Previous spotlight: Class of 1957

Class of 1957 rocks on

Members of the Class of '57 appeared with the Tradition Stone
Members of the Class of '57 appeared with the Tradition Stone at the 2007 alumni reunion luncheon. From left to right are Nick Hackenberger, Ann Tremarello and Delores Nerland. At the podium is master of ceremonies Scott McCrea, '94.

Three members of the class of 1957, joined by one inanimate representative, were honored at the annual alumni reunion in September. Ann (Maxwell) Tremarello of Fairbanks, B.L. "Nick" Hackenberger of Oregon and Delores (Kolshus) Nerland of Arizona were treated to a surprise visit from the Tradition Stone.

"It was really special to be part of the same celebration honoring Bill Stroecker and the other award winners," said Ann Tremarello. Tremarello was part of the Tradition Stone funeral in 1957; she likes to tell people that she is in the famous 1957 Tradition Stone photo, just out of the picture to the left.

The reunion included tours of several campus hot spots and was highlighted by the annual awards luncheon. Lifelong Fairbanksan and local philanthropist Bill Stroecker was presented with the 2007 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Born in Fairbanks in 1920, Stroecker graduated from the New Mexico Military Institute in 1940 and earned a business degree from UAF in 1942. He served in the military during World War II and for the past 60 years has held numerous positions at Key Bank and its predecessor, First National Bank. Though retired, Stroecker still serves as an advisor and keeps an office at the bank.

"[Stroecker] is an exceptional human being. He gives of himself freely and is a wonderful role model," said Jo Heckman, '79, '85, who nominated Stroecker for the award.

Along with a half-century of professional accomplishments, Stroecker is well known for his volunteer and philanthropic efforts in the Fairbanks community and beyond. He has served on the board of directors for the Alaska Goldpanners for more than four decades, and is a longtime board member of the Greater Fairbanks Community Hospital Foundation and the Friends of the UA Museum. He serves as co-trustee for the Marion Stroecker Weeks Foundation, and has received numerous community awards in recent years.

"When I first heard about this, I thought, ‘but I haven't done anything!'" Stroecker said. He regaled the crowd with anecdotes about his time at the university and said how thankful he is to have lived all these years in Fairbanks. When he graduated from UAF in 1942, the population of Fairbanks equaled the current population of the university, " … but there is still no class distinction here, and that's the way it should be."

The Distinguished Alumnus Award was first given in 1962 and recognizes service to UAF, business or professional accomplishment, and distinguished human service.

The 2007 Alumni Achievement Awards for Business and Professional Excellence went to Kelly Drew, '81, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UAF; and Thaddeus Dumas, '67, '72, a longtime K-12 educator and assistant dean for diversity at the University of Louisville.

The Alumni Achievement Award for University Support was awarded to Sue McHenry, '70, '76. McHenry is an advisor with UAF's Rural Student Services. Recently retired Alaska Chamber Chorale director and UAF instructor Marvilla Davis, '87, received the Alumni Achievement Award for Community Support.

Nevada Bovee, '96, vice president of marketing at Spirit of Alaska Federal Credit Union, was presented with the William R. Cashen Service Award, recognizing outstanding service to the alumni association.

The association also made its first presentation of a new award, the Lenhart J.H. Grothe Resources Award. The award -- which posthumously honors an alumnus who made significant contributions to the fields of resource, mining or agriculture -- was given to tin miner Lenhart Grothe, '59. Grothe's son and grandson traveled from Soldotna, Alaska, to accept the award on his behalf.

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