COLLEGE OF

Education and Human Development

Distinguished Alumni Award

Established in 2010, the College of Education and Human Development Distinguished Alumni Award honors alumni who have brought distinction to their professions and communities.

Recipients span a diverse range of academic disciplines and career paths: business and civic leaders, counselors and social workers, educators and activists, entrepreneurs, and the most dedicated of volunteers. All are community builders and leaders who make a positive difference in the lives of children, youth, families, schools, and organizations, and whose achievements bring honor to the college.

Distinguished alumni profile document

2023 Distinguished Alumni

Centennial 100 distinguished alumni award

As part of the college centennial celebration in 2006 we invited nominations of individuals whose work in the world has contributed to the college’s reputation and impact.

We received many nominations and faced the daunting task of selecting only 100 among these amazing and worthy nominees. The 100 listed here, through their lives and work, have made a positive difference for children, youth, families, schools, institutions, and organizations. In addition to these alumni, we also honor the accomplishments of the 100 College of Human Ecology alumni, many of who are now CEHD alumni.

Ahmad Ajarimah
Ira Aaron
Barbara Ainsworth
Andrea Canter
Carmen Campbell
Margaret Carlson
Marcia Carthaus
Kathleen Cahill
Jean Clarke
Eli Coleman
Mary Corcoran
Mary Brabeck
George Copa
Barbara Dickey
Don Draayer
Kenneth Dragseth
George B. Droubie
Ann Duin
Glenace Edwall
Mary Endorf
Douglas Bryant
Douglas and Lynn Fuchs
William Gardner
Joel Barker
Thomas Griffin

Mearl Guthrie
Susan Hagstrum
Norena Hale
Sunny Sundal Hansen
Jerome Harste
John Haugo
Lowell Hellervik
Karen Matison Hess
Janet Hively
Rosalind Horowitz
Brian Ingvalson
Eloise Jaeger
Wayne Jennings
Scott Johnson
David C. Johnson
James B. Sean Kenney
Sung Soo Kim
Amy Jean Knorr
Paula Laidig
Howard D. Lee
Xiaoming Li
James W. Lichtenberg
Mary Lundeberg
Stanley Madeja
Douglas Marston

R. Paul Marvin
Patricia McLagan
William Mehrens
Kenneth Metz
David Metzen
Mildred "Mike" Mueller
Patricia Irene Mulcahy-Ernt
Ron Olson
Pamela Paulson
Mitchell Pearlstein
Edgar Persons
Robert Pianta
Lowell and Leonard Pratt
Michael Pressley
John Red Horse
Charles Ridley
Kathryn Roberts
Cathy Roller
Jean Rondal
Marilyn Rossmann
Muriel Ryden
Stanley Sahlstrom
Wendy Shannon
Cheol Shin
Thomas Slettehaugh

Karl Smith
Matthew Stark
Kate Steffens
Sharon Louise Studer
Beth Sulzer-Azaroff
Louise Sundin
Mildred Templin
Kay Thomas
Gerald Tindal
Dean Tjosvold
Dorothy Tucker
Charles Turnbull
Margaret Virum
David Walsh
Garry Walz
Colleen Wieck
Larry Wilson
Tong-in Wongsothorn
Frank Wood
Steven Yussen

Distinguished alumni award recipients

    Dante Cicchetti

    PhD, psychology (CLA/CEHD), 1977

    Field-changing study of interventions for depressed and maltreated children, and tremendous contributions to the areas of developmental psychopathology and attachment relations

    Cherie Collins Sims

    PhD, family social science, 2013

    Visionary and strategic efforts to advance racial economic justice, and to create transformative systemic change within families, organizations and communities expertise as a clinician and researcher

    alumni 2023

    2023 Distinguished Alumni
    Back left to right: Dante Cicchetti, Elizabeth Franklin, Darnell Logan, Eric Decker, and Ronald Schaefer
    Front left to right: Cherie Collins Sims, Ronald Salazar Rojo, Jennifer Sampson, Arunya Tuicomepee, and James Frazee

    alumni 2023

    Eric Decker

    BS, business & marketing education and certificate,
    human resource development, 2009

