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Alumni Awards

Alumni Achievement Award

Deb Bodenstedt
Debra Bodenstedt '78 was the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award presented at the December 2018 commencement ceremony.

The Alumni Achievement Award is given to an alumnus/alumna who has attained outstanding achievement in his or her career and/or through community service and has provided support to WSC. The Alumni Achievement Award is given at the May and December commencement exercises.

December 2018 - Deb Bodenstedt '78

Debra BodenstedtDebra Bodenstedt will receive the Alumni Achievement Award during the ceremony. Bodenstedt was born and raised in Wayne County. Her education began in the same one-room rural school her father had attended. She graduated from Wayne High School and earned her Bachelor of Arts in education from Wayne State in 1978. While at Wayne State, she participated in varsity volleyball and softball, German Club, Panhellenic Council, Student Council, Chi Omega sorority, and myriad intramural sports. She taught high school for three years before joining the United States Navy, earning her commission as an Ensign at Officer Candidate School in March 1983.

Bodenstedt’s 27 years in the military was marked by distinguished service. She was the first woman to qualify as a Submarine Rescue Chamber operator while assigned temporarily onboard USS Kittiwake. She participated as a diver in the Space Shuttle Challenger salvage. She served as Commanding Officer Consolidated Divers Unit in San Diego, Calif., from March 1998 to May 2000, where her divers completed the first double in-water aircraft carrier propeller change on USS John C. Stennis, and maintained the Navy’s only certified underwater welding team. She participated as a diver in the historic salvage of the Civil War vessel USS Monitor and oversaw the ordnance salvage efforts for USS Cole after the suicide bombing in Yemen.

She was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2002, the Women in Military Service Memorial in 2008, and was recognized as a Hometown Hero by Modern Woodmen of America in 2017.

Her personal military service awards are the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Navy Commendation Medal (three gold stars), Joint Service Achievement Medal, and Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Her United States Navy service included Basic Diving, Salvage courses at Naval Diving, and Salvage Training Center and Surface Warfare Officer's School; USS Yellowstone as a Division and Diving Officer; Operations Officer and Director of the Naval Surface Force Atlantic Second Class Diving School from 1986 to 1988; Operations Officer in USS Grasp from 1988 to 1991; Executive Officer in USS Safeguard from 1992 to 1994; Officer in charge of Naval Ordnance Center Detachment in Rock Island, Ill., from 1995 to 1998; Commanding Officer Consolidated Divers Unit in San Diego, Calif., from 1998 to 2000; Executive Officer of Atlantic Ordnance Command in Yorktown, Va., from 2000 to 2002; Naval War College in Newport, R.I., where she received a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies in 2003; Deputy Logistics Support Division and Munitions Branch Chief, U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii from 2003 to 2006 as Logistics Response Cell Supervisor for the Tsunami recovery/relief operations in Southeast Asia via Operation Unified Assistance in 2004; and command of Navy Munitions Command East Asia Division, the Navy’s ordnance provider for Operation Enduring Freedom and the entire Pacific, with a workforce of over 700 personnel in eight locations throughout the Pacific and Indian Ocean, and an ordnance inventory valued at over $4 billion, in 2006. Captain Bodenstedt retired from active duty in August 2010.

After military retirement, Bodenstedt immersed herself in her new home town of Yankton, S.D. She has served as director of the Red Cross and volunteered as a disaster responder. She is an active member of Habitat for Humanity, an officer with the VFW, American Legion, and the regional director for IRS/AARP volunteer tax preparation at the local Senior Center. She has served as vice chair for the county Republican Party for six years and as a delegate to the 2012 National Republican Convention. She is nearing completion of her first four-year term as a Yankton County Commissioner. She currently is vice chair of the commission.

Bodenstedt was selected by the governor of South Dakota in 2015 to chair the commissioning committee of the USS South Dakota. The purpose of this committee is to organize, fund, and execute all events surrounding the commissioning of the first ship in over 70 years to bear the name South Dakota. The Virginia-class nuclear submarine is nearing completion and is scheduled for commissioning in early 2019.

Bodenstedt participates in Senior Games, qualifying and attending four national contests, winning a bronze and silver medal in badminton and softball. She was selected as 2017 South Dakota Senior Games female athlete of the year.

May 2018 - Lukas G. Rix '10

Lukas RixLukas Rix grew up in Lyons, a small community in Northeast Nebraska. From an early age, Lukas has enjoyed the philosophies of doing business in rural communities. In the fall of 2006, Lukas attended Wayne State College and received a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Management. Upon graduation in 2010, Lukas worked as the Customer Research Manager for Sand Creek Post & Beam in Wayne until 2014.   

Lukas and his husband, Mark Kanitz, own and operate four store fronts in downtown Wayne: Rustic Treasures, 1912 Emporium, Thrift Warehouse, and The Coffee Shoppe. An aggressive vision to make downtown Wayne a regional tourist hot spot for retail is what keeps Lukas hungry for more growth in their company. Lukas served on the Wayne Area Economic Development (WAED) board for six years, including four years as secretary to the board. Lukas and Mark have also served as trustees of the Wayne State Foundation since 2017.

As an advocate for rural communities to evolve in a positive way, Lukas was selected by The Sherwood Foundation in 2014 to receive a community catalyst grant to further his knowledge and vision for Wayne. He continues to enjoy challenging rural citizens and business owners to tell their stories about why rural is important.   

December 2017 - Keith Knudsen '81

Keith KnudsenKeith Knudsen graduated from Wayne State College with a degree in Business Administration/Finance in 1981. He graduated from the Graduate School of Banking in Boulder, Colo., in 1991. He serves as a trustee of the school and was chairman of the school in 2015-16.  

