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Eleven to Receive Distinguished Alumni Awards

Presentations to be made April 26 in CSU Ballroom.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 4-2-2013

Mankato, Minn. – Eleven Minnesota State University, Mankato graduates have been named 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award winners for exceptional achievement and contributions to their professions and communities.

The awards will be presented by the Minnesota State Mankato Alumni Association on Friday, April 26, at 6 p.m. at the Centennial Student Union Ballroom.

The event will honor Keith Appel, Anchorage, Alaska; Chad Brownlee, Langley, British Columbia; Daniel Houlihan, Elysian, Minn.; Robert Lykke, Omaha, Neb.; Jeffrey Olson, St. Peter, Minn.; Stacy Pearson, Savage, Minn.; Kathryn Roberts, Stillwater, Minn.; Alissa Warnemunde Schmidt, Owatonna, Minn.; James Sneer, Eden Prairie, Minn.; Barbara Stoflet, Minnetonka, Minn.; Lee Yao (posthumous), formerly of Jefferson, La.

Awards will be presented in four categories:

  • The Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award, to graduates who have achieved high rank or honor in their professions, had a widespread effect on their communities, and accomplished over the course of their careers;
  • The Harold J. Fitterer Service Award, to graduates who have given distinguished service to Minnesota State Mankato, and have preserved and promoted university programs with their time, treasure and talents;
  • The Distinguished Alumni Humanitarian Award, to graduates whose lives exemplify service to humankind, and who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to humanitarian causes;
  • The Distinguished Young Alumni Award, to graduates 35 years old or younger who reached personal or professional achievements early in their careers, positively impacted their communities, and show promise for continued success.

Appel, Olson, Roberts, Sneer, Stoflet and Yao will receive the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

Appel, retired chairman of the University of Alaska art department, graduated in both 1956 and 1959 with bachelor’s degrees in art and biology. He received a master’s degree in art in 1962.

Olson, superintendent of Saint Peter Public Schools, graduated in 1981 with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.

Roberts, CEO of Ecumen in Shoreview, Minn., graduated in 1976 with a master’s degree in continuing studies.

Sneer graduated in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial arts. He is the former president of United Prairie Bank in Mountain Lake, Minn., and currently serves as chairman of the board.
Stoflet, a 6th grade teacher at Gatewood Elementary School in Hopkins, Minn., graduated in 1994 with a master’s degree in experiential education.

Yao, formerly a distinguished professor at Loyola University in New Orleans, graduated in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and then in 1981 received a master of business administration degree.

Houlihan will receive the Fitterer Service Award.

Houlihan graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology and then in 1983 received a master’s degree in psychology. He is director of the School Psychology Doctoral Program at Minnesota State Mankato.

Lykke and Pearson will receive the Humanitarian Award.

Lykke, retired school administrator and supervisor of student teaching in Omaha, Neb., graduated in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and then in 1967 received a master’s degree in elementary education.

Pearson, a project manager at General Mills in Minneapolis who is recognized for her community service with Minnesota Women of Today, graduated in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in computer management information systems.

Brownlee and Warnemunde Schmidt will receive the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

Brownlee, a former professional hockey player and Canadian country musician, graduated in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Warnemunde Schmidt, architectural design manager at Viracon, Inc., in Owatonna, Minn., graduated in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in interior design.

Those who want more information about the April 26 awards event may click here or call (507) 389-3235.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,413 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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