    Outstanding accomplishments as a college and professional athlete and philanthropic contributions to veterans, children, mental health, and other causes

    Ronald Salazar Sojo

    PhD, educational policy & administration, 2003

    Impact on underrepresented communities through educational leadership that promotes student learning

    Elizabeth Franklin

    MSW, social work, 2007

    Commitment to community-based mental health services by supporting young people and their parents in healing from trauma, and building a culturally-affirming and equitable system for future social workers

    Jennifer Sampson

    PhD, family social science, 2013

    Innovative leadership to prepare therapy professionals, promote social justice, and conduct important research, advocacy, and practice in the areas of hoarding disorders and reproductive mental health

    James R. Frazee

    BS, natural science, 1967

    Notable contributions through a variety of careers and passions, including marketing, website development, entrepreneurship, teaching, and writing

    Ronald Schaefer

    BA, English, 1971

    Groundbreaking work as a linguist to document unwritten languages, and tireless efforts to encourage international study and experiences in higher education

    Darnell Logan

    MA, educational psychology, 2001
    specialist certificate, school psychology, 2002

    Dedication to helping improve communities and equip today's students for the future through education, psychological support services, consulting, and community organizing.

    Arunya Tuicomepee

    PhD, counseling and student personnel, 2007

    Achievements as scholar and leader in Thailand in the psychological and educational areas; and for facilitating collaborations between CEHD and Chulalongkorn University

    Luke Carlson

    BS, kinesiology, 2003
    MS, kinesiology, 2012

    Entrepreneurial spirit in starting Discover Strength, a Minnesota-based boutique fitness studio, and enthusiasm for leadership development

    Lily E. Shih Christ

    BA, mathematics education, 1958
    BS, mathematics education, 1960

    Passion for mathematics education at the college and pre-college level as a professor and director of HI-TECH PREP

    distinguished alumni 2022

    2022 Distinguished Alumni
    Back Left to Right: Paul Ramseth, Sekou Robertson, Luke Carlson, Dean Michael Rodriguez, and Almas Merchant
    Front Left to Right: Lily Christ, Marti Erickson, Jelena Obradovic´, Melanie Nelson, and Judith Ray
    Not Pictured: Jon Hubbard and Arunya Tuicomepee

    distinguished alumni 2022

    Marti Erickson

    MA, educational psychology, 1975
    PhD, educational psychology, 1984

    Commitment to research, advocacy, and sharing with general audiences on a range of family issues, especially parenting

    Jelena Obradovic´

    MA, child and developmental psychology, 2005
    PhD, child and developmental psychology, 2007

    Field-changing study of children’s stress physiology, self-regulation, and impact of caregiving practices

    Jon Jay Hubbard

    BS, child and developmental psychology, 1991
    MA, child and developmental psychology, 1994
    PhD, child and developmental psychology, 1997

    International efforts to treat survivors of torture using research on resilience

    Paul R. Ramseth

    BS, language arts education, 1964
    MA, educational administration, 1968
    PhD, education policy and leadership, 2018

    Dedication to personal achievement, education, and equity as a successful teacher, principal, coach, and volunteer

    Almas J. Merchant

    BS, early childhood education foundations, 2013
    Med, special education, 2017

    Teaching and leadership to improve educational outcomes for students with disabilities

    Judith D. Ray

    PhD, kinesiology, 1996

    Lifelong tenacity to overcome gender and racial barriers in sport and higher education, and impact on a variety of fields, including biomechanics, recreation, and law

    Melanie Ann Nelson

    BS, family relationships, 1974
    BS, home economics education, 1977

    Visionary founding of Learning ZoneXpress, creating educational material that promotes healthy nutrition, child development, and literacy; and lifelong investment in empowering others

    Sekou Robertson

    BS, elementary education, 2002

    Innovative work to provide children with the academic foundation and ambition to earn a college degree as principal of LEARN Excel charter school

    Arunya Tuicomepee

    PhD, counseling and student personnel, 2007

    Achievements as scholar and leader in Thailand in the psychological and educational areas; and for facilitating collaborations between CEHD and Chulalongkorn University

    Marion Barber, Jr.

