April 1, 2012


Robert Stark ’51 (Caledonia, Minn.) was recently inducted into the Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

J.S. Futcher ’57 (Minneapolis, Minn.) spoke last spring at the Jordan Area Community Council and presented a copy of his history book, They’re Closing Our Library:  From Jordan Branch to North Regional. The book describes the grassroots movement around a library closure that led to the formation of the JACC.


Kenneth Landro ’61 (Golden Valley, Minn.) recently retired as executive director of the St. Francis Health Care Foundation. Under his watch, St. Francis moved to a new campus and doubled the size of its Family Birth Center and Emergency Department. In 2011, Ken was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the WSU Alumni Society.

Richard Sather ’65 (Houston, Minn.) retired in June 2008. He worked most recently at the Houston County Assessor’s Office after previous positions at IBM, Armour Chemical, and Houston State Bank. He also farmed with his father after hours and on weekends. He’s still on the farm, but he and his wife also enjoy traveling, riding their Harleys, working on their Studebakers, gardening, and volunteering.

Harry Sieben ’65 (Hastings, Minn.), an attorney with Sieben, Grose, Von Holtum & Carey, has been named to the first tier list compiled by the Best Lawyers in America, along with six of his colleagues. Harry was recognized for his work in personal injury litigation. He was elected to the Minnesota Legislature in 1970 and served for 14 years, eventually rising to Speaker of the House.

William Krause ’69/’86 (Brookings, Ore.) has retired after working for 25 years as a school counselor. He is the proud father of four children and grandfather of 18 grandchildren.

Terry Lierman ’69 (Chevy Chase, Md.), who was featured in the Winter 2011 issue of Currents, has left his position as chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (Maryland). Terry is entering the private sector to start a new venture capital company, Health Ventures International. In addition, he will serve as chair of CSGI, Inc., the parent company of health IT leader CTIS. “Terry has been a key part of the success of this office for over four and a half years,” said Hoyer when announcing the departure.


Sue (Kyrk) Ebbers ’74 (Bird Island, Minn.) has retired after teaching for 33 years at St. Mary’s School in Bird Island.

John “Jack” Krage ’76 (Winona) announced his plans to run for the 31st District seat in the Minnesota Senate in 2012. Born on a dairy farm in nearby Ridgeway, Jack has worked as a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker in Winona for 27 years.

Betty (Hoesley) Munzinger ’75 (Chandler, Ariz.) recently retired after a 31 year career in elementary and gifted education. She taught her first eight years at Cochrane-Fountain City Schools in Wisconsin, and then 23 years in the Kyrene School District in Tempe. She taught third through seventh grades as well as gifted resources. She has three grown sons:  Joshua, Jonathan, and Nicholas.

Charles Rue ’75 (Champlin, Minn.) retired after 30 years with Target Corp.

Robert Strauss ’76 and Mary Jo Strauss ’77 (Winona) announce the birth of their first grandchild, Maureen Lasky, who was born on November 14.


Matthew Feuerhelm ’80 (Winona) notes that his daughter, Lydia, is featured in the film Inertia, which was shown at the Frozen River Film Festival this year. The film is directed by Wade Rodgers and choreographed by Heidi Draskoci-Johnson, both Winona natives, and was shot on location in Gary, Indiana in an abandoned church.

Garry Watts ’80 (Winona), vice president at Winona Agency, Inc., received the Certified Risk Manager designation from the National Alliance for Insurance Research. He joined Winona Agency in 1991 and specializes in insurance and risk management services for larger businesses in a variety of industries.

Jill (Erickson) Bradley ’81 (Winona) says, “I’m a grandma!”  Bricelyn Rae Voshage was born on November 13 and weighed 7-pounds, 1-ounce.

Brian Hoff ’83 (Wykoff, Minn.) has retired as cross country and track and field coach at Kingsland High School in Spring Valley after 25 years. Brian is one of the most accomplished and admired coaches and officials in southeast Minnesota. He was a standout athlete while earning his teaching degree in industrial arts education at Winona State. Outside of coaching, Brian works as an appraiser for the Fillmore County Assessor’s Office.

