All posts by Jon Ruzek

About Jon Ruzek

Alumni Relations

Joy Johnson

Joy Johnson (B.S. ’52) the oldest woman to complete the 2013 New York Marathon at age 86, passed away November 4.  Although she did not start running until age 59, she averaged three marathons a year.

CEHD Alumni Society recognizes outstanding alums

SONY DSCL-R: Brenda Hartman, alumni society president (B.S. ’81, M.S.W. ’89), Marvin Davis (M.S.W. ’97), Halil Dundar (M.A. ’90, Ph.D. ’93), Peg Lonnquist (Ph.D. ’95), Jon Ruzek, director of alumni relations
On November 21, 2013, the CEHD Alumni Society honored three exceptional alumni as part of the college’s annual Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony.
Halil Dundar received the CEHD Distinguished International Alumni Award. Since 1997, this award has recognized outstanding achievements of international CEHD alumni, from master’s and doctoral programs, who have contributed to outstanding educational progress in their countries. Dr. Dundar grew up in a small town in Turkey, graduating from Ankara University on national scholarship. He was then awarded a full scholarship by the Turkish Ministry of Education to study in the United States. He chose the University of Minnesota and completed his master’s and doctoral degrees from the college’s former Department of Educational Policy and Administration, focusing on the economics of higher education. Bringing both diligence and integrity to his work as lead education specialist for The World Bank, Halil has made outstanding contributions to educational progress in Turkey and developing countries in the former Soviet Union, Asian republics, Eastern Europe, and Africa.

Marvin Davis received the CEHD Alumni Society Award of Excellence. Throughout his social work career, Marvin has demonstrated exceptional leadership, holding several important positions at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. He currently coordinates the development and delivery of child welfare training systems designed for county and tribal supervisors, social workers, and resource families. A master of social work graduate from the college’s School of Social Work, Marvin has taken on challenging issues in the field of child welfare, such as engaging with fathers and addressing racial disparities in the system. He’s also worked with the college’s Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare to advocate for a common set of child welfare worker competencies to be adopted for use in educating entry-level practitioners.
Peg Lonnquist was the other recipient of the CEHD Alumni Society Award of Excellence.
Dr. Lonnquist has had, and continues to have, a distinguished career as a social justice educator. A doctoral graduate in educational policy and administration, she has held both faculty and administrative roles at Hamline University, Iowa State University, and currently the University of Minnesota. Peg is director of the University of Minnesota’s Women’s Center, which increases connections for women’s success, cultivates socially responsible leaders, and advocates for organizational culture change. Through her work in education she has diligently advanced the mission of equity for all, while bringing a spirit of collegiality, enthusiasm, and a commitment to growth. Peg has been a formal and informal mentor to countless staff, students, and emerging leaders.
The CEHD Alumni Society’s slate of awards were recently restructured to more broadly recognize the diverse career experiences and professional achievements of our vast alumni body. The Award of Excellence is presented annually to two CEHD alumni, who have at least 15 years of work experience, have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership in their profession, served as mentors to others in their field, and shown exceptional volunteer service. In carrying on the Alumni Society’s 45-year old tradition of honoring alumni both in and outside of education, one recipient of the Award of Excellence represents a career in pre-K through 20 educational institutions, and the other recipient represents a career outside of such institutions.
Founded in 1956, the volunteers of the the CEHD Alumni Society have a long record of service to the college and proudly represent over 70,000 living alumni. The Alumni Society has recognized outstanding alumni achievements since 1968.

CEHD Alumni Society welcomes new board members

The CEHD Alumni Society welcomes new board members Paul Amla (M.Ed. ’07 human resource development), Simone Gbolo (M.Ed. ’12 youth development leadership, P.B.C .’12 undergraduate multicultural teaching and learning), Mark Groves (A.A. ’83 General College, B.A. ’90 child psychology), Candice Nadler (M.Ed. ’82 early childhood education), and Jan Ormasa (M.A. ’74 educational psychology).
Since 1956, the CEHD Alumni Society has created lifelong connections with over 70,000 alumni and friends of the college, enhanced the student experience, and advocated for the college and University. To learn more, please visit

CEHD Alumni Prize Drawing Winners: Goldy T-Shirts

In the last CEHD alumni e-newsletter, a prize drawing was announced for Goldy Gopher
t-shirts created for our 2012 Homecoming Parade contingent.
Congratulations to the following CEHD alumni who received t-shirts!
Roger A., Juel A., Peter C., Janine F., Daniel H., Jean J., Suzanne K., Vernita K., Maria L., Gytis L., Susan L., Erin M., Nicole R., Jean R., Mary S., Amanada W., and Marisa Z.
Note: prize winners have been notified.