Knudsen began working at Security National Bank in February of 1981 and serves as president/CEO and director of Security Bank (Laurel, Osmond, Allen, Hartington, Coleridge). Security Bank was named Extraordinary Bank of the Year in 2017 by the Institute for Extraordinary Banking in Minneapolis.

Knudsen has been an active member of the Nebraska Bankers Association (NBA). He was a member of the first Nebraska Bankers Association Leadership Program class. Knudsen served as an NBA board member from 2002-05 and is a past chairman of the Operations, Lending, and Government Relations Committees. He continues to share his knowledge of the banking industry by presenting at area, state, and national events and conventions.    

As a proponent for education and the youth of his community, Knudsen served on the Laurel-Concord Schools Board of Education from 1993-2004. He has also served the Laurel community and surrounding area as a member/president of the Laurel Chamber of Commerce; member/chairman of the Hillcrest Care Center Board; member of the Laurel Development Company; member of the Providence Medical Center Board; and Laurel Rescue Unit volunteer.   

Knudsen was elected to the Laurel City Council in 2010 and serves a member and president of the council. He also serves as chairman of the Fund Advisory Committee of the Laurel Area Community Foundation; a member of the Laurel Economic Development Advisory Council; and a Nebraska Ambassador for the Department of Economic Development. 

Keith and his wife, Karen, are members of the Wayne State Foundation Trustees.  

May 2017 - Randy Pedersen '71

Randy PedersenRandall “Randy” A. Pedersen will receive the Alumni Achievement Award from the Wayne State Foundation during the undergraduate commencement ceremony. He graduated from Wayne State College with a bachelor of science degree in business administration in 1971. He paid for his education by working construction during the summers and in his grandfather’s meat locker during the school year, while also helping on the family farm.

Pedersen worked as a financial planner immediately after graduation. He accepted a position as assistant store manager for Zales Jewelers in Omaha in 1972 and was selected as store manager to open a Zales store in a new mall in Grand Island. He purchased an existing jewelry store in Wayne in 1978, and changed the name to The Diamond Center. He expanded his business to a new location by remodeling an existing building on Main Street, and opened the new store in 2002, which included new jewelry lines and a full service florist shop, wine shop, gourmet foods, and other gifts. This new part of the business was named Flowers and Wine.

Since returning to his hometown of Wayne, Pedersen has been active in the community. He has served on the City Council and Planning Commission, served two terms as president of the Wayne Area Chamber of Commerce, was chair for the Business Improvement District on the reconstruction of Main Street, and is a member of Wayne Area Economic Development. He was Chamber Person of the Year in 2015 and also Small Business of the Year. Pedersen has served on the Providence Medical Center governing board, Little Red Hen Theatre Board, and is a member of Wayne Rotary Club.

He is active in the jewelry industry, serving several terms on the board and as president of the Nebraska, South Dakota Jewelers Association. He is a member of Retail Jewelers Organization, a jewelry buying group of more than 900 independent jewelers across the country, and served 30 years on the Merchandise Review Committee. He also has traveled to South Africa and Israel selecting diamonds for his customers.

Pedersen has committed his time, talents, and treasures to Wayne State College as a trustee and executive committee member of the Wayne State Foundation and past president of the Wayne State Foundation Executive Board. He is also a member of Cat Club, and is a great supporter of Wayne State College and the Wayne State Foundation. He received the Wayne State College Alumni Service Award in 2007 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2015.

Randy and his wife, Rozan, have a son, Joel, who is a wildlife biologist for the National Wild Turkey Federation in South Carolina. They also have two granddaughters; Bailey, a freshman at Clemson—because it’s too cold in Nebraska—and Emma, a freshman at Strom Thurmond High School.

December 2016 - Jeanette Snyder '90

Jeanette SnyderJeanette (Schmeits) Snyder will receive the Alumni Achievement Award from the Wayne State Foundation at the graduation ceremony. She graduated with honors from Wayne State College in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with accounting and finance concentrations. As a WSC student, she served as a Wayne State ambassador, was a member of Phi Beta Lambda, and was elected to the Cardinal Key Club.

Snyder works as Region Credit Manager for Crop Production Services, a subsidiary of publicly-traded Agrium, a global, leading provider of agriculture products and services. Recently named to the position, she manages the trade credit risk within a $4-billion sales portfolio generated from the Central U.S., providing oversight to 10 credit offices. She began her credit management career in the ag distribution industry in 2001 with United Agri Products, a division of ConAgra. Immediately after her 1990 graduation, she was employed by United Bank of Iowa specializing in compliance, advancing to loan officer vice president.

She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Credit Management Association Heartland Unit, Kansas City; is a regular participant in the BMO Harris Executive Women in Food, Consumer, and Agribusiness Forum; and is a graduate of the Iowa School of Banking and the Agriculture School of Credit. She is passionate about her time spent with the ladies of the American Legion Auxiliary of Odebolt, of which she holds the position of vice president.

Snyder’s husband, Grant, farms near Odebolt, Iowa, where they reside on the family farm. Their children include: Adam and his wife, Jodi, with sons, Jackson and Jordan, also of Odebolt; Megan Snyder of Sioux Falls, S.D.; Brandi Snyder of Omaha; Taylor Snyder of Iowa City, Iowa; and Riley Snyder, a high school senior. Jeanette graduated from Spalding High School in Spalding, Neb., and was raised on a farm near Primrose, Neb.

May 2016 - Bart Gotch '82

Bart GotchBart Gotch is the recipient of this year’s Alumni Achievement Award and will deliver the baccalaureate address at spring commencement. Gotch graduated from Wayne State College in three and a half years in December 1982 as an honors–honorable mention graduate with a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a finance concentration.