Paul Johnson ’83 (Woodbury, Minn.) has been named vice president of Investor Relations by Xcel Energy. Previously, he was managing director of Investor Relations. Johnson has held a variety of other financial positions with Xcel Energy over his 28 years with the company. He earned his bachelor’s in Business at WSU, MBA at the University of St. Thomas, and has passed the CPA and CMA exams and completed the CFA program.

Christine Jahnke ’85 (Washington, D.C) is the author of the newly published book, The Well-Spoken Woman. She has provided speech coaching and media training to leaders in business, non-profits, government, and politics, including Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. Christine was formerly weather reporter for KTTC-TV in Rochester, Minn., and worked for the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign.

Mary (Hermsen) Zuckerman ’85 (Livonia, Mich.) was elected chair of the Wayne County Airport Authority. The authority oversees the operation of Detroit Metropolitan Airport and Willow Run Airport, Michigan’s busiest airport system. Mary is executive vice president and CEO for the Detroit Medical Center.

Patrick Knoll ’86 (Chicago, Ill.), creative director at DDB Worldwide, had four of the top 11 “20 Most Effective Super Bowl Ads of All Time” in a list compiled by the Daily Beast and Newsweek. His ads have won numerous awards and are featured in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art. (Read a profile of Patrick in the Fall 2007 issue of Currents).

Lynn Olson ’86 (Hannibal, Mo.) is the new CEO of Hannibal Regional Hospital. Lynn has more than 30 years of senior leadership experience and has a strong background in hospital operations.

Jeffrey Dehler ’87 (Crystal, Minn.) is chief relationship builder for Jeff Dehler Public Relations, LLC. His firm provides consulting services in research, communications planning and implementation, crisis communications, advocacy campaigns, community and media relations, and writing.

Catherine Sieracki ’87 (Winona) writes that her grandson and WSU student, Spencer, made his pro jet-ski racing debut in October in Arizona. Spencer took tenth place in his class.

Chuck Frederick ’89 (Duluth, Minn.) has written a new book, Spirit of the Lights, about a Duluth woman and her magical Christmas lights display. Chuck has been editorial page editor of the Duluth News Tribune since 2008. He is also the author of three other books and was featured in the Disney movie, Iron Will. Another motion picture, Leatherheads, was based on his book, Leatherheads of the North, about a Duluth professional football team. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including from the Associated Press, the Minnesota Newspaper Association, and the Minnesota Society of Professional Journalists

Denise (Kalmes) Mosher ’89 (Rocky Ford, Colo.) has been named Administrator Pro/Tech Employee of the Year at Otero Junior College. Denise serves as coordinator of Instructional Services Programs. She and her husband, Chris, also farm and ranch in the Cheraw community.


Timothy Meyer ’90 (Neillsville, Wis.) received the Max Fox award from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. The award is given to the rural teacher and preceptor of the year. “There are many doctors who teach medicine to residents and students every year across Wisconsin,” said Tim. “I am so honored and humbled to have been the one that was selected.”

Andy Siegal ’90 (Kearney, Neb.) has been named offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Most recently, he was director of league development for the World Professional Football League. He played football for the Warriors and began his coaching career as an assistant for his alma mater.

Kristine (Hermsen) Tibor ’90 (Winona) has been promoted to senior office manager in Student Records Services at Winona State.

Accomplished actor Kimberly Schultz ‘93 (New York, N.Y.) will perform her one-woman play, No Place Called Home, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on June 20 as part of U.N. World Refugee Day. Kim developed the play after a humanitarian group asked her to join the Iraqi Voices Amplification Project to bring awareness to the displacement of more than 4 million Iraqi citizens.

“The goal was to come back and share with American audiences the plight of these people,” said Kim. But, as described in the play, she instantly fell in love with the “dark, beautiful” Iraqi artist named Omar while visiting with refugees from Baghdad.