    BA, youth studies, 2017

    Strong role model throughout a distinguished athletic career and in educating and coaching future generations of young people.

    Jerry Becker

    BS, education, 1959

    Nationally recognized for scholarship, mentorship, and teaching of mathematics education and a commitment to advancing the field through teacher preparation.

    distinguished alumni 2021

    Theresa Ganley

    BS, physical education, 1979

    History-maker with an exceptional athletic record and a coaching career that focused on the life and growth of student athletes.

    Ryan Saunders

    BS, sports studies, 2008

    Innovator in player development of athletes at the highest level both on and off the court.

    Bryan Jackson

    BS, elementary education, 2002

    Driver of equity and anti-racism through organizational growth, partnerships, and coaching.

    Natalie Standridge

    BS, family social science, 1999

    Founder of Casa de Corazón, committed to teaching social responsibility in addition to Spanish immersion and multicultural education.

    Peter Kuchinke

    PhD, work, family, and community education, 1997

    Providing outstanding contributions to the field of human resource development with a demonstrated excellence in teaching.

    Susan Stanek

    BS, family relationships, 1978
    PhD, vocational education, 1997

    Accomplishments in leadership development and the design and implementation of corporate mentorship programs

    Michael Lehan

    BS, family social science, 2003

    Inspirational builder of agency among his community of scholars to advance access and opportunity while cultivating social resilience and academic excellence.

    Nim Tottenham

    PhD, child/developmental psychology, 2005

    Cutting-edge research into the neurodevelopment of children and adolescents to better understand the role of early experiences in human brain development.

    Larry Lundblad

    PhD, vocational education, 1994

    Transformational higher education administrator with a distinguished career in public service to the state of Minnesota.

    Kathryn Tout

    PhD, child/developmental psychology, 1997

    Commitment to early childhood education research and partnerships that build equitable experiences and outcomes for young children and their families.

    Regina McNeil

    PhD, educational psychology, 1984

    Empowering students with disabilities and mental health issues and their families, as well as promoting equity in schools.

    Steven Unowsky

    MA, educational psychology, 1997

    Change leader whose vision and dedication closed the student graduation gap in the Richfield School District.

    Dolores Merrill

    BS, mathematics, 1952

    Technology pioneer as a programmer and trainer at IBM for more than three decades.

    Corey Yeager

    PhD, family social science, 2018

    Facilitating meaningful change through therapeutic practice, education of service providers, and courageous conversations about race.

    Alumni society award of excellence

    Juliana Carlson

    PhD, social work, 2013

    Dedication to ending gender-based violence through scholarship and community engagement focused on men.

    K. Giddings

    MSW, social work, 2004

    Empowering students with disabilities and mental health issues and their families, as well as promoting equity in schools.

    Keith Ballard

    BS in sports studies, 2016

    Ballard played 10 years in the National Hockey League (NHL), including an appearance in the Stanley Cup finals with the Vancouver Canucks and finishing his career on the Minnesota Wild. While a student at the U of M, he played on two NCAA national championship teams and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top college men’s ice hockey player.