Gotch has served as president of Siouxland National Bank of South Sioux City, Neb., for 25 years. He was hired as president at the age of 30. Siouxland National Bank, chartered in 1980, is a locally owned community bank.

Gotch graduated from Allen High School in 1979. He started his banking career at Citizens National Bank of Wisner in 1983. He received advancements until accepting the president position at Siouxland National Bank in 1991. Gotch enjoys his career in banking, helping his customers achieve their goals and successes along with aiding and providing leadership roles within the community.

In addition to being involved in numerous professional organizations, Gotch has been active in his community through participation and leadership roles in several foundations, including the Wayne State College Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, economic development organizations, capital campaigns including Wayne State’s College Center in South Sioux City, youth sports, and Legion baseball coaching, and other worthwhile organizations.

Gotch’s wife, Terri, also a Wayne State graduate, continues her teaching career in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa. They have two grown children: a daughter, Dr. Jennifer Smith, DDS, with her husband, Haiden, and their daughter, Kate; and son, Brett Gotch, with his wife, Kyna, both Wayne State graduates.

December 2015 - Greg Allen '74

Greg AllenGreg Allen, a 1974 graduate of Wayne State, received the Alumni Achievement Award during the December 2015 commencement ceremony. He has served as senior vice president of real estate management with Farmers Mutual of Nebraska since 2013.

Allen’s first job out of college was with Farmers Mutual of Nebraska. He started his career in the claims department, where he held numerous positions before being promoted to vice president of claims in 1994. He was promoted to senior vice president of operations in 2001. He was elected to the company’s Board of Directors in 1998 and continues to serve on the board.

He celebrated his 40th year with the company in 2015. Allen also serves on the Downtown Lincoln Association executive board and is a trustee of the Wayne State Foundation and a member of the Executive Committee.

Allen grew up in the north-central Iowa town of Algona. He and his wife, Susan, reside in Lincoln.

May 2015 - Jim Ricketts '74

Jim RickettsJim Ricketts, a 1974 graduate of Wayne State, received the Alumni Achievement Award during the undergraduate commencement ceremony May 9 at the college. Ricketts serves as president and chief operations officer of Omaha-based Opportunity Education Foundation (www.opportunityeducation.org).

The foundation serves 1,688 schools in 11 developing countries in Africa and Asia with curriculum, technology, and educational materials along with teacher development.  The Foundation has contributed $60 million of support since 2006 to make quality education accessible to children in the poorest of poor areas so they can improve their standard of living.  

Ricketts joined Opportunity Education as an experienced businessman, securities attorney, arbitrator, and instructor. He previously served as vice president of TD Ameritrade for 20 years with assignments that included acquisition, legal, compliance and brokerage firm management. He serves the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as an arbitrator and is a past founding member of the National Association of Security Dealers (NASD) e-Brokerage Committee. He serves on Nebraska's Department of Education Council of International Education. He taught business law and real estate law as adjunct professor at Colorado College.  

Ricketts earned his juris doctorate from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego in 1979. He holds Bar Admission in California. Ricketts was ordained a permanent Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church Archdiocese of Omaha after a four year theology program. He serves Jesus Christ in various ministries in the Church. Louisiana College honored Ricketts’ service to students and teachers in Africa and Asia as 2013 recipient of the Trustee's Distinguished Service Award.

December 2014 - Lennie Adams '78

Lennie AdamsLennie Adams, group president of the Global Irrigation Division for Valmont Industries, Inc., in Omaha, received the Alumni Achievement Award during the winter graduation ceremony. Adams, a lifelong Nebraska resident, earned his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Wayne State College in 1978. He obtained his CPA designation in 1991 and completed the Stanford University executive MBA program in 1996.

His responsibilities with Valmont include the Global Irrigation Division, Industrial Fasteners, Inc. (IFI, a distributor of fastener products in the U.S.), and Cascade Earth Sciences (CES, a water reuse company located in Oregon).

Adams began his career at Valmont upon graduation from college. He has held numerous accounting and controllership positions in the Poles and Tubing divisions of Valmont. He accepted the role of vice president of operations in the Poles Division in 1995. This was followed by the roles of vice president and general manager of the Industrial Products Division and subsequently the position of president for the Coatings and Tubing Division. Adams became the president of North American Irrigation and Tubing Divisions in 2005. He accepted the role of group president for the Global Irrigation Division in January 2009.

Adams served two terms on the Fremont Area United Way Board, with one term as president.  He has also served for six years on the Fremont Area Community Foundation Board. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the College World Series of Omaha, Inc. In addition to his community ties, Adams serves on the Board of Trustees for the Wayne State Foundation.

Adams and his wife, Daun, reside outside of Omaha. Their son, Todd, and his wife, Brittainy, have two daughters, Olivia and Sydney.

May 2014 - Mike Beacom '90

Mike BeacomMike Beacom was the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award. Beacom graduated as an honors-honorable mention graduate from Wayne State College in 1990 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration with an accounting concentration.

Beacom, a Certified Public Accountant, has been with McGladrey LLP for 20 years, with the past 10 years as an assurance partner. McGladrey is considered one of the nation’s largest assurance, tax and consulting firms, with more than 6,700 professionals and associates located in 75 cities across the United States and more than $1 billion in annual revenues.

Beacom started with McGladrey in its Cedar Rapids, Iowa, office, transferred to Las Vegas, Nev., in 1996, and has worked for McGladrey’s Dallas office since 2001. After holding various leadership positions within the firm, Beacom was chosen to lead McGladrey’s Central Region’s Real Estate and Construction Industry Group in 2013. The Central Region’s footprint encompasses the states of Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas.

