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Maurice Oehler Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

Oehler, who resides in Prairie du Chien, Wis., was honored April 15.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 5-12-2016

Mankato, Minn. – Maurice Oehler (pictured) of Prairie du Chien, Wis., recently received the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Oehler, a retired high school chemistry teacher from Prairie Du Chien Schools who taught for 40 years, is one of eight 2016 alumni award winners. He was honored at an April 15 ceremony hosted by the Minnesota State Mankato Alumni Association. A YouTube video about Oehler’s career is available online.

Alumni Achievement Awards go to graduates who have achieved high rank or honor in their professions and have had a major impact on their communities.

Oehler earned bachelor’s degrees in chemistry in 1955 and secondary education in 1956 from Minnesota State Mankato.

He is the founder of “National Mole Day,” a day of engaging students in the practice and study of chemistry. The national day was started with a small article in The Science Teacher newsletter about Oehler’s idea for celebrating the day, which grew into a national organization, the National Mole Day Foundation, Inc., that was founded in 1991.

Its purpose is to assemble Mole Day ideas generated by many high school teachers and process them in the form of periodic newsletters sent out to members. The day is named on behalf of the Avogadro number, which is the basis of a measurement called the mole. It is celebrated on Oct. 23 each year. National Mole Day is promoted at major chemistry conferences, especially the biennial chemistry education conferences. The operation of the National Mole Day Foundation is now based at

Oehler is the recipient of many national, state, and regional awards, some in chemistry and others from civic organizations. His awards include the National Science Teachers Association Ciba-Geigy Award, the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers Excellence in Science Teaching Award, the Wisconsin Jaycees Outstanding Chairman Award, the National Mole of the Year Award, the Prairie du Chien Historical Society Delores Igou Volunteer of the Year Award and the Prairie du Chien Lion of the Year Award.

Those who want more information about the April 15 awards event may go to or call (507) 389-3235.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,193 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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