    Linda Cohen

    MA in educational psychology, 1985
    PhD educational psychology, 1986

    Cohen earned her PhD as a mid-career change. She became a licensed psychologist, practicing for 20 years. In her previous roles, she taught at Blake School and became the director of the middle school. She also led a major partnership with Henry High School and TCF Bank. This spring, she completed a 12-year term on the University of Minnesota Board of Regents, including a two year term as chair.

    distinguished alumni 2019

    Back Left to Right: Katherine Tunheim, Iris HeavyRunner PrettyPaint, Keith Ballard, Bradford Hosack, David Vick, Charlie Miller, John Hoffman, and Randall Peterson. In front from left, Roscoe Smith, Alice King Moormann, Steve Permuth, Linda Cohen, Jean Quam, and Martha Russell.

    distinguished alumni 2019

    Penny George

    MA in educational psychology, 1972

    George co-founded Sellergren-George Consulting Psychologists, where she helped senior executives select for and build high-performing teams. Today she is board chair of the George Family Foundation and a leader in the national movement to transform medicine and healthcare through the principles and practices of integrative medicine. She also serves on the board of the foundation that supports the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Allina Health in Minneapolis.

    Randall Peterson

    BS in agricultural education, 1986
    MA in educational psychology, 1990

    Peterson is professor of organizational behavior and director of the Leadership Institute at the London Business School. He is an internationally known expert in leadership, team and board dynamics, and conflict management. With a non-traditional background as a social psychologist in a business school, he has conducted research on how chief executive officer personality can affect organizational outcomes; leadership of diverse teams; and board effectiveness.

    John Hoffman

    MA in educational administration, 1997
    PhD in educational administration, 2000

    Hoffman has been the vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at the University of Minnesota Crookston since July 2018. He previously worked at California State University, Fullerton; Cal State Long Beach; and Concordia University in Irvine, in roles including dean of students, professor, department chair, and doctoral program director. John has built a record of growing and diversifying student enrollments, promoting educational equity, and increasing faculty and staff diversity.

    Iris HeavyRunner-PrettyPaint

    MSW in social work, 1997
    PhD in social work, 2009

    HeavyRunner-PrettyPaint is an internationally recognized expert in Native cultural resiliency and Indigenous evaluation methods. A member of the Blackfeet/Crow tribe, she has more than 35 years of experience as a researcher, evaluator, and educator, and is currently vice president for project management at Kauffman & Associates, an American Indian- and woman-owned management consulting firm. She has a longtime interest in building resilience and persistence for Native students pursuing higher education.

    Bradford Hosack

    MA in curriculum and instruction, 2010

    Hosack, a lifelong learner, educator, and inventor, is dedicated to changing the way students learn through the design and development of educational software. As a graduate student in CEHD, he teamed up with Charles Miller to co-create Flipgrid—a video platform for recording and sharing student voices. Hosack is currently vice president of engineering and product technology for Carnegie Learning.

    Martha Russell

    MA in home economics, 1976
    MA in family social science, 1976
    PhD in educational administration, 1983

    Russell is executive director of mediaX at Stanford University and a senior research scholar at the Stanford Human Sciences and Technology Advanced Research Institute. She is an innovation orchestrator who has established collaborative research initiatives and technology leadership in information communication technologies for national agencies and for technology companies. She also serves on several editorial/advisory boards and has started and advises several startup companies.

    Charlie Miller

    PhD in curriculum and instruction, 2007

    Miller helped to establish and lead the Institute for Design Innovation in CEHD, now known as Educational Technology Innovations or ETI. His early groundwork positioned CEHD as a pioneer in sharing research-based best practices and interventions with teachers. He co-founded Flipgrid—a video platform for recording and sharing student voices which was acquired by Microsoft in 2018. Today, he is partner general manager of Flipgrid at Microsoft.

    Roscoe Smith

    PhD in educational administration, 1972

    Smith had a 40-year career as a classroom teacher, youth leader, and administrator focused on supporting students and encouraging family involvement. He was the first African American male to be promoted from teacher to an administrative position with the Dallas Independent School District. He designed and implemented the district’s first Central Parent Advisory Council, which was recognized as a national model, and later founded the Texas Parent Coordinating Council.