In addition to being involved with numerous professional, fraternal and charitable organizations, Beacom is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Texas State Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Upon graduating from Emerson-Hubbard High School in Emerson, Neb., Beacom received a Cooperating Schools Scholarship to attend Wayne State College. In appreciation of this scholarship and in the spirit of giving back to Wayne State College, he and his wife, Liz, have started The Beacom Demke Family Scholarship in honor of Mike’s parents, James and Mary Ann (Demke) Beacom, who still reside in Hubbard, Neb.

Mike and Liz reside in Frisco, Texas.

December 2013 - Dr. David Johnson '60

David JohnsonDr. David Johnson was the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award during the Wayne State College commencement ceremony Dec. 13. Dr. Johnson, originally from Osmond, Neb., graduated from Wayne State in 1960 with a bachelor of arts degree and married Lelia Leggat the same year.

Johnson graduated from University of Nebraska Medical Center with a medical degree in family practice in 1965 and interned at Nebraska Methodist Hospital in Omaha in 1966. He served with the U.S. Army as commanding medical officer at the Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station in Minneapolis. He received the Army Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service at the end of his tour.

He became a member of Osmond General Hospital Medical Staff in 1968 and by 1969 was employed in his own clinic, where he worked until retiring in 2013. He served as hospital chief of staff multiple times in rotation with other local physicians and served on the Osmond Hospital Board for 20 years. He was a member of the American Academy of Family Practice and the American Medical Association. He was a member of the Osmond Community Club and served as American Legion Post 326 Commander.

Johnson and Lelia, who died in 2003, have five children and 14 grandchildren.

May 2013 - Dr. Bonnie Hubby Bass '54

Bonnie BassDr. Bonnie Bass was the recipient of the Wayne State Foundation Alumni Achievement Award at spring commencement. She is the founder and president of Expertise, a consulting and executive advisory firm headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, with eight associate offices in the U.S. and Canada. She also serves as Vice President of Research and Development for Professional DynaMetric Programs, Inc., a Colorado behavioral research, program development, and international training company. She serves as Director of the DynaPro Consulting Division of PDP Inc.

Bass graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education from Wayne State College in 1954. After teaching at Wayne High School and Technical High School in Omaha, she enjoyed a number of years as a homemaker, parenting two children (Jefferson Bass and Jane Bass Page) and serving her community in cities in California, Iowa and Utah. Her love of learning and a desire to assist people to become successful in life inspired her to enroll in a master’s degree program at University of San Francisco in psychology. After a two-year internship (1978), she was granted a license as a family counselor and opened an office practice.

During 1978 her brother, Bruce Hubby, a businessman in Colorado Springs, Colo., was funding and leading a new research project that incorporated technology with the vision of assisting businesses and organizations to achieve success through understanding people. The two siblings joined in this venture, later known as PDP Inc. Bruce Hubby, now deceased, graduated from WSC in 1957, along with his wife, Jan Hubby. Bruce Hubby’s son, Brent Hubby, is now President of PDP Inc. To assist in the new research and expand her knowledge of business application of psychology, Bass returned to the University of San Francisco, earning the doctor of education degree in 1983. She is a member of the Institute of Management Consultants USA and the National Speakers Association. Bass is honored to have been the first woman president and chairman of the board of the San Francisco Kiwanis Club (1990).

December 2012 - Dr. Ron Holt '89

Ron HoltDr. Holt was the recipient of the Wayne State Foundation Alumni Achievement Award at winter commencement. He earned his bachelor of science degree in chemistry and pre-professional biology from WSC in 1989, and his doctorate degree in Osteopathic Medicine in 1993 from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, Mo. He attended his fist two years of psychiatry residency training at Baylor College of Medicine in House, Texas, before finishing his training in 1997 at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, Calif. Holt earned his Master of Public Administration degree with a concentration in health services from eh University of San Francisco in 2002.

Holt joined The Permanente Medical Group in 1997 and continues to serve as a staff psychiatrist at the Kaiser South San Francisco Medical Center in South San Francisco. For the past 13 years he has volunteered his vacation and travel costs to come back to WSC each homecoming to educate student on the consequences of homophobia in the classroom, the biology of gay sexuality, and bullying and suicide prevents – especially in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities.

He developed a website, audacityofprice.com, in 2009 an expanded his community service education on LGBT issues to other colleges and universities across the country. Holt was awarded the David Lawrence Community Service Award in 2009 for his community service work in LGBT education. Since 2010, in addition to his clinical work, he expanded his education to audiences of physicians and clinicians on how to provide more culturally competent care to the LGBT community. Holt was awarded the 2010 R. J. Erickson Diversity Achievement Award while expanding his LGBT medical education to physicians and clinicians. To date he has presented to more than 1,100 physicians.

Holt expanded his LGBT medical education to other physicians through regional, national, and international medical conferences, including at the World Congress of Psychiatry conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2011.

He was invited to and attended, The White House screening of the documentary “Bully” in April 2012. In August he was invited to and participated in the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit in Washington, D.C.

In addition to being a trustee of the Wayne State Foundation, Holt has created numerous endowed and annual scholarships at WSC. He began his first annual scholarship in 1989 while a senior at Wayne State. He earned the Wayne State Foundation Alumni Service Award in 2004.

Holt, and his husband, Dr. William Huggett, a 1986 WSC Alumnus, currently reside in San Francisco.

