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Outstanding Contributions Recognized at U of M, Crookston during Torch & Shield Awards
November 12, 2008

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


(Front row l to r) Joy Johnson and Dan Svedarsky. (Back l to r) Larry Smith, Head, Northwest Research and Outreach Center; Rod Skoe; Stephanie Helgeson and UMC Chancellor Charles H. Casey
(Front row l to r) Joy Johnson and Dan Svedarsky. (Back l to r) Larry Smith, Head, Northwest Research and Outreach Center; Rod Skoe; Stephanie Helgeson and UMC Chancellor Charles H. Casey
Crookston, Minn. (November 12, 2008) – Recognition was paid to four individuals for their outstanding contributions to the University of Minnesota, Crookston (UMC) with the awarding of the University’s highest honor – the Torch & Shield Award – on Wednesday, October 29, 2008.

This year’s recipients included Joy Johnson, vice president of Planning and Ancillary Services, RiverView Health; Stephanie Helgeson, director of athletics at U of M, Crookston; W. Daniel Svedarsky, Ph.D., head, UMC Natural Resources Department; and Senator Rod Skoe. Through their exceptional leadership these honorees have aided in the development of the Crookston campus, University of Minnesota Extension and the Northwest Research and Outreach Center.

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
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
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.

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
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.
 
Donors were also recognized for their lifetime and annual giving during the evening’s festivities in the Bede Ballroom of the Sargeant Student Center at the U of M, Crookston.

For more information, visit www.UMCrookston.edu/alumni/TorchShieldRecipients.htm

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.