Academic Wall of Honor Biographies
Kelly Neuwirth Grier
Kelly Neuwirth Grier attended Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana, earning a degree in accounting. Kelly was hired by one of the Big Four accounting firms, Ernst and Young, becoming third-in-command. Kelly manages a company that employs more than 72,000 individuals and produces an annual revenue of 16.7 billion dollars. Currently, Kelly is the United States Chairperson, Managing Partner and Americas Managing Partner for Ernst and Young. Kelly is a member of the Ernst and Young’s Global Executive and Global Practice Group, as well as an Executive Sponsor for Ernst and Young’s focus on diversity and inclusiveness. She serves as a senior advisory partner on several of Ernst and Young’s largest accounts. In 2018 and 2019, Kelly was recognized as one of the Most Powerful Women by Fortune, and in 2020, she was recognized as one of the Most Powerful Women in the Accounting Profession by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and CPA Practice Advisor Magazine. Kelly is also an active community member. She serves as the Governing Board Chair for the Center for Audit Quality, participates as a member of the Carnegie Hall Board of Directors and The Economic Club of New York, and is a part of many more impressive activities. Kelly’s aspirations to develop a leadership position in this world truly paid off, and she deserves to be on the Albany Area Schools Academic Wall of Honor due to her positive contribution to society and demonstration that education is a lifelong experience.
Crain’s Most Powerful Women (2019)
Girl Scout Luminary Award (2019)
Commencement speaker Saint Mary’s College (2019)
Guest speaker on Fox News as a global economic analyst (2019)
World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (2010)
Anti-Defamation League’s “Women of Achievement” (2011)
Illinois CPA Society’s “2007 Woman to Watch”
Credit: Kayla Hahn, AHS 2021
Gary A. Glatzmaier
Gary Glatztmaier graduated from Albany High School magna cum laude in 1967. He attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and served in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC). Gary graduated magna cum laude with degrees in Physics and Mathematics and a minor in Naval Science. After college, Gary was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Navy, serving four years while teaching physics and nuclear engineering. He attended the University of Colorado to receive his PhD in Astrophysics. After he got his PhD, Gary took part in a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, for Solar Physics. About two years after the fellowship, Gary became a PhD scientist for Climate and Geophysics in Los Alamos National Laboratory for the next 16 years. He then became a Professor at the University of California where he mentored and taught students geophysics and astrophysics for 17 years. Gary was elected into the National Academy of Sciences in 2010. Gary was also the first individual to produce the 3D computer simulation of the geomagnetic field, which is what he is best known for. In addition, he also published over 100 scientific papers and a textbook that is used as a tutorial for computer modeling of planets and stars. He has also dedicated his free time to serve on many different scientific committees and boards: Los Alamos Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, the U.S Geodynamics Committee, National Research Council, and Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics journal since 2011. Gary deserves to be on Albany Area Schools Academic Wall of Honor because he clearly made a positive impact on society and is still showing that education is a lifelong experience.
Los Alamos Distinguished Performance Award (1986)
1995 Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory
IEEE Sidney Fernbach Award (1996)
Distinguished Lecturer, Associated Western Universities (1996-1997)
1997 Fellow, American Geophysical Union
Distinguished Lecturer, Institute of Physics of Ireland (2006)
Elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2010)
John Adam Fleming Medal, American Geophysical Union (2014)
Credit: Kayla Hahn, AHS 2021
Steven Roger Stromme
The Academic Wall of Honor here at Albany is a reminder that individuals, even in a small town, can and do impact our schools and communities. Steve Stromme was a prominent supporter of that very wall - one that he is now a part of. Mr. Stromme served Albany Area Schools for 30 years, holding many different positions. As an English and Language Arts teacher, he taught and inspired young minds for 23 years. He was regarded as one of the most passionate and influential teachers to those who sat in his classroom. In 2012, Stromme served as the Curriculum and Staff Development Coordinator, ensuring that each student who walks through the doors receives the best materials and curriculum Albany has to offer. Finally, in 2016, Mr. Stromme accepted the role as Communications Specialist and Work Based Learning Coordinator, holding the responsibility of making sure students felt ready and prepared for their next steps into adulthood after graduation. Mr. Stromme helped secure funding for the expansion of the high school and has become a partner of Learning Minnesota. Learning Minnesota works to modernize professional development of educators. Thank you for your hard work and keeping the minds of students in your heart all these years. Welcome to the Academic Wall of Honor, Steve Stromme.
Credit: Kylie Pontes, AHS 2021
Matthew D. Budde, PhD
Following graduation from Albany High School, Matthew Budde attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree in 2001. Seven years later, Budde was awarded his PhD in Neuroscience from the Washington University of St. Louis, Missouri. For the next three years, Budde would continue his training in a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Radiology and Imaging Sciences in the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health located in Bethesda, Maryland. Here, Mr. Budde conducted research and clinical studies under supervision to gain knowledge and experience which awarded him the Fellowship Award for Research Excellence in 2011. Matthew Budde, PhD, has dedicated his life to researching injuries to the brain and spinal cord, experimenting with new treatments and breakthrough advancements in medicine, and writing over 45 publications on his discoveries. Mr. Budde currently holds the position of Associate Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. His dedication and passion to the science of the human mind is an inspiration to many, and we are very grateful to honor him here at Albany on the Academic Wall of Honor. Here, students of all ages will see Mr. Budde and remember that anything is possible.
