Alumni Awards Celebration

Each fall the Alumni Association honors the top volunteers, groups and programs of the past year.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Alumni Awards Celebration
5:30-8 p.m.
Memorial Hall, McNamara Alumni Center
Help us honor outstanding alumni volunteers and groups that have made a significant impact on the University community. Tickets will go on sale in August.

A young alumnus who’s gained international regard for his work advancing design for the common good, an Alumni Association chapter that helps recruit California high school students to the U and other outstanding initiatives and individuals were honored at the 2013 Alumni Awards Ceremony on September 26.

Alumni Association Award Recipients

Program Extraordinaire—Society

College of Education and Human Development; College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; College of Liberal Arts; School of Nursing; Humphrey School of Public Affairs; College of Science and Engineering
Celebrating U: Alumni Mixer for Recent Graduates took place in September 2012 at the Weisman Art Museum. A collaborative effort among six colleges, the event attracted graduates back to campus for a social and networking opportunity. Through the unique partnership, the colleges were able to keep the registration fee low and alumni had the opportunity to socialize and network with one another, no matter their professional background.

College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences’ Mentor Program celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2012-13. The program’s matching committee, consisting of 27 alumni and friends and 12 students, matched over 160 students with mentors. The program hopes to build on new outreach initiatives implemented this past year, including industry partnerships to connect students with alumni as well as mentor recruitment outside of the Twin Cities area.

College of Pharmacy
The College of Pharmacy launched the Future Pharmacist Program to engage with alumni, especially parents and grandparents, in a fun and unique way. Alumni are encouraged to let the college know about their young children and grandchildren, especially new arrivals to the family, and receive a maroon and gold “Future Pharmacist” baby shirt. Alumni submit a photo of their children wearing the shirt for inclusion in the college’s publication The Record.

Program Extraordinaire—Chapter

San Diego
When the University of Minnesota recently made a concentrated effort to recruit students in southern California, the San Diego chapter embraced the chance to assist in the process by identifying ways to harness the pride of local alumni. In August 2012, a picnic for alumni, students, and their families drew over 80 attendees, and was the largest attended chapter event in the last 15 years. In addition, alumni volunteered to represent the U of M at college fairs and chapter board members assisted the local admissions counselor in encouraging admitted students to commit to the U of M. This partnership has sparked a higher level of alumni engagement and higher attendance at other chapter events.

Outstanding Alumni Chapter of the Year


Through social media platforms and a branded website, the Chicago chapter communicates with over 6,000University of Minnesota alumni. The wide range of events and programs this past year included kicking off the football season with the Big Ten 10K and a happy hour event with Coach Kill and Athletics Director Norwood Teague during Big Ten Football Media Day; hosting a ‘Sota Social prior to the game in the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament; creating a unique experience for alumni during the Hockey City Classic, which brought the Gopher men’s hockey team to Chicago for a game at Soldier Field; volunteering at the Chicago Youth Sports Alliance Field Day, which uses fitness to foster academic development among area youth; and working with the University to recruit local students. The chapter’s volunteer leaders strive to provide valuable programs and continually assess innovative ways to engage alumni.

Outstanding Alumni Society of the Year

College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences Alumni Society strives to provide programs that are focused on the key areas of student engagement, education and outreach, and pride and spirit. This past year, hundreds of alumni and friends engaged with the alumni society at events such as the Golf Scramble for Scholarships; Classes Without Quizzes, an educational program that highlights faculty research and attracted a record number of youth participants; the Mentor Program, which had over 160 student and mentor matches; the Science Achievement Award, which recognizes a high school junior who excels at science with a free book as well as a $500 scholarship upon successful enrollment in the college; and the Young Alumni Network, which encourages young alumni participation at college programs and events. This past year, the alumni society board’s sponsorship committee also raised approximately $55,000 for student scholarships and alumni society programming through the industry sponsorship program.

Student Volunteer of the Year

Brittney Johnson

A student in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS), Brittney Johnson is an exceptional volunteer and advocate for the college and the University of Minnesota. Her time, talent, and passion have helped to strengthen the connection between students and alumni in the college. During the past year, she served on the CFANS Student Board and co-chaired the board’s alumni committee. She helped to plan and execute numerous alumni and student events and programs, including two speed networking events that drew 60 participants; a Senior Salute in the fall and spring; and the Borealis Night of Excellence, an awards reception for alumni, students, faculty, and staff. As a member of the homecoming planning committee, she recruited over 50 volunteers to design the CFANS parade float and walk in the parade. She exemplifies student engagement and takes great pride in the college and the university.