May 2011 - Dr. Brad Bigelow '57

Brad BigelowBrad was presented the Alumni Achievement Award during the May 7 commencement ceremonies. A graduate of Lyons High Schools, he earned his bachelor of arts in education degree from WSC in 1957. He went on to earn his master’s in education/clinical psychology in 1958 and doctorate in 1964, both from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Bigelow served as the guidance counselor at Lincoln-Northeast from 1959-1960. He became the first psychologist for the Nebraska Penal and Correctional complex in 1960 and served as the chief psychologist until 1968. He co-hosted a one-hour monthly TV series, The Prisoner Speaks, and originated Project Youth, a panel of inmates that spoke to various schools, civic and religious groups around the state.

He later served as psychologist/program director at Kearney Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center from 1968 until retirement in 1998. He created the State of Nebraska Evaluation program for pre-adjudicated adolescent male offenders. Bigelow still maintains a private practice, serving as psychological consultant to school districts, rehabilitation services, the courts, and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Brad’s professional memberships include the American Psychological Association, American Association of Professional Psychologists, National Rehabilitation Association, Nebraska ELCA Prison Ministry Steering Committee and former member of the ELCA Church Vocations Committee and Examining Board. A current member of the Buffalo County Mental Health Board, Brad also completed a four-year term on Lutheran Family Services Board of Directors and served a five-year term on the Governor’s Behavioral Health Oversight Commission.

Bigelow was the co-founder of Kearney Friends Program (Big Brothers, Big Sisters); co-founder and board member of Campus House Group Home for Girls; co-founder and former president of Nebraska Juvenile Justice Association (recipient of association’s Service to Youth Award in 1986 and 1998); and co-founder, former president and current member of South Central Behavioral Service.

Brad’s wife, Karen, attended WSC from 1953 to 1955, graduated from UN-L and worked as an elementary teacher. Brad and Karen’s family includes a daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Jeffrey Kurtz; daughter Leann Welsh; and several grandchildren.

December 2010 - Dr. Dwain '55 and Carole Petersen '54

Dwaine and Carole PetersenCarole and Dwain Petersen are the recipients of the Wayne State Foundation Alumni Achievement Award. Dwain received a Wayne State Service Award and graduated cum laude with one of the college's first bachelor of music education degrees in 1955. Carole completed her teaching credential at Wayne State in 1954 and started her teaching career in nearby Pierce. Dwain and Carole were married in 1955. They accepted teaching positions in Tilden, Neb., where Carole was first-grade teacher and Dwain was band director and led the boys' glee club.

Dwain joined the Naval Reserve in 1952. Upon receiving his draft notice in 1956, he and Carole moved to Newport, R.I., where Dwain was commissioned an ensign in the Navy. After aviation training at Jacksonville, Florida Naval Air Station (NAS) and electronics education at Glenview, Illinois NAS, they transferred to Barbers Point, Territory of Hawaii NAS in 1957. Dwain served for two and a half years on the Distant Early Warning barrier, flying 100 14-hour missions between Midway Island and Adak, Alaska NAS. Upon release from active duty he remained in the Naval Reserve as an air intelligence officer, serving 28 years and attaining the rank of commander.

Dwain earned a doctorate at the University of Nebraska in educational psychology. The family of five moved to Mankato, Minn., in 1964, where he became an assistant professor at Mankato State University. He served as director of institutional research, director of the Center for Cultural and Behavioral Education, professor and president of the faculty, retiring in 1997. Carole completed her bachelor's degree in 1974 and master's degree in 1979 in sociology at Mankato. She served as assistant director of the International Student Office at Mankato for 20 years.

Dwain and Carole have provided leadership and service to the Boy Scouts of America as den mother, den leader coach, Cubmaster, Scoutmaster and president of the Twin Valley Council. Carole also worked with 4-H. Twenty-three Eagle Scouts were nurtured by their devotion. 

Carole and Dwain have been active in Kiwanis International for 42 and 20 years respectively at the local, regional and international level. They have served as presidents, lieutenant governor and administrators of Aktion Clubs for developmentally delayed adults. They spearheaded acceptance of women as full members of Kiwanis International.

Carole and Dwain have served the United Methodist Church at state, regional and world levels. They have been on three mission trips in the Caribbean assisting in repairing damage from hurricanes. They have assisted Dr. Ron Holt, a 1989 WSC graduate, with his work on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender issues at WSC. They have funded endowed scholarships at WSC for music education students and at MSU. The Petersens have been trustees of the Wayne State Foundation since 2005.

May 2010 - George L. Shuck '76

George ShuckGeorge graduated summa cum laude from WSC in 1976 with a bachelor of science degree in business administration, with a concentration in accounting and a minor in economics. He received a master of science degree in accounting in 1977 from the University of Kansas.

George began his career in public accounting with Arthur Andersen & Co. as a staff accountant in the auditing division of the company’s Kansas City office in 1980. He changed his career path from public accounting to private industry in 1985 when he became chief financial officer for a computer hardware/software retailer. An opportunity presented itself a year later and he became a shareholder and president of a T.J. Cinnamons franchise in Memphis, Tenn. He temporarily relocated to Memphis and was actively involved in the entire business operations of the franchise.

After spending two years away from Kansas City, George returned and joined Ferrellgas, Inc. as a manager of financial accounting and reporting. He was promoted to director of administration services in 1992.

In 1995 George became president and sole stockholder of a custom metal fabricating company in Kansas City; he sold this business in 2004. He assumed the position of vice president and chief financial officer of Clearwater Natural Resources in 2005 where he continues his employment.

George and his wife, Deb, make their home in Kansas City, Mo. George has been a proud supporter of WSC and since 1993 has served as a Trustee of the Wayne State Foundation.

December 2009 - Donald "Wayne" Kehrli '68

Wayne was presented the Alumni Achievement Award during winter commencement ceremonies. He is a 1968 graduate of Wayne State with an education degree in business.