Credit: Kylie Pontes, AHS 2021
A 1982 graduate of Albany Area High School, Joel Gretsch enrolled at St. Cloud State University. Mr. Gretsch entered a modeling contest in Minneapolis and won. He spent time modeling for Dayton’s, Herberger’s, Target and other notable businesses, which helped him land numerous television commercials. In 1986 Joel moved to California to attend acting classes and continue modeling. He has had roles in Married with Children, Saved by the Bell, Melrose Place, Friends, JAG, Pacific Blue, Bold and the Beautiful and CSI: New York. Mr. Gretsch’s big break came when he landed the role of Bobby Jones in the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance in 1999.
Naomi (Schwegler) Lane, DDS
A 2000 graduate of Albany Area High School, Naomi (Schwegler) Lane attended St. Olaf College, graduating magna cum laude in 2004 with B.S. degree in Hispanic Studies. In 2009 she earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, graduating with high honors. Dr. Lane is Board Certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and received the James R. Roche Award of Excellence for achieving the highest score on the qualifying exam during the Board Certification process. Dr. Lane currently practices as a pediatric dentist for Southmoor Pediatric Dentistry in Denver, Colorado. She also devotes three to four days per month as a pediatric dentist for Central Minnesota Pediatric
Dentists in St. Cloud, MN.
Roman P. Wengler
A 1945 graduate of Albany Area High School, Roman Wengler enrolled at St. John’s University before transferring to the University of Minnesota where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 1952. In 1952 he earned a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering and in 1954 a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Mr. Wengler had a thirty-eight year career for Harza Engineering Company and specialized in the design of concrete dams. His structural engineering expertise was also applied to bridges, electrical transmission lines and the rehabilitation of navigational blocks on the Mississippi River and Panama Canal.
Loretta (McBride) Fridland graduated from the Janesville, MN high school in 1916 and later graduated from the College of Saint Teresa in Winona, MN. She taught mathematics in Hurley, WI and Melrose, MN before the birth of her only child, Mary. She came out of retirement in 1943 when many of the male teachers were off fighting WWII. Loretta was appointed principal and math teacher at the Albany High School. In 1948 she continued as a math teacher until her retirement in 1963. Her philosophy in teaching math was to develop thinking first, then work for accuracy. Noting Loretta Fridland’s impact on his life, one former student shared this comment: “Mrs. Fridland was the reason I pursued a Math degree in college. She created an environment that would cause you to grow and would challenge your ability. She was concerned about her students and available for assistance even after I graduated from high school. She was truly a dedicated teacher!”
Rollie Gilk began his service to the Albany Area School District in 1960 when he was hired as a custodian to work in the Albany High School. In 1962, Rollie was asked to also serve as a bus driver, a job he still enjoys today. He retired as a custodian in 1997. Commenting on his role as a custodian, Rollie notes “I felt it was very important to keep the school clean and neat for the education of our students, for our teachers and administrators. A clean workplace makes for a better, more positive environment all the way around.” As a school bus driver, Rollie is known for greeting all of his students by name as they board his bus and for giving them a warm, positive comment as they depart. Students appreciate his fairness, his firmness, but most of all his kindness. For Rollie, the Golden Rule always applies: Treat others as you would like to be treated. To this school district employee, “Purple Pride” is more than a catchy slogan. It’s what Rollie Gilk feels every day when he heads off to work.
Charles Stephen Hartung Upon graduating from Albany Area High School in 1984 Chuck enlisted in the Navy. After attending boot camp and Machinist Mate school he completed nuclear power training and served aboard the USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). While serving as an instructor at the Naval Nuclear Power School in Orlando he was selected by the Navy to attend Nursing School. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida in 1995 with his Bachelors in Nursing. Following tours in Jacksonville, FL and the island of Guam he earned his Master's from Marymount University in Arlington, VA. Upon graduation he remained in the Washington, DC area completing tours at the National Naval Medical Center and the White House Medical Unit, where he served as Chief Nurse. He is currently serving at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.
Dr. Neil A. Hukriede A 1987 graduate of Albany Area High School, Neil Hukriede attended Minnesota State University-Moorhead, graduating cum laude in 1991 with a B.A. degree in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. In 1997 he earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Genetics and Developmental Biology from the University of Rochester, New York. Dr. Hukriede went on to a post-doctoral research position at the National Institutes of Health, where he completed a National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council Associateship. In 2002, he joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he currently serves as an Associate Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Developmental Biology. Dr. Hukriede is the recipient of over a dozen research awards to date, including the Basil O’Connor Award from the March of Dimes and the Carl W. Gottschalk Research Scholar Award from the American Society of Nephrology.
