News Release

Alumni Recognized for Achievement at Alumni Awards Celebration

By Elizabeth Tollefson on
Monday, October 12, 2015

2015 Alumni Award WinnersThe 2015 Alumni Awards Celebration was held on Friday, October 9, 2015 in Bede Ballroom with a social, program, and awards presentation. Outstanding alumni honored this year were Ryan Bakken ex. 1970; Stephanie Helgeson ex. 1991; and Angela (Foss) Sundell 1988; Gary Wagner 1975.  Inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame were Bob Landry 1983, hockey (posthumously); Jason Lindquist 1998, football; and Justin Schreiber 2004, football.

For the first time in history, the Office of Development and Alumni Relations will present a young alumni award to recognize the achievement of alumni who have graduated within the past 15 years.  This year’s recipient is Wemimo Abbey 2013, business management graduate from Lagos, Nigeria.  In honor of its first recipient, the young alumni award has been officially named the “Abbey.”

Biographical Information on Award Recipients

Abbey Award

Wemimo Abbey - 2015 Abbey Award WinnerWemimo Abbey 2013 is the founder and chief executive officer of Clean Water for Everyone (CWFE), an organization that provides access to affordable water supply in developing countries. CWFE has provided access to clean water to over 25,000 people in Ghana, Nepal, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. Abbey has presented the global water and sanitation crisis at the United Nations, the Clinton Global Initiative and appeared on television to raise awareness for the cause. He is a recipient of the 2014 Face2Face Africa Young African Committed to Excellence award, New York University (NYU) Presidential Service award, and the NYU Wagner Dean Scholarship.

Outstanding Alumni

Ryan Bakken 1970 worked as sportswriter, sports editor, state editor, city editor and news reporter for the Grand Forks Herald prior to his retirement. His stories have been published in Sports Illustrated and Newsweek plus his freelance work has been published in the Chicago Tribune and LA Times, and others. A decorated sports writer, Bakken was inducted into the North Dakota Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame. He was also the recipient of the Award of Merit from the North Dakota High School Coaches Association and was named North Dakota Sports Writer of the Year three times.

Gary Wagner 1975 is the owner and operator of AWG Farms, Inc., farming some 4,600 acres of corn, soybeans, spring wheat, sugarbeets, and sunflowers. He teaches in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department on topics related to precision farming and is a recognized expert on the subject speaking both nationally and internationally. Wagner serves on the Farmers Business Network Advisory Board, is a member of the West Polk County Soil and Water Conservation Board, and a member of the Sugarbeet Research and Education Board, serving for three years as its president.

Angela (Foss) Sundell 1988 is employed by Paradigm Reporting & Captioning, Inc., in Minneapolis, Minn., one of the country’s most highly credentialed court reporting teams. She provides Communication Access Realtime Translation and captioning services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Sundell was named the 2009 Minnesota Association of Verbatim Reporters & Captioners Volunteer of the Year. She is a member of the National Court Reporter Association and served the Hopkins Public Schools as a member of their Special Education Advisory Committee and Legislative Action Coalition.

Stephanie Helgeson ex. 1991 has been the athletic director for the University of Minnesota Crookston Golden Eagles since 2003. She is responsible for all aspects of men’s and women’s intercollegiate athletics which includes 11 sports, along with intramurals, the fitness center, budget management, program policy and development, and fundraising functions. Her leadership at the NCAA Division II level and as a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) emphasizes academic excellence and the development of student athletes as leaders. She is a member of the National Association for Collegiate Women Athletic Administration and was a 2008 recipient of the Torch & Shield Award.

Athletic Hall of Fame

Bob Landry 1983 was an All-American for the Trojan Hockey Team during their 1982-83 season. Under his leadership, the team took home the conference, state, and regional titles, and then went on to Lake Placid, New York, finishing second in the National Junior College Hockey Tournament. Landry worked as a news photographer for the Fox Station in Salt Lake City, Utah, and for CNN in Los Angeles, Calif. He won an Emmy for his work on The Osbournes in 2002 and was a nominee in 2005 for his work on the reality show, The Contender. It is with sadness that we recognize Landry who passed away in August 2012.

Jason Lindquist 1998 was captain of the 1997 Golden Eagle Football Team.  As a linebacker and punter, he was named a First-Team All-American in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). He helped lead the team to a 7-3 overall record and their first-ever appearance in the NAIA playoffs. Lindquist holds the record for most solo tackles in a game in program history. In 1998, he was named Student-Athlete of the Year along with teammate Mark Olsonawski. Lindquist is the co-owner of Grant County Lumber in Elbow Lake, Minn.

Justin Schreiber 2004 was a three-year captain and starting quarterback for the Golden Eagles and a three-time all-conference honorable mention selection as well. He holds first place in the history books with 645 career pass attempts and 284 career completions and holds the record for career touchdowns and career passing yards with 3,520. Schreiber got his coaching start at the U of M Crookston. He served as a student assistant quarterback's coach for the 2003 season. He was offensive coordinator at Fort Hays State University for 4 years and is currently director of sales for Country Inn & Suites By Carlson in the Fargo, N.D., area.

The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 33 bachelor's degree programs, 22 minors, and 36 concentrations 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, at top, left to right:  Justin Schrieber, Jason Lindquist, Gary Wagner, Stephanie Helgeson. Front row: Chancellor Fred Wood, Jim Landry (accepting for Bob Landry), Ryan Bakken, and Angela Sandell.

In the photo: Wemimo Abbey


Rose Ulseth
Office of Development & Alumni Relations

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