Nominations sought for Distinguished Alumni Award

Published 9:45 am Monday, January 25, 2016

Nominations opened Tuesday for the 2016 Riverland Community College Distinguished Alumni Award which recognizes contributions Riverland alumni make and increases the pride all alumni, students, staff and faculty have for Riverland.

The award is bestowed on an individual who attended Riverland and has distinguished himself or herself. Since 1979, 21 Distinguished Alumni Awards have been conferred. The awardees have included 16 males and five females. Six had careers in education, six in business, three in healthcare, three in the law, two in the arts and one in ministry. Seven awardees have been elected to public office at a local or regional level.

Past awardees include a Broadway actress, the 1987 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, a serial entrepreneur and the mayor of Rochester. One even created a long-running local television program. Some awardees have earned advanced degrees: three doctorates of philosophy, three doctors of jurisprudence and one doctor of medicine.

Email newsletter signup

“Reviewing the list of accomplishments of the current Distinguished Alumni makes me excited to see the next round of nominations,” said Laura Helle, Riverland Director of Grants and Alumni Relations. “There are so many examples of individuals who received a best-in-class education at Riverland and went on to remarkable careers and service.”

The most recent Distinguished Alumni, John Gray, was named in 2014. Gray is now retired from a long career in accounting at Hormel Foods and many years of service as assistant secretary-treasurer of The Hormel Foundation.

“Attending college, starting with the Austin Community College (now Riverland), was the best decision I ever made. Besides marrying my wife,” said John Gray. “I believe the Austin community, and surrounding area, is very fortunate to have such a high class learning institution in our own backyard.”

Nominees for the 2016 award will be evaluated on making a significant contribution to the achievement of Riverland’s vision, establishing and/or strengthening Riverland’s community partnerships and contributing to a community in a significant way. The Distinguished Alumni recipient will be recognized at the Riverland Community College commencement May 13.

To be considered for the award, a nominee must have attended one of these colleges that now are considered Riverland Community College.

According to a press release, the deadline to nominate is 4:30 p.m. March 1. Late nominations will not be considered. Online nominations to are encouraged.