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Wayne State College Homecoming Features Service, Academic and Athletic Honorees

Published: 9-17-2013 9:30 am

Wayne State College will celebrate Homecoming weekend on campus, Sept. 26-29.

"Homecoming is a wonderful time for alumni to return to the beautiful Wayne State campus and renew friendships,'' said Deborah Lundahl, director of development and alumni relations at Wayne State College.

The 2013 Alumni Service Award will be presented to Charles Sass ('61) at the Homecoming/Hall of Fame Banquet on Sept. 28. The award recognizes alumni who have enhanced the college through dedicated service, promotion and financial support. 

Sass graduated from WSC in 1961. He received a master's in education degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1968. After a 12-year teaching career in Nebraska and Iowa schools, he and his wife, Sharon, purchased a sporting goods business in Boone, Iowa. They sold their business in 1977 and moved to Lincoln where Chuck accepted an instructor position with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Division of Continuing Studies and served as an editor in the curriculum development department. The couple moved to Washington, D.C., in 1987, where Sass took a position in the publications department of the Close Up Foundation, the nation's largest civic education organization. As the managing editor of academic publications, he edited and/or wrote more than 300 student and teacher publications including Current Issues, one of the most popular textbooks in social studies classrooms. Sass retired in 2006 after 18 years with Close Up and is now engaged in an in-depth study of leisure.

Chuck and Sharon Sass established the Kathryn Reimers Sass scholarship in 2005. The Sasses became trustees of the Wayne State Foundation in 2007 and are members of the Cornerstone Society and Heritage Society.

Outstanding alumni from each of the college's four schools will be honored at a banquet on Sept. 27. 

The honorees: 

School of Arts and Humanities
Jeffrey Child '02
Child received a degree in speech communications with minors in mathematics and computer science from WSC. He completed his doctoral studies and earned a Ph.D. from North Dakota State University in 2007. That same year the communication department at NDSU honored him as the Outstanding Doctoral Student of the Year. He joined the faculty at Kent State University in August 2007 and serves as the undergraduate coordinator for the School of Communication Studies. Child is a lifetime member of the National Communication Association, the International Communication Association, the Eastern Communication Association and the Central States Communication Association. He has served in leadership capacities for these organizations and has delivered more than 40 research paper presentations in conjunction with the conventions of these associations.

School of Education and Counseling
Greg Adams '74, MSE '75
Adams graduated from WSC earning bachelor and master's degrees in education. He was employed as a teacher of American government and economics at York Public Schools from 1976 to 2004. He was the recipient of numerous awards during his 31-year teaching career. Adams was appointed by the governor in 1997 and again in 2000 to the Nebraska Information Technology Commission. He served as a member of the York City Council from 1986 to 1996 and performed the duties of Mayor of the City of York from 1996 to 2006. Adams left his classroom in 2006 and entered the Nebraska Legislature. He serves as Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature.

School of Business and Technology
Duane Polodna '80
Polodna graduated from WSC earning a bachelor degree with accounting emphasis. After graduation he worked in the audit and tax departments at Arthur Young and Company, Omaha. He was granted a designation of Certified Public Accountant in 1982. After four years with Arthur Young and Company, he accepted a position with U. S. West Communications. He left U.S. West in 1995 to work as the corporate accounting manager at the Omaha World-Herald Company. After a series of promotions, Polodna was named vice-president and treasurer of the company in 2002 and appointed to its Board of Directors. Polodna serves as senior vice president and chief financial officer of BH Media Group, which owns and manages the Omaha World-Herald. BH Media Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.

School of Natural and Social Sciences
Wayne Mollhoff '74
Mollhoff graduated from WSC with a bachelor of science degree. He joined the Army in 1965 and served on active duty for 10 years. Mollhoff joined the Army Reserve for several years, and spent another six years on active duty before retiring to the reserves for more than two decades. A retired lieutenant colonel he volunteers much of his spare time gathering information on birds in the state. Mollhoff began surveying birds in 1984 and coordinated the first Nebraska Breeding Bird Atlas Project, which he wrote and had published by the Nebraska Game and Park Commission. Mollhoff is a member of three archaeology professional organizations and has been involved in digs. He has donated collections of mammal specimens along with other reptile, insect and plant specimens to WSC and University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Wayne State will honor athletic Hall of Fame Inductees at a banquet Sept. 28. 

