Luther to honor 14 alumni with Distinguished Service Awards at homecoming Oct. 2

Sept. 24, 2009

Luther College President Richard L. Torgerson will present the Luther Distinguished Service Award to 14 alumni Friday, Oct. 2, at a ceremony that is part of the college’s annual homecoming celebration.

The Distinguished Service Award, on of the highest honors bestowed by the college, is given in recognition of success and achievement in professional field, service to society, contributions to community, and loyalty and service to Luther.

The award recipients’ citations will be read and awards presented at the college’s annual Distinguished Service Awards dinner.

Recipients of the 2009 Luther Distinguished Service Awards are:

• Anne Temte, M.S., Ph.D., Thief River Falls, Minn., president of Northland Community and Technical College, a 1974 graduate of Luther

• Ray Bentdahl, Edina, Minn., retired president, chairman and owner of Excel Bank in Minneapolis, a 1959 graduate of Luther

• Shirley Bentdahl, Edina, Minn., retired retail business owner and high school English teacher, a 1959 graduate of Luther

• Nancy Rud-Gordon, M.Ed., Burnsville, Minn., developmental adapted physical education teacher, a 1969 graduate of Luther

• Olin Storvick, M.A., Ph.D., Moorhead, Minn., professor emeritus, classicist in residence at Concordia College, a 1949 graduate of Luther

• Joel Mjolsness, M.B.A., M.S.S., San Jose, Calif., Col., U.S. Army Reserve, global account executive for Sun Microsystems, Inc., a 1974 graduate of Luther

• David Senjem, Rochester, Minn., Minnesota State Senator, senate minority party leader, a 1964 graduate of Luther

• Gail Bolson-Magnuson, Decorah, Iowa, owner of Agora Arts and The Loft on Water Street, a 1984 graduate of Luther

• Kim Wall, C.P.A., Saint Francis, Wis., president of Baensch Food Products Co., a 1979 graduate of Luther

• Milt Kramer, Manchester, Iowa, mayor of the City of Manchester, a 1959 graduate of Luther

• Jon Strandjord, M.Div., Ph.D., Williams Bay, Wis., director for theological education in the ELCA church-wide organization, a 1974 graduate of Luther

• Jeanette Strandjord, M.Div., Williams Bay, Wis., pastor of Williams Bay Lutheran Church, a 1974 graduate of Luther

• Walt Chossek, Shorewood, Wis., retired director of financial planning for investment produce services at Northwestern Mutual Life, a 1968 graduate of Luther

• Aleta Reckling Chossek, Shorewood, Wis., retired, non-profit mission ministry at Third World Handcrafts Shoppe, a 1969 graduate of Luther

Anne Temte ’74

Anne Temte, a resident of Thief River Falls, Minn., has served as the president of Northland Community and Technical College since 2006. A native of La Crosse, Wis., she is a 1974 graduate of Luther College. She holds the master of science degree from Utah State University and the doctoral degree from Oregon State University. From 1996-2006 her career included serving as the executive dean of instruction, the vice president of instruction and student development, and the executive director of business training and community development at Wenatchee Valley College, in Wenatchee, Wis.

She is on the executive board of the Minnesota Online Council and is one of three presidents on the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities team for negotiating the 2009-11 contracts with the Minnesota state college faculty.

At NCTC, Temte has served on the presidents allocation review committee, enterprise investment committee, Distance Minnesota Joint Council of Presidents, Thief River Falls Chamber of Commerce board and the United Way of Chelan and Douglas Counties board.

She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Rotary Award for Vocational Excellence, Award of Merit for Outstanding Programming, participation in the American Association of Community Colleges Professional Administrators Development Institute, and several citations of appreciation for volunteerism and leadership from the United Way of Chelan and Douglas Counties.

Ray Bentdahl ’59

Ray Bentdahl, a resident of Edina, Minn., is a retired chairman and owner of the Excel Bank in Minneapolis-Minnesota’s 16th largest bank.

A native of Hanska, Minn., he is a 1959 graduate of Luther College. Bentdahl became a bank owner in 1967 after purchasing a small bank in Hokah, Minn. He went on to purchase small banks in Ferryville, Wis.; Clara City, Danube, Alden, Conger and Hayward, Minn.

He later purchased the Americana Bank of Edina, Minn., which grew into the Excel Bank of Minneapolis with locations in Edina, Richfield, and Minneapolis.

Bentdahl has served as a member and chairman of the Luther College Board of Regents; the Minneapolis Heat Institute Foundation board; chairman of the Minnesota Banks for Tax Equality; and a member of the Fairview Hospital Foundation board, Minnesota Bankers Association and American Bankers’ Association.

