2010 Alumni Achievement Award

Carmen Fernholz

Carmen Fernholz '65, organic farmer

Carmen Fernholz, a Madison, Minnesota farmer, went organic back in the mid 1970's.  When faced with a choice to get bigger or cut his cost of production, Fernholz chose to trim his inputs, convert to organic crop farming and revamp his marketing strategies.  In 1994, he became organic certified after more than 20 years of experiments to learn which methods would work best.

Fernholz shares his organic and sustainable agriculture principles through a variety of farm research, education and marketing initiatives.  He's been nominated for a national award through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  In 2005 he received the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Service Farmer of the Year Award.

Michael Marchand

Gen. Mike Marchand '70, assistant judge advocate general

Mike Marchand is a retired major general of the U.S. Army now serving as president of the Center for American and International Law (June 2005 to present) in Plano, Texas.  CAIL is an educational institution focused on international and domestic law and law enforcement.  The Center offers a wide variety of educational programs in legal topics and leadership training.

Marchand's last role in the Army was as assistant judge advocate general (JAG) (October '01- June '05).  The second highest ranking Army lawyer at the Pentagon, Marchand made final management decisions and supervised a staff of 108 attorney and paralegals who provide annually more than 5,000 written legal opinions for the Office of the Secretary of the Army, the Army Staff and major Army field commands.

Don Geng

Don Geng '75, teacher and coach

Don Geng is an educator.  As a language arts teacher and head baseball coach at South St. Paul (Minn.) High School, he is always eager to help a student grow.  Geng proclaims his mantra on his school web page: "Language is power!  Future successes in business, personal life and school are shaped by the ability to interview, communicate, learn, read, write and work together."

Geng has written three baseball books for children and coaches and is an instructor in the Minnesota Twins summer youth league.

Dave Morreim

David Morreim '75, botanist

David Morreim quietly left the indelible imprint of his green thumb along the banks of the Mississippi, at his St. Cloud, Minn., business and at hundreds of regional garden club presentations.  Morreim nurtured the riverside Munsinger and Clemens gardens for the City of St. Cloud for 30 years, and he designed the Clemens Rose Garden there.  Retired from city employment, he continues to grow and sell plants from the Morreim family century farm near St. Cloud.

Daniel Garry

Dr. Daniel Garry '80, cardiovascular scientist

Dr. Daniel Garry, cardiovascular scientist Dr. Daniel Garry, M.D., Ph.D., is the first director of the Lillehei Heart Institute at the University of Minnesota.  He serves as director of the cardiovascular division and holder of the St. Jude Medical Endowed Chair in Cardiovascular Disease.  Dual doctorates allow him to practice medicine as well as do research with a focus on cell therapy and molecular genomics.

Pat Plonski

Patrick Plonski '85, nonprofit leader

Patrick Plonski is executive director of Books for Africa, a St. Paul, Minn.-based non-profit organization that collects and ships new and used books for use by schools and libraries in Africa.  Over the last 20 years, Books for Africa has shipped more than 20 million high-quality text and library books to 45 countries.  Plonski, BFA executive director since 2003, formerly was executive director of the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council at the University of Minnesota.

Tom Wicka

Tom Wicka '90, business executive

Tom Wicka is executive vice president/chief marketing officer for IWCO Direct, an integrated marketing services firm with headquarters in the Twin Cities.  He formerly held regional sales management positions in New York City and Washington, D.C.  When they found out that son, Nash, had Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Wicka and his wife turned their despair into a mission in 2002 to help all boys with Duchenne by founding the Nash Avery Foundation.  Through donations and an annual "Bash for Nash" gala, the foundation has been raising funds for aggressive research to cure the disease.