U40 Alumni Leader

This award, in its inaugural year, celebrates an exceptional individual age 40 or younger who has excelled in a new career or public service.

John Cary
John Cary (’99) is a leader in public interest design, a growing movement at the intersection of design and service. At the core of the movement is the belief that people of all income levels deserve quality spaces in which to live and work. His first book, The Power of Pro Bono: 40 Stories about Design for the Public Good by Architects and Their Clients was completed in partnership with Public Architecture and was a first-of-its-kind book to document and encourage the growing pro bono movement in architecture. In the past year he worked as a research fellow for the University of Minnesota’s College of Design, conducting research in public interest design and organizing Public Interest Design Week on campus. Cary is currently executive director of the Autodesk Design Foundation, a new philanthropic venture of Autodesk, a world leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software and services. He is also a strategic advisor to the new $1,000,000 TED Prize and co-lead of The City 2.0, the 2012 TED Prize focused on the future of cities.

University of Minnesota Alumni Service Award Recipients

Kevin Barcus
Kevin Barcus graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree from the College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984 and a doctor of veterinary medicine in
1986. He owns Mounds View Animal Hospital, which he co-founded in 1988.

He served on the Alumni and Friends Society Board from 1988 to 2013, including as its president, and also led the mentor program for 24 years. He has been integral in
creating mentor relationships for an estimated 500 students, and continues to offer counsel for improving the mentor program to benefit the students, the college, and the practice of veterinary medicine.

A strong advocate for the college, its alumni, and its students, he has graciously given his time and expertise for the betterment of his profession and the lives and well-being of his community members and their companion animals.

Anne R. Carroll
Anne Carroll graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in 1979 and a master’s degree in planning from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in 1983. She has her own public engagement and strategic planning consulting and training firm, Carroll, Franck & Associates, which she founded in 1985. A participant on several national and international boards, she has been a member of the St. Paul Board of Education since 2000.

An exemplar of the Humphrey School’s mission “to advance the common good in a diverse world,” Carroll has been a mentor for 25 years, volunteered for the school’s alumni society board and on many committees, served as an adjunct faculty member at the school for eight years, and provided philanthropic leadership to the Humphrey Alumni Scholarship program as well as financial support to other University colleges and the University of Minnesota, Morris.

Robert W. Eichinger
Robert W. Eichinger received his doctorate in psychology from the University of Minnesota in 1975. Widely known for his training programs and products, he co-founded Lominger Limited, a publisher of leadership development solutions, in 1991. He and his partner later sold the company to Korn/Ferry International and he served as vice chairman from 2006 to 2009.

His contributions to the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) have been no less impressive than his professional achievements. His devotion as a mentor, advisor, and class speaker has helped many undergraduate and graduate students prepare for careers in which they find true passion. He moderated most of the dean’s 2015 strategic planning alumni discussions and spent countless hours on the CLA alumni entrepreneur initiative. In that work he helps shape meaningful activities for entrepreneurs and students, guiding students who wish to pursue an entrepreneurial path.

John Foley
John Foley graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in 1971, a master’s degree in 1973, and a doctorate in 1978, all in animal science. He has spent his 35-year career at Cargill, Incorporated.

John has been a committed volunteer for the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences for nearly 20 years and was the first mentor in the college’s mentor program. A mentor to more than a dozen students, he has helped the program grow to 160 student and mentor matches per year. Eager to support students in their career exploration, he has helped many expand their professional networks, has coordinated tours of Cargill, and has volunteered as a guest speaker at the Career and Internship Services office on campus. John’s enthusiasm and willingness to help students discover their path has made a lasting impact on the lives of many.

Barbara Perso Heinemann
Barbara Perso Heinemann graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in 1998, a master’s degree in 2003, and a doctorate in design, housing, and apparel in 2008. Her service to the College of Design over the last 15 years has fostered learning, helped students explore new ideas, and informed and engaged the public.

As an advisor to FAB: Fashion and Business, a student group that operates an online boutique and hosts an annual philanthropic fashion show, and Phi Upsilon Omicron, the University’s chapter of family and consumer science honors society, she has been instrumental in connecting students with industry professionals.
She has co-curated two exhibitions at the Goldstein Museum of Design, engaging thousands of visitors, and also led workshops for the Girl Scouts and 4H. She served as a Buckman Fellow, working to increase giving to the Dr. Joanne Bubolz Eicher Endowment Fund, which supports the study of cultural aspects of clothing and retail merchandising in College of Design curriculum.