Following his graduation, Wayne embarked upon a 40-year career in the banking industry, retiring in 2009. His first position was in his hometown of Schuyler where he served the First National Bank as a commercial and agricultural loan officer for 11 years. He was employed at Nebraska State Bank, Omaha, for 25 years serving as President and Chairman of the Board. During his banking career Wayne was involved with many organizations and non-profit charities.

In addition to his banking career, Wayne also participated in a companion career in the health care industry in Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa. He was involved with ownership and management of several nursing homes, assisted living homes and memory care facilities. Wayne continues to work in this capacity with several health care operations.

Wayne and his wife, Nancy, live in Omaha and are parents of two grown children. Wayne presently serves on the Board of Directors for Financial Transmission Network Company and is a trustee of the Wayne State Foundation.

May 2009 - Don '58 and Carol (Rankin) '54 Bremer

Don and Carol BremerDon and Carol (Rankin) Bremer were the recipients of the Alumni Achievement Award at spring commencement. Don earned his bachelor's degree from Wayne State in 1958, majoring in education and industrial arts. Carol graduated from WSC in 1954 with her two-year teaching credential. Carol earned her bachelor of arts and master of arts in education from the University of California-Los Angeles. She taught junior high school English before serving as the junior high counselor in the Ontario-Montclair School District for 13 years.

Don spent 26 years as a school administrator, the last 14 as principal of Chino Boys Republic High School. He is an Elk, a Mason and a Rotarian. Don left his school administrative position in 1992 after 35 years in the field of education to give more time to their rapidly growing investment business. Carol and Don own and manage D&C Investment Properties, a partnership that runs 345 apartment units, nice single-family homes and a medical complex that houses 18 doctors.

Don and Carol reside in Big Bear Lake, California. They have been exemplary educators, administrators and business owners, embodying the spirit that with a Wayne State degree, one can go anywhere and do anything. They have been exceptionally charitable to their community. They have also created an endowed scholarship fund at Wayne to provide two student scholarships each year.

December 2008 - Susan (Reeh) '55 and George Menking '56

Susan and George MenkingSusan (Reeh) and George Menking received the Alumni Achievement Award at Wayne State’s winter commencement ceremony. Susan graduated from WSC in 1955 with a major in English and minors in art and music. George received his bachelors degree from Wayne State in 1956 with majors in math and science.

Susan taught for three years and stayed at home to raise five children and serve as a volunteer in their schools and the community the following years. In 1966, she was awarded a Fellowship in Educational Research and Statistics at Southern Connecticut College, which led to her receiving a master’s degree in 1967. After completing her Ph.D. at Texas Woman’s University, she became the first fulltime psychologist for the Lewisville schools.

George entered the Army after graduation and served his tour of duty in the Counter Intelligence Corps. In 1959, he joined the actuarial department of the Aetna Life Insurance Company to pursue a career as an actuary. He became a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. During his career, he served as the managing partner of the PricewaterhouseCoopers Actuarial and Benefits Consulting Practices in New York City and Dallas.

Following retirement, George and Susan started a small record company, Menking Productions, to produce and distribute Latin and rock music. They both serve as members of the Marriage Preparation Ministry at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Avondale, Arizona. They also serve on the Board of Trustees for the Wayne State Foundation.

May 2008 - Dr. Terri Monk '73

Terri MonkDr. Terri Monk, Durham, N.C., a professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., was presented with the Alumni Achievement Award at spring graduation on May 3. She delivered the commencement address at the baccalaureate ceremony.

Terri earned her bachelor of science degree at WSC in 1973. She received her medical degree from the University of Nebraska and completed a residency in anesthesiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Prior to her move to Duke, she was a faculty member in the Department of Anesthesiology at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., and at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla.

Dr. Monk is a founding member and past president of the Society for the Advancement of Geriatric Anesthesia and serves as a representative to the American Geriatric Society's Secion of Surgical and Related Medical Specialties. She also serves as the chairperson of the Special Interest Group for the Generation of Anesthesia Standards.

December 2007 - Dr. Jerry Krause '59

Jerry KrauseDr. Jerry Krause of Spokane, Washington, and a 1959 graduate of Wayne StateCollege, received the Alumni Achievement Award at the winter commencement ceremony. He serves as the director of men’s basketball operations at Gonzaga University. Jerry had a 17-year career as head coach at Eastern Washington University, he was inducted into the EWU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.

Prior to becoming head coach at EWU, Krause was an assistant at the University of Northern Colorado for three years, and coached at Loveland High School in Colorado and Adair-Casey Community High in Iowa. Krause was a long-standing member of the NCAA Rules Committee, was on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and served on the Selection Committee of the National Basketball Hall of Fame. Jerry has written more than 30 books on coaching basketball, produced 31 instructional videos, six DVD’s, two CD’s and serves as a consultant to many athletic organizations. He is the most widely published coach in basketball history, surpassing the legendary Clair Bee.

May 2007 - Robert Lichtenberg '69

Wayne State College presented the Alumni Achievement Award to Robert Lichtenberg at the college’s baccalaureate ceremony May 5. The award recognizes Wayne State alumni for outstanding contributions in their careers and their communities.

Lichtenberg graduated with a B.A. in physics and mathematics from Wayne State College in 1969. He and his wife, Linda, own Lincoln Machine in Lincoln, Neb. Mr. Lichtenberg is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Wayne State Foundation.

After graduation from Wayne State, he taught at Wheeler Central High School for two years. He then moved to Ames, Iowa, where in 1974 he earned his master of science in metallurgy from Iowa State University. He continued graduate work and research at the Ames Lab for the Atomic Energy Commission before moving to Valley, Neb., to work for the Bank of Valley.

