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1980s Class notes


New class notes are posted as time allows.

1980
Jim Schmidt (BA-E), athletic director at the University of Illinois at Chicago, has been chosen to receive the 2014-15 Under Amour Athletic Director of the Year Award, which was announced by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. Jim is one of 28 award-winners across all seven divisions and one of four among the D-I AAA grouping. Currently in his 20th season as athletic director for UIC, Jim's tenure with the Flames has produced the most comprehensive run of athletic and academic success in school history. The longest-serving AD in the Horizon League and a loyal advocate for the student-athlete experience, he has piloted UIC Athletics onto the national stage through many avenues of accomplishment.

1981
John Lee (BA) has been honored by the Wisconsin-Upper Michigan District of Circle K International for his 25 years of service to the organization, both locally and regionally. In recognition of his contributions and personal impact on thousands of students, the district plans to rename the Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award — which John has received nine times — in his name. The award is presented annually to a faculty adviser at the organization's district convention in recognition of their time, contributions and devotion to their campus' Circle K Club. Circle K, sponsored by Kiwanis International, is a service organization for university students.

1982
William DominaWilliam Domina (BBA), circuit court judge for Waukesha County, has been named 2015 Judge of the Year by the State Bar of Wisconsin's Bench and Bar Committee. The award was presented at the state bar's annual meeting June 25 in Lake Geneva. The award recognizes a sitting circuit court judge who has improved the judicial system during the past year by his or her leadership in advancing the quality of justice, judicial education or innovative programs. Judge Domina holds a law degree from the UW School of Law.

Peter Eckerline (BBA), '83 (MBA), of Merrill Lynch's Wayzata, Minn., office has been named the state's top financial adviser by Barron's for the eighth time in the last 10 years. Peter joined Merrill Lynch in 1983 and has been with the firm for his entire career. For more than 30 years he has provided investment advice to individual and corporate clients, as well as guidance on complex wealth management issues to families and individuals. Peter received the President's Award from the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association in 2004. He and his wife, Martha, live in Medina, Minn., with their three children. When Peter isn't attending one of his children's sports events, he enjoys playing golf and basketball.

Henry Kiema (BBA) recently was appointed director of the Institute of Directors-Kenya chapter. He also serves on the audit and governance committee. Henry says he feels honored to be part of that prestigious organization whose main agenda is to strengthen governance systems in public- and private-sector organizations.

1984
Michael Busjahn (BA-E) has been named vice president of the Centura College and Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Virginia Beach, Va. His responsibilities include primary oversight in the areas of admissions and marketing for the 20 colleges and schools represented. The Aviation Institue of Maintenance represents the world's largest private school group providing federal aviation administration training for airframe and powerplant technicians as well as course work in the area of avionics. Future plans for the organization include unmanned and drone application and electronics integration in the field of aviation.

Brenda ZamzowBrenda Zamzow (BBA), chief financial and administrative officer of the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles (GSGLA), has been named 2014 Nonprofit CFO of the Year by the LA Business Journal. The award honors a finance professional in the Los Angeles area for his or her ongoing efforts as an outstanding financial steward. GSGLA is the fifth largest of the 112 Girl Scout councils in the United States, serving 40,000 girls and 20,000 adult members and operating with an annual budget of more than $18 million. As chief financial and administrative officer, Brenda oversees finance, IT, properties and risk management, which support 150 full-time staff members across 24 locations.

1985
Sherrill (Dodsworth) Smith (BSN) has been promoted to assistant dean for undergraduate programs at Wright State University's College of Nursing and Health in Dayton, Ohio.

1986
Barbara MeyerBarbara (Bedker) Meyer (BS) participated in her fourth Olympic Winter Games as a sport psychology consultant in February 2014. Since the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, she has provided service to a variety of Olympians, including freestyle skiers and men's ice hockey players from such countries as Australia, Canada and the United States. During this time, the athletes with whom Barbara consulted have achieved six medal performances — two gold, two silver and two bronze — and two fourth-place finishes. Her preparations for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, are already underway.

