Paul E Ripley

Paul Ripley served as the University’s first alumni director and was a member of the first class in 1946. The longtime administrator held several positions during his tenure, including Director of Career Planning and Placement, and Director of College Relations. An associate professor of journalism, Ripley established the Laker Log alumni newspaper and published it for more than 20 years. The Laker Log remains a vital link between LSSU and alumni today. Paul retired in 1987 after more than 20 years of service.

This award honors graduates who have enjoyed exceptional personal and professional success early in their careers. Those honored must have graduated within the past 15 years and/or be no more than 40 years of age.

2023 – Ashley O’Dwyer ’13Ashley (Ryckman) O'Dwyer - Paul Ripley Receipient

  • Ashley graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2013, with her Honors Degree of Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry Pre-Professional.
  • While a student at LSSU, she was in the Honors Program, and was also a member of the Pre-Professional Society and Chemistry Club. She worked as a Chemistry tutor and an Associate Instructor for Humanities.
  • During the summer following her junior year, Ashley received a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF: REU) at the University of Wisconsin, and did microbiology research.
  • After graduating in 2013, Ashley attended Indiana University School of Optometry in Bloomington, IN to obtain her Doctor of Optometry degree. .
  • While there, she continued to do research as part of the Dean Scholar Program in ocular surface research, and as a clinical research assistant doing entrance testing for subjects in the ocular surface clinical research lab.
  • Ashley is licensed to practice optometry in Alaska and Michigan. She is Chief Optometric Officer with the Bay Mills Indian Community, and also the co-owner of a traveling eye clinic – the Eye Guys LLC – in Wasilla, AK, which she co-founded in March 2021.
  • Having grown up on the water in Houghton Lake, Ashley enjoys fishing and boating. She also enjoys yoga and is a guest instructor at Northern Life Yoga in Sault Ste. Marie
  • She is married to fellow Laker Alumnus, Shawn O’Dwyer. They have two children, Murphy (3) and Lily (1).

2022 – Jamie (Groos) Momber ’04Jamie Momber

  • Jamie graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2008, with Bachelor of Science degrees in both Computer Networking and Computer Science.
  • While a student at LSSU, she was a member of the LSSU Volleyball Team, Alpha Chi, and the Student Advisory Committee.
  • She was the Outstanding Computer Science Graduate in 2008 and received the GLIAC Post-Graduate Certificate.
  • After graduating in 2008, Jamie went on to earn a Master’s degree in Computer Science at Western Michigan University.
  • In her current role as a Senior Application Engineer at Steelcase, she builds solutions for internal business customers working with teams in the US, Mexico, Germany, and Malaysia.
  • Jamie is an established cook and gardener and uses these skills to volunteer with various organizations in the Grand Rapids area, including the Renucci House and Kids Food Basket.
  • She is married to fellow Laker Alumnus, Ben Momber. They have two children, Colin and Quinn.

2021 – Hannah Pierson-Compeau ’04Hannah_Pierson-Compeau

  • Hannah attended and graduated from Lake State with a B.A. in Political Science and Communication in 2005.
  • While a student, she was a member of the Alpha Chi Honor Society, Political Science Club, Curriculum Committee, SAILS, and Honors Council.
  • She graduated from Georgetown University with an M.A. in Communication, Culture, and Technology in 2007.
  • Hannah has served as the Product Manager for American University in Washington, D.C since February 2019.
  • Hannah has also worked for the National Democratic Institute, Creative Information Technology, Inc., Parker Tide Corp, and the Institute of International Education.
  • She received the Outstanding Service Award for volunteer efforts at 2007 National Walk for the Animals.
  • She is married to Alexander Baum. They have one son, Isaac Baum.

2019 – Cory (Gallaway) Andersen ’04Cory Andersen

  • Account leader and director of business development for Snavely Associates
  • Prior to joining Snavely, Cory was the director of annual giving for the University of Denver from 2010 to 2016, where she was responsible for direct mail, phone, and e-solicitation for faculty and staff, senior class giving, student philanthropy, and donor societies for leadership annual donors. Under Cory’s leadership the undergraduate donor count increased 41 percent and annual giving revenue increased 57 percent, with annual funds increasing every year under her leadership. Cory led the launch of a high-level unrestricted annual giving society in 2015, and developed and led One Day for DU, the University’s very first giving day.
  • Cory and her husband Kelsey are lifetime members of the LSSU Alumni Association
  • Earned her Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) in 2009 and an MBA from the University of Denver in 2010.

Erin Strang

2018 – Erin Strang ’02

  • President and CEO of Central Michigan University Research Corp
  • Inducted into the Glen Oaks Community College Athletic Hall of Fame
  • Serves on the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce, CMU Senior Leadership team, Great Lakes Entrepreneurial Quest Ambassador, member of the Michigan Small Business Development Centers and the MTEC Advisory Board

Michael O'Toole

2017 – Michael P. O’Toole ’03

  • Partner with Floreani/O’Toole Orthodontists, serving remote and under-serviced areas of northern Ontario
  • Lectures on orthodontic biomaterials at the University of Toronto
  • Active member of several professional organizations

Rebecca Steffler Ridky

2016 – Rebecca Steffler Ridky ’08

  • Executive Director of Michigan Senior Olympics
  • Formerly Health and Wellness Coordinator for the Older Persons Commission
  • Serves on numerous professional boards and committees
  • Received Outstanding Sport & Recreation Graduate Award from LSSU and earned her M.P.A. from Oakland University.

