University of Minnesota, Crookston - Alumni E-News

Issue 11 - February 15, 2010

U of M, Crookston
Events Calendar

NWSA/U of M, Crookston Alumni Social
Feb. 19, 2010, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Terrace Green at ViewPoint Resort, 640 Hawes Rd., Mesa, Ariz.

Crookston-Area Reunion
Feb. 20, 2010, 11:30 a.m., Dolca Vita, 3301 South Goldfield Rd., Apache Junction, Ariz.

International Dinner Series 2010
Dinners begin at 6 p.m., Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center
March 1: Korea
March 8: Dubai
March 22: Panama
March 31: International Dinner Finale with Multicultural International Club

4th Annual Golden Eagle Student Athlete Walk with Bill for Athletic Scholarships
April 29, 2010, 11 a.m., Ed Widseth Field, U of M, Crookston campus

Teambacker Fun Nite
April 30, 2010, 6 p.m., Crookston Eagles Club

May 8, 2010, 2 p.m., Lysaker Gymnasium

Upcoming Alumni Board Meetings at U of M, Crookston
March 31, 2010, UMC Alumni Association Board Meeting, 6:30 p.m., Evergreen Grill gathering space

April 19, 2010, NWSA Alumni Association Board Meeting, noon, 116 Kiehle

Maroon & Gold Fridays
Show your Golden Eagle spirit by wearing maroon & gold on Fridays.

Mary Jo (Melbye) Eastes

Mary Jo (Melbye) Eastes, '79, a 2009 Outstanding Alumni award recipient, majored in fashion merchandising and minored in small business management at the U of M, Crookston. She went on to earn her bachelor of science in education from the University of North Dakota and following graduation was a distributive education teacher at Bismarck (N.D.) Century High School and Willmar (Minn.) High School. Today, she is a grant writer for Arts Visalia in Visalia, Calif., and is responsible for finding funding for operational expenses, children's art classes, and gallery exhibits.

Eastes organized the Neighborhood Watch in her community; started the Monthly Birthday Party for the Visalia Rescue Mission in 2004, an ongoing event for the mission; has been involved with Banner of Hope, a fundraising effort to fight cancer; and partnered with a local newspaper and 18 non-profits to raise money in Newsstands for Non-profits. She is a board member for Arts Visalia, and Events Visalia as well as a member of the Art Consortium.

Eastes and her husband, Rick, reside in Visalia.

Wallace Sparby

Wallace Sparby, ex. '53, feels that the structure of the Northwest School of Agriculture was excellent for growing and receiving an education. He believes that his education was as good as any in the state. He was honored with a Top Aggie award in 2008.

Sparby went on to attend Bemidji State University and then farmed for a number of years. He served as the county director for the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Services, known today as the Farm Service Agency, for Stevens County and Pennington County in Minnesota. In 1993, he became the state director.

In 1975, he and a partner purchased the John Deere dealership in Thief River Falls, Minn., which they operated for several years. In 1982, Sparby was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and served 11 years. Presently he works for Congressman Collin Peterson as a staff member specializing in agricultural issues.

Over the years, Sparby has served on the church council at Zion Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls; six of those years he served as president. He is also a member of the Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters, Lions, Elks, Eagles, and the Sons of Norway. He has served as president of the Occupational Development Center Board, chair of the Northwest Medical Center board in Thief River Falls, and is chair of the board of directors for Ag Country Farm Credit Services in Fargo, N.D.

Sparby and his wife, Ione, have been married over 50 years and raised four children and have eight grandchildren.

In This Issue

  1. Arizona Alumni Social
  2. International Dinner Series
  3. Annual Job Fair
  4. UMCAA Board to Meet at Evergreen
  5. 35th Annual Ag Arama
  6. Svedarsky Attends UN Climate Conference
  7. Habstritt Honored
  8. Western Equestrian IHSA Success
  9. U of M, Crookston Cookbook
  10. Alumni Award Nominations
  11. U of M, Crookston is on Twitter and Facebook

NWSA/U of M, Crookston Alumni Social, Feb. 19, 2010, in Mesa, Ariz.