    Alice Moormann

    BS in art education, 1960

    Moormann has dedicated more than five decades to the important work of voter education and participation in democracy. She became a volunteer with the League of Women Voters Minneapolis at the time of the Vietnam War as a way to learn more about the political process. Since then she has served in many positions for the Minneapolis and statewide leagues, including volunteer coordinator, nominations chair, and co-president twice.

    Katherine Tunheim

    PhD in work and human resource education, 2008

    Tunheim is an expert in organizational behavior, human resource development, and strategy. She had a 25-year career in the corporate sector, managing training and leadership programs at three different companies and running her own consulting firm. After earning her PhD, she joined the faculty of Gustavus Adolphus College, teaching courses on public speaking, management principles, and leadership. She recently was named the inaugural vice president for mission, strategy, and innovation at Gustavus.

    Steven Permuth

    BS in mathematics, 1966
    PhD in educational administration, 1977

    Permuth’s career as an educator began at North High, where he was a math teacher after completing his bachelor’s degree. He returned to the U and earned a doctorate in educational administration, which led him to faculty and administrative roles at three universities. Today, he is a professor at the University of South Florida, where he also served as dean of the College of Education.

    David Vick

    BS in elementary education, 1967
    MA, Educational Administration 1973
    PhD Educational Administration 1987

    Vick’s career included roles as teacher, program coordinator, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. He is particularly proud that as superintendent in Lake Bluff, Illinois, he helped passage of a building referendum, resulting in selling one outdated school, tearing down two old buildings, constructing a LEED-Certified elementary school, and remodeling the middle school.

    Sharon K. Augenstein

    MA, home economics, 1980
    EdD, educational administration, 1999

    Pioneering work as a woman in higher education who provided leadership for the technical college system in times of change

    Elizabeth M. Bennett

    AA, child welfare, 1950

    The difference you have made on the quality of health care in our community, especially for children and seniors, through your volunteer service

    distinguished alumni awards 2018

    Back Left to Right: Neal Nickerson, Sharon Augenstein, Elizabeth Bennett, Candice Nadler, David Wettergren, and Carol Johnson-Dean
    Front Left to Right: Sandra Christenson, Sumitra Dorner in place of Stephanie Cooper-Lewter, Hattie Kauffman, Mona Dougherty, Catherine Rich, and Michael Leimbach

    distinguished alumni awards 2018

    Sandra L. Christenson

    BS, child psychology, 1968
    PhD, educational psychology, 1988

    Outstanding contributions to the field of school psychology and research on student and family engagement including the development of Check and Connect

    Mary Hutson

    BA, social work, 1967

    Tireless support for and enrichment of New York City's diverse children and families

    Stephanie Kripa Cooper-Lewter

    MSW, social work, 1999

    Longtime work to promote equal opportunity for all as a leader in the nonprofit world

    Carol Johnson-Dean

    MA, elementary education, 1980
    EdD, educational administration, 1997

    Fearless, trailblazing leadership and reform of diverse urban school districts across the country

    Mona C. Dougherty

    BS, elementary education, 1980

    Exceptional work as a literacy specialist and meaningful community contributions through volunteer service and philanthropy

    Michael Paul Leimbach

    PhD, child psychology, 1990

    Pioneering efforts to improve the training, enhance the performance, and promote the personal development of employees and workplace leaders in organizations worldwide

    Margery Duffey

    PhD, secondary education, 1967

    Lifelong dedication to building and sustaining nursing education

    David L. Wettergren

    EdD, education, 1970

    Notable career in public education, meaningful contributions to healthcare systems, business, and volunteer service, and commitment to integrated holistic healing

    Alumni society award of excellence

    Candice Nadler

    MA, early childhood education, 1982

    Service in the fields of arts and culture, education, and community partnerships

    Catherine Rich

    BS, elementary education, 1985

    Service in the field of education, and your professional and community leadership

    Dean’s diversity impact award

    Hattie Kauffman

    BS, political science, 1977

    Contributions to journalism as a national correspondent, and your impact on behalf of the American Indian community