Derrick Bates

2015 – Derrick Bates ’06

  • Wastewater Operator at McCormick
  • Formerly Pretreatment Coordinator at City of South Bend Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • OSHA certified for Hazard Recognition
  • Received McCormick Star Thrower Award in 2012 for collaborative work resulting in $50,000 annual cost savings
  • Recognized as Indiana Industrial Operator of the Year, 2012
  • Recognized for Excellence in Innovation in Government by South Bend City Mayor, 2009

Aaron Mize

2014 – Aaron Mize ’02

  • Refuge Manager, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (60,000 acres with 250,000 visitors annually)
  • Supervises and executes base budget of over $1.5 million
  • Recently completed project with US Fish & Wildlife Service AGO Planning Office in Washington DC
  • Recognized for awards in his profession numerous times from 2000 to 2013

Christopher Fink

2013 – Christopher Fink ’99

  • Master’s of Science in Kinesiology, Indiana University-Bloomington
  • PhD in Exercise Science, Ohio State University
  • Assistant Professor and Chair of Dept. of Health and Human Kinetics at Ohio Wesleyan University 2007-present
  • Faculty Advisor to Peer Health Advocate Team student group
  • Conducted research project with Universitá degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche in Pollenzo, Italy
  • Member of the American College of Sports Medicine, American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance
  • Committee member; Food Coalition, The Delaware Parks & Recreation advisory board, Partnership for a Healthy Delaware County,
    Go Healthy Delaware Initiative
  • Lifetime Member of LSSU Alumni Association

Heather Benjamin

2012 – Heather J. Benjamin ’01

  • Manager at Deloitte, 2012 to present
  • Associated Banc-Corp, 2008-2012
    • Compliance Manager/Vice President for Corporate Compliance
    • Senior Risk Manager, Senior Vice President for Enterprise Risk Management
  • Instructor at Becker Professional Review, 2007-2008
  • Manager of Financial Controls Group at Discover Financial Services, 2007-2008
  • Manager, KPMG, 2001-2007
  • Licensed CPA in Michigan and Illinois.
  • Contributor to various scholarships at LSSU

Holly Julian Johnson

2011 – Holly (Julian) Johnson ’00

  • Associate Vice President for Development at Upper Iowa University, 2009 to present
  • Director of Alumni and Development at Upper Iowa University, 2006 to 2009
  • Assistant Director of the Alumni Association & Membership at University of Northern Iowa, 2002 to 2006
  • Director of Campus Life at LSSU, 2000-2002
  • Active Volunteer with Council for Advancement and Support of Education,  District VI

Steve Eles

2010 – Steve Eles ’03

  • Bachelor of Science Degree, Electrical Engineering
  • Cross Country Coach, Lake Superior State University
  • Coached several All-American runners
  • Media specialist, Lake Superior State University
  • Extremely successful recruiter of track and cross country athletes for LSSU

Paul Shagen

2009 – Paul Shagen ‘94

  • Bachelor of Science Degree, Political Science
  • Outstanding Native American Graduate in 1994
  • Graduate of the University of New Mexico-Albuquerque 1997 with Juris Doctorate degree and an Indian law certificate
  • Thesis published in the Law Review
  • Elected to Sault Tribe Board of Directors in 1998
  • Lead Attorney for Lac Courte tribe in Hayward, Wisconsin

Sophie Chandauka

2008 – Sophie Chandauka ’00

  • Bachelor Science Degree, Political Science/Pre-Law
  • Completed legal education with the College of Law and her Legal Practice Course, with distinction, at Oxford Institute of Legal Practice
  • Associate for Baker & McKenzie LLP’s Corporate Group in London
  • In 2007, Sophie was nominated for the Young Solicitor of the Year for the British Legal Awards

Kris Dunbar

2007 – Kris Dunbar ’92

  • Bachelor of Arts Degree, Psychology
  • Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year in 2002, and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan College Coach of the Year in 2003.
  • Named GLIAC’s top coach in 2005 after winning her fourth straight GLIAC North Division title. Led the Lakers to GLIAC tournament titles in 2003 and 2004
  • Became LSSU’s Director of Athletics in March 2006

Aaron & Michelle Clark

2006 – Aaron Clark, ’93 & Michelle Clark ’98

  • Aaron Clark, Bachelor of Science Degree, Athletic Training
  • Michelle Clark, Bachelor of Science, Exercise Science
  • Owners, Superior Physical Therapy

Anthony Palumbo

2005 – Anthony Palumbo , ’89 & ’92 (News Article)

