shortcut to content
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Latest information about COVID-19 and the campus community


News Highlights

Page address:

12 get Distinguished Alumni Awards


Mankato ? Twelve Minnesota State University, Mankato graduates have been named 2004 Distinguished Alumni Award winners for exceptional achievement and contributions to their professions and communities.

The awards were presented at a ceremony Friday, April 23, in Midwest Wireless Civic Center. The awardees are:

Vincent Ferguson, co-founder and president of the Bahamas Association of Secondary Schools and founder of the Bahamas Amateur Basketball Association, received the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. A Bahamas native, he served for 6 years with the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves organization, spending off-seasons as a high school teacher in the Bahamas. He earned a master of science degree in educational administration from MSU in 1974.

Winston Grundmeier, long-time MSU chemistry professor, received the Harold J. Fitterer Service Award. A professor from 1958 until 1990, for nearly 50 years he participated in MSU Regional Science Fairs for aspiring young scientists. He also coordinated ?Chemical Magic? science demonstrations for elementary students and organized the ?MSU for Seniors? program. He graduated from MSU in 1952 with a bachelor?s degree in chemistry and mathematics.

Robert Hoffman, vice president of Taylor Corp. and CEO/President of Schmidt, received the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. He is a board member for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and a trustee for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. He has been active in local hospital boards, school committees, church activities, the MSU Foundation Board, chambers of commerce and other groups. He taught and coached in Redwood Falls, served as principal at Wanamingo High School, was assistant superintendent of schools in Worthington, and in Waseca was the state?s youngest superintendent. He graduated from MSU in 1966 with a bachelor?s degree in English, and in 1969 with a master?s degree in educational administration.

Greg Lea, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Pemstar Corp., received the Harold J. Fitterer Service Award. He has been chairman and vice-chairman of the Minnesota Academic Excellence Foundation, co-chairman and member of the Minnesota Council on Quality Board of Directors and president of the Ability Building Center. Chair of the MSU College of Business Advisory Council, Lea has assisted with E-mentoring and the university?s information technology initiative, and he regularly speaks to the accounting club and business classes. He is a 1974 MSU graduate in accounting/business management.

Susan Adams Loyd, vice president and general manager of WAWS Fox 30 and WTEV CBS 47 in Jacksonville, Fla., received the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. She led the transition of WTEV from UPN to CBS and helped consolidate operations with seven Clear Channel radio stations. Last year she was named Clear Channel?s Television Executive of the Year. She is a member of the FOX Board of Governors and the Florida Association of Broadcasters Television Board. She also is active in the American Cancer Society, Junior Achievement, Girl Scouts and the United Way. She earned a master of arts degree in speech communications from MSU in 1991.

Mary Jean Metag, a home economist who helped devise the netting, loop handle and deep basting techniques for Butterball Turkeys, received the Harold J. Fitterer Service Award. She taught home economics in St. James, Minn., at MSU, and in the U.S. Army school system in France and Germany. She was an economist for the National Livestock and Meat Board and Swift & Company in Chicago, a marketing executive with Swift Dairy and Poultry, and the first consumer affairs home economist at Madsen?s Enterprises, Mankato. She retired as manager of trade merchandising for Swift-Eckrich, Inc., Downers Grove, Ill. A leader of the American Home Economics Association and Home Economists in Business, she was named Chicago home economist of the year. She graduated from MSU in 1952 with a degree in home economics.

Cathy Clardy Patterson, president and CEO of Empowerment Management Services, received the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. She was the second African American woman to be managing director of a major Wall Street investment firm, and the first graduate of the MSU Honors Program. She serves on the boards of several community organizations and is creating an endowment for African-American students and an investment bank for African-American women. She graduated from MSU in 1977 with a double major in management and industrial relations. She currently is a master?s degree candidate at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Mehr Jay Shahidi, co-founder and president of the Iranian-American Society of Minnesota and the Global Partners of the American Refugee Committee, received the Distinguished Alumni Humanitarian Award. The Iran native is active in more than 30 civic, social justice and human rights organizations. He is chair of the land mine committee of the United Nations Association of Minnesota, helped organize the annual Minnesota Festival of Nations, and is active in Population Connection, a group working to stabilize world population. At Amnesty International he was instrumental in the release of political prisoners, and in January he raised $29,000 to aid survivors of Iran?s earthquake. He is a 1974 MSU graduate in economics and political science.

Christy Steele, president of development for EMC Book Developers in Minneapolis and author of more than 20 non-fiction children?s books, received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award. The 1996 MSU graduate has been a freelance project editor with Garth Stevens Publishing, Milwaukee, vice president of product development for Compass International, Sioux Falls, S.D., and a project editor for Harcourt Interactive Technology, New York City. She has taught workshops at Mankato senior living centers, writes the newsletter for Happy Endings Animal Shelter and works as a literacy tutor.

Richard Wagner, retired teacher, administrator and coach, received the Distinguished Alumni Humanitarian Award. He has won numerous local, regional, state and national awards for his influence as a coach and teacher. He continues to host many community and school events, church retreats, school field trips and sports camps at his home in Croton, Iowa, and he sponsors a nursing scholarship a local community college. He established the Richard L. Wagner scholarship for MSU?s College of Business. He earned a master?s degree in business education from MSU.

Mark Weber, a U.S. Army officer and 1994 MSU graduate, received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award. Weber, one of 20 Army officers who will serve as interns with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington D.C., has earned numerous Army awards, including the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award, the Superior Unit Award, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Airborne and Air Assault badges, and the German Armed Forces Military Efficiency Badge in bronze, silver and gold.

Alice Weed, former MSU dental hygiene professor, received the Distinguished Alumni Humanitarian Award. She implemented an annual trip to Native American reservations, where MSU students provided care. She started a ?Patients with Special Needs? class; developed a program for day activity center clients; and coordinated student involvement in county public health services. She initiated MSU?s first partnership with long-term health care facilities, where students provided free care to nursing home residents. She established the Alice K. Weed Endowment for Dental Hygiene Scholarship, the only such endowment for dental hygiene students. She graduated from MSU in 1973 with an associate degree in dental hygiene, in 1981 with a bachelor?s degree in open studies and in 1989 with a master?s degree in health sciences.

Email this article | Permanent link | Topstories news | Topstories news archives