He has also been a member of the Lion’s Club, Rotary Club, and the Pappas Scholarship Foundation Board.

Shirley Bentdahl ’59

Shirley Bentdahl, a resident of Edina, Minn., is a retired high school English teacher and retail business owner of Les Fleurs, Inc., Edina, Minn.

A native of Harmony, Minn., she is a 1959 graduate of Luther College. From 1959-66, Bentdahl served as an English teacher in Spring Grove, St. Peter and Houston, Minn. and in Kingsley, Iowa. From 1966-68, she was a physical education and Title I teacher in Rushford, Minn., as well as a Title I teacher in LaCrescent, Minn.

In 1978, she served as the boutique manager of Dorothy Collins Interiors, and in 1980, she became owner and operator of Les Fleurs, Inc. in Edina, Minn.

She has served as a member of Creative Women of Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale, Ariz; a volunteer at the Pappas School for Homeless Children in Phoenix; and she is currently chairman of the Pappas Scholarship Foundation.

Bentdahl has been a past president of the Root River Conference Ascension Lutheran Church Women and has served on the district board. She also served on the Luther College Board of Regents from 2003-07.

Nancy Rud-Gordon ’69

Nancy Rud-Gordon, a resident of Burnsville, Minn., is a developmental adapted physical education teacher in the Burnsville Community School district. She assists children in the early childhood program and elementary school to help them improve their motor skills.

Rud-Gordon is a 1969 graduate of Luther College and holds the master of education degree from the University of Minnesota. From 1969- 78, Rud-Gordon’s career included serving as assistant manager at Northgate Health Club, working in insurance sales, and teaching physical education at Spring Valley, Kasson-Manorville and Mounds View Minnesota school districts. She also spent a year teaching physical education in Tunisia as part of the Peace Corps.

Since 1987 she has been a DAPE teacher in Burnsville, Minn.

Rud-Gordon is a member of the National Association of Sport and Physical Education; the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; the Minnesota DAPE State Leadership Committee; and is a mentor in the Minnesota Department of Education Mentor Associate Program.

Rud-Gordon developed and originated the DAPE Olympic Sports Day. A member of the Minnesota DAPE State Leadership Committee, she and four other committee members developed a resource guide for developmentally appropriate movement exercise for young children.

She is the recipient of several professional awards, including the MAHPERD-DAPE 2005 Teacher of the Year, the George Hanson Developmental Adapted Physical Education Award in 2006, the 2007 Central District DAPE Teacher of the Year and the 2007 AAHPERD National Teacher of the Year.

Olin Storvick ’49

Olin Storvick, a resident of Moorhead, Minn., serves as the classicist in residence and professor emeritus at Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn.

Storvick began his career at Concordia as an instructor of classics, and has served as an assistant professor, associate professor, professor, associate dean of the college and classicist in residence.

In 1970, Storvick began his archeological work as a volunteer in Israel. He participated in numerous joint expeditions to Caesarea Maritima, Israel, serving as area coordinator in 1973 and as field supervisor in seven years, from 1974-87. He has also led or co-led 12 groups of Concordia students on study trips to Greece.

Storvick has served as an associate trustee in the American Schools of Oriental Research, a trustee in the Albright Institute of Archaeological Research and an invited delegate to council at the Archeological Institute of America.

He has been selected as the National Endowment for the Humanities Lecturer, the lecturer at the opening of the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit “King Herod’s Dream” in St. Paul, Minn., and the speaker at the inaugural address for Knudsvig Memorial Symposium.

Joel Mjolsness ’74

Joel Mjolsness, a resident of San Jose, Calif., serves as a Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and as a global account executive for Sun Microsystems, Santa Clara, Calif.

Mjolsness, a 1974 graduate of Luther College, holds the master of business administration degree from the University of Notre Dame and a master of strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. From 1979-99, Mjolsness worked within the IBM Corporation as a plans and controls manager, mergers and acquisitions manager, software pricing manager, client executive, corporate sales executive, western U.S. sales manager, and national sales manager.

He served as the director of strategic alliances for Vitria Technology, the vice president of business development and strategy of IPNet Solutions, the vice president of sales and marketing at ADA Manufacturing and the global account executive for Sun Microsystems.

Mjolsness began his military career in 1977 as a Reserve Officer Training Corps cadet. He advanced from his commission as a second lieutenant to his current rank of colonel in 2005. During his military career, Mjolsness has been awarded numerous service medals and honors, including the Bronze Star.

Mjolsness is also a founder of the Norwegian School for Entrepreneurship Program, a program to help Norwegian technologists start their own companies is Norway while learning from economic clusters around the world. As of 2009, nearly 1,000 students had participated in the program.

