While in college, he began working part time for the YMCA, which later turned into a career with the largest non-profit community service organization in the United States for over 40 years. He now enjoys spending his free time playing sports, fishing, traveling, and being with his family.

     
     Carol Howe-Veenstra 2

    Carol Howe-Veenstra '75 (physical education) started her career as a teacher and coach at St. Cloud Technical High School. In 1985, she began coaching volleyball at the College of Saint Benedict and soon after became the director of athletics. Carol retired two years ago, after completing 30 years at the college. Throughout her time at MSUM, she participated in not one, but three sports. She played volleyball, basketball, and competed in track and field. She enjoyed learning from the coaching staff and peers and retained lessons from successes and failures. Some of her fondest memories stem from her time in the Dragon Athletics program. Now retired, she enjoys spending more time with family and being outdoors.

    Debra Walker Debra Walker ’80 (chemistry) has been a practicing doctor for over 30 years. Immediately after leaving the university, she went to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for medical school to become a family physician, something she had wanted to be since the age of 10. Throughout the years, she has set up a private clinic, helped start North Dakota's first federally qualified health center, and spent six years doing service work in Kenya. In 2009, she returned from Kenya and came back to Fargo to work at Sanford, where she still works today.
    Outstanding Service Award
      Roland Barden 2

    Dr. Roland Barden (MSUM president emeritus) was hired in 1090 as the vice president of academic affairs at MSUM. After serving in the position for five years under his mentor, President Roland Dille, he became the president of the university in 1994, a position he held until his retirement in 2008. Throughout his time at MSUM, he loved working with students, alumni, staff and faculty. Since retiring, he and his wife have enjoyed spending seven months of the year in sunny Arizona. They spend the other five in Blaine, Minn. His top priority is being a grandpa to his seven grandchildren.

     Outstanding Young Alum (previously honored at convocation)
     Nickolas Gaines

    Nickolas Gaines '09 (American multicultural studies) went on to obtain master's degrees from Moody Theological Seminary and Tennessee Temple University. He eventually commissioned as an Army Officer and joined the Chaplain Crops in 2009, where he served for six years. After leaving the army in 2015, he became the suicide prevention program director for the Department of Defense, where he now serves over 13,000 soldiers, their families, and Department of the Army Civilians across 27 states.



    Past Alumni Awards

  • 2017 Alumni Awards

    Minnesota State University Moorhead will recognize outstanding alumni at the Distinguished Alumni & Outstanding Service Celebration Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017  at the Comstock Memorial Union Ballroom.


    David Berg ’78 (mass communications) was the president and CEO of American Crystal Sugar Company for nine years prior to retiring in 2016. He came to MSUM after serving four years in the U.S. Air Force. It was during this time that he became interested in learning to be a journalist. He became passionate about helping people understand what was happening in their government and in their communities. Now retired, he enjoys bicycling, motorcycling, hiking and softball.


    Paul Finstad ’78 (physical education) was the president of the YMCA of Cass and Clay Counties for 25 years prior to retiring in May 2017. With a love and passion for fitness and athletics, he originally planned to teach and coach after graduation. While in college, he began working part time for the YMCA, which later turned into a career with the largest non-profit community service organization in the United States for over 40 years. He now enjoys spending his free time playing sports, fishing, traveling, and being with his family.


    Carol Howe-Veenstra ’75 (physical education) started her career as a teacher and coach at St. Cloud Technical High School. In 1985, she began coaching volleyball at the College of Saint Benedict and soon after became the director of athletics. Carol retired two years ago, after completing 30 years at the college. Throughout her time at MSUM, she participated in not one, but three sports. She played volleyball, basketball, and competed in track and field. She enjoyed learning from the coaching staff and peers and retained lessons from successes and failures. Some of her fondest memories stem from her time in the Dragon Athletics program. Now retired, she enjoys spending more time with family and being outdoors.


