Education Foundation of Albert Lea announces Pathways to Success Distinguished Alumni; Reception, Banquet, and High School Assembly showcase Foundation’s 16 years of success
The Education Foundation of Albert Lea and Albert Lea Area Schools are pleased to announce their recipients of the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award. The Foundation will be “Celebrating 16 years of Success in 2016” with all who attend this year’s banquet.
Recipients of this year’s awards will be recognized at the Education Foundation’s “Pathways to Success Celebration” on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, at Wedgewood Cove, Albert Lea, Minnesota. Recipients include Elmer R. Peterson, class of 1948 (posthumously awarded); James Horgen, class of 1956; Bruce A. Peterson, class of 1968; and Nancy Ophaug Beers, class of 1970. Friends, family, community members, and interested persons are all encouraged to make a reservation to attend this celebration and share in the Foundation’s commitment to the community’s children.
Prior to the banquet, the sixth annual public forum will be held at Wedgewood Cove from 4:00 – 5:45 p.m. The forum will again be organized by Distinguished Alumnus Dr. Manny Steil. This year’s topic will focus on the accomplishments of a committee formed since last year’s forum, one which focused on possible methods of teaching students about entrepreneurship and personal, as well as business finances. One goal of the committee was to inspire students and to assist in directing them to seek training in the high-level skills local business eagerly seek and need. There is no cost nor reservation needed to attend this public forum.
The ticketed evening requiring reservations will begin with a social gathering/cash bar at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and program at 6:30 p.m. Reservations may be made by going to the Foundation website at www.efal-us.org/PathwaystoSuccess.htm, filling out the response form and mailing it with check for $40 per adult ($11 per child age 12 and younger) to the Education Foundation of Albert Lea, P.O. Box 828, Albert Lea, MN, 56007. Questions should be directed to Lilah Aas, President of the Foundation board of directors, at the Foundation email address email@example.com.
The following morning Friday, Sept. 9, the three living 2016 Distinguished Alumni will lead a discussion with members of the senior class in an assembly at Albert Lea High School.
Distinguished Alumni awards are given annually to graduates of Albert Lea High School who have achieved success in the area of Business and Economic Achievement or Humanitarian and Public Service Achievement. In addition, awards may be given posthumously to candidates in either of the categories. The public is encouraged to nominate graduates of ALHS. Nomination forms are available on the Foundation’s website.
This year’s Distinguished Alumni include the following:
Humanitarian and Public Service (posthumously awarded):
Elmer R. Peterson, Ph. D. – Elmer (also known as “Bob” or “Pete”) attended Lincoln Elementary and Albert Lea Junior High School before graduating from ALHS and then Carleton College in 1952. After three years in the Navy during the Korean War, he returned to school to earn his masters in French Literature and then his Ph.D. He then spent most of his career at Colorado College – teaching and advising students, writing and publishing books, and becoming the leading authority on the DaDa and Surrealism movements, as well as French history and literature. In addition to enjoying myriad trips to France and leading many student study groups there, Dr. Peterson remained committed to Colorado College, his students, and to the French language and culture throughout his life.
Business and Economic Achievement:
James Horgen – Jim’s world has been ever-expanding–from elementary school in Twin Lakes, to ALHS, then on to Austin Junior College and the University of Minnesota. After his military service years at the Pentagon as a political affairs analyst, he ventured to Egypt to learn Arabic on a Fulbright Scholarship. After working in Egypt and Yemen, Jim returned to college in Cairo, then moved on to Paris for a degree in French language before returning to Cairo where he earned his masters in Arab history. Working for the Arabian American Oil Company, Jim’s career path took him to Beirut, New Zealand, Crete, Bavaria, and back to the Gulf Region before returning to the US, and then to Oman. It was in Oman that Jim was introduced to solar energy technology, his most recent career focus. He has served as an adviser to Middle East governments on economic and energy issues relating to the introduction of new and renewable energy technologies and has appeared as an expert witness before congressional committees on the issue of technology transfer to the Near East.
Humanitarian and Public Service:
Bruce A. Peterson – Bruce rose from being a leader in ALHS extra-curricular activities, a top scholar, and a graduate of ALHS to graduating magna cum laude from Cornell College in 1972 and then earning his J.D. degree in 1978 at Yale Law School. Since then he has combined his expertise in law with his passion for serving the underprivileged. Initially he followed graduation from college with a year of service in VISTA (now Americorps) before accepting jobs as clerk of the MN Supreme Court, Assistant US Attorney for the District of Columbia, and positions at the US Dept. of Justice. He has continued that mix of paid legal work with pro bono work ever since. After being appointed to the bench in 1999, Bruce has helped create the Co-Parent Court, managed the Hennepin County Drug Court, taught law at St. Thomas University Law School, and launched a foundation to award people for “acting from the heart.”
Humanitarian and Public Service:
Nancy Ophaug Beers – Nancy laughs that she wasn’t always a “model” student at ALHS, but it is clear she has spent her professional life being the model of a kind and caring adult. She graduated from ALHS and then from Gustavus Adolphus College with a BA in chemistry and biology. She worked as an industrial engineer in California and as an analytical chemist in Colorado. Back in Albert Lea, Nancy became active in many community groups. Since volunteering to help after a local flood disaster in 2001, Nancy has worked with and for various disaster relief agencies in Minnesota and beyond, over time becoming a national expert on disaster recovery. She’s used her passion for vulnerable populations and her energy to professionalize disaster relief and recovery work for families and children across the country traumatized by natural and human caused disasters.
Look for full biographical details of this year’s Distinguished Alumni in the August 21 and August 28 editions of the Albert Lea Tribune.
Please note: Prior to the banquet, the sixth annual public forum will be held at Wedgewood Cove from 4:00 – 5:45 p.m. The forum will again be organized by Distinguished Alumnus Dr. Manny Steil. This year’s topic will focus on the accomplishments of a committee formed since last year’s forum, one which focused on possible methods of teaching students about entrepreneurship and personal, as well as business finances. One goal of the committee was to inspire students and to assist in directing them to seek training in the high-level skills local business eagerly seek and need. There is no cost nor reservation needed to attend this public forum.