Alumni News and Stories

Career news, life events and alumni success stories
In this Section

Your fellow alumni readers want to know want what you're up to these days. Share your news about job changes, promotions, awards/recognition, retirement, and family milestones with us. Class notes are featured in our Outlook email newsletter and annual magazine. 

Here are some common reasons to send us a class note:

  • A new job or promotion 
  • A baby or adopted a child
  • You got married or entered into an official union 
  • Published a book
  • A fellow alumni has passed away

Submit a Class Note

Career News

Haley Wentz

Haley Wentz `18 was awarded the White Lodging 2018 Rookie Manager of the Year in April.


Jim and Kriss Schorer

Jim (aka Schnibbles) `63 Schorer and his wife, Kriss, celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary in August.




Career News: new jobs, promotions, awards and retirements
  • Herbert Watanabe `50 retired from the Hawaii State Board of Education after 4 terms.
  • Rodney Hanson `50 is a volunteer at the food bank and medical equipment bank.
  • Ken Dickie `59 was inducted into the Western Michigan University Bronco Hockey Ring of Honor in the Builder category.
  • Douglas Janzen `68 was a candidate with the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight #51. He served in the Army in Vietnam.
  • Paulette Steuernagel Braatz `71 retired as the director of personnel from the School District of Amery.
  • Diane Olson `75 will be retiring in August after 39 years as a food inspector at the City of St. Paul and the State of Minnesota.
  • Ron Mundt `76 retired as the director of service support operations at Harley-Davidson Motor Company in 2008.
  • Gary Boyles `77 retired from Intel Corporation, Folsom, Cali., in 2014 after 22 years in networking, engineering, systems engineering and project management. He recently received his 7th degree blackbelt in Taekwondo and lives in Northern California.
  • Mark A. Johnson `77 is the regional director of operations for Beechwood Hotel Group.
  • Patty Gilbert Hoppe `80 retired after 36 years as a school psychologist.
  • Dr. Katie Schuld Wilson `81 is the executive director for the Urban School Food Allowance.
  • Fred Valfer `81 is a district manager for Chartwells.
  • Katie Valfer `81 retired from Scholastic Book Fairs in January.
  • Joan Heberlein `83 retired as a project leader for the State of Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation after 34 years.
  • Juliet Finnegan `84 retired as a registered dietitian in hospital and long-term settings in Illinois and California after 34 years.
  • Patti Cruse `84 is the vice president of strategic accounts/workplace for the western division at Tarkett.
  • Kaylene Kickhafer `85 is celebrating 20 years as Kickhafer Consulting Services Inc.
  • Jeffrey Brown `89 received the 2019 William & Mildred Jackson Teacher Recognition Award, sponsored by The Give Something Back Foundation. The award recognizes teachers for impacting students, their peers and the community in a positive way whether in the classroom and/or outside of normal curricular and co-curricular activities.
  • Steve Kleist `93 is a lean value stream (technical) manager supporting 3M’s Latin America operations.
  • Craig Sandbulte `98 was appointed VP of quality and regulatory affairs at IntriCon Corporation in Arden Hills, Minn.
  • Arthur “Bill” Miller `02 received tenure and promotion to associate professor of Art and Design at UW-Whitewater.
  • Kim Oppelt `03 received her EdD. In leadership from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in January.
  • Katherine “Paige” Klein `04 is the regional operations manager at Midwest for Employers Overload, a staffing agency since January. She also still operates her small business, practice:hospitality513 in the Cincinnati area.
  • Matt Schmick `04 opened a kombucha brewery and tap room in Wabasha.
  • Jena Carlin `08 co-authored “Herbs for Flavor, Health and Natural Beauty.”
  • Bill Pfalzgraf `10 is the senior learning consultant at Connexus Credit Union in Wausau.
  • Matthew Bills `14 is a supplier quality engineer at ENERPAC – a division of Actuant Corp. in Menomonee Falls. He also recertified as an American Society for Quality (ASQ) – Certified Quality Engineer and Certified Quality Auditor in June.
  • Zachary Herman `15 graduated from Mitchell-Hamline School of Law and is pursuing work in patent law.
  • De’Andre Jones `16 is the assistant director for events and traditions in the Center for Student Involvement in Seattle.
  • Haley Wentz `18 was awarded the White Lodging 2018 Rookie Manager of the Year in April.
Life events: births, marriages, anniversaries and deaths


  • Jack Kleisner `73 welcomed his first granddaughter, Indigo “Indie” Layla on May 15, 2019.
  • Andrew Busch `01 and Billy Lowe `05 welcomed their son, Evan Drake, in Jan. 2019.
  • Alicia `09 and Chris Thalacker `09 welcomed twins Olivia and Owen on May 9, 2019.
  • Jessica Roethle '11 and Adam Kidd `11 welcomed their second child, Brock Anthony, on Aug. 30, 2019.


