News Release

Alumni Recognized for Excellence at Alumni Awards Celebration

By Maggie Mills on
Thursday, October 20, 2016

The 2016 Alumni Awards Celebration was held on Friday, October 14, 2016, in Bede Ballroom with a social, program, and awards presentation. Outstanding Alumni honored this year alumni award recipientswere Ron Dvergsten 1979; Natasha Anderson 1995; Kelly Swanson 1994. Inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame were Cathy (Behr) Helin 2004, basketball; and the 1992-93 Trojan Hockey Team. The Abbey young alumni award was presented to Charly (Reinert) Stansbery 2006.

The Office of Development and Alumni Relations presented a young alumni award to recognize the achievement of alumni who have graduated within the past 15 years.  This year’s recipient is Charly (Reinert) Stansbery, equine industries management and veterinary science graduate from Tracy, Minn. Stansbery is the second recipient of The Abbey alumni award.

Biographical Information on Award Recipients

Abbey Award                         

Charly (Reinert) Stansbery, D.V.M. has been practicing at the Enderlin Veterinary Clinic since May 2011. She arrived at the clinic in Enderlin following her graduation from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.  She completed her undergraduate degree in equine industries management at the University of Minnesota Crookston in 2006. Originally from Tracy, Minn., she completed an internship as an undergraduate with the internationally recognized Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Center located in Versailles. While pursuing her doctorate, she was a customer service representative for the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center. Reinert enjoys all aspects of mixed animal practice often working with dogs, cats, and horses, although, she is just as at home with cattle and other livestock.  She owns and operates her own clinic, Red Barn Veterinary Clinic in Sheldon, North Dakota. Her special interests include ultrasound, preventative medicine, and dentistry, both equine and small animal.  ​

Outstanding Alumni

Ron Dvergsten graduated in 1979 with an associate degree in diversified agriculture and went on to complete his Bachelor of Science degree from North Dakota State University in agricultural education in 1981. After graduation he worked as a vocational agriculture instructor at the Crookston High School and then, at Farm Credit Services as a loan officer before moving to Northland College to teach and serve as the Farm Business Management (FBM) program advisor.  Dvergsten is executive director and area coordinator for the Northwest Minnesota Dairy Team, and serves on the board of directors for American State Bank of Grygla. From 2009-14, He was co-chair of the Leadership Council for Management Education for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. In 2014, Dvergsten was recognized with the Outstanding Teacher Award by the Minnesota Association of Agriculture Educators and a recipient of the Honorary American FFA Degree.

Natasha Anderson earned her associate degree in equine science in 1995 and went on to earn both her Bachelor of Science and Masters of Business Administration from Colorado Technical University. She has worked in economic development for the University of South Dakota, as director for a nonprofit animal shelter, and in marketing in the private sector. As the current executive director of HorsePower in Sioux Falls, S.D., Anderson manages all aspects of the nonprofit organization providing equestrian programs for people with physical, emotional, and cognitive challenges.  She is a member of Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International and serves as the representative for Region 6. She served as president of Junior Achievement in Vermillion, S.D., in 2014-15 and taught 8th Grade Junior Achievement in 2013-14. Anderson is currently completing her doctorate in political science with an emphasis in non-profit/public administration at the University of South Dakota with anticipated graduation in 2017.

Kelly Swanson, Ph.D., attended the University of Minnesota Crookston from 1992-94 majoring in animal science. He went on to North Dakota State University to complete his bachelor’s degree in 1997 and then attended the University of Illinois where he earned his master’s degree and doctorate in field of nutritional sciences. Swanson is currently a professor in the Department of Animal Science at the University of Illinois with a 50 percent time teaching and 50 percent time research appointment in the areas of animal and human nutrition. He has a number of professional affiliations where he has served in leadership roles including treasurer, chair-elect, chair, and post-chair for Experimental Animal Nutrition RIS at The American Society of Nutrition. Swanson also served as vice-chair and chair of the Companion and Exotic Animal Steering Committee of the American Society of Animal Science. Swanson is the author of six book chapters, 133 peer reviewed journal publications, 52 conference proceedings and 192 abstracts at scientific conferences.

Athletic Hall of Fame

Cathy (Behr) Helin graduated from the University of Minnesota Crookston in 2004 but not before she had made a name for herself as a member of Golden Eagle Women’s Basketball. She was captain of the team from 2002-04 and one of only six individuals in program history to earn All-NSIC First Team honors. She was Female Student Athlete of the Year in 2003 and holds a number of team records including second all-time in steals with 174 and second all-time with 70 steals in a single season. Helin is eighth all-time in career scoring with 1,060 points. She also ranks third in all-time career offensive rebounds and fifth in all-time career defensive rebounds. During her time as a student, Helin served as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Council and later served as the assistant athletic director in Golden Eagle Athletics. Currently, Helin is the assistant varsity girls’ basketball coach as well as the junior varsity girls’ basketball coach at BOLD High School in Olivia, Minn., and works as the business manager at Northern 1992-93 Trojan Hockey TeamPlumbing and Heating in Olivia.

The 1992-93 Trojan Hockey Team, coached by Scott Oliver, went 24-3 on the season with an unblemished 12-0 mark in conference play. The team became the national champions in March 1993 when they swept the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament and defeated Erie Community College in the title game at the tournament held in Bottineau, N.D.  It was the Trojans second trip to the title game in as many years. Ryan Driedger scored the game-winning goal to seal the championship win for the Trojans. Pete Nordell was named Most Valuable Player, and Scott Elder, Ryan Driedger and Jeff Malawski , along with Nordell, were named to the All-Tournament Team.  Coach Oliver was selected as Tournament Coach of the Year. Malawski and Driedger were inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006 and 2012 respectively.

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 34 bachelor's degree programs, 22 minors, and 40 areas of emphasis on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online.  These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 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 photo, left to right: Jeff Jeanson 1993, representing the 1192-93 Trojan Hockey team, Cathy (Behr) Helin 2004; Charly (Reinert) Stansbery 2006; Natasha Anderson 1995; Kelly Swanson 1994; and Ron Dvergsten 1979.

In the group photo: Bottom row from left: Bill Tyrrell, Kevin Jeanson 1997, Jeff Jeanson ex 1993, Les Martens ex 1994, Scott Gruber 1997, and Scott Oliver.
Middle row from left: Pete Nordell ex 1993, Chad Chamberlain ex 1993, Paul Karpenko ex 1993, Chris Benson ex 1994, Tyson Siegle ex 2008, and Eric Snell ex 1993
Back row from left: Chad Brooking ex 1994, Scott Elder ex 1993, Johnny Bestland 1997, Jason Johnson 2001, and Robb Wiedrich ex 1993


Elizabeth Tollefson

University Relations


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