It was this unintentional love story that sparked the journey Schultz takes in No Place Called Home. The play centers on the lives of displaced refugees and her accidental love story.

Kim took the play on the road last spring and performed it at Winona State on March 1. You can find out more about her work at her website:  http://www.kimschultz.net.

Jennifer (Von Allmen) White ’93 (Lake City, Minn.) has moved to the marketing manager role at Wild Wings in Lake City.

Matthew Bollant ’94 (Green Bay, Wis.) has coached the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay women’s basketball team to its best season in history. At press time, the Phoenix are ranked tenth in the nation and made the NCAA Tournament field for a fourth straight time. Last season, Green Bay made its first NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 appearance and Matt was named Kay Yow National Coach of the Year. On the sidelines with Matt is associate head coach John Divilbiss ’81, who is in his fifth season with the Phoenix.

Erica Conterato ’94/’01(Geneva, Ill.) has joined Ball Horticultural Co. as a sales support specialist.

Sherri (Simmering) Krueger ’94 (Cologne, Minn.), senior associate attorney at Olup & Associates LLC, has been named to the 2011 Minnesota Rising Stars list for Family Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution by Super Lawyers magazine. No more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected to the list. Krueger focuses her practice on all facets of family law, divorce, and child custodial issues.

Cory Whalen ’94 (Saint Paul, Minn.) has been certified as a life member of both the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts, awards and settlements and acknowledges excellence in advocacy. Corey is an attorney with Sieben, Grose, Von Holtum & Carey.

Candi (Henkels) Clausen ’96 (Shakopee, Minn.), a school social worker at Five Hawks Elementary School for 13 years, has been named Teacher of the Year in the Prior Lake-Savage Area School District. She is involved in many groups and initiatives, including the Crisis Response team at both the building and district levels, the District Recovery Team and Problem-Solving Team.

Mark Domeier ’96 (Ellendale, Minn.) published his debut novel, Heroics 101, in February. He’s already busy working on a sequel.

Mohamed Elhindi ’96 (Winona) has been named assistant vice chancellor for Information Technology Services and chief information officer for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He has been chief information officer at Minnesota State College-Southeast Technical since 1999. Mohamed is also a member of the Winona School Board.

Matthew Shea ’96 (Saint Paul, Minn.), a principal at Gray Plant Mooty, has been elected as a fellow to the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. All ACTEC members have made substantial contributions to the field of trusts and estates law through writing, teaching, and bar leadership activities. Matt practices in the areas of estate planning, business succession planning, estate and trust administration, and international estate and tax planning.

Amy (Ellestad) Conlon ’97 (Madison, Wis.) and husband, John, welcomed son Jack Theodore, born on August 22. He joins his big sister Claire.

Faith (Oberlander) Smith ’97 (Joliet, Ill.) is the corporate director of Human Resources for Meadowbrook Manor/Butterfield Healthcare in Naperville.  She earned her degree in Communication Studies.  Her husband is an aircraft maintenance and mechanic manager at O’Hare International Airport.  They have two children, Rodney Wayne and Ruby Rose Maxine.

Tyler Bowen ’98 (Marshall, Minn.) has been promoted to vice president and trust officer at Bremer Bank in Marshall.

Angela Simmering ’98 (Fairmont, Minn.) welcomed twins, Grant Edward and Carter Louis, on October 21. The family resides in Fairmont where Angie teaches special education.

Chad Hofmeister ’99 (Star Prairie, Wis.) and Heidi Rubenzer were married on September 24 in Rochester, Minn. Chad is the production control manager at Kendell Doors and Hardware in Mendota Heights, Minn. Heidi is a teacher in Osceola, Wis.


Todd Stetz ’00 (Killeen, Texas) is serving as a nurse and officer in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps at Fort Hood. Todd’s BSN/RN is his third undergraduate degree and he is now pursuing his PhD/DNAP.

Michael Boehm ’01 (La Crosse, Wis.) has been named president and CEO at the Family & Children’s Center in La Crosse. He earned his master’s at WSU and has worked at the center for more than 16 years.

