2018 Alumni Achievement Award


Jim Gelbmann, M.D. ’68
Jim Gelbmann, M.D. ’68 is cited for his contributions to the Brainerd Lakes Area’s development into a regional hub. In 1975 Gelbmann was in the group of doctors who founded Brainerd Medical Center, Brainerd’s first multi-specialty clinic, which merged with the Essentia Healthcare system in 2007. For 38 years he served as a physician and eventually chief of staff at St. Joseph Hospital and Medical Center. He also worked with Mike Musty, M.D. ’68 to establish medical ethics policies. Gelbmann impacted other areas of the community as well, helping start the Brainerd Area Arts Alliance, serving on Crow Wing County’s Child Protection Board and contributing his expertise to the Brainerd school district’s sex education curriculum. He retired in 2014 and lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Cheryl.

James A. Mohs, M.D. ’68
James A. Mohs, M.D. ’68 has contributed to the Melrose community’s health in the literal sense and beyond. He practiced in Melrose for nearly 40 years and was named the Minnesota Family Physician of the Year in 1997. He was instrumental in helping establish a clinic and practice that now includes 10 primary care physicians and became CentraCare Health’s first regional center. Mohs was equally invested in education, serving as the Melrose school district’s chairman of the board and helping expand school facilities and curriculum, which has a lasting impact on students’ education. He also volunteered on Melrose’s Chamber of Commerce, Community Improvement Association and Lake Improvement Association, Saint John’s Alumni Association Board and continues to be involved with the Church of St. Mary.

Photo of Steve Armstrong

Steve Armstrong ’73
His financial acumen earned him Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s CFO of the Year status in 2015, and his generosity has won Steve Armstrong ’73 the respect of the Saint John’s community – particularly his classmates. Under Armstrong’s leadership as executive vice president and chief financial officer, St. Paul-based Patterson Companies, Inc. grew into a world leader in dentistry and animal health technology and equipment. He also served three terms on the Saint John’s Board of Trustees, from 2006 to 2015, chaired its finance committee for five years and contributed to the new Dietrich Reinhart Learning Commons. Armstrong took the lead when the Class of ’73 established a scholarship in honor of late classmate Rodney C. Anderson and has helped maintain an annual gathering of ’73 graduates.

Joe Gilles

Joe Gilles ’78
Joseph A. Gilles ’78 retired as a top executive at Liberty Mutual Insurance, where he was president of affiliate Wausau Insurance Companies before becoming Liberty Mutual’s executive vice president. His Saint John’s floor mates could have predicted his professional success. Gilles was so even-keeled and adept at his math major that he’s remembered for calmly making popcorn for finals study sessions instead of stressing out. That steady hand, coupled with his business acuity, helped propel him to an impressive career, but he also has earned respect for his dedication to education, his industry and his community, with service ranging from insurance continuing education and professional accreditation organization The Institutes to Wisconsin’s Workforce Development Council and the North Central Technical College Foundation board, among many other past and present roles.

Photo of Joseph Kelly

Brig. Gen. Joseph Kelly ’83
Brig. Gen. Joseph Kelly ’83 has dedicated his professional life to the Minnesota Army National Guard. His began his career by enlisting in 1980 and then joining the Saint John’s ROTC. He is now the Minnesota Army National Guard’s assistant adjutant general-joint staff, where he has served more than 22 years full-time in several senior staff positions. Kelly performed a tour of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as the Reserve Components Division Chief for Multi-National Corps-Iraq in Baghdad and has won a long list of awards, including Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Iraq Campaign Medal, in addition to many state awards. He was promoted to brigadier general in 2007.

Jerry Morris '83
Jerry Morris’s leadership skills are in high demand at work and at home, internationally and locally. As General Mills Vice President and Chief Tax Officer, Morris ’83 oversees global tax matters in the 150 countries where General Mills operates and is recognized as a strategic tax-management leader. He is equally respected in his Twin Cities community, where he has volunteered his expertise and leadership to the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Minnesota 21st Century Revenue Tax Reform Commission, Prepare + Prosper Board of Directors, and a variety of school-, sports- and church-related programs. Above all, he has served as an example to the five children he raised with his wife, 1983 College of Saint Benedict graduate Karen Torborg Morris.

Photo of Rick Wojciechowski ’88

Rick Wojciechowski ’88
Parkway Construction President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Wojciechowski ’88 has led the Dallas-based company to unprecedented revenue growth that placed the company in the nation’s top 300 contractors since he took the helm in January 2014. Wojciechowski joined Parkway in 1996 as its director of construction, became a partner in 2004 and served as chief operating officer from 2008-2013, spurring its success as he managed the company’s daily operations. Wojciechowski is noted for remaining humble and grounded in his family with his wife Erin (Brown) Wojciechowski CSB ’88 while being highly successful in his profession. He contributes to his community by introducing and developing young people who enjoy the outdoors. He also makes valuable contributions to the Saint John’s community, helping Johnnies stay connected as president of the Dallas alumni chapter.

Photo of Joe Blee '93

Joe Blee '93
Joe Blee ’93 is recognized for his contributions to his company and community. Blee, senior vice president at Eden Prairie-based Christensen Group Insurance, played an integral role in making it an employee-owned company and inspired teamwork by initiating an annual project for employees to buy and wrap Christmas gifts for single mothers impacted by abuse and violence. Outside of work, he chairs the board for Midwest Challenge in Minneapolis, which provides housing and care solutions for men released from prisons, treatment centers or who are homeless. He also is a 15-year member of Lakeville Rotary, served 11 years on the Lakeville City Planning Commission and was a board member and coach for the Minnesota Sled Hockey Association, a program for players with disabilities.

Photo of Nathaniel Nelson '98

Nathaniel Nelson ’98
Nathaniel Nelson ’98 is an Associate Professor at the University of St. Thomas Graduate School of Professional Psychology. He also practices as a clinical neuropsychologist in the Twin Cities area and enjoys clinical, teaching and research collaborations with others in the field. He is recognized for his research on various topics, including outcomes of blast-related concussion and trauma exposure among combat Veterans. Nelson teaches several courses at UST and has also supervised graduate students in clinical neuropsychological evaluations through the UST Interprofessional Center. He is an editorial board member for Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, the continuing education coordinator for The Clinical Neuropsychologist, and president-elect of the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology. Nelson and his wife Rebecca (CSB ’02) enjoy spending free time chasing after their three young and rambunctious children.