David Senjem ’64

David Senjem, a resident of Rochester, Minn., is the District 29 Minnesota State Senator, the Senate Minority Leader, and a retired environmental affairs officer from the Mayo Clinic.

Senjem, a 1964 graduate of Luther College, began working for Mayo Clinic in 1964 as a lead laboratory technician in the department of microbiology. From 1969-2008, Senjem served at Mayo Clinic as an infection control officer, environmental safety coordinator and Mayo environmental affairs officer.

Senjem is a member of the Social Action Committee at the Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, and has served as the president of the Rochester Jaycees, the vice president of the Minnesota Jaycees, an administrative director for the U.S. Jaycees Metropolitan Conference, and a vice president of the U.S. Jaycees.

He is also a member of numerous civic service committees, including the Olmsted County Safety Council, the Mayo Clinic Credit Union Board of Directors, the Minnesota Junior Chamber International Senate, the Rochester Youth Baseball Association Board of Directors, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Environmental Committee and the Rochester Art Center Board of Directors.

He has received several professional awards, including the outstanding local chapter president, outstanding state chairman from the Minnesota Jaycees and outstanding executive committee member from the U.S. Jaycees. He was also a recipient of the Junior Chamber International Senator of the Year award in 1986.

Gail Bolson-Magnuson ’84

Gail Bolson-Magnuson, a resident of Decorah, Iowa, is the owner and operator of Agora Arts and the Loft on Water Street.

Bolson-Magnuson, a 1984 graduate of Luther College, founded Agora Arts, a contemporary art and fine craft gallery, in 1992. She later created the Loft on Water Street, a furnished, short-term rental facility.

She is a member of Craft Retailers Association for Tomorrow, American Craft Council, American Style Preferred Gallery, Decorah Regional Arts Council, Decorah Chamber of Commerce, Winneshiek County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Decorah Betterment Association and First Fridays Decorah.

She is also a co-founder and co-organizer for the Fairy Chair-ity Benefit for People for Animal Welfare, a reviewer and judge for the Luther College Erdman Entrepreneurial Prize, a committee member of the Decorah School Foundation and a speaker and panelist for various classes at Decorah High School, Luther College, and Northeast Iowa Community College. She also takes part in organizing the Northeast Iowa Studio Tour, displaying the work of local artists and crafts people in the community.

Bolson-Magnuson has been given the Decorah Preservation Committee Award for the adaptive reuse of a downtown building, and her Agora Arts was named in the Niche Top 100 Galleries of American Craft from 2002-05.

Kim Wall ’79

Kim Wall, a resident of Saint Francis, Wis., is the president and owner of the Baensch Food Products Co. of Milwaukee, Wis.

Wall, a native of Beloit, Wis., is a 1979 graduate of Luther College and a certified public accountant. Wall worked for K.R. Wall Consulting and the First Bank of Milwaukee before owning her first business. In 1991, she created SunWild Foods, Inc., a company that formulates healthy and high-quality natural flavorings and seasonal blends.

In 1999 Wall purchased Baensch Food Products Co., operating under the brand name Ma Baensch. Wall works with the offender employment programs through the U.S. Probation Office, the Marquette University Law School and the Restorative Justice Initiative to provide ex-offenders with work at Ma Baensch.

Wall is a member of the Tempo Waukesha and Tempo International, the National Fisheries Institute, and the southeastern Wisconsin chapter of the American Red Cross.

She was awarded the 2008 Ethical Business Leadership Award from Concordia University of Wisconsin and was part of the National Fisheries Institute Future Leaders Program in 2000.

Milt Kramer ’59

Milt Kramer, a resident of Manchester, Iowa, is a retired high school teacher after 38 years and has served as mayor of the City of Manchester for over 30 years.

Kramer, a 1959 graduate of Luther College, completed post-graduate work at the University of Northern Iowa, Upper Iowa University, Iowa State University, Wartburg College, Drake University and Viterbo College. He served as the chairperson of the social studies department and head basketball and baseball coach at Fayette High School from 1959-63. From 1963-97 he served as the chairperson of the social studies department and social studies instructor at West Delaware High School in Manchester, Iowa.

Kramer is a past member of the Iowa Council for the Social Studies, National Council for the Social Studies and the American Psychological Association.

He has also served as president of the Northeast Iowa Education unit and president of the West Delaware Education Association.

Kramer has received several professional awards, including the Jaycee’s Outstanding Young Educator of the Year, Manchester Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year, and the National Center for Small Communities American Hometown Leadership Award.