Sheila (Van Dreel) Mroczynski (BA) recently authored "Astellagus," a children's book based on a story of her two dogs. It can be found on the website for Mirror Publishing, an independent publishing company based in Milwaukee. Sheila works as an educational interpreter for Marathon County Special Education in Wausau.

Jamie SchaeferJamie Schaefer (BS), COO of Ruder Ware, recently was elected to serve as president of the board for the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin. CFONCW is a nonprofit community corporation created by and for the people of north central Wisconsin and exists to enhance the quality of the greater Wausau area. The organization is governed by a 15-member board, elected to strategically invest the gifts of their donors, direct disbursements of the foundation's assets and plan for the community's long-term good.


Peter WilsonPeter Wilson (BBA)
found his calling by becoming a fourth-grade teacher. Additionally, he's written a book about his experiences, "Mumbo Jumbo and Banana Peppers," published in the spring of 2015. The book details Peter's journey in finding his passion for education, how to teach with heart and how to inspire students struggling with math. It's full of anecdotes, wisdom and creativity and is available for purchase on his website, peterjenningswilson.weebly.com.

1988
Douglas Metz (BBA) spent six months in West Africa as a physician assistant on a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Ebola Crisis Response Team. The team headed the second of 17 scheduled U.S. Department of Defense Operation United Assistance Ebola Treatment Units. Douglas' treatment unit was located in Buchanan, Liberia, about 75 miles south of Monrovia, on the coast.

1989
Deana Zorko Deana (Trafficante) Zorko (BA-E) was named the 2015 Wisconsin Association for Language Teachers Teacher of the Year. She credits her experiences and professors at UW-Eau Claire for her passion for lifelong learning and educational professionalism. This is Deanna's 25th year teaching Spanish, and she still loves each and every day.




1980
William (Bill) Eklund (BBA) was recently elected Photo Marketing Association International (PMAI) president. His job will require him to be fairly active as Bill will be flying throughout the U.S. and around the world representing PMA and the Photo Market. Bill has been very active in PMA and the Independent Photo Imagers (IPI) for the past 10 years.

1981
Jeff Bowles (BBA) joined the board of directors of Independent Living Inc., a nonprofit, multi-service agency. Bowles is a financial adviser and portfolio manager with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in Madison. Prior to joining Merrill Lynch, he owned and operated his own business for 20 years.

Richard CashRichard Cash (BA) released his second book, co-authored with Diane Heacox, "Differentiation for Gifted Learners: Going Beyond the Basics." The book was published by Free Spirit Publishing, Inc. Cash and Heacox are internationally recognized experts in the field of gifted education and differentiation. Dr. Cash is the president and lead consultant for Rich Educational Consulting, Inc. He is widely respected for his work with K-12 educational systems in the United States and the Middle East. His first book, "Advancing Differentiation: Thinking and Learning for the 21st Century," continues to provide teachers with doable strategies and ideas for enriching all students' learning experiences.

Dawn (Albrecht) Cassidy (BA) has co-authored, with Carol Darling, the third edition of "Family Life Education: Working with Families across the Lifespan," published by Waveland Press. The book provides a comprehensive, research-based practical foundation for current and future family life educators. Dawn is the director of education for the National Council on Family Relations and administers a certification program for family life educators.

Karen Getzel (BM) achieved a life dream Aug. 20, 2013 at 19,341 ft. above sea level. Fourteen years earlier, Karen was told she'd never climb a mountain again by respiratory doctors at the University of Colorado Hospital. A lung complication, termed BCNU evolved from a bone marrow transplant, but Karen's faith and determination, the National Jewish Hospital and friends such as former UW-Eau Claire music therapy teacher, Peg Codding, decided otherwise. Karen climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in August and reached the summit Aug. 20.

Kelli Groth (BSEPH) has relocated to the Denver, Colo., area where she works as the risk, environmental, health and safety analyst at UDR Inc. She lives in Aurora, Colo.

Lisa (Parnitzke) Leadholm (BS-E) retired in October 2013 from Cambridge Public Schools. Lisa was a special education teacher at Nikolay Middle School for 32 years. Lisa's husband, John Leadholm (BS-E), is the dean of students at Nikolay Middle School in Cambridge. In addition, John is the varsity boys’ basketball coach at Cambridge High School. Lisa and John have two sons, Shane, 21, who is a senior at Edgewood College in Madison, and Cole who is a junior at Cambridge High School.

