Every year the Winona State University Alumni Society recognizes alumni, faculty, staff and community members for accomplishments in their careers and contributions they have made to Winona State and their communities, living Winona State’s mission to improve the world.
WSU will host its annual Distinguished Awards Banquet at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25, at Visions Event Center as part of the university’s Homecoming Celebration.
This year Bonnie Clipper (’87) and Roger Runningen (’72) will be honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award. The Distinguished Faculty/Staff Awards will be awarded to Ruth Forsythe, Tom Grier (’90, ’87) and Carl Stange (‘’83, ’02). Kathy Hovell, Tom Slaggie and Bill Koutsky (’75) will be honored with the Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Young Alumni Award will go to Nicholas Hartlep (’06, ’08) and Meghan Stevenson (’04). Ken Gorman will receive the Heritage Award and will serve as Grand Marshal of the Homecoming Parade.
For more information on these awards visit the alumni website.
For more information on Homecoming visit the WSU website.
Brief biographies of the recipients are included below:
Bonnie Clipper graduated from Winona State University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree. She went on to earn a master of arts in health and human services administration from Saint Mary’s University in 1991, master of business administration in health care from Lewis University in 1995, and doctor of nursing practice in executive leadership from Texas Tech University in 2012. Clipper currently works as an independent consultant, based in Austin, Texas. In 2014, she was selected as one of 20 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows. Read more about Clipper.
Roger Runningen graduated from Winona State College in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree. Runningen, who grew up in Houston, Minn., served as editor-in-chief of The Winonan and was a member of the WSU debate team and student senate. In 1971, he was selected for a three-month internship in the Washington, D.C. office of Rep. Al Quie, which led to a full-time job in Quie’s office as a legislative assistant and press secretary from 1973-1978. Read more about Runningen.
Ruth Forsythe joined the WSU Department of English in 1980 and retired in June 2015. She taught both graduate and undergraduate courses throughout her career and served as Chair of the Department of English from 2002-11. Forsythe served as a visiting professor at Misr University in Cairo Egypt for month-long terms in 2007, 2008, and 2009, and designed a WSU summer program for Misr students in 2007 and 2008. Read more about Forsythe.
Tom Grier came to Winona State University in 1987 after working in professional radio for 12 years. He graduated in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communication-advertising and a minor in business administration. Grier earned a master’s degree from WSU in 1997 and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota in 2001. He was hired as WSU Director of University Communication as an undergraduate and served in that role from 1989-2006, overseeing the university’s marketing and communications plan. In 2006, Grier moved to a faculty position as an associate professor of mass communication. Read more about Grier.
Carl Stange earned his bachelor’s degree in 1983 and his master’s in 2002, both from Winona State University. He has worked in the admissions office for 31 years, currently as Director of Undergraduate Admissions. Previously, Stange was Freshmen Admissions Counselor, Interim Transfer Coordinator, Assistant Director/Ambassador advisor, and Certifying Veteran Official. In addition, he has served as IRHC/RHA advisor, Wazoo advisor, Veterans Club advisor, Alumni Float builder and Chariot Puller. Read more about Stange.
Kathy Hovell was named 2015 Winona Steamboat Days Harbormaster. She was selected for her longtime service as a fundraiser and organizer of area recreational road races, including the Goodview Gallop, Winona Firefighter 5K, BK5K, and many others. Hovell and Tom Slaggie started the WSU Warrior Waddle 5K race to benefit the Warrior women’s track and field team, raising more than $90,000 for scholarships since 2009. Read more about Hovell.
Tom Slaggie grew up in Winona and served as the city’s mayor from 1987-1995. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in military engineering. Slaggie served in Vietnam and retired from the U.S. Army as a lieutenant colonel. He returned to Winona in 1971 and worked as an insurance agent for his family’s business, Gate City Agency, retiring as company president. Read more about Slaggie.
Bill Koutsky has been involved with WSU as a student, employee, volunteer and scholarship benefactor. A Winona native, Koutsky graduated from WSU in 1975 with a bachelor’s degree. He worked in local radio for more than three decades, as sales and music director at KWNO-AM 1230 and head of marketing and co-owner of KHME-FM 101.1. He won a 1992 Minnesota Broadcasting Award as one of the state’s top radio personalities. Koutsky also later started multiple scholarships for WSU students. Read more about Koutsky.
Nicholas Hartlep graduated from Winona State University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree. Hartlep was named to Kappa Delta Pi and Golden Key honor societies, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and was a member of the men’s cross country team and student senate Hartlep currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Educational Foundations at Illinois State University, and in 2015 was a University Research Initiative Award Recipient. Read more about Hartlep.
Meghan Stevenson graduated from Winona State University in 2004 with two bachelor’s degrees. Stevenson served as co-president of Lambda Pi Eta, the communications studies honor society, co-president of bisexual, gay, lesbians, and allies for diversity club, participated in Mock Trial club and worked as office manager of the university communications office and at KQAL. She earned her master’s degree in publishing from Pace University in 2007, which led to an internship at Simon & Schuster. She was promoted to assistant editor in 2008. Read more about Stevenson.
Ken Gorman began his career at Winona State University in 1980, when he joined the College of Business. Gorman held many positions in the college, including chairperson of the Department of Business Education, Dean of the College of Business, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of International Studies. Gorman also served in interim roles, including Dean of Business and Industry, Dean of Graduate Studies, Dean of the Library, Dean of the College of Education, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Vice President of Academic Affairs. Read more about Gorman.