Carol Kelsey
Carol Kelsey received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Minnesota in 1960. As chair of the School of Nursing Foundation, chair of the school’s annual jewelry sale benefiting nursing scholarships, and a facilitator for the Academic Health Center’s interprofessional 1Health course, she has devoted countless hours providing leadership and service to the University of Minnesota community.

Kelsey’s nursing career spans nearly five decades, and she is well-known for her policy development work in health care education. In retirement, her deep commitment
to the school, her passion for supporting students and nursing research, and her ongoing engagement with former classmates and fellow volunteers continues to energize alumni programming and enhance interprofessional collaboration in health care education and delivery.

Doobie Kurus
Doobie Kurus graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education in 1995 and a master’s degree in special education in 2003. He has served his alma mater as a leader of the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) Alumni Society and an advocate for the University in the greater Twin Cities schools and communities.

A dedicated volunteer for the alumni society board since 2009, including as its president, he has been a driving force in implementing alumni engagement events, such as the CEHD Homecoming Party and Parade, Saturday Scholars: An Informal Day of Learning, networking opportunities, and golf scrambles for student scholarships. He is a valuable resource for new alumni entering the field of special education and often speaks to groups of students, motivating them to follow their passion and stressing the importance of staying connected to the University.

Kathleen J. Newell
Kathleen J. Newell graduated from the University of Minnesota with a graduate dental hygienist degree in 1968, a bachelor’s degree in 1971, a master’s degree in 1976, and a doctorate in education in 1987. She has dedicated her work—in career and in retirement—to improving the quality of instruction at the School of Dentistry.

Newell was a professor and longtime director of the Division of Dental Hygiene. Under her leadership, the 1919 Society was formed to engage alumni in support of the Division of Dental Hygiene and has since raised more than $100,000 for the program. She was instrumental in establishing dental hygiene as an integral component of the School of Dentistry Alumni Society and she has been widely involved with professional organizations that have led to a stronger dental hygiene program and a nationally renowned School of Dentistry.

Maureen Reed
Maureen Reed graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in 1975 and a doctor of medicine in 1979. She has been a strong advocate for the University and has devoted much of her work to advancing the University’s public mission, especially in medicine and public health.

She served with distinction for eight years on the Board of Regents, including two years as its chair, and for six years on the University of Minnesota Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. Through her service to the Alumni Association, she embraced the organization’s role to represent alumni, chaired the advocacy committee, and helped develop a visionary strategic plan. She is dedicated to the University, its students, and its alumni because she believes in the mission of the Alumni Association, “to engage the University of Minnesota’s global community to support and advance the University’s excellence.”

Craig L. Seitel
Craig L. Seitel graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in 1986 and a master of business administration in 1988. Based in New York City, where he is the CEO of Axis Thought Capital, LLC, he is an exceptional ambassador on behalf of the Carlson School of Management and the University.

He has volunteered to assist Carlson School Career centers in organizing corporate site visits for University students, which have been invaluable in expanding career opportunities for students outside of the Twin Cities. As a member of the Carlson School Alumni Board, he spearheaded an effort to connect alumni in the New York area and assist the school with alumni engagement and student recruitment. From these modest beginnings, the New York chapter has grown into a group of engaged and energetic alumni. His leadership at the local and national levels will benefit alumni, the school, and the University for years to come.

Steve Simenson
Steve Simenson received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota’s College of Pharmacy in 1977. A pharmacist and pharmacy owner, he is recognized as a leader within the profession for his innovative practice and the quality of care he delivers to patients.

Simenson has served as president of the Minnesota Pharmacists Association and president of the American Pharmacists Association. In his service to the College of Pharmacy, he has been an adjunct faculty member since 1989, has served on the National Board of Advisors since 2003, and is a life member of the Century Mortar Club. Fueled by a desire to help future generations, he has been a mentor and preceptor for the college for nearly 25 years. His commitment to serving his communities, along with his desire to achieve excellence in the profession, will have a lasting impact.

2012 Alumni Awards Celebration
See a gallery of all Alumni Awards Celebration images on our Shutterfly site.
See lists of past recipients here.

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