The Hall of Fame inductees:

Tanna (Walford) Albin (Athlete) '07
Albin was a standout high jumper lettering all four years for the Wildcats from 2004 to 2007. The York Public Schools graduate won the NSIC Indoor Championship three times and had one outdoor title. In the 2005 indoor season she was named the NSIC Field Athlete of the Year. She was a three-time NCAA indoor national qualifier and a two-time national outdoor qualifier placing seventh in the high jump at both national meets as a senior. She excelled in the classroom earning USTFCCCA All-Academic honors three times (2005-07) and in 2007 was just one of two WSC athletes in the past 10 years to earn an NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship. She received her doctorate of medicine degree from the Nebraska Medical Center in 2012 and serves as a doctor of medicine for Family Practice at St. Vincent Health Systems, Carmel, Inc.

Cindy (Stella '82) and Steve Zelinsky '82 (Athletes)
Cindy lettered four years for the WSC Softball team from 1979 to 1982. She earned All-CSIC and NAIA All-District 11 honors during her senior season as a pitcher and during her junior season helped WSC to a seventh place finish at the NAIA National Tournament. After college, she was a successful coach at the collegiate and international level including stops as pitching coach at Minnesota (1992-94) and to develop a program at Washington University in Missouri (1999-2005). She led the team to four NCAA Division III National Tournaments, including a seventh place finish in 2005. She was co-head coach of an 18U Gold team that competed in the women’s division at the Canadian International Open in 2012.

Steve was a four-year letter winner for the Wayne State football team from 1978 to 1981. He was a three-time All-CSIC offensive lineman and was NAIA All-District 11 First Team his senior year. He lives in Chesterfield, Mo., where he has won numerous awards in the restaurant industry, including several Vendor of the Year awards in a chain of 350 stores. He has coached youth football and baseball in Chesterfield for the past seven years.

Ryun Williams (Coach)
Williams spent nine seasons (1998-2008) as head women’s basketball coach at WSC and is the school’s all-time winningest coach with a record of 182-106. He turned the Wildcats into a Northern Sun Conference and North Central/Central Region contender. While at WSC, he led the ‘Cats to the 2005-06 NSIC regular season and tournament titles with a then school record 27 wins (27-4) and the school’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. In three of his last four seasons, he led the Wildcats to 20 wins or more with two more NCAA Tournament appearances. His 2007-08 team was 22-10 and knocked off national power #6 North Dakota in the first round of the North Central Regional. Ryun moved on to Division I ranks where he spent four seasons at the University of South Dakota, his alma mater. He is now the head coach at Colorado State.

2006 Men's Track and Field (Team)
The 2006 Wayne State College men’s track and field team captured NSIC Indoor and Outdoor Championships and, coupled with the 2005 cross country team in the fall, pulled off a rare triple crown that season with conference titles. The indoor team scored 166 points and had three conference champions: Ben Jansen-800 meter run, Matt Schneider-1,000 meter run and the distance medley relay team. The outdoor team racked up 225 points to win the conference title and swept all four post season awards. Jansen was NSIC Track Athlete and Newcomer of the Year, JJ Washington was NSIC Field Athlete of the Year and Marlon Brink was NSIC Coach of the Year. It was the first of back-to-back years that Wayne State swept indoor and outdoor conference titles in track and field.

Roland Lentz '56 (Contributor)
Lentz grew up in Coleridge, Neb., and is a 1956 graduate of Wayne State College. He was involved with Lambda Delta Lambda and Kappa Mu Epsilon as a WSC student. He received a master of arts degree from the University of South Dakota in 1957. Roland taught at WSC from 1957 to 1959. He served as an instructor and math professor at Mankato State, Minnesota from 1962 to 1999. After his teaching career, he retired and moved back to the Wayne area. Lentz is a strong supporter of Wayne State College and can be found at most home sporting events. He has been a Cat Club member since 2005. Roland was a major contributor to the Athletic Facility’s Turf, Track and Soccer project. He supports math scholarships at Wayne State College, where he has been a donor for more than 30 years.

Wayne State College will host honored classes of 1953, 1963, 1973, 1983, 1993 and 2003.

Alumni football players will gather for a reunion. Registration is 8:30 to 9 a.m. Sept. 28 in the Student Center.

For a list of Homecoming, please go to www.wsc.edu/homecoming. Visit this site often to view a list of attendees as the reservations come in. 

For information, please email delunda1@wsc.edu or call 402-375-7209.



 

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