Christopher Conner ’01 (Denver, Colo.) is engaged to Melanie Asmar. Chris earned his master’s at Colorado State University and works for Road Home in Denver, an initiative to end homelessness. A September 1 wedding is planned.

Scott ’02 and Laura (Putzer) Haraldson ’03 (St. Paul, Minn.), along with daughter Ella, welcomed Coraline Cecilia “Cora” to the family September 23.

Gregory Hauser ’02 (Park City, Utah) has been promoted to sales manager at the Canyons from his previous position in conference services. Gregg captained the rugby team while a student at WSU.

Jonathan Kester ’02 (Rapids, Wis.) has been employed for the Green Bay Packers for four years, working in the Atrium Operations area. He was lucky enough to earn a Super Bowl ring when the Packers won it all in 2011. Jon fell short of a second straight ring this year, but has plenty of stories to tell his fellow alumni.

Samara (Daggit) Losinski ’02 (Winona) married Jacob Losinski on September 10, 2011. Samara works at WinCraft, Inc., in Winona while Jacob works at MidCity Steel in La Crosse, Wis.

Dustin Cunningham ’03 (Onalaska, Wis.) has joined Trust Point, Inc. as relationship manager in the Personal Trust Department. He will work on various aspects of trust administration and investment management. Prior to his promotion, Dustin was associate analyst at Trust Point, a provider of investment management, personal trust, and retirement and philanthropic planning services. Dustin earned his bachelor’s in finance at WSU.

In the last issue we incorrectly listed the class year of Amanda Bagniewski. Here is the corrected note:

Amanda Bagniewski ’04 (La Crosse, Wis.) and Joe Gillett were married on June 18. Amanda works for Rochester Public Schools while Joe works at RTP in Winona.

Robert Gander ’04 (Madison, Wis.) married Alissa Nelson on December 3 in Las Vegas. Bob is employed by Trappers Turn Golf Club as head professional. Alissa works at the Kalahari Resort.

Sarah (Keeling) Mathis ’04 (Saint Paul, Minn.) and husband Jared welcomed their second child, a girl, Maren Ashley Mathis.  Born September 9, 2011, she weighed 8 lbs 8 ounces and was 21 inches long.  Maren was welcomed with open arms by her big brother, Shay.

We hope that NoraMae Jeanette Fink is sleeping through the night by now. NoraMae, first child of Jackie ’05 and Dusty ’05 Finke, was born on September 6, 2011. The Finke family lives in Otsego, Minn.

Heidi Kirchner ’05 (Honolulu, Hawaii) married Brandon Ferry on January 7.

Sara (Abrahamson) Racine ’05 (Afton, Minn.) has been promoted to manager at Mahoney Ulbrich Christiansen Russ PA.

Meghann (Obieglo) Brennan ’06 (Winona) and James Brennan were married Aug. 6, 2011 in Lutsen, Minn. Meghann works at TCI while James works at River Steel.

Nicholas Dircz ’06 (Bloomington, Minn.) is known by most people in the Twin Cities as DJ Mad Mardigan. The mass communication major began his DJ career at WSU and now plays nightly gigs in the Twin Cities. He splits his time working as entertainment manager at the Imperial Room and DJ-ing home games for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Lynx, in addition to working at parties, weddings, and events.

Carrie (Thom) Riester ’06 (Hager City, Wis.) married Kevin Riester on September 17, 2011 in Red Wing, Minn. Carrie earned her nursing degree at WSU and works at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. Kevin, a mechanical engineer, is employed at Automated Equipment.

Kaylan (Lati) Haber ’07 (Walnut Creek, Calif.) and husband Brian welcomed Hayden Marie Haber on December 4.

Brian Lentz ‘07 (Cottage Grove, Minn.) is co-founder and vice president of Big Rock Exploration, a geological consulting company. Brian earned his BS in geology and has worked all over North America. He focuses on economic “hard-rock” geology, exploring for metal resources such as gold, silver, diamonds, and rare metals.

