Richard Mancuso ’67 (Evergreen, Colo. ) recently published “The Good Don,” a novel that tells the story of a 1930s Robin Hood and his men who took ownership of the turf between the two bridges. Mancuso is a retired businessman, a political activist and former educator.

He has been nominated to “Who’s Who” among American teachers and educators more than once, was Teacher of the Year five times, and is the recipient of the J.B. Wilson Award for Academic Excellence. As a historian and history teacher, his focus has always been to teach the good, the bad and the ugly. Mancuso will be on the WSU campus during Homecoming to sell and sign copies of his book. A portion of the sales will be donated to Winona State University Athletics. For more information, visit: thegooddon.com.


Barbara Oertel ’82 (Rochester, Minn.) won the MnSCU Professional Excellence in Service Award. Representatives from every college and university system- wide gathered in St. Paul to recognize and honor the great work Dr. Oertel does for WSU’s students.

Mary Cappel ’87 (Winona, Minn.), a physical education teacher at Jefferson Elementary STEM School in Winona, was named one of 34 semifinalists in the 2016 Minnesota Teacher of the Year program. In its 52nd year, it is the oldest and most prestigious recognition program in Minnesota to honor excellence in education.

Eric Kerska ’87 (Rochester, Minn.) was inducted into the 2016 founding class of the Army ROTC National Hall of Fame on June 10, 2016, at Fort Knox, Ky. Hall of Fame inductees are recognized for their service to the country and their role in developing leaders.

Thomas Fisk ’82, ‘90 and Samantha (Beach) Fisk ’09 (Plainview, Minn.) moved from Minnesota to Indonesia in 2015. Tom is part of a small expat team working on improving healthcare at Eka Hospital outside of Jakarta. Samantha works with women who live in one of Jakarta’s trash picker communities, teaching them new skills that will allow them to become independent. The Fisks founded a non-profit organization, Revive Hope Goods, that allows the women to generate income on the products they make.


Amanda Brinkman ’00 (Minnetonka, Minn.) has been named to the 2016 (Real) Power 50 list by Minnesota Business. This list represents the “movers and shakers” of the Minnesota business community. Brinkman is a veteran brand and creative visionary and currently serves as chief brand and communications officer for Deluxe.

Crystal (Pearson) Lanning ’02 (Hastings, Minn.) was named interim athletic director at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in July 2016. She returns to UW-River Falls after serving as the NSIC assistant commissioner for membership services from 2015-2016. Prior, Lanning worked at UW-River Falls from 2004-2015, serving in a variety of roles within the Athletics department.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Winona State University in exercise science, her master’s degree from the University of Kentucky in kinesiology and health promotion, and is a graduate of the NCAA/NACWAA Institute for Administrative Advancement. Lanning and her husband, Shane, reside in Hastings, Minn. with their two children, Addison and Marshall.

Nicole (Robinson) Haugh ’02 (Westby, Wis.) has worked for Organic Valley for nine years and in 2015 was promoted to promotions marketing coordinator. She and her husband of 10 years have two children.

Jacob Schwarz ’02 (Blooming Prairie, Minn.) was appointed as principal of Grand Meadow School in a 6-0 vote by the Grand Meadow School Board. He assumed his new duties July 1. Schwarz earned a teaching degree from Winona State University in 2002, a master’s degree in leadership from Southwest State University in Marshall in 2008, and his administrative principal license from Minnesota State University Mankato in 2010.

Jennifer (Jepson) Flowers ’03 (Winona, Minn.) was named NSIC assistant commissioner for membership services, effective Aug. 1. Flowers will focus on the internal service of the membership and NSIC stakeholders.

She will serve as the liaison from the NSIC Office in support of the senior woman administrators, faculty athletic representatives, and other conference administrative groups. Flowers will be responsible for assisting with strategic plan implementation with a commitment to academics and life skills, athletics operations and compliance, diversity and inclusion, game day, championships, membership, and positioning. Additionally, she will have direct championship sport oversight. Flowers previously worked at WSU as the associate athletic director and senior woman administrator from 2012 to 2015.

Bradley Berzinski ’04 (Winona, Minn.) was promoted to principal of Winona Middle School. Berzinski has served as a social studies teacher at Winona Senior High School; a football, basketball, and baseball coach; Winona Area Public Schools activities director; and most recently as the principal at Washington-Kosciusko Elementary School and Rollingstone Elementary School.

Jean May ’05 (Chicago, Ill.) was promoted to the position of vice president, executive producer at Sandbox, previously GA Communication Group, one of the nation’s leading independent, full- service healthcare communications agencies. May, formerly a senior producer, will oversee project management for campaigns representing a wide range of products in diverse therapeutic categories. Previously, she worked at Chicago- based CAHG in a variety of account and project director positions. She earned her BA in mass communication and advertising, with a minor in cross-cultural communications. Outside the office, May is a member of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and lives an active daily lifestyle that includes yoga, running, and cross-fitness training.

Justin Parker ’05 (Oak Creek, Wis.) was named director of veteran student success at Jacksonville State University. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he has worked as a degree counselor, graduate advisor, and veteran services coordinator at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and as veteran student success coordinator at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. He holds a BS in criminal justice from WSU and an MA in special education from the University of Arizona.

Chelsey Bigalk ’06 and Cody Hungerholt ’11 (Mabel, Minn.) were married May 14, 2016, at the Mabel First Lutheran Church in Mabel. Chelsey received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from WSU. She is currently employed as an RN at Mayo Clinic-Saint Marys Hospital. Cody received his bachelor’s degree in social studies education from WSU. He currently teaches & coaches football at Houston High School.

Ashley (Yoss) Evenson ’07 (Apple Valley, Minn.) has served as a digital media strategist for Ciceron since 2015, and was recently published in several industry publications and blogs.

Jacob Runestad ’09 (Minneapolis, Minn.) won the
coveted ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, which encourages talented young creators of concert music. The winning
composers will be recognized at the national ASCAP Concert Music Awards event in September. Runestad received high praise from the judges for his extended choral/orchestral work “Dreams of the Fallen.” This work was most recently performed by Twin Cities-based ensembles VocalEssence and the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Philip Brunelle, in October 2015. Runestad was selected from a pool of over 700 applicants for the award.

Emilie (Kastner) Rieger ’10 (Minneapolis, Minn.) married Mark Rieger on June 18, 2016, in Somerset, Wis.

Brittany Stewart ’13 (Minnetonka, Minn.) has been named the head softball coach at Gustavus Adolphus College. Stewart most recently completed her third season at Southwest Minnesota State University, where she was the lead pitching and assistant hitting coach. She becomes the seventh head coach in the 48-year history of Gustavus softball.

Laura (Lake) Linehan ’13 and Jack Linehan ’12 (Vernon Hills, Ill.) were married on June 18, 2016, in Elmhurst, Ill.

Kayleen (Nymeyer) Scheck ’15 and Ethan Scheck ’12 (Worthington, Minn.) were married on June 28, 2014. Kaylee teaches 5th grade and helps with the after school program at Worthington Middle School. Ethan teaches 7th and 8th grades at the Worthington Alternative Learning Center. He also coaches football, referees basketball games, and umpires baseball games.

Rachel (Covey) Carver ’15 (Rochester, Minn.) married Charlie Carver on June 10, 2016. She is a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and is a clinical nursing instructor for WSU. Charlie is currently employed at Permasteelisa.

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