    Rachel Adler

    MSW, Social Work, 1980

    Pioneering contributions to modern Jewish thought

    Elizabeth B. Anderson

    B.S., Home Economics Education, 1946 & M.Ed., 1955

    Pioneering contributions and tireless advocacy on behalf of victims of domestic violence

    distinguished alumni 2017

    Martha Elizabeth Andresen Wilder

    B.S., Education, 1966

    Distinguished career as a professor, Shakespearean scholar, and educator, in the widest sense possible and beyond the academy

    Kenneth D. Pedersen

    M.A., Educational Administration, 1961 & Specialist Certificate, Secondary School Administration, 1980

    Inspiring and effective leadership in secondary school education and administration

    Stephanie Kripa Cooper-Lewter

    Ph.D., Educational Policy & Administration, 1997

    Extraordinary leadership at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs as faculty member, academic officer, and dean

    Verna Cornelia Price

    M.A., Educational Administration, 1990 & Ph.D., Educational Policy and Administration, 1996

    Distinguished career as an author, organizational consultant, motivational speaker, executive coach, and educator

    Mary Jo Czaplewski

    Ph.D., Educational Administration, 1981

    Leadership in higher education and public policy related to families

    Carrie Sampson Moore

    B.S., Physical Education, 1989 & M.A., Kinesiology, 2001

    Field-leading program development in the area of student and staff health and wellness

    Constance Hoyt Dawson

    B.S., Recreation Leadership, 1955 & B.S., Elementary Education, 1970

    Life’s work in serving the needs of parents and their children, and significant contributions as an educator, therapist, and author

    Lewis R. Stern

    M.A., Educational Psychology, 1976 & Ph.D., Educational Psychology, 1977

    Multiple and pioneering contributions to the study and promotion of holistic personal and professional development

    Norena A. Hale

    Ph.D., Educational Administration, 1979

    Commitment to the public education of children with disabilities and exemplary documentation of the evolution and history of special education in Minnesota

    Bo Thao-Urabe

    B.S., Family Social Science, 1994

    Local, national, and global efforts to empower refugee women and girls and work for gender justice in Hmong communities

    Bernadeia Johnson

    Ed. D., Educational Policy and Administration, 2012

    Committed and courageous leadership of educational equity for all Minnesota students, especially those who are most disenfranchised

    Wendy Kay Bakken Watson

    M.A., Educational Psychology, 1987

    Long career of advocacy on behalf of vulnerable children, especially those with disabilities

    Joyce Kloncz

    M.Ed., Elementary Education, 1981

    Extraordinary volunteer service engaging Arizona alumni and promoting the University of Minnesota

    Farrell J. Webb

    Ph.D., Family Social Science, 1994

    Distinguished career as professor, researcher, and leader in higher education

    Noel R. Larson

    MSW, 1967 & Ph.D., Social Work, 1980

    Field-shaping research in human sexuality

    Eddie E. Williams

    Ph.D., Educational Psychology, 1975

    Outstanding career helping veterans as a psychologist, statistical consultant, and professor

    David Legvold

    M.A., Educational Administration, 1974

    Dedicated service as a teacher and commitment to conservation and environmental education

    Thomas F. Wilson

    Ph.D., Educational Administration, 1984

    Exemplary leadership and significant contributions as a school administrator, public servant, and entrepreneur of innovative technologies

    Jane Brush Lillestol

    B.S., Home Economics Education,1969; M.A., Family Social Science, 1973; M.S., Home Economics, 1976 & Ph.D., Educational Administration, 1977

    Contributions to higher education through distinguished administration leadership at several universities, including North Dakota State and Syracuse University

    Chace B. Anderson

    Ph.D., education, 1996

    Outstanding leadership in public school education

    John R. Anderson

    B.S., physical education, 1977

    Developing all-around student-athletes who excel on the field and in the classroom, and for leading the Golden Gopher baseball program for 35 years and more than 1200 victories