  • Meghan Lueck `17 and Nathan Olinger `15 were engaged on Sept. 7, 2019. They met as freshmen and became friends in 2011, and went on their first date at the Acoustic Café in 2014. They are planning to be wed in Oct. 2020.
  • De’Andre Jones `16 is engaged to his partner, Collin.


  • David Semrau `93 married Dr. Sophie Thibault on August 11, 2018 in the Bahamas. 
  • Sara Garay `93 and Scott Reindl `92 were married in June.
  • Ann Jennerman Shuda `97 married Dr. Bryant Julstrom on June 29, 2019.
  • Heather Jeske `09 got married to Taran Burke on March 30, 2019 in Minneapolis.
  • Emily Knapp `15 and Garrett Williams were married on February 9, 2019.
  • Kari Kolle `16 and Travis Swirth married on June 1st. 2019.


  • Jim (aka Schnibbles) `63 Schorer and his wife, Kriss, celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary in August.
  • Brad Johnson`69 and Linda Adam Johnson celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 7, 2019 in Mukwonago.
  • Laura Slater-Hatzenbeller `79 surprised her husband, Mark Hatzenbeller `79 with an 11-day trip to Nassau, Bahamas to renew their wedding vows for their 40th anniversary.
  • Patti Cook Brodie `88 and Dan Brodie celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in August.


  • Ardis J. Swensen `53, May 19, 2019, Dunwoody, Georgia
  • Lillian Smith Halverson `56, December 26, 2017, Carol Stream, Ill.
  • Louis M. Kort `56, July 25, 2019, Menasha
  • Edith Shaw Hoffman `57, October 21, 2019, Woodridge, Ill.
  • Yvonne Swenson Jajner `59, October 2018, Oshkosh
  • William K. Neumann `59, October 5, 2019, Petersburg, Alaska
  • Kathryn L. Steckel `60, September 2, 2019, Wausau
  • Donald Lee Clark `61, July 17, 2019, Tomall, Texas
  • Peter Josef Betts `63, June 28, 2019, Racine
  • Bonita Rolf Priebe `70, January 11, 2019, Belleville, Mich
  • William “Bill” James Bestler `72, August 7, 2019, Deerwood, Minn.
  • Jeffrey John McNeely `74, September 11, 2019, Neillsville
  • Jerry La See `74, March 19, 2017, New Berlin 
  • Susan Ann O’Leary `75, May 4, 2019, Manitowoc
  • Russel “Russ” Walter Symes `77, August 1, 2019, Green Valley, Ariz.
  • Deacon Robert “Bob” John Hansen `87, August 12, 2019, Mondovi
  • Lynn Olander Seehafer `94, October 7, 2019, Winter Park, Flor.
  • Kimberly Jean Audetat `15, June 12, 2019, Racine

Friends of Stout: 

  • Patricia Gove, wife of Jeffrey Gove `74, August 10, 2019, Mason, Ohio
Faculty/Staff News: awards, retirements and deaths


  • Stephen Collie:  Communication Studies, Global Languages, and Performing Arts
  • Mary Dodge:  Materials Management
  • Jody Engeldinger:  Memorial Student Center
  • Donald Gjestson: Security & Police Services
  • Stanley Goetz:  Operations and Management
  • Jan Jordan:  Discovery Center
  • James Keyes:  Operations and Management
  • Cathy Lacombe:  Memorial Student Center
  • Diane Longsdorf:  College of STEMM
  • Kathrine Navarre:  Psychology
  • Carolyn Robertson:  Housing Custodial
  • Sue Scholfield:  Multicultural Student Services
  • Kathy Sveum:  Registration and Records


  • Carol S. Gunderson, 74, formerly of Osseo and Eau Claire, Passed away June 4, 2019. Carol worked at UW-Stout as a senior lecturer in the department of social sciences teaching sociology and race and ethnicity courses. She worked full time from 1988 until she retired in 2000.
  • Wayne A. Nero, 73, of Menomonie, passed away in June 3, 2019. Wayne was a professor in the business department from 1974 until he retired in 1996.
  • Lee H. Smalley, 92, of Menomonie, passed away on June 28, 2019. Lee was a professor in the School of Industry and Technology from 1964 until he retired in 1992. 
  • Verna M. Gesche, 97, of Menomonie, passed away Sept. 4, 2019. Verna worked in the custodial department, retiring in 1984.
  • Simon A. Olson, 95, of Menomonie, passed away July 31, 2019. Simon was an electrician for 39 years at UW-Stout, retiring in 1986.
  • John C. Deutscher, 84, of Menomonie, passed away Sept. 13, 2019. John was a counselor educator for 31 years at UW-Stout, retiring in 1996.
  • J. Ervin Strehlau, 94, of Menomonie, passed away Oct. 11, 2019. Ervin retired from UW-Stout in 1988.

Our Outlook Magazine is an annual printed publication highlighting alumni success stories from across the country.

If you would like to submit an Outlook magazine story, please email


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