Alumni and community friends of the Northwest School of Agriculture (NWSA) and the University of Minnesota, Crookston will gather for a social on Friday, February 19, 2010, at the Terrace Green at ViewPoint Resort, 640 North Hawes Road, Mesa, Arizona 85207. The annual alumni social will be held from 11:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., with a buffet lunch for $15 per person served at noon. If you plan to attend and have not made a reservation, contact the alumni office at 218-281-8401 or 800-862-6466, ext. 8401 ( immediately. This year's event is hosted by Corby Kemmer, director of development & relations, and will include greetings from U of M, Crookston Chancellor Charles H. Casey.

You're also invited to the Crookston-area Reunion which takes place on Saturday, February 20, 2010, at Dolce Vita in Apache Junction, Ariz. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. with a buffet lunch ($18 per person) at 1 p.m. Contact Dick Knutson for more information (480-982-3951 or

International Dinner Series Scheduled in March at U of M, Crookston

The popular International Dinner Series brings the wonderful flavors of food and culture from countries from across the world to the University of Minnesota, Crookston campus. The 2010 dinner series includes the countries of Korea, Dubai, and Panama. Students from each of these countries will share their favorite dishes and a special presentation related to their home country.

Advanced tickets are available for $12 for an individual evening or $40 for the entire series. Children tickets (10 and under) are $10 for an evening and $35 for the series. Contact Rae French, coordinator of study abroad at 218-281-8339 ( for tickets or more details.

The dinners kick off on March 1 with the country of Korea; March 8 the featured country is Dubai; followed by Panama on March 22. On March 31 is the international dinner finale. Dinner is served each evening at 6 p.m. | more

Alumni Represent Employers at Annual Winter Job Fair

Thirteen U of M, Crookston alumni were among those representing more than 27 employers attending the annual Winter Job and Internship Fair held recently in the Sargeant Student Center Bede Ballroom.

Front row (l to r):
Stanley Schrupp, '92; Shane Mendez, ex. '07; Alison Stone, '06; Becky Langlois, '09; Phil Seibel, '05; Draper Lundquist, '03; and Becky Clow, '69.
Back row: Jake Darsow, '08; Jean Ann Bieniek, '90; Dustin Hollerman, '03; James Davis, '08; Teal Plaine, '08; and Jerry Robinson, '78 and '96.

The Annual Winter Job and Internship Fair is hosted by Career and Counseling Services and Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE). Each year, companies from around the nation are invited to attend and students and members of the community are able to refine their resume and interviewing skills while networking with potential employers.

U of M, Crookston Alumni Association Board to Meet at Evergreen Grill in March

The U of M, Crookston's newest food service venue, the Evergreen Grill and gathering space, is located on the north end of Evergreen Hall. It's the location for the March 31 meeting of the U of M, Crookston Alumni Association board of directors. The Evergreen Grill offers students and the U of M, Crookston community a wide range of food items such as pizza, sandwiches, wraps, salads, burgers, fries, and other foods. Fountain and bottled beverages, coffee, and snack food items are also available. Board members will have an opportunity to tour Evergreen Hall and enjoy what the Evergreen Grill has to offer as they meet in the gathering space.

Ag Arama Royalty Crowned at the U of M, Crookston; True Grit Award Goes to Senior Desiree Severance

Nearly 300 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community residents attended the 35th Annual Ag Arama on Saturday, January 30, 2010. Contests in agronomy, animal science, horticulture, and natural resources highlight Ag Arama weekend. These contests serve as an opportunity for students in agriculture and natural resources degree programs to showcase their knowledge and skills and have a chance to interact with alumni and faculty members.

Among the awards presented, four students were selected as royalty. A rigorous application process involving student achievement and interviews by a panel of judges helps determine who best reflects the goals and spirit of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department. A student vote is also factored into the selection process. The 2010 Ag Arama Royalty are (l to r): Prince Leonard Will, Princess Samantha Lahman, Queen Virginia Carrlson, and King Thomas Haarstick.

