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Ten Minnesota State Mankato alumni to receive Distinguished Alumni Awards April 20

Ten Minnesota State Mankato graduates to be honored.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release [4-17-12]

Ten Minnesota State University, Mankato graduates have been named 2012 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 20, at 6 p.m. at the Centennial Student Union Ballroom.

The event will honor Virginia Dahlstrom, Wadena, Minn.; William Flies, Frontenac, Minn.; Duane Grandgenett, St. Louis, Mo.; Nicole Helget, North Mankato; Timothy Huebsch, Maple Grove, Minn.; Donald Kreye, Maple Grove, Minn.; Jerry Lee, Wayzata, Minn.; Margaret MacRae, St. Paul; Chris Schmidt, Mankato; and Donovan Schwichtenberg, Minneapolis.

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.

Dahlstrom, Grandgenett, Helget and Schwichtenberg will receive the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

Dahlstrom, superintendent of schools for Wadena-Deer Creek schools, graduated in 1988 with a master’s degree in physical education.

Grandgenett, a full professor at Saint Louis University, graduated in 1966 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

Helget is a novelist and fiction writer who also teaches at South Central College and Minnesota State Mankato. She graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in English and then received her master of fine arts degree in creative writing in 2007.

Schwichtenberg graduated in 1960 with a bachelor’s degree in business education. He retired in April 2011 after spending 21 years as president of Saint Paul College, which was named best two-year college in the country by Washington Monthly magazine in 2010.

Flies and Kreye will receive the Fitterer Service Award.

Flies, who graduated in 1964 with bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics, currently works with Chateau Frontenac, Ltd., a company he founded to develop a historic community on the shores of Lake Pepin in Frontenac, Minn.

Kreye, a business development manager for Abdo, Eick and Meyers, LLP (AEM), an accounting and consulting firm in Mankato, Apple Valley, Minn., and Edina, Minn., graduated in 1988 with bachelor’s degrees in marketing and management.

Lee and MacRae will receive the Humanitarian Award.

Lee, who currently runs his own accounting firm and publishing company and also teaches at Metropolitan State University and Northwestern College, graduated in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

MacRae, a physician at Minnesota Oncology in Minneapolis, graduated in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. In 1998, she received the Minnesota State Mankato Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. By receiving the Humanitarian Award this year, she is the first-ever graduate to be honored with a Distinguished Alumni Award in two different categories.

Huebsch and Schmidt will receive the Distinguished Young Alumni Award.

Huebsch graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and since then has worked at General Mills, where he currently serves as integration manager for digital marketing.

Schmidt, who graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in aviation, is currently employed by Delta Air Lines as an Airbus 320 first officer and will be transitioning to the Boeing 757/767 category this fall.

Those who want more information about the April 20 awards event may go to or call (507) 389-3235.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,649 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 32 state institutions.

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