2014 Alumni Achievement Award

Thomas Borak '64

Tom Borak spent a lot of time in the lab at SJU, and it paid off. After earning his Ph.D. in physics at Vanderbilt University, he was a nuclear physicist at some of the most influential research facilities in the world. Specializing in radiation physics and dosimetry, Borak has spent the last two decades on the faculty in the department of environmental and radiological health sciences at Colorado State University. He has written numerous scientific reports and mentored more than 50 graduate students in nuclear physics.

John Chromy '64  

John Chromy devoted his entire career in nonprofit management to peacemaking, sustainable development and community-building. His grassroots economic development work has taken him to 55 countries, and he has been directly involved in defusing conflicts in more than 30 of them. Chromy recently retired as vice president of Cooperative Housing Foundation International, an organization that serves more than 20 million people each year and is focused on post-conflict, unstable and developing nations.

Mike Healy '64  

Mike Healy returned to his hometown of Yankton, S. D., to pursue a financial career at the Benedictinesponsored Avera Sacred Heart Hospital in 1968. Healy led the hospital through a longrange financial plan and helped them establish a robust financial position over his 40-year career there. In 1995, he was awarded the Outstanding Healthcare Officer in the U.S. from Modern Healthcare magazine. Before retiring in 2009, the South Dakota governor proclaimed a Michael T. Healy Day in South Dakota to honor his contributions to health care and finance in the state.

Gary Eichten '69  

Gary Eichten was there when KSJR-FM went on the air at SJU in 1967. The station eventually evolved into the Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) we know today. Throughout his 40-plus-year career at MPR, Eichten served in countless roles and won many accolades. Notably, he was the host of "Midday" for two decades and was the winner of the prestigious 2011 Graven Award from the Premark Public Affairs Journalism Awards board for his contribution to excellence in the journalism profession.

Nick Hayes '69  

Nick Hayes is a professor of history and holds the University Chair in Critical Thinking at SJU. A frequent guest on television and radio, he has also published nationally and internationally in newspapers, magazines and journals. He has received awards from the Ford Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities and the Fulbright Program and won an Emmy in 1991 for his work on Twin Cities Public Television's Television and Democracy in Russia. He is a contributing writer for MinnPost, the premier political blog in Minnesota.

John Laliberte '74  

John Laliberte devoted his entire career to the South St. Paul public schools-as a teacher, coach, dean and principal. Before retiring in 2010, he spent 16 years as principal at Kaposia Education Center, where he knew each of the 800 elementary students by name. He was known for motivating students to read. Students who met their goals have shaved his head, put him in a dunk tank, and transformed him into a human ice cream sundae. Laliberte has taken on an antibullying initiative in the community in his retirement.

Tim Marx '79  

Tim Marx has worn many hats in his career: practicing attorney, public official, nonprofit leader and civic volunteer. He served as both deputy mayor and city attorney for St. Paul before becoming executive director of New York City Common Ground, a nonprofit agency, in 2008. In 2011, he became CEO of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, the largest regional social service agency, which has a $40 million operating budget and serves 35,000 annually.

Bob Morris '84  

Bob Morris, M.D., is a renowned gynecological oncologist and medical school professor. He currently practices at Wayne State University School of Medicine, where he has taught since 1996. Morris has written more than 60 articles and is a sought-after speaker and presenter. He has received numerous awards including the Excellence in Teaching Award from Wayne State School of Medicine, and he has been named to "Detroit's Top Docs" four times by Hour Detroit magazine.

Stephen Yurek '84  

Steve Yurek has brought his background as both an engineer and a practicing attorney to his work as a nonpartisan advocate in the Washington legislative community. Since 2007, Yurek has served as president and CEO of the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). Yurek manages 60 staff and coordinates the more than 300 manufacturing members of the association. Under his leadership, AHRI was awarded the Super Nova of Energy Efficiency award from the Alliance to Save Energy in 2011.

Mark Vande Hei '89  

Mark Vande Hei was one of just nine selected from a pool of 3,500 applicants for the 2009 NASA astronaut class. After earning his physics degree from Saint John's, Vande Hei was commissioned through ROTC and achieved the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army. His service included combat tours, numerous awards and a position as assistant professor of military science at the United States Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. Vande Hei is now qualified for future space-flight assignment and works in the Astronaut Office's Capsule Communicator branch.

Dean Holt '94  

Dean Holt took an apprenticeship at Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis after graduation to delay graduate school for a year. Twenty seasons and more than 60 shows later, he's still there, and still entertaining hundreds of children and their families each year. Known for his athletic abilities and physical acting, he's played roles ranging from the Cat in The Cat in the Hat to Cinderella's wicked stepsister. He was honored with the Twin Cities' coveted Ivey Award in 2006 for playing silent-film clown Buster Keaton in Reeling.