Jon Strandjord ’74

Jon Strandjord, a resident of Williams Bay, Wis., is the director for theological education in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America church wide.

Strandjord, a 1974 graduate of the Luther College, holds the master of divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. From 1979-98, Strandjord served in two co-pastorates with his wife, Jeanette Strandjord, at Five Points Lutheran Church in Richland County, Wis., and Christ Lutheran Church in Spring Green, Wis.

From 1996-98, he taught theology and ethics at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa before accepting his current position.

Strandjord is a member of the scholarship committee of the ELCA’s Fund for Leaders in Mission and the board of trustees of the Fund for Theological Education.

He also serves as the project director of “Stewards of Abundance,” a three-year grant program funded by the Lilly Endowment, which works to address the challenge of rising seminarian student debt.

Jeanette Strandjord ’74

Jeanette Strandjord, a resident of Williams Bay, Wis., is the pastor at the Williams Bay Luther Church, a member congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.

Strandjord, a 1974 graduate of Luther College, holds the master of divinity degree from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. From 1979-2003, Strandjord served as pastor for Five Points Lutheran Church in Richland County, Wis., followed by Christ Lutheran Church in Spring Green, Wis. In 2003, she became pastor of the Williams Bay Lutheran Church.

Strandjord has recently been involved in the South Central Synod of Wisconsin Committee for financial appeal for ELCA church wide ministry, and the CROP WALK in the Geneva Lakes Area. She has served as the leader of the Luther College Alumni Vocation Retreat.

Strandjord has served on the South Central Synod of Wisconsin Consultation Committee, the Lutheran Campus Ministry Board of Wisconsin in the South Central Synod and the Lutheran Campus Ministry Directing Committee.

She has also served as the board chair and crisis line worker at the Richland County Stop Domestic Violence Program and been a participating member of the Richland County Refugee Resettlement Program.

Walt Chossek ’68

Walt Chossek, a resident of Shorewood, Wis., is retired from Northwestern Mutual Life where he served as the director of financial planning for investment produce services.

Chossek, a 1968 graduate of Luther College, holds the equivalency of the bachelor of business administration from the University of Wisconsin. He became a certified public accountant in 1979.

From 1967-72, Chossek served as a senior auditor and staff auditor at Arthur Anderson & Co., Chicago. In 1972 he accepted a position with Northwestern Mutual Life where he served as a corporate reporting specialist, assistant director of corporate accounting, assistant director of investment accounting, director of investment accounting, and director of financial planning for investment product services until his retirement in 2007.

Chossek serves as treasurer of Mt. Meru Coffee Project, Inc., Central Cities Churches Outreach Ministry, Gamelial Chair for Peace and Justice, and Meru Partnership Committee in the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA.

He is also the president of the Tanzania Economic Development Initiative, a member of Shorewood Bookstore Cooperative, LLC, and the Renewable Energy Project at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Milwaukee, Wis.

He has served as the treasurer of the Greater Milwaukee Synod, ELCA, the president, treasurer, and council member of Our Savior’s Luther Church, a Troop 100 leader for Boy Scouts of America and a board member for the Northshore Swim Club.

From 1968-70, Chossek served in the U.S. Army where he received numerous service awards, including the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal of Valor and Purple Heart with a Cluster.

Aleta Chossek ’69

Aleta Chossek, a resident of Shorewood, Wis., is a retired Interim Executive Director for Outreach for Hope, Inc.

Chossek, a 1969 graduate of Luther College, is a certified nursing home administrator and is certified by the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging as a retirement housing professional. From 1980-2001, she worked at Luther Manor in Wauwatosa, Wis., as a director of personnel, assistant administrator, interim administrator, administrator of community services and vice president of program development.

From 2002-07, Chossek served as a member of the shared stewardship staff for the ELCA’s Evangelical Outreach and Congregational Ministry, as a member of the ELCA shared stewardship staff, assistant to the bishop with the Greater Milwaukee Synod, and interim executive director for Outreach for Hope, Inc.

She has previously been a member of the Wisconsin Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, American Society on Aging and Alzheimer’s Association.

Chossek has also served as chairperson for the ELCA Region V task force for older persons in ministry, a board member for the Association of Lutheran Social Ministry Organizations and a member of the Milwaukee County Community Option Program Planning Committee and the Milwaukee Area Technical College Nursing Advisory Committee.

Within the community, she has served as vice president of the Greater Milwaukee Synod Outreach for Hope Fund, an advisory committee chairperson and grant-writer for the Central City Outreach Ministry, a member of the companion synod partnership committee for the Diocese of Meru, Tanzania and vice president at Our Saviors Lutheran Church.