How happy I am to finally be part of University of Mary! Although I was working in different ways alongside UMary in my past job, I was invited to join the family in October as Director of Alumni Relations.

Family: I was raised in Stearns County, Minnesota, on a small dairy farm by the tiny town of Elrosa. As you can imagine, as the oldest of eleven children, I milked a lot of cows, canned everything that grew, and helped with fieldwork. My husband, Joe (from Paynesville, MN) and I raised our three children, now grown, in the Fargo Moorhead area. Our children live in Stanley ND, Wisconsin Dells, and college, for our youngest.

Travel: We have been fortunate. While we were coordinators for an exchange program, we hosted foreign exchange students 7 times in those 10 years. Now it’s our pleasure to have visited almost all of them in our travels around the world, including Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Taiwan… and someday, Thailand, I hope. I give credit to my Student Teaching Abroad experience in Belgium for inspiring me to help exchange students!

Hobbies: Joe and I love being at the lake.  We share a cabin with his parents. When we get a chance to pull the kids around on the tube or wakeboard we jump at it. My favorite is definitely the Jetski. I’m really looking forward to checking out the river life this summer! In my free time during the week I like working on landscaping and home improvements. I was a music minister most of my life, playing guitar and sometimes the piano in church. My goal is to one day have piano lessons, just to find out what I actually know!

Education: I have a degree in Elementary Education, with a German minor from University of Minnesota, Morris. My masters of education is from NDSU in Educational Administration/Community Education. During college I worked in Alumni Relations, and in grad school I worked in the NDSU Student Organizations office.

Work: In my work, I have gone from non-profit fundraising to community education director which led me back into teaching, and then Catholic education. My last post was as the Diocese of Crookston (MN) Superintendent of Catholic Schools.

My secret talents: I’m even-keel. God gave me a wacky sense of humor, and I laugh at myself often.  Also, you could say that I can’t leave “well enough” alone. My brain constantly looks for correlations between people, between events and processes. I wake up in the morning thinking about how to improve something.

I feel like my calling is to use those experiences and talents here at University of Mary, igniting our alumni. I’m looking forward to getting out and hearing your UMary story!