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U of M, Crookston Honors Four with Torch & Shield Award
October 14, 2008

Contact: Corby Kemmer, director, Development & Alumni Relations, 218-281-8434 (ckemmer@umn.edu), Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director of communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)


Crookston, Minn. (October 13, 2008) – Four individuals will be honored in late October with the University of Minnesota, Crookston’s highest recognition, the Torch & Shield Award. Stephanie Helgeson, director of athletics; Joy Johnson, vice president of Planning and Ancillary Services at RiverView Health in Crookston; Senator Rod Skoe; and W. Daniel Svedarsky, Ph.D., professor and head of the Natural Resources Department will be recognized at a program and banquet to be held Wednesday, October 29, 2008, in Bede Ballroom in the Sargeant Student Center on the campus.

This year’s Torch & Shield Award honorees have made significant contributions to higher education, the Crookston campus and the region. They have championed the U of M, Crookston, the Northwest Research and Outreach Center (NWROC) and Extension for their impact on the region through teaching, research and outreach.

Stephanie Helgeson has served as the director of athletics at the Crookston campus since 2003. She began her career at the U of M, Crookston working as the office
Stephanie Helgeson
Stephanie Helgeson
specialist in athletics and later became the sports information coordinator. In September of 2000 she was named the assistant director of athletics. Helgeson attended the U of M, Crookston for two years in the early 90s before transferring to the University of North Dakota to complete her bachelor's degree in business administration and where she is currently pursuing a master of science in educational leadership. Her leadership of Golden Eagle Athletics at the NCAA Division II level and as a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) emphasizes academic excellence and the development of student athletes as leaders. She and her husband, Tom, reside near Mentor, Minn.

Joy Johnson, a native of Bemidji, Minn., and graduate of Bemidji High School, earned
Joy Johnson
Joy Johnson
her bachelor’s degree in medical sociology and statistics from the University of North Dakota (UND) in Grand Forks. She completed course work for a master’s of science in sociology also from UND and began a career in healthcare strategic planning and marketing. Johnson has worked for national health systems and regional and community hospitals for nearly 30 years. She is currently employed at RiverView Health in Crookston as vice president of Planning and Ancillary Services, a position she has held since August 1995. Johnson has been actively involved in various institution-wide strategic planning projects at the Crookston campus, including the University of Minnesota’s recent efforts in system-wide strategic planning. She and her husband, David, reside in Crookston and are the parents of two sons.
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Senator Rod Skoe
Senator Rod Skoe
Senator Rod Skoe represents District 2 and has been serving in the Minnesota Senate since 2002. He served as a representative in the Minnesota House from 1998 until his election to the senate. Senator Skoe earned a bachelor of arts from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minn., and has been involved in farming since 1985. Senator Skoe is a member of a number of senate committees including property tax division, chair; agriculture and veterans; business, industry and jobs; finance - agriculture and veterans budget and policy division; transportation budget and policy division. He and his wife, Sarah Hoagberg, live in Clearbrook, Minn., and have two children.

W. Daniel Svedarsky, Ph.D., has been at the University of Minnesota, Crookston
W. Daniel Svedarsky, Ph.D.
W. Daniel Svedarsky, Ph.D.
since 1969 and is currently head of the Natural Resources Department, which includes the program areas of horticulture, golf and turf management, aviation, and the traditional areas of natural resources. He completed two degrees at the University of Missouri, Columbia and later studied the nesting and brood-rearing ecology of greater prairie chickens in Minnesota while completing a doctorate in wildlife biology at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. Svedarsky also conducts wildlife research with the Northwest Research and Outreach Center focusing on tallgrass prairie restoration and management using fire and prairie bird management, especially for greater prairie chickens. He and his wife, Vicki, live near Crookston and have three grown children.

The Torch & Shield Award recognizes individuals who have provided leadership and who have aided in the development of the University of Minnesota, Crookston, Northwest Research and Outreach Center and Extension.

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers more than 25 applied-science undergraduate degree programs and 50 concentrations, including several online degrees, in agriculture; arts, humanities and social sciences; business; math, science and technology; and natural resources. To learn more, visit www.UMCrookston.edu.