Tom Pantera (BA) joined the faculty of Northwestern Oklahoma State University as an instructor in print journalism. Pantera graduated in May 2013 from the University of Missouri with a master's in journalism. Before that, he worked as a reporter and editor for 30 years on newspapers in Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota.

1982
Lynn Gardow (BME) is an accomplished lyric mezzo-soprano on the concert, musical theater and operatic stages. She has earned acclaim in a variety of classic and contemporary roles in the U.S., Japan and Europe. She holds a master of music degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Mary Strand (BA) has had her first novel, "Cooper's Folly," published by Bell Bridge Books. More information can be found at www.marystrand.com. She lives in Minneapolis.

Mark White (BS), principal of Hintgen Elementary School in La Crosse, was elected president- elect to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). White began as president-elect on July 1, 2013 and assumed the presidency one year later. White has been a member of NAESP since 1988 and has served as Zone 6 Director, Wisconsin State Representative and as Wisconsin's federal relations coordinator.

1983
Steven Banta (BS) retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 2012. Currently, Steve is working as a math academic coach at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay.

Barb (Brown) Ritzinger (BBA) recently was named director of development for UW-Barron County and executive director of the UW-BC Foundation. Ritzinger also is a co-founder and vice president of Pink Ribbon Advocacy Inc., a Barron County nonprofit that provides financial assistance to area breast cancer patients. She lives in Rice Lake with her husband, Tom, and their two boys and three dogs.

Kristine Totzke (BS-E) moved from Milwaukee to Richardson, Texas, in 2013 to serve as pastor of St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Richardson. She has been an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for 22 years. Totzke's new call in the Northern Texas/Northern Louisiana Mission Area comes after serving for almost 20 years in the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the ELCA. She says she's thrilled to live in the Dallas area now, with its warm winters!

1984
Greg BeckstromGreg Beckstrom (BS), vice president and area manager for AMEC's environment and infrastructure business, earned the designation of certified professional services marketer (CPSM) in May 2014 by the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS). SMPS advocates for, educates and connects leaders in the design and building industry. Beckstrom, who holds an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, is a geologist, writer, traveler and business manager who has worked in energy exploration, environmental services and engineering/consulting for the last 30 years. He lives and works in Minneapolis.

1985
Susan (Gloede) Swan (BM) has been promoted from senior vice president of development to chief development officer for the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, a seven-state region comprising Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Swan had also served as executive director for the Wisconsin office for seven years prior to her promotion to CDO. In her 14 years with the American Lung Association, Swan has supported the mission of the association by substantially growing the region's corporate sponsorships, fundraising revenue, event participation and volunteer engagement.

1987
Brian Borland (BBA) reports that his basketball book, "Maynard 8 miles," is receiving amazing reviews -- and he thanks UW-Eau Claire for a great education.

1988
Deb (Gonnering) Jacobson (BA), under the pen name Debbra Anne, recently launched her first book, "The Enlightened Cat: 12 Feline Lessons in Life and Spirituality." Jacobson says the book takes the reader on a journey of life, pausing to understand the wondrous lessons cats teach us. She drew on her family experiences with cats and incorporated stories about growing up on a farm with more than 13 feline friends. In addition to the text, Jacobson took most of the photographs and created her own publishing company, Slippery Moose Publishing. For more information about "The Enlightened Cat" or to order a copy of the book, visit DebbraAnne.com. Jacobson can be reached by email at DebbraAnneAuthor@gmail.com.

1989
Kevin Brown (BBA), president and CEO of Piedmont Healthcare Inc., has been selected as a new member of the Buckhead Coalition, a civic association headed by former Atlanta, Ga., mayor Sam Massell.

Jason Tetzloff (BA), '91 (MA) has accepted a position as the dean in charge of general education and liberal arts at Kirtland Community College in Roscommon, Mich. He can be reached at tetzlojm@mac.com.