Emily Lorenz ’07 (Rochester, Minn.) is working as a medical social worker at Olmsted Medical Center. She assists patients with resources and makes referrals to relieve stresses such as financial concerns, insurance issues, and homelessness.

David Paulus, Jr. ’07 (Saint Paul, Minn.) is pursuing a career as a PGA golf professional. After working for two years as a paralegal after he graduated, David is in his initial year as a PGA Apprentice.

Samuel Plitzuweit ’07 and Shelby (Frost) Plitzuweit ’08 (Houston, Texas) were married on June 25 in La Crosse, Wis.  Sam is a petroleum geologist at ExxonMobile. Shelby is a geoscientist at Baker Hughes.

Kyle Reschke ’07 (Napervillle, Ill.) has been performing mission work in Haiti with 401 Bridge, which helps communities in underdeveloped countries reach sustainability. Kyle taught for a year in Samoa after graduating from WSU, before beginning his work in Haiti.

Julie Sayles ’07 (Austin, Minn.) married Stephen Lange on December 3. Julie is a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin. Stephen works for International Paper and the Austin Fire Department.

Danielle Anderson ’08 /’11 (Fountain City, Wis.) a counselor and equine specialist, has joined Horses and Heroes of Rochester. She earned her master’s degree in community counseling from Winona State University. Her experience includes military men and women facing challenges with readjustment, acute, or post traumatic stress.

“It’s one thing to cross off my bucket list,” says Nathan Fuller ’08 (Sharon, Wis.), who is appearing on the popular television quiz show “Jeopardy!” in April.

Nathan says that he’s wanted to appear on the show since he was in junior high school and watched the show religiously. He began taking the online qualifying test in high school (it consists of about 60 rapid-fire questions) and finally got his invitation to the qualifying round last February.

Scheduled to audition last June, Nathan’s marriage the week before put things on hold. He auditioned a month later in Lexington, Kentucky and made it into the contestant pool after interviews, practice rounds, and more testing. The call to appear on the show came around Thanksgiving.

“I was just awestruck, and a little star-struck by [host] Alex Trebek,” said Nathan about the show taping in Culver City, California. His wife, Jillian ’10, also a WSU graduate, made the trip with Nathan.

Nathan, a history major who works as educational coordinator at Vintage Wings and Wheels Museum in Poplar Grove, Illinois, can’t reveal how he did on the show. Tune in on April 19 to find out.

Sara Nelson ’08 (Rochester, Minn.) married Michael Paul Verlo on October 1. Sara is a program associate at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. Michael is a television producer for WCCO in Minneapolis.

Roshean (Fernando) Paranawitane ’08 (Regina, Sasketchewan) welcomes baby Seyshia (pronounced: say-shi-ah) Ashanthi De Alwis Paranawitane, born on November 12.

Kyle Witt ’08 (Kendall, Wis.) joined the lending staff at Farmers State Bank in Markesan. The business administration and finance major worked as a financial consultant and investment representative at Primerica Financial Services before joining Farmers.

Craig DeForge Jr ’09 (Coon Rapids, Minn.) recently completed the Nuclear Power Training Unit course as a Petty Officer 3rd Class with the U.S. Navy. Upon completion of the course, Craig was designated a nuclear power operator.

Heidi Harstad ’09 (Harmony, Minn.) has joined Fillmore Central School as eighth grade health, physical education, and Title I instructor. She graduated from Fillmore Central before earning her degree at WSU in 2009. She taught in the Sartrell-St. Stephen school district for two years before returning to Fillmore Central.

Matthew O’Brien ’09 (Winona) has been named head baseball coach at Cotter High School in Winona. Matt has been the team’s pitching coach and varsity assistant for the past four seasons  and coached the Winona VFW Buddies to a second-place finish at the VFW State Baseball Tournament in 2011. He was a standout player at Cotter and NSIC All-Tournament Team member and Tournament MVP in 2007 for the Warriors.

Thomas Parisi ’09 (Elk Grove Village, Ill.) is the new head varsity baseball coach at Dundee-Crown High School. He teaches adaptive physical education and was Dundee-Crown’s freshman softball coach last year.

