9 winners of the Viterbo Distinguished Alumni Awards | The mail


The University of Viterbo will honor nine graduates at its annual Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony on Friday, October 8, as part of the annual Viterbo Days Alumni Weekend.

Aaron Rasch will be honored with the Spirit of Francis Award. Graduating in 2015 from Viterbo’s Master of Arts in Servant Leadership program, Rasch focused on improving the lives of the less fortunate, with a focus on helping people with mental illness, chemical addiction and of homelessness.

He is the coordinator of the Place de Grâce house and president of the La Crosse Mental Health Coalition. He helped create the La Crosse Lighthouse, a refuge for people struggling with addiction and mental health issues, and was part of the La Crosse Coalition to End Homelessness.

Arbender robinson will be honored with the Service to the University award. A veteran Broadway performer who has appeared on Tony Award-winning shows including “Hairspray,” “Hair,” “Disney’s The Lion King,” and “The Book of Mormon,” Robinson has shared his time freely and frequently in Viterbo since his birth. ‘he earned his BA in Theater Arts in 1998.

A board member of Viterbo, Robinson has been a passionate recruiter for the university, acting as a visiting professor and organizing master classes. He also helped students by participating in Speed ​​Mock interviews and offering expert advice at every opportunity.

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Viterbo’s tradition of Alumni Awards, which dates back to 1967, took on a new twist in 2021, with each of the university’s five colleges honoring alumni with the Professional Development Award. In addition, two alumni were chosen to receive the Rising Professional Award.

The following are honored this year with a Professional Development Award from the Five Colleges:

Joshua Clark ’08, College of Business, Leadership and Ethics: Since obtaining his Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing, Clark has distinguished himself as the National Sales Director of a large manufacturing company. He and his wife, Jennifer, also have stakes in 12 Culver’s restaurants in four states, a number that will rise to 15 by the end of the year. A company he started 10 years ago, Clark Business Solutions, provides services to fellow Culver franchise owners, including human resources, accounting and consulting.

Debra murray ’90, College of Engineering, Letters, and Sciences: A full-time faculty member at Viterbo since 1995, Murray received her BA in Psychology (with a minor in Sociology) as a single mother who had undergone treatment for cancer and chemical dependence. . She has continued to lead the way in the field of counseling and counselor training, playing a leading role in establishing Viterbo as a leading institution for counselor training. She is now director of Viterbo’s graduate counselor training programs, which includes Wisconsin’s first educational doctorate in counselor training and supervision.

Joel Theisen ’90, College of Nursing and Health: Since graduating as a nurse, Theisen has been determined to improve the care experiences for the elderly and their families by providing holistic and life-centered services. person through the coordinated efforts of all care partners. He is the Founder and CEO of Lifesprk, a Twin Cities-based company that provides acute and long-term care services that address all areas of senior well-being to give them the quality of life that sets a premium. “Sparkle in their eyes.”

Lindsey Giese ’07, Conservatory of Performing Arts: double major in arts administration and musical theater, Giese toured the world for five years as a cruise ship singer, performed on regional stages and in as a performer in “Sweet Dreams and Honky Tonks”. “Since 2013, she has also been the Executive Director of River Arts Inc., a multi-faceted arts, theater and outreach organization based in Prairie du Sac serving Sauk County, and she devotes many hours to civic improvement work. in his hometown.

Ryan rieber ’01, ’06, School of Education: Rieber was the first in his family to graduate from college when he obtained his Bachelor of Education (with minor in Mathematics), and after starting a career as a teacher, he returned to Viterbo for a master’s degree. He has since been principal for eight years at two schools and, since 2020, superintendent of the West Salem School District. He also sits on the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Grand La Crosse.

The people honored with the Rising Professional Award are:

Emilie Schmidt ’13, College of Nursing and Health: Since graduating with a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from Viterbo (and a minor in Psychology), Emily Schmidt has worked for Mayo Clinic Health System, for the past 2.5 years in as the head dietitian for the Mayo clinics in Austin, Owatonna and Albert Lea, Minn., where she lives. A mother of two, Schmidt graduated with a Masters in Nutrition from Central Michigan University in 2019, while balancing work, family life and teaching in Viterbo as an assistant instructor.

Avery boettcher ’15, Conservatory for the Performing Arts: After earning her music degree in Viterbo and an MA from Indiana University, Boettcher made a remarkable debut in the world of opera, a versatile and captivating performer whose soprano voice has been described as “brilliant and opulent.” She has been a soloist at the Aspen Music Festival and has performed with opera companies in Michigan, New Hampshire and Missouri. His talents have been recognized in numerous national and international competitions.

More details on the winners and the ceremony are available at www.viterbo.edu/alumniawards.

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