    Debra Walker ’80 (chemistry) has been a practicing doctor for over 30 years. Immediately after leaving the university, she went to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for medical school to become a family physician, something she had wanted to be since the age of 10. Throughout the years, she has set up a private clinic, helped start North Dakota's first federally qualified health center, and spent six years doing service work in Kenya. In 2009, she returned from Kenya and came back to Fargo to work at Sanford, where she still works today.

    Outstanding Service

    Dr. Roland Barden (MSUM president emeritus) was hired in 1090 as the vice president of academic affairs at MSUM. After serving in the position for five years under his mentor, President Roland Dille, he became the president of the university in 1994, a position he held until his retirement in 2008. Throughout his time at MSUM, he loved working with students, alumni, staff and faculty. Since retiring, he and his wife have enjoyed spending seven months of the year in sunny Arizona. They spend the other five in Blaine, Minn. His top priority is being a grandpa to his seven grandchildren.

    Outstanding Young Alum

    Nickolas Gaines '09 (American multicultural studies) went on to obtain master's degrees from Moody Theological Seminary and Tennessee Temple University. He eventually commissioned as an Army Officer and joined the Chaplain Crops in 2009, where he served for six years. After leaving the army in 2015, he became the suicide prevention program director for the Department of Defense, where he now serves over 13,000 soldiers, their families, and Department of the Army Civilians across 27 states.



    Past Alumni Awards

    2016 Alumni Awards

    Minnesota State University Moorhead recognized outstanding alumni at the Distinguished Alumni & Outstanding Service Celebration Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016 in the Comstock Memorial Union Ballroom.

     Ellen Diederich

    Ellen Diederich ’83 (fine art, art education) is a professional artist, author, publisher and entrepreneur. Diederich has been a professional painter since 1985. She specialized in watercolor and enjoys teaching watercolor workshops to clubs, teacher groups and at career fair seminars. Aside from painting, she's also an established author, having written and illustrated three books.

    David Joerger

    David Joerger '97 (mass communications) is a professional basketball coach for the Sacramento Kings of the NBA. Prior to coaching on basketball's biggest stage, Joerger coached in the International Basketball Association, Continental Basketball Association, and the NBA Development League. Throughout his time prior to joining the NBA, he led teams to five championships. In 2013, he was hired as the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, coaching them for three years before moving to the Sacramento Kings.

    Joseph Porwoll

    Joseph Porwoll '76 (chemistry) was a chemist for the Sigma-Aldrich worldwide organization prior to his retirement in 2013. Porwoll's dedication and passion for chemistry contributed to the successful growth of the company, leading it to be the world's most important chemical producer supporting academics, biotechnology and pharmaceutical research.

    Outstanding Young Alum
    Amber Johnson

    Amber Johnson ’09 (film studies) is a media production specialist at Cargill and a video producer at Twin Cities Film Fest. She more broadly defines herself as a cinematographer and director. Johnson started her career as a freelance filmmaker where she gained experience working on commercials, films and television. Since leaving MSUM, she has found success in film working for the National Sports Center, and being executive director of the non-profit filmmaking collective, Persistence of Vision.

     Melanie Nordhougen

    Melanie Nordhougen ’06 (construction management) works for Mortenson as an assistant project manager on the Sanford Fargo Medical Center. She moved to California within a month after graduating to pursue her career in construction, prior to returning to Fargo. There, she worked for Performance Contracting Group, specializing in interior and exterior framing. She worked on a variety of projects where she gained construction experience in education, healthcare and correctional facilities.

    Service Award
    Marvel Froemming

    Marvel Froemming ’57 (mathematics, history) is a retired MSUM mathematics professor. As a student, she was involved with Gamma Nu Sorority. She was also a writer for the school's newspaper, formally known as The MiSTiC. Four short years after graduating from then-Moorhead State Teachers College in 1959, she returned to teach in the math department where she remained for 36 years, educating hundreds of students along the way.



    Past Alumni Awards