Erin Poss ’09 (Winona) will marry Bruce Gerdes on April 28. Erin works at Fastenal while Bruce works for Brannt Valley Excavating.

Jacob Runestad ’09 (Minneapolis, Minn.) had his work for soprano and orchestra, “As Rain to the Sea,” performed on November 6 at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. Twice named Collegiate Composer of the Year by the Minnesota Music Educators Association, Jake earned his master’s at Peabody. He now professionally composes and conducts in a variety of genres. Find out the latest on his music and performances at:  http://www.jakerunestad.com.

Daniel Wilson ’09 (Worthington, Minn.) was profiled in the Worthington Daily Globe for his work as an EMT in the Sonora Desert along the U.S.-Mexican border. The WSU biology major worked with the organization No More Deaths, which provides humanitarian aid to immigrants and migrants along the border. Daniel provided primary medical care and other basic care for immigrants crossing the desert under difficult conditions.

Callie Mansour ’10 (Burnsville, Minn.) is playing professional basketball in Australia.

Naomi (Sternberg) Nguyen ’10 (Albert Lea, Minn.) is engaged to Joshua Vu. The couple plans to marry on June 23. Naomi is a teacher in Rochester and Josh works at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin.

Kyle Rundquist ’10 (Pepin, Wis.) is the new fifth grade reading and language arts teacher at Fillmore Central School. It’s his first full-time teaching position after working as a long-term substitute in Mondovi, Wis.

John Smith ’10 (Winona), the former Warriors’ center and two-time national champion, is taking a break from his professional playing career to serve as an assistant basketball coach at Lewiston-Altura High School. John took the position after considering several offers to play overseas. He is working with the Cardinals’ post players.

After being cast in “Footloose” before graduating, Emily Whitcomb ’10 (Chatfield, Minn.) posted a rap video to YouTube that summarized the musical’s plot.

Emily’s homemade video went viral and was picked up by director Craig Brewer,who happened to be filming a movie remake of “Footloose.” Brewer invited Emily to a screening, where he filmed a “remake” of her rap with audience members as back-up dancers.

“Less than a year after graduation, I’ve actualized my dream that started with a little video in my dorm room,” says Emily.

Compare Emily’s original (www.youtube.com/watch?v=V52hL0mIkhI&feature=related) with the Hollywood version (www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4fL_fjdkSg&feature=related).l

Erik Dittmann ’11 (Beaver Dam, Wis.) is editor of LocaLeben, a new magazine about the importance of the local community and supporting its economy.

Deanna Hoffman ’11 (Rochester, Minn.) has been promoted to supervisor within the Family, Child, and Youth Services section of La Crosse County Human Services. She received her undergraduate degree in social work at WSU and master’s at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A social worker for the past eight years in the Family Services Unit, she supervises social workers for Child Protective Services, the Initial Assessment Unit, and the Community and Alternative Response programs.

David Johnson ’11 (Hayfield, Minn.) has returned to his hometown as freshman boys’ basketball coach at Hayfield High School. David was an outstanding shooting guard for the Warriors and star on his high school team.

Richard Stovey ’11 (Prairie Du Chien, Wis.) has joined the Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Team. Patrick is the son of Tammy Tippery-Stovey ’83 and Richard Stovey.

Cassandra (Grell) White ’11 (Mazomanie, Wis.) joined the Sand County Foundation in May 2011. She’s working as an event planner and program assistant to agriculture and conservation programs with the non-profit. She married husband Eric in October in Spring Green, Wis., at the House on the Rock Resort. Cassie says, “the ceremony was actually on a golf course at the resort a few miles away, but the House on the Rock attraction is where we took photos. Definitely an interesting place!”

Lucas Wolf ’11 (Elmood, Wis.), a former standout football player at Winona State, has been selected to receive the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. Lucas majored in movement science and was a three-time NSIC All-Academic selection. He finished his playing career with 10 interceptions and 185 total tackles and won all-conference honors three times.

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