Lichtenberg left Valley Bank in 1980 as president to take a position as head of engineering with Brumko Magnetics in Elkhorn, Neb., where he eventually served as vice president of operations. In 1984, he accepted a position with IBM in Omaha in the company’s sales division specializing in engineering and scientific products. He returned to Brumko in 1987 as general manager. The company grew to about 150 employees in Elkhorn and its Tijuana, Mexico, facility grew to about 300 employees.

Lichtenberg and a partner purchased Lincoln Machine in 1991. In 1995, he and his partner dissolved their partnership and Lichtenberg and his wife became the sole owners of the company. The business provides tooling, fixtures, and production parts for manufacturers and designs and builds automated manufacturing equipment.

December 2006 - Morland (Mac) McManigal '52

Mac McmanigalMorland (Mac) McManigal of Fairfield, Calif., was presented the Wayne State College Alumni Achievement Award at the commencement ceremony held on Dec. 15. Mac is a 1952 graduate of Wayne State College. He has been in the insurance business for 48 years, 46 of those years were in management. 

McManigal has the dual distinction of being the first National Association of Life Underwriters president to hold the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter designation and the only person to serve two terms as president of the California Association of Life Underwriters. He was the first recipient of the association’s Distinguished Service Award in 1992. Upon his retirement from State Farm, Mac became a consultant with Western Reserve Life (WRL) and retired as executive director of ORBA Financial, WRL’s western branch in Sacramento, California.

McManigal is the only person in the insurance industry to serve four prestigious industry organizations in leadership positions: president of the National Association of Life Underwriters; president of Life Underwriters Training Council; charter member of the General Agents and Managers Foundation board; and vice chairman of the American College’s 21st Century Endowment Campaign.

December 2005 - Michael E. Bousquet '70

Mike BousquetMichael E. Bousquet, a Lincoln businessman and a 1970 graduate of WSC received the Alumni Achievement Award at the winter commencement ceremony held in Rice Auditorium on the Wayne State campus December 16. He and his wife, Vicki serve on the board of trustees of the Wayne State Foundation. Mike also serves as treasurer of the WS Foundation's exectuive committee.

Mike is president and chief executive officer of REAMS Sprinkler Supply Co. The company has nine stores in five states including three in Nebraska: Lincoln (the home office), Omaha and Grand Island; Sioux City, Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Lenexa, Kansas; Nixa, Missouri and Sprinkdale, Arkansas.

Following graduation from WSC, Mike began as a partner in E. J. Bousquet and Sons and was also owner of ABC Income Tax. He was named distributor of the year for Rain Bird, Hunter and Weather-matic Irrigation companies and is a certifited landscape irrigation auditor.

Mike and Vicki have been longtime supporters of WSC, including providing underground sprinkler equipment for the campus.

May 2005 - Ronald "Ron" W. Hunter '53

Ron HunterRonald "Ron" W. Hunter, an Omaha attorney and a 1953 graduate of WSC, received the Alumni Achievement Award at the Spring Commencement ceremony held in the Wayne State College Willow Bowl.

Ron attended the University of Nebraska College of Law following graduation from WSC. Among the highlights of his law school years was when the Nebraska law school team, of which Ron was a member, defeated heavily-favored Georgetown University in the finals of the National Moot Court Championship in New York City in 1953. His team was the only Nebraska team to win the national championship in the last 50 years.

Ron served as a special agent in the Counter Intelligence Corp. He worked counterespionage cases and became chief of control of top-secret clearance investigations by about 100 agents in northern California. He wrote a book about the American communist Party that was used to train agents and for which he received the Army commendation award.

In 1964 he started a law firm in Omaha. He was elected president of the Western Heritage Society in Omaha in 1975, a position which he held for nine terms. Under his leadership the society was able to transform the abandoned Union Station into a museum, which is becoming a world-class museum.

December 2004 - Adrian Minks '68

Adrian MinksAdrian Minks received the alumni Achievement Award from President Richard Collings and Vice President for Development and Executive Director of the Wayne State Foundation Phyllis Conner in recognition of her many accomplishments in the business profession. Adrian (Johnson) Minks is the vice president of corporate services for the Omaha Public Power District, Omaha.

She received her bachelor of science degree Summa cum Laude from WSC in 1968. She joined the Information Services Division of Omaha Public Power District. in 1988, and subsequently served as executive assistant to the president and division manger of Customer Sales and Service. In January 2002 she was promoted to her current position with OPPD.

She serves on the board of trustees of the Wayne State Foundation, and on the boards of directors of the YWCA Omaha, the University of Nebraska-Omaha Alumni Association, and the Institute for Career Advancement Needs. She and her husband of nearly 30 years, Jon R. Minks, are members of the United Way Bridge Builders Society. She is a past board member of Family Housing Advisory Services and North American Technician Excellence. Adrian is a native of Little Sioux, Iowa, and a graduate of West Harrison Public Schools.

May 2004 - Gordon Godfrey '73

Vice President for Development Phyllis Conner and Gordon Godfrey, a 1973 Wayne State graduate, and recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award at commencement ceremonies.

Gordon Godfrey ‘73 received the Alumni Achievement Award at Wayne State spring commencement ceremonies on May 8. Godfrey, a Superior Court judge in Washington State, was appointed to the bench in 1992. He was previously a trial lawyer and the senior managing partner of the law firm of Phillips, Krause and Brown, of Aberdeen, Wash., where he worked in the area of major tort litigation. He has served on the ethics committee of the Washington State Bar Association and has been active in the Washington State Trial Lawyers Association.

Godfrey has served in numerous capacities on boards and has coached youth sports in his community. Professionally, he has served and is currently an officer and trustee of the Washington State Superior Court Judges Association. He has been a 12-year member of the Superior Court Judges Legislative Committee, has been chairman of the Civil Rules Commission, and has authored articles and studies on trial court funding.

