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Stuart Keroff Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

Keroff recipient of Humanitarian Award at April 21 awards ceremony.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 5-5-2017

Mankato, Minn. – Stuart Keroff (pictured) of St. Paul, Minn., recently received the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Humanitarian Award from Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Keroff, a middle school social studies teacher in St. Paul, Minn., is one of four 2017 alumni award winners. He was honored at an April 21 ceremony hosted by the Minnesota State Mankato Office of Alumni Relations. A YouTube video about Keroff’s career is available online.

Humanitarian Awards go to Minnesota State Mankato graduates whose lives exemplify service to humankind, and who have demonstrated exceptional dedication to humanitarian causes.

After graduating from Minnesota State Mankato in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies: History, Keroff spent several years working in retail, as a travel agent and in telecommunications before earning his teaching licensure and beginning his career in elementary education.

He taught third and fifth grades in three Twin Cities charter schools and then transitioned into middle school social studies at Community School of Excellence, a Hmong charter school in St. Paul. He made his biggest impact when he founded the Asian Penguins there.

While teaching social studies, Keroff recognized that the students who lacked access to an internet-connected computer were at a distinct disadvantage. He took his own time to learn about refurbishing computers and free open source software packages, including Linux. Then he taught his students to refurbish hardware, load operating systems and software, install the computers and train families to use them. Thus began the Asian Penguins—the first and only Linux users group based in a Hmong school in the world. So far, the Asian Penguins have gifted 89 computers to families and have provided more than 120 computers to the school for students to use in class.

Those who want more information about the April 21 awards event may go to or call (507) 389-1515.

The mission of the Minnesota State University, Mankato Alumni Association is to engage alumni, friends and students in ways that benefit its members and Minnesota State Mankato through opportunities that stimulate a lifetime of interest, loyalty and support.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,110 students, is part of the Minnesota State system, which comprises 31 state institutions. 

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