  • Bachelor of Science Degree, Finance and Economics
  • Master’s Degree, Business Administration
  • Vice President – Senior Business Banker, Huntingon Bank in Traverse City
  • Formerly Vice President – Relationship Manager, Huntington Bank in Traverse City
  • Formerly Executive Vice President, North Country Bank and Trust in Traverse City
  • Member, LSSU Foundation Board of Directors
  • Head Hockey Coach, Traverse City West High School

2003 – Steve Peacock, ’88

  • Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting
  • Active with the LSSU Alumni Association of which he serves on the board of directors and has served terms as vice president and president
  • Member of the LSSU Business Advisory Board.
  • Audit senior manager for The Rehmann Group office in Traverse City
  • Formerly with BDO Seidman of Traverse City.
  • Member, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Member, Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants
  • Member, National Association of College and University Business Officers
  • Executive treasurer of the Grand Traverse Hockey Association
  • Involved Citizens Enterprises (ICE) board
  • The Exchange Club of Traverse City.

2002 – Jon Spieles, ’91

  • One of only four interpretive naturalists in Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • Developed interpretive master plan for Tahquamenon Falls State Park
  • Served on committee to determine Michigan State Park interpretive programs
  • Instructor for annual ranger training session
  • Advisor, Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
  • Advisor, Bay Mills Native community for youth programming
  • Charter member of LSSU’s Recreation Dept Advisory Board
  • Regular facilitator of LSSU student intern opportunities in natural resources
  • Speaker for LSSU student groups and classes

Tracy Haller

2001 – Tracy West, ’86

  • Tournament director for the FleetBoston Classic, an official event of the Senior PGA Tour
  • Co-founder and executive vice president for Pro Links Sports, a full-service golf management company based in Minnesota
  • Member, Lake Superior State University Foundation board of directors

Daniel Goodrich

2000 – Daniel G. Goodrich

  • Graduated with honors in 1993 from the mechanical engineering technology program
  • School of Engineering and Technology Industrial Advisory Board
  • Volunteer for the Alumni Association’s Support Team for Admissions and Recruitment (STAR)
  • Vehicle test lead engineer for Continental Teves
  • Began career with the Walbro Corporation in Cass City, Michigan.

1999 – Frederick J. Berg ’83

  • Project Engineer for Delphi
  • Lead cockpit engineer for Delphi Automotive Systems
  • Instructor and program coordinator at Kirtland Community College
  • Contract engineer with Troy Design Services from 1985 to 1988.
  • Twice listed in Who’s Who in Engineering
  • Six-times honored by Who’s Who in the Midwest.
  • Advisor to the Midland County Historical Society, Chippewa Nature center
  • Instructor and member of the Max Carey Blacksmith Guild and a member of the Southern Ohio Forge Association
  • Earned M.S.A. in Business Administration from Central Michigan University in 1989.

Tad Malpass

1998 – Tad Malpass, ’83

  • Executive vice president, East Jordan Iron Works, Inc.
  • 1993 Conservationist of the Year for Charlevoix County
  • Vice president for the Gray Iron Foundry Association
  • president, Foundry Association of Michigan
  • Past American Foundrymen’s Society Board member
  • Chair, American Foundrymen’s Society Government Affairs Committee.
  • Member, LSSU Foundation Board of Directors and the LSSU Alumni Association

David Bertram

1997 – Mr. David W. Bertram, ’89

  • Executive Director, Michigan Township Associates
  • Political Science Grad
  • Served as Governor John Engler’s legislative liaison, governor’s lobbyist in the Michigan Senate
  • Executive director of the Governor’s Club
  • Served on Engler’s staff beginning in 1989
  • Press secretary and spokesperson for the Bush-Quayle campaign in 1992 in Michigan

1996 – Terrence J. Thompson, JD, ’80

  • Asst. US attorney in southern Florida since 1990
  • Responsible for investigation and prosecution of major narcotics and violent crimes cases in US District Court
  • Argues appellate cases before Eleventh District Court
  • Investigated and successfully prosecuted Operation Caballero, a major cocaine smuggling ring
  • Major in US Marine Corps Reserve
  • Judge Advocate, US Marine Corps
  • Senior trial counsel, US Navy Legal Service Office

1995 – Dr. Stephen Mulholland, ’83

  • One of Canada’s premier reconstructive surgeons/oncologist
  • NCAA All American – Hockey
  • Graduated from the University of Toronto Medical School with honors in 1988
  • Four time CCHA All Star and All-Academic,1979-1983

1994 – Dr. Julie Dixon, ’80

  • Osteopathic physician skilled in primary care (prenatal, obstetrical and emergency room)
  • Practicing medicine with Indian Health Service, Pine Ridge, South Dakota
  • Private practice in Traverse City 1986-1994
  • Former director of medical services for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians
  • Former contract physician for Grand Traverse Community Mental Health
  • Co-director of Access Obstetrics, Inc.
  • Chief of staff at Grand Traverse Community Hospital 1991-93: First woman elected to position
  • One of approximately 400 Native American physicians in the U.S.
  • Loves to be outdoors, hunting, fishing and sailing