He is a member of the executive committee of the state Trial Court Funding Task Force reviewing Washington State’s court system. He received a Juris Doctorate law degree from Gonzaga University in 1976.

While at Wayne State, Godfrey was a member of the football team from 1970 to 1973, earning all-conference honors. He was selected to the WSC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994. Godfrey and his wife, Marilyn, have four adult children.

December 2003 - Michael "Mike" Riedmann '76

Mike RiedmannMichael "Mike" Riedmann, Omaha, is a 1976 graduate of WSC with a bachelor of science in business administration. 

"Mike's outstanding accomplishments, work ethic and dedication to his community provides our students with a model for success," said Curt Frye, interim WSC president.

He is the president of NP Dodge Real Estate Sales, Inc. in Omaha, a position he has held since 1994. He has served as president of the Omaha Board of Realtors and the Nebraska Board of Realtors. In 2003 he received the Outstanding Service Award from the Omaha Board of Realtors. 

Serving the community has been an important part of Mike's career. A member of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, the Bridge Builders Society of the United Way of the Midlands and as a leadership contributor to the Boy Scouts of America. Riedmann is a member of the Corporate Achievers class of 2003 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and 2003-2004 team captain for the American Heart Association. He serves on the board of directors for Easter Seals of Nebraska.

December 2002 - Robert "Bob" Eihusen '74

Robert “Bob” Eihusen, Grand Island, was the recipient of the WSC Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of his many accomplishments in the business profession. A native of Grand Island, Eihusen is a 1974 WSC graduate, with a bachelor of science degree in industrial management. A member of Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity, he served in the Air National Guard from 1971 to 1977. 

Since graduating from Wayne State, he has been employed at Chief Industries, Inc. in Grand Island, serving in various capacities in the corporation. He was named president of the company in 1991 and chief executive officer and chairman of the board in 1993.

Eihusen has traveled extensively in conjunction with his responsibilities in the company. He was instrumental in Chief Industries’ sale and erection of the largest loading/unloading port facility project in Egypt; the purchase of the company’s grain bin plants in England and France; and the negotiations and funding for the purchase of the company’s ethanol plant and its subsequent expansions to bring that plant up to its 60-million gallon capacity. He was also instrumental in the acquisition or formation of several other divisions/subdivisions of the company.

May 2002 - Harold Hultman '40

Harold Hultman, a 1940 graduate of Wayne State College, is the recipient of the 2002 Alumni Achievement Award.

A native of Lyons, Hultman has had a long and distinguished career in education and business. He served as principal and athletic coach in Millard from 1941 until World War II. From 1944-’46, he served in the U.S. Naval Reserve.

After the war, Hultman returned to the Millard Public Schools, where he was superintendent from 1946-’47. He was elected to the Millard Public School board of education in 1947, and served as a board member for 23 years.

Following that, Hultman began a career with Central Securities Company. He joined Piper Jaffray Hopwood Securities, where he opened and co-managed an office in Omaha until 1968. He accepted a position of vice president with the firm where he remained until 1988. Hultman was consistently one of Piper Jaffray’s top 50 salespersons throughout the years he was with the firm, and received an award of excellence from the company.

Hultman has also been active in community and civic organizations. In 1988, Hultman and his wife, Virginia retired and moved to Bella Vista, Ark. where they currently reside.

“Harold embodies the remarkable combination of an astute and successful businessman with a genuine desire to help his fellowman and make the world a better place,” said Deb Lundahl, WSC director of alumni relations.

May 2001 - Robert "Robb" Dalton '75

Robert DaltonRobert "Robb" Dalton, a 1975 graduate of Wayne State College, was the recipient of the Alumni Achievement Award presented at WSC commencement ceremonies on May 5, 2001. Dalton, who graduated Summa cum Laude with a bachelor of science in communications and history, is president of Fireworks Television located in Beverly Hills, Calif.

After more than two decades in the television industry, Dalton's experience has included conceptual development, physical production, international co-productions, sales, acquisitions and even station management. As president of Fireworks Television, he spearheads the company's Los Angeles office in the development, finance, production and sales of original programming to U.S. broadcast and cable networks.

"Robb's exceptional accomplishments are an inspiration to our current students," said Deb Lundahl, WSC director of alumni relations. "It is our privilege to extend this award to such a distinguished and worthy individual."

"Wayne State College's positive, nurturing, hands-on environment gave me more than an education," said Dalton. "It gave me the confidence to go out into the world and take on life's challenges."

Dalton was born in Wayne, lived in Laurel until the age of 16 and moved to Sioux City, Iowa graduating from Trinity High School. He resides in Malibu, Calif.

May 2000 - Daryle Johnson

Daryle Johnson received the Alumni Achievement Award at the May 6, 2000, commencement at Wayne State College. The Alumni Achievement Award is "given to recognize Wayne State alumni who have attained outstanding achievement in their career and through community service. It is given at commencement to be an inspiration to our new graduates and Daryle's success should certainly inspire them," said Lea Clausen, Wayne State Foundation executive director and vice president of development.

December 1999 - A. Thomas Schomberg

Tom SchombergA. Thomas Schomberg received The Wayne State College Alumni Achievement Award during winter commencement exercises. President Sheila M. Stearns presented the award. Schomberg has been involved in sculpting since his childhood in Iowa and has pursued a central theme of describing the time and environment in which he lives.

"The alumni award is given to someone who has attained outstanding achievement in their career. Through sculpting, Tom has not only done that but he managed to reflect the beauty of the human spirit and the strengths of the human soul," said J.B. Tyson.