Senior Desiree Severance, New York Mills, Minn., an animal science and agricultural education major, earned the True Grit Award, presented annually to a student who best demonstrates active participation in student activities and encouragement of others to participate. Photo (l to r): Ron Del Vecchio, Ph.D., head of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department and True Grit Award Winner Desiree Severance. | more

Dan Svedarsky, director of the Center for Sustainability at the U of M, Crookston Attends United Nations Climate Conference

Dan Svedarsky, a professor, wildlife biologist, and director of the Center for Sustainability at the U of M, Crookston, represented the 8,000 members of The Wildlife Society as an official observer at the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. The conference, held in December 2009, was attended by thousands and included 119 heads of state from around the world.

In the photo above: Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai with U of M, Crookston Professor San Svedarsky at the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark. | more

Habstritt Receives Achievement in Crop Improvement Award

Chuck Habstritt, recently retired from the U of M, Crookston was presented The Achievement in Crop Improvement Award at the 2010 MCIA Annual Meeting. It is MCIA's highest honor and is presented annually to recognize exemplary service by an individual to the seed industry. Throughout his career Chuck has shown dedication to the seed industry, encouraged the production of high quality seed and demonstrated leadership in agriculture and the local community. | more

At his retirement reception in December, Habstritt was honored for a career spanning 40 years at the U of M, Crookston. For more than 35 years, Habstritt served as a coach to the highly successful Collegiate Crops Judging Team. In the photo, Paul Mc Nelly, '81 (left), and Mark Magnusson, '79 (right), made a presentation to Chuck Habstritt recognizing his accomplishments and sharing their experiences with the UMC Crops Teams.

U of M, Crookston Western Equestrian Claims Zone 9, Region 3 IHSA Championship

The U of M, Crookston Western Equestrian team closed out a stellar regular season recently at North Dakota State University. The Golden Eagles captured the High Point Team Award and the Reserve High Point Team Award to claim the Zone 9, Region 3 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Championship. The win qualifies U of M, Crookston's Western squad for the IHSA semi-finals hosted by Cal-Poly Pomona in Pomona, Calif. on March 27-28. | more

For more information on athletics at the U of M, Crookston, visit the Golden Eagle Athletics Web site at

U of M, Crookston Cookbook

You can now order copies of the U of M, Crookston Campus Cookbook which features recipes submitted by faculty, staff, and alumni. The price is $15 per copy, with proceeds after cost of production going to support student scholarships. To order a cookbook, contact Patti Tiedemann at 218-281-8402 ( or Linda Wilkens at 218-281-8403 (



Nominate Top Aggies, Outstanding Alumni, and Athletic Hall of Fame Recipients for 2010

The U of M, Crookston annually presents the following alumni awards and invite your nominations:

  • Top Aggie - awarded at the NWSA Reunion, June 25-26, 2010
    The highest honor bestowed on NWSA alumni by its alumni association. The award recognizes alumni who have displayed exemplary commitment and service to community, church, education, family, or in their occupational field. Nominations are due by April 1 and be submitted via the online form.
  • Outstanding Alumni - awarded during Homecoming, September 24-25, 2010
    The highest honor bestowed on UMC alumni by the faculty, staff, administration, and alumni of the U of M, Crookston; the award recognizes alumni who have displayed exemplary commitment and service to community, church, education, family, or in their occupational field. Submit your nominations online by June 1.
  • Athletic Hall of Fame - awarded during Homecoming, September 24-25, 2010
    Nominate a team or an individual for this honor. The criteria and nominating form can be found online. Nominations are due by June 1.

U of M, Crookston is on Twitter and Facebook!

Want to catch up with happenings at the University of Minnesota, Crookston more often? Now you can follow college news and events on Twitter. The U of M, Crookston has an official fan page on Facebook. Become a fan today! Encourage your family and friends to become fans! Catch all the highlights on the Crookston campus.


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Development & Alumni Relations, 2900 University Ave, Crookston, MN  56716  800-862-6466 ext. 8439
U of M, Crookston Development & Alumni Relations