Don Schiffler A 1963 graduate of Albany High School, Don went on to earn a B.S. degree in Economics and Business Management from St. Cloud State University. Upon graduating from SCSU, he started his business career in the Steam and Gas Turbine manufacturing field. In 1978 he became a business owner of St. Cloud Industrial Products, Inc. Don was instrumental in his company developing one of the earlier Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) companies in the U.S., a company which is now 80% employee owned. For Don, education--which for him began here in Albany--has been and continues to be a lifelong journey. During Don’s businesscareer, he started, developed, or acquired over 20 companies, two of which are located in Albany. He continues to be active in mentoring small businesses as chairman of Central Minnesota SCORE (Senior Corp Of Retired Executives). As stated in a recent article of Business Central Magazine, Don is best known as an eternal optimist. His strength in nurturing and educating others to become the best they can be has encouraged fellow staff and family members to venture into the business world.
Eileen Garding, who will be honored posthumously, was a deeply loved and respected teacher who served the Albany Area School District for twenty-six years, beginning in 1954 and ending with her retirement in 1980. During that time she taught English, health, and physical education; she also directed school plays and for a brief period of time managed the school library. Featured in the 1970 edition of Outstanding Educators of America, Garding was also recognized in 1976 as an Outstanding Leader in Elementary and Secondary Education. Eileen Garding believed passionately in the importance of working one-on-one with students to help them reach their full potential; a demanding teacher, she insisted that students could meet the high standards their teachers set for them. Her desire to teach did not end upon her retirement. At age 94 her love for literature was still evident as she read the works of the great authors to fellow residents at Assumption Nursing Home in Cold Spring. Eileen Garding left an indelible mark on the life of her students. As one former superintendent put it after observing her class, “I wish I had 100 Eileen Gardings.”
LeRoy Thelen served on the Albany Area School Board for over thirty years, during which time he held all of the officer positions, served as an effective leader on the board committees, and was a great mentor for new members. He was committed to strengthening academics by increasing rigor in both course content and delivery and worked tirelessly to make our school district a safe, encouraging environment for all students. Throughout his tenure, Thelen’s primary concern was the education of Albany Area School students. Honored by the Minnesota School Board Association for his dedicated service to education, Thelen took pride in that whenever faced with a difficult decision, his consideration was always, “What is best for the students?”
Sarah (Paulsen) Borgerding A 1998 graduate of Albany Area High School, Sarah Borgerding continued her education at Minnesota State University-Moorhead where she earned a B.A. degree in Economics and a B.S. degree in Business Administration, graduating magna cum laude in 2003. Accepted into the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, she received her Master’s in Healthcare Administration degree in 2005. She is currently employed in Strategic Planning and Business Development at Yale New Haven Health System, the flagship of which is Yale New Haven Hospital, cited by U. S. News and World Reports as one of America’s Best Hospitals. Active in her Connecticut community, Borgerding is a founding member of the Shelton Connecticut Friends of the Library and the Young Leaders Society of the United Way of Greater New Haven.
Mark E. Felling A 1995 graduate of Albany Area High School, Mark Felling attended North Dakota State University and in 1999 earned a custom degree with a focus on Electrical Engineering, Business and International Studies. Pursuing his collegiate studies in both Mexico and Russia, Felling later earned a Master’s of Business of Administration degree from Regis University in Denver, Colorado, in 2006, graduating with honors. Seriously injured in a 2003 plane crash, Felling chose to turn a traumatic personal setback into an opportunity to serve others, founding Broadened Horizons, Inc., a company which designs, manufactures and markets unique adaptive technologies providing independence to disabled individuals with upper extremity Technology Advisory Council.
Dr. Laura (Eikmeier) Janke A 1992 graduate of Albany Area High School, Janke attended Concordia College-Moorhead, graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. degree in biology and psychology. In 2004 she earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Minnesota with a major in Molecular Veterinary Biosciences. Continuing with her studies, Janke went on to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine, in 2006, and later was a resident in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in St. Paul, Minnesota. The recipient of the C. L. Davis Foundation for the Advancement of Veterinary Pathology Student Scholarship Award, Dr. Janke currently serves as an Assistant Member of the St. Jude Faculty as a Veterinary Anatomic Pathologist at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Dr. Jeffrey A. Vos Graduating in 1989 from Albany Area High School, Vos went on to earn a B.A. degree in chemistry from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, then earned a medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1997. From 1998-2002 Vos was a resident in Anatomic Pathology/ Clinical Pathology at the Madigan Army Medical Center in Ft. Lewis, Washington, where in 2002 he received the General Floyd L. Wergeland Award for most outstanding graduating resident from a four-year program. From 2004-2008 Vos served as a staff pathologist (Major, U.S. Army) at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. He currently serves as Associate Professor, West Virginia School of Medicine, West Virginia University