News from our alumni

Richard Sandor, Ph.D. '67, recognized internationally as the father of carbon trading, received Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Midwest region.

Richard Koshalek, M.A. '68, has been appointed director of the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, D.C.

Larry Johnson, B.A. '70, won first prize in a contest celebrating active seniors, sponsored by Mid-America Events & Expos.

Constance Van Hoven, B.A. '76, is publishing a children's picture book about winter and holiday activities, Twelve Days of Christmas in Minnesota, this October.

Fernando Alvarez, Ph.D. '94, was elected a Fellow of the Econometric Society.

Paul Meierant, B.A. '94, received the University of Minnesota Board of Regents Alumni Service Award.

Fiona Quick, B.A. '96, is a contributing writer for Minnesota Hockey Journal, and author of its "Quick Facts" column.

Scott Muskin, M.F.A. '98, was the inaugural winner of the Parthenon Prize for Fiction for his novel, The Annunciations of Hank Meyerson, Mama's Boy and Scholar.

Robert Ngwu, B.A. '99, President and CEO of Megasouk Group, has been elected President of the Black MBA Association, Twin Cities chapter.

Saidah Arika Ekulona, M.F.A. '96, played the lead role of Mama Nadi in the off-Broadway show Ruined, at the Manhattan Theatre Club.

Polly Carl, Ph.D. '00, is joining Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre as director of artistic development.

Carla Scholtes, B.A. '02, is a program manager for Wells Fargo, designing classroom and online training programs.

The Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis has awarded Kevin Kautzman, B.A. '03, a 2009-10 Jerome Fellowship for his play Then Waves. The play is also a finalist in the Yale Drama Series, Great Plains Theatre Conference, and Id Theater's Seven Devils Playwrights Conference competitions.

The New York Times called Matt Amendt, B.F.A. '04, "charismatic" and "skillful" in the title role of Henry V, a co-production of the Guthrie Theater and New York City-based The Acting Company. The cast included William Sturdivant, B.F.A. '05, and Samuel Taylor, B.F.A. '06, both in multiple roles.

Santino Fontana, B.F.A. '04, plays Tony and Joel Hatch M.F.A. '83, plays George in Billy Elliot. The Broadway show—music by Elton John—won 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Andrea Uselman-Brandt, B.A. '04, has appeared in plays at the Guthrie and other Twin Cities theaters. She's also published Beyond Talent, a practical guide for individuals interested in starting and sustaining a career in the performance arts.

Laura Krider, B.M. '05, is a choral singer in the Twin Cities and works in administration at the University's School of Music. She was featured on Minnesota Public Radio's Art Hounds program this spring, talking about shape note singing.

Jeff Hnilicka, B.A. '04, is making waves in New York with FEAST (Funding Emerging Artists through Sustainable Tactics). It's a monthly public dinner he co-founded to "democratically fund new and emerging art makers" in the face of declining arts revenues.

Natalie Volin, B.A. '07, philosophy major, has postponed attending U of M Law School to serve as Senator Al Franken's legislative aide for judiciary affairs in his Washington, D.C., office.

Melissa Critchley-Rodriguez, B.A. '08, now a master's student at the University in complementary therapies and healing practices, received the Outstanding Civil Service Award and the Excellence and Community Building Award from the University's Institute on Community Integration.

Minnesota Book Awards

Brian Malloy, M.F.A. '06, won the 2009 Minnesota Book Award for Young People's Fiction with his novel Twelve Long Months. Finalists in other categories included Greg Breining, B.A. '74, A Hard-Water World: Ice Fishing and Why We Do It, general nonfiction; Laura Flynn, M.F.A. '06, Swallow the Ocean, memoir and creative nonfiction; University geography professors John Fraser Hart and Susy Svatek Ziegler, Landscapes of Minnesota: A Geography, Minnesota; Margaret Hasse, M.A. '04, Milk and Tides, poetry; Alison McGhee, M.A. '93, Julia Gillian (and the Art of Knowing), young people's literature; David Lanegran, B.A. '70, Minnesota on the Map: A Historical Atlas, Minnesota; Tim Nolan, B.A. '78, The Sound of It, poetry; and Will Weaver, B.A. '72, Saturday Night Dirt: A Motor Novel, young people's literature.

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In Memory

Allan SpearAllan Spear, professor in the Department of History from 1964 to 2000 and the country's first openly gay male state legislator, died in October 2008 at age 71 from complications following surgery.

Spear was president of the Minnesota State Senate, led the Judiciary Committee, and helped to craft and pass the 1993 Human Rights Act Amendment, which he called his "proudest legislative achievement." He co-founded the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Elected and Appointed Officials, and served on the board of the OutFront Minnesota Political Action Committee. In 2008, as part of Minnesota's 150th Anniversary, Spear was honored by the Minnesota History Center as one of the most influential forces in the history of the state—one of the "MN150."

Memorial gifts may be made to the University's Schochet Center Distinguished Lecture Series:

Ernest Bormann, professor in the Department of Communication Studies, died of a heart attack last December. Bormann originated the Symbolic Convergence Theory of human communication, in which the stories ("fantasies") that groups create develop shared meaning and social cohesion. Memorial gifts may be made to the Ernest Bormann Symbolic Convergence Theory Fellowship:

James Dickey, 69, died in November 2008 after struggling for a year and a half with prostate cancer. A professor of theoretical statistics, he had taught and conducted research at the University since 1986.

Peter Firchow, 70, died October 18, 2008. In 1967 he joined the English Department where he taught British and comparative literature, often in the context of utopian dreams, until his retirement in 2007.

René Jara died November 19, 2008, after a serious illness. A professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese for 28 years, he was an expert in post-colonial studies and Hispanic literatures, and had a passion for poetry.

Leslie C. Johnson, B.A. '64, died in January 2009 at the age of 66. She started the Mississippi Rag in 1973, chronicling the stories of jazz and ragtime musicians to a global audience for 35 years. With her passing, the traditional-jazz and ragtime communities lost their principal voice.

Roger Page, 91, former psychology professor and associate dean of CLA, died December 19, 2008, after a long illness. Memorial gifts may be made to the Roger Page Leadership Scholarship:



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