2018 Honorees

Dr. Patrick Dean '78

Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

Presented to graduates who have achieved high rank or honor in their professions, have a widespread effect on their communities, and are recognized for their achievements over the course of their careers.

Dr. Patrick Dean ’78

Dr. Patrick Dean received his bachelor’s degree in nursing from Minnesota State Mankato in 1978; he later earned a Master’s degree in nursing and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from other institutions. He was the coordinator of the University of Minnesota Rochester’s Nursing Program before retiring in May 2017. In May 2018, he will complete a two-year term as president of the International Association for Human Caring. Among his many honors, Dean was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II to the United States Priory of St. John at the rank of officer. In retirement, Dean has been teaching reading core to elementary school students.

Doris Wigand '44, '70

Humanitarian Award

Presented to graduates whose lives exemplify service to humankind. They have demonstrated exceptional dedication and are recognized for their humanitarian contributions and achievements.

Doris Wigand ’44, ’70
Elementary Education

Doris Wigand graduated from Minnesota State Mankato’s accelerated two-year teaching program in 1944. She then began a 31-year teaching career that included time in Adrian, Winnebago and her hometown of Henderson. Wigand went back to school to earn her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1970 by taking night classes and summer school while continuing as a full-time teacher. After retiring in 1991, Wigand volunteered in numerous ways with a wide variety of church and community groups, including Friends of the Library, Church Women’s Guild, Red Cross Bloodmobile, the Sibley County Food Shelf Board and many more. She has received many volunteer awards, including the 2010 Outstanding Senior Volunteer Award for Sibley County.

Rod Schmidt '73

Harold J. Fitterer Service Award

Originally called the Service Award, the Harold J. Fitterer Service Award was renamed in 1979 to honor Harold J. Fitterer ’50, in recognition of his dedication and service to Minnesota State Mankato. From Minnesota State Mankato student to English professor to Dean of Extended Campus and Community Service, Fitterer was one of the University’s staunchest champions. This award is given to alumni who follow his example and engage in continuing efforts to preserve, promote and support the University through their time, treasure and talents.

Rod Schmidt ’73

Rod Schmidt is an entrepreneur who owns Vintage Apartment Rentals in Sioux Falls, S.D. After graduating from the University, Schmidt started his career by working for Shell Oil and then Mobil Oil Company. After several promotions with Mobil Oil, he moved to New York City to work as a Mobil Oil manager. He left Mobil in 1986 and returned to the Midwest, buying several historic buildings in Sioux Falls and renovating them into affordable-but-upscale apartments. Schmidt was honored as Minnesota State Mankato’s Philanthropist of the Year in 2013 and is a member of the Foundation Board.

Jon Whiting '09

Distinguished Young Alumni Award

Presented to recent graduates who have reached personal and/or professional achievements early in their careers, have positively impacted their communities and show promise for continued success.

Jon Whiting ’09
Business: Marketing

Jon Whiting graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and began a career in the medical device industry with Medtronic. His most notable professional achievement has been his role in writing a business plan for the development and global launch of the world’s smallest heart pacemaker, the Micra™ Transcatheter Pacing System. Over the past six years, he has traveled in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East to meet with more than 2,000 health care professionals during the technology’s development. Whiting serves as an at-large member for the Alumni Association board.