CEHD Alumni Society Welcomes New Board Members


Since 1956, the College of Education & Human Development Alumni Society has created lifelong connections with alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the college. We welcomed seven new members to our board this summer. Pictured, left to right, are:

Mala Ugargol
Career Program Advisor, Inver Hills Community College
M.Ed. 2003 – Curriculum & Instruction
Amy Barton
Interactive Media Analyst at Campbell Mithun
B.S. 2007 – Family Social Science
Cheryl Reid
Minnesota Reading Corps, Master Coach Coordinator
M.A. 1995, Ed.S. 1996 – Educational Psychology
Zer Vang
Program Coordinator, College Possible
B.S. 2007 – Family Social Science
Tommy Watson
President/CEO, T. A. Watson Speaking Coaching & Consulting
B.S. 1997 – College of Human Ecology
Liz Melcher
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, Jewish Family Service of St. Paul
M.S.W 2007 – School of Social Work
Brenda Hartman
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker, Healing Through Life
M.S.W 1989 – School of Social Work

CEHD Alumni Prize Drawing Winners

In the last alumni eConnect newsletter, a prize drawing was announced for Golden Gopher football tickets, U of M t-shirts, and 6″ plush Goldy Gophers. Thank you for the tremendous interest in this drawing! We heard from alums all over Minnesota and around the country, even as far away as California and Florida. We heard from educators, government officials, social workers, business leaders, professional athletes, engineers, and many, many more who are CEHD’s diverse pool of alumni.
Congratulations to the following CEHD alums!
Golden Gopher Football Tickets: Chris D., Ronald A., Blair P., Kerrie S., Patrick D., Paul K., Christy M., Josh S., Cody H., Mary H., Amy S., and Dan C.
U of M T-Shirts: Naheed K., Janet D., Ingrid J., Mike M., Susan M., Brenna S., Roger R., Brian N., and Ryan M.
6″ plush Goldy Gophers: Jules B., Maurice G., Ann D., Jill M., Matthew M., Steve S., Cheryl S., Ann V., Jill J., Lee V., and Katie W.
***alumni prize winners have been notified

Alumni Society celebrates outstanding 2012 award recipients

The CEHD Alumni Society honored its 2012 award recipients April 5 at an evening ceremony in the McNamara Alumni Center. The Alumni Society, established in 1956, works to create lifelong connections with alumni, students, and friends of the college, enhance the student experience, and advocate for the college and the University.
This year’s honorees include Laura Zabel, William E. Gardner Pre K-12 Outstanding Educator; Matthew Hoffman, Gordon M.A. Mork Outstanding Educator; Mary Melbo, Larry Wilson award-winner; Susie Miller, Emerging Leader award-winner; Nicola Alexander, Robert H. Beck Faculty Teaching award-winner; Sally Alturki, UCEA Excellence in Educational Leadership award-winner; and Michelle de Haan, Distinguished International Alumni award-winner.
Zabel earned her M.Ed. in mathematics from CEHD and has taught mathematics at Hastings High School for nearly two decades. Hoffman, B.S. in elementary education and M.Ed. in teacher leadership, has been with the Mahtomedi school district for over 30 years and has taught first grade at Wildwood Elementary since 1992. Melbo, Ph.D. in counseling psychology, is an expert consulting psychologist who has worked effectively with human resources and business leaders across a wide range of industries.
Miller, M.Ed. in recreation, park, and leisure studies, is general manager for the City of Edina’s Breamer Ice Arena and has established athletic programs to accommodate participants of all abilities and backgrounds. Alexander, professor in CEHD’s department of organizational leadership, policy and development, is an outstanding classroom teacher and expert on how preK-12 policy can promote or prevent opportunity for students. Alturki, Ed.D. in educational policy and administration, lives in Saudi Arabia and has founded several schools impacting thousands of children. de Haan, Ph.D. in child psychology, is a Canadian citizen living in England researching developmental cognitive neuroscience.
See past Alumni Society award winners here.