2023 SJU Alumni Achievement Awards

Launched in 1983, the Saint John’s University Alumni Achievement Awards recognize alumni who have been successful in their careers and/or active in church and community service. The awards are presented annually by the SJU Alumni Association Board of Directors and the university.

Michael McCarthy ’73

Michael McCarthy calls Saint John’s University “the debt that can never be repaid,” but he’s clearly determined to try.

With his characteristic humility, McCarthy credits his Benedictine liberal arts education for his extraordinary success as chairman of Omaha-based investment holding firm the McCarthy Group, LLC, which he founded in 1986 to help local businesses grow and diversify after the devastating farming crisis, and now as now as co-chairman of Bridges Trust wealth management firm.

He serves on the boards of some of the country’s largest corporations, including Union Pacific Corporation, Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc. and Election Systems & Software, and dedicates himself to his community. McCarthy chaired Creighton University’s Board of Trustees for six years, works with a variety of nonprofits and steadfastly supports Saint John’s, where he earned an English degree.

Whether he’s serving on the Board of Regents, speaking at the McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship or championing The Saint John’s Bible — he played a key role in bringing a special Bible exhibit to Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum in 2019 — McCarthy makes sure his success always comes back to Collegeville.

Kevin Seggelke ’78

More than half a million Denver-area families in need can count on regular meals — and a serving of hope — thanks in part to Kevin Seggelke.

During Seggelke’s 16-year term as president and CEO, the Food Bank of the Rockies tripled the number of families it served and upped its annual food distribution from 15 million to 60 million pounds, serving more than 50 million meals a year.

This did not surprise those who know him. Compassion and commitment to helping others have been woven into Seggelke’s moral fiber since his days as a Saint John’s University history major.

Seggelke’s resolve to feed those in need and better his community extend well beyond the food bank. He has chaired Feeding America’s National Council, Hunger Free Colorado, Resource Area for Teachers and the boards for the Colorado Nonprofit Association and Hunger Related Events and is a past member of the Denver Healthy Food Access Initiative and SJU’s Strategic Planning Committee.

Seggelke now is board secretary for Senior Housing Options, Inc. and also coaches and counsels nonprofit executive directors.

Denny Schleper ’83

Dennis Schleper combined his health care experience and financial acumen to build an exceptional career that landed him on Accounting Today’s Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting and helped him make a lasting impact on some of Florida’s most pressing social issues.

Schleper, retired owner of global accounting firm CliftonLarsonAllen, graduated from Saint John’s University in accounting and went to work as director of finance and assistant administrator for a nonprofit organization that owned and operated a skilled long-term care facility, supervised care facility, assisted housing and home health care services operation.

He then embarked on a 30-year career with CliftonLarsonAllen, where he rose from managing partner to chief executive officer. He remained dedicated to healthcare, serving on the Florida Governor’s Advisory Council for Continuing Care, and also joined the board for Bridging Freedom, a Florida-based nonprofit dedicated to prevention and survivor care for victims of domestic sex trafficking of minors.

Now retired, Schleper continues to mentor the next generations in accounting and the business sector in general, with an emphasis on increasing diversity.

Troy Fritz ’88

Twenty thousand music fans enjoying a free concert at St. Cloud’s Lake George.

Sixty Central Minnesota high schoolers canoeing the Canadian wilderness.

Sixty-five Saint John’s University alumni hunting pheasant in South Dakota.

Their link: Troy Fritz, SJU associate vice president for Institutional Advancement, avid outdoorsman and community builder extraordinaire.

After graduating with a natural science degree, Fritz worked at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota, Boy Scouts of America Central Minnesota Council and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Minnesota before returning to SJU.

He has dedicated his time and talents as a St. Cloud Park and Recreation Board member, Les Voyageurs outdoor leadership program’s board president and the Rotary Club of St. Cloud’s former president and entertainment director, helping build the Summertime! By George weekly concert series into an event that has drawn more than 1 million people since 2011.

Fritz’s countless contributions to SJU include serving on the Outdoor University’s Advisory Council, starting the annual Saint John’s Alumni and Friends South Dakota Pheasant Hunt and bringing Johnnies together in different ways virtually every day.

Ryan Hagan ’93

Ryan Hagan’s post-Saint John’s University life reads like a study in Benedictine influence.

Hagan, an accounting and business management major, is managing partner of Altruic Advisors, an accounting firm with the unique mission of working exclusively with nonprofit organizations. Altruic has seven offices in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington, D.C., dedicated to the motto “Helping nonprofits create good.”

Hagan also serves on the board of the nonprofit he founded in honor of one of his college mentors, S. Dolores Schuh, CHM, his supervisor at the former Institute for Cultural and Ecumenical Research. When his funds ran short, she gave him an interest-free loan that allowed him to stay at SJU and graduate on time. The Dolores Fund provides homes and a support network to single-parent families with children who are homeless or in an unstable living situation.

He’s left his mark on the soccer pitch, too. While at his first post-college position with the Christian Appalachian Project in Kentucky, Hagan started the Floyd County Youth Soccer program, which now includes more than 1,000 kids in eight counties.

Micah Kiel, Ph.D. ’98

Micah Kiel, Ph.D., dedicates his considerable expertise to illustrating Scripture’s relevance in modern society.

Kiel, a professor of theology at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, focuses his research and writing on relating the Bible to contemporary issues such as our environmental crisis and women’s roles in the church.

His publications display his commitment to the Catholic intellectual community. In addition to many articles in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at national Biblical studies conferences, Kiel published his book Reading the Bible in the Age of Francis in 2019. He wrote Apocalyptic Ecology during his 2015 sabbatical as a Collegeville Institute resident scholar.

Kiel graduated from Saint John’s with a music degree and spent a year volunteering with local students in Belize. He also regularly teaches a study abroad course in Greece. He received his M.Div and Ph.D in New Testament Theology from Princeton.

Kiel is also involved in his parish and is president of the board at the Café on Vine. Whose mission is to feed the homeless.

Brian Peterson ’03

Brian Peterson has achieved personal, spiritual and professional success with a servant’s heart, keeping his family and deep faith as high priorities while also pouring his best into his work and his employees.

As a Saint John’s University student, Peterson was an exceptional mix of responsible and fun-loving, always seeking a laugh but balanced enough to accomplish his goals and obligations.

After a short stint as an accountant in the Minneapolis area following SJU graduation, Brian and his Bennie wife Kelly (CSB ’03) moved back to their small Minnesota hometown of Grand Rapids to raise a family and engage life there. He joined Nelson Wood Shims, the largest shim manufacturer in North America, and focused on quality while championing a transformation to NWS as an employee-owned company of which at age 41 he was promoted to President.

Despite his busy work schedule, Peterson prioritizes his family and deep faith. He coaches teams in his town and is very involved in his local church.

Brian is a true leader, humble yet confident, ambitious and courageous while rooted in integrity, honesty and the common good at the heart of his decisions.