Distinguished alumni awards announced, banquet is upcoming

Published 10:14 am Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Education Foundation of Albert Lea and Albert Lea Area Schools announces the recipients of the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award. The foundation will be celebrating 13 years of success in 2013 with all who attend this year’s banquet.

Recipients of this year’s awards will be recognized at the Education Foundation’s Pathways to Success celebration on Sept. 12 at Wedgewood Cove Golf Club in Albert Lea. All are welcome to make a reservation to attend this event to share in the foundation’s commitment to the community’s children.

The event will begin with a social gathering and cash bar at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and program at 6:30 p.m. Reservations may be made by going to the foundation website at www.efal-us.org/PathwaystoSuccess.htm, filling out the response form and mailing it and a check for $40 per adult ($11 per child age 12 and younger) to the Education Foundation of Albert Lea, P.O. Box 828, Albert Lea. Questions should be directed to Lilah Aas, president of the foundation board of directors at the foundation email at edfound.al@gmail.com.

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Prior to the evening’s banquet, the Education Foundation will sponsor an open forum moderated by Dr. Lyman “Manny” Steil, former Pathways Distinguished Alumnus and former foundation board member. The event will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Albert Lea High School in Room E113. This event is free; the public is encouraged to attend. School officials, community leaders and others present will discuss the issue of advancements in technology and how the community can help Albert Lea’s students K-12 have access to the advancements in technology to increase their educational achievement.

The following morning, the three living 2013 distinguished alumni will lead an open discussion with members of the senior class in an assembly at Albert Lea High School.

Distinguished alumni awards are given annually to graduates of Albert Lea High School who have achieved success in one or more of the areas of business and economic achievement, humanitarian and public service achievement or locally achieved success. In addition, awards will be given posthumously to candidates in any of the above categories.

This year’s distinguished alumni are as follows:


Business and economic achievement:

Elizabeth Peterson Wright, class of 1956: Her early career years were spent doing social service work along with raising a family. After obtaining her juris doctorate degree from University of Kentucky Law School, Peterson served in various roles before becoming the first female Insurance Commissioner in Kentucky. As a resident of Lexington, Ky., and St. Petersburg, Fla., she has spent volunteer time working with Meals on Wheels, Child Abuse programs and food pantry groups.


Humanitarian and public service:

Nancy Register Wangen, class of 1953: Growing up in a time when few women combined a professional career with marriage and a family, Wangen was first a high school English teacher, then school district affirmative action officer. She earned her doctorate in education policy and served in various leadership roles working with Minnesota college systems, especially in designing the student transfer credit and curriculum program. Throughout her life she has also been an active community volunteer in political, human rights and diversity issues.


Locally achieved success:

Arthur R. Ludtke Jr., class of 1944: A lifelong resident of Freeborn County with a 52-year career in the grain elevator business, Ludtke followed his grandfather’s and father’s careers and set up a path for some of his children and grandchildren to follow. Besides an active business life, Ludtke served his community on the Minnesota State Department of Economic Development, Chamber of Commerce, Albert Lea school board, Lea College Board and as a volunteer fireman. In retirement he continues to serve on the Watershed Board and other groups.


Posthumous award:

Dr. Catherine Burns Lush, class of 1933: Receiving her medical training from University of Minnesota’s Medical School, Dr. Lush was part of Minnesota’s quota of women eligible to be so trained. In 1944 she enlisted in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps. After the war she practiced medicine in various states before working for the University of Minnesota health services and the public schools, as well as providing emergency medical care along the Gunflint Trail in summers. She was a pioneer, a pilot, an outdoorswoman, a world traveler, a painter and a musician.


Look for full biographical details of this year’s Distinguished Alumni in the Albert Lea Tribune.