Torch & Shield Recognition at the U of M, Crookston Acknowledges Outstanding Leadership and Support

Filled with more than 200 guests, Bede Ballroom was the site of the annual Torch & 2011_10-26_Torch & Shield group 2530.jpgShield Recognition held at the University of Minnesota, Crookston on Wednesday, October 27, 2011.  The highest honor given by the campus, the Torch & Shield Award, celebrated the leadership of four individuals who have aided in the development of the Crookston campus, the Northwest Research and Outreach Center (NWROC) and Extension. The evening, hosted by Charles H. Casey, chancellor at the U of M, Crookston and Albert Sims, director of operations at the NWROC, also was an opportunity to recognize and thank donors.

This year's Torch & Shield honorees included  Robert Nelson, registrar and director of institutional research, U of M, Crookston;  Kathleen O'Brien, vice president for university services, University of Minnesota; Li Shuming, president of Zhejiang Economic and Trade Polytechnic, Hangzhou, China; and Carol Windels, professor of plant pathology, Northwest Research and Outreach Center.

President Li addressed the crowd via Skype from Hangzhou, China. The U of M, 2011_10-26_Torch & Shield Li Shuming 2600.jpgCrookston collaborates with ZJETP and a number of students from that institution currently attend the Crookston campus, where they are working to complete their bachelor's degrees.

Greetings from the University of Minnesota Foundation were brought by Frank Robertson, director of planned giving. Robertson was joined by Corby Kemmer, director of development and alumni relations at the U of M, Crookston, to recognize members of the Presidents Club.

2011_10-26_Torch & Shield students 2582.jpgThe evening included a second focus showcasing student achievement. Brooke Hamilton, a junior from Adams, Minn., majoring in business management, opened the evening with the solo Silent Noon from "House of Life" accompanied by George French, director of music and theater on the Crookston campus. Ben Williams, a junior from Excelsior, Minn., majoring in natural resources, spoke to the audience about the importance of student academic scholarships. The evening was captured on video by Tony Taylor, a junior majoring in marketing from Sheridan, Wyo., who works as a student assistant in Media Services.

Concluding the evening was a research presentation by Katy Smith, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Math, Science, and Technology Department. Joining her were two students, Tyler Brazier, a senior from Greenbush, Minn., majoring in software engineering; and Beth Walters, a senior from Crosslake, Minn., majoring in environmental science. Together with Smith they presented their work on the impact of wetland plants on the restoration of contaminated soil sediments and the construction and design of a greenhouse gas collection chamber.

Allison Noll, a senior double majoring in agricultural business and agricultural education from Mahnomen, Minn., works as a student assistant in the Office of Development & Alumni Relations and was an integral part of the evening's activities. The string trio playing during the social included two student musicians, and a number of students attended the event as representatives on advisory committees. Students in the Horticulture Club were responsible for the floral arrangements and Student Ambassadors assisted during the evening. A number of students also were involved in serving the banquet following the program.

For more information on Torch & Shield, visit

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 36 concentrations, including 10 online degrees, in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,600 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit

In the photos:
Top right photo: (left to right):Carol Windels, professor of plant pathology, Northwest Research and Outreach Center (NWROC);  UMC Chancellor Charles Casey; Robert Nelson, registrar and director of institutional research, UMC; Albert Sims, director of operations, NWROC;  Kathleen O'Brien, vice president for university services, University of Minnesota.

Center right photo: President Li addresses the audience at Torch & Shield via Skype.

Bottom left photo:
Students featured at the Torch & Shield Recognition were (left to right): Ben Williams, Beth Walters, Brooke Hamilton, Tyler Brazier, and Tony Taylor.

Contact: Corby Kemmer, director, development and alumni relations, 218-281-8434 (ckemmer; Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (