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Bob Gavin to receive Saint John’s highest alumni award

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September 18, 2012

Bob Gavin, a 1962 graduate of Saint John's University, will receive the Fr. Walter Reger Distinguished Alumnus Award at the SJU Alumni Association Homecoming Banquet Friday, Sept. 28, in Collegeville.

The award is the highest honor presented by the Alumni Association and recognizes one alumnus each year for his outstanding volunteer service to the Saint John's community. Gavin is the 44th alumnus to receive the award.

Ken Roering, a 1964 graduate of SJU, will receive the Bob Basten Excellence in Leadership Award at the Homecoming football game on Saturday, Sept. 29. The award, given in honor of the late Bob Basten, SJU class of 1982, honors a former Johnnie football player who has been an outstanding leader as an alumnus. Basten, who signed as a free agent with the Minnesota Vikings, was a business executive and founder of the Playing to Win for Life Foundation for ALS Research.

Saint John's will also present nine Alumni Achievement Awards at various reunion celebrations on Saturday, Sept. 29. Recipients for 2012 include:

  • Bob Praus (SJU class of 1962)
  • Jon Theobald (SJU class of 1967)
  • Tom Hokr (SJU class of 1972)
  • Michael Urbanos (SJU class of 1972)
  • Chris Boyd (SJU class of 1977)
  • Tim McHale (SJU class of 1977)
  • Rob Culligan (SJU class of 1982)
  • Rick Odenthal (SJU class of 1987)
  • Denis McDonough (SJU class of 1992)

Bob GavinThe SJU Alumni Association Board of Directors selected Gavin as this year's recipient in recognition of many years of loyal service to his alma mater.

Gavin has spent the better part of his life on college campuses. Throughout a remarkable career in higher education, many colleges have benefitted from his insight, wisdom and leadership - perhaps none more than SJU.

Described by a colleague as "a leader amongst leaders," Gavin was both an honor student and All-American lineman at Saint John's. For more than two decades, he was on the faculty and held various administrative positions at Haverford College. Gavin subsequently served as president of Macalester College from 1984-96.

Throughout his career, Gavin has always championed Saint John's. He has been a generous financial supporter and was on the national consultation team for the capital campaign "One Generation to the Next." He has also been a Twin Cities chapter volunteer, class committee volunteer and reunion committee member.

Gavin served on the SJU Board of Regents from 2000-09. Fellow board members routinely sought him out for his experience and leadership.

The Fr. Walter Reger Award is named after the long-time secretary of the Saint John's Alumni Association. Known as "Mr. Saint John's," Reger, OSB, was a dean, history professor, prefect, member of the university orchestra and purveyor of Johnnie Bread. He befriended hundreds of Saint John's students and kept up personal correspondence with many of them after they graduated. Reger died in 1971, and the Alumni Association Board of Directors launched the award program later that year.

Ken RoeringRoering distinguished himself on the gridiron at Saint John's as a two-time All-American football player and key member of the 1963 national championship team. Almost 50 years later, Roering still ranks in the top 10 all time in yards per reception.

Roering went on to earn a doctorate in business administration and a highly successful career in academia. From 1982-2004, he held the prestigious Pillsbury Company-Paul S. Gerot Chair in Marketing at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota, where he is currently professor emeritus. Roering has been a consultant to numerous national corporations and is a prolific author.

Saint John's has been a grateful recipient of his expertise. He has served on the Board of Regents (now the Board of Trustees) since 2006. He recently chaired the SJU presidential search process.