’18 Summer Bridge Class Notes

Special achievements and memories shared by alumni in the 2018 summer edition of The Bridge included:


Donald ’58 and Mary ’57 (Chismore) Wendland, Brandon, Mississippi, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with a cruise on the Danube River in 2017.


Ron Maxson ’67, West Liberty, Iowa, was inducted to the Iowa Association of Track Officials Hall of Fame after over 40 years of coaching various sports and over 15 years as a track and field official.

Joseph 67 and Judi (McElhinney) Peluso, Land O’ Lakes, Florida, showed off their Bridge copy during Christmas vacation
at King & Prince Beach and Golf Resort at St. Simons Island, Georgia. These historic buildings were placed on the
U. S. Department of the Interior National Register of Historic Places in 1935.


John “Jack” Schroeder ’70, Kingsley, Iowa, hangs up his whistle after 40 years of officiating for high school athletics. During his career he has refereed over 2,700 basketball and 450 football games.

Thomas McDermott ’71, Traer, Iowa, was inducted into the Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame. The Iowa High School Athletic Association honored all inductees at the Iowa Football Championships held at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa, on November 16-17, 2017.

Steve Harms ’73, West Des Moines, Iowa, received the Crop Insurance Industry Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2018 Crop Insurance Industry Annual Convention after nearly 40 years in the crop insurance industry.

The former Foxes fraternity, including Janie Knipper, Iowa City, Iowa; Debby (Gent) Scholle ’74, Port Charlotte, Florida; Kate Clark, Janet Schultz, Ronda Parsons, Tony Schultz ’71, Kohler, Wisconsin; Jim Parsons ’73, Destin, Florida; Rick Knipper, ’73, Iowa City, Iowa; Keith Scholle ’74, Port Charlotte, Florida; and Jim ’Fuzzy’ Clark ’73, North Liberty, Iowa; took their annual snowmobiling trip to St. Germain, Wisconsin, in February 2018.

In October 2017, Sigma Nu Sigma hosted a reunion in Florida. The group included Cheryl (Berendt) Christensen ’75, Linda (Leach) Marszalek, Carolyn (Carrie Citranglo) England ’74, Debra (Gent) Scholle ’74, Miriam (Minnie Mackintosh) Beam ’75, Pam Wolfe-Graber and Wendy Walker ’73.


Kent Schultz ’80, Waseca, Minnesota, earned the Don Eustice Community Service Award upon retirement.

Gregory Atkins ’85, Memphis, Tennessee, accepted the University Bursar/Director of Revenue Projections with the University of Memphis. 2018 is Atkins’ 30th year of service in Higher Education.

Richard Hansen ’85, St. Paul, Minnesota, received the Willard Munger Award for Distinguished Environmental Partnership from the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. Hansen has dedicated several years of work to environmental issues.

Julie (Scott) Soat ’87, Galena, Illinois, loves to travel with her copy of The Bridge. Soat made the 411-trek across Iowa on RAGBRAI, where she met up with Team Peacock. She was also pictured in Matlacha, Florida, during a February vacation.

Kevin Christensen ’89, Irwin, Iowa, joined NutriQuest Business Solutions as the consulting CFO, serving the midwest region.


Tom Conley ’92, ’97, Urbandale, Iowa, was appointed to the Anti-Terrorism Accreditation Board’s Strategic Counter Terrorism Council. This council is comprised of the brightest security minds in the profession; only a few dedicated individuals have the opportunity to serve.

Sandra McGee ’94, Ankeny, Iowa, was selected to receive the 2017 Director’s Community Service Award for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She was honored for her work to build relationships between the police and the African American community in Des Moines.

Wacinque Amistad Kaizen BeMende ’96, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, founded the business KaizenRhino Solutions International Consultancy that focuses on poverty alleviation and prevention.

Pierre Naude ’96, Wilmington, North Carolina, lead the organization nCino in raising $51.4 million in equity offerings for future growth and innovation. Naude is the chief executive officer for nCino.

John Cover Jr. ’98, Rockford, Illinois, was presented with the Jim Carr Lifetime Achievement Award from Habitat for Humanity of Illinois at its annual conference in Champaign, Illinois.

Mohammed Baloch ’98, West Bend, Wisconsin, has taken the title of Vice Chancellor at the University of Lahore
in Pakistan.

Chad Brecklin ’98, New Glarus, Wisconsin, was named Police chief of Fitchburg, Wisconsin, in January 2018. Brecklin has training in public safety, the FBI National Academy, and has served18 years in the Fitchburg department.


William “Ryan” Birt ’00, Monticello, Iowa, has developed what is known as the Birt Plate while working as the Millikin University wrestling coach. His recently patented invention is a single weight plate to utilize in workouts as a plate or dumbbell. It provides many universal uses and was inspired from Birt’s time playing football and wrestling at UIU.

Melanie (Schaller) Wishart ’00, Barneveld, Wisconsin, was hired as the accounting assistant for JSP Professional Services in the Madison office.

Lonnie Moore ’01, Waterloo, Iowa, was selected as a 2018 Champion of Character by the Cedar Valley Character Counts Committee.

Ryan Jensen ’03, Urbandale, Iowa, has been promoted to Senior Vice President with CBRE | Hubbell Commercial. In addition to his career successes, Jensen has also earned Des Moines Business Record’s Forty under 40 and Iowa Commercial Real Estate Association’s Rising Star award.

Sarah (Everett) Grady ’04, Johnston, Iowa, will serve as principal of McKinley Elementary School in the fall of 2018. Previously, Grady was the dean of students at Stowe Elementary School.

Arsenio ’04 and Nicole Tovar, Livermore, California, welcomed Harper Quinn to their family on March 24, 2018. Harper joins big sister, Eloise.

Natalie Brown ’05, Cedar Falls, Iowa, launched the new business venture “(Just)Dough!,” selling edible cookie dough by the cone, cup, cannoli or shake. Brown started Scratch Cupcakery a few years ago and has developed a well-known brand in central Iowa. Scratch Cupcakery was named 2018 Woman-Owned Business of the Year.

Thomas Hampton ’05, Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin, was installed into the Campion Council of Knights of Columbus 1840 as a first degree member.

Tammy (Rosenbalm) Jelinek ’05, ’08, Edgerton, Wisconsin, was promoted to partner at WIPFLi LLP, a U.S. top 20 CPA and consulting firm.

Stacy (Charleston) Johnson ’05, Manson, Iowa, has been named the chief financial officer for WCF Financial Bank in Webster City, Iowa.

Lindsey (Goldsmith) Smedley ’05, Raymond, Iowa, was promoted to manager of commercial operations at Veridian Credit Union. She has been an employee of Veridian for 16 years.

Kelli Loers ’06, Cedar Falls, Iowa, was hired as the document workflow administrator of Veridian Credit Union. She has been with the company for 20 years and was previously the team lead in the member contact center.

Tyler Warner ’06, Holton, Kansas, recently received his Wildlife Biologist Certification and was named Wildlife Division Biologist of the Year for 2018 in Kansas.

Vikki (Winter) Distler ’07, Denver, Iowa, was promoted to manager of ACH and share draft operations at Veridian Credit Union, where she has been employed for 27 years.

Austin Dopp ’07, Atkins, Iowa, has been appointed to the role of Business Unit Fanatic for the EcoFoil business unit at Clickstop, Inc.

Richard Higgins ’07, Ames, Iowa, was appointed the acting fire chief for the Ames, Iowa, Fire Department until a permanent chief has been made. Chief Higgins has been on the department since 2002, and was promoted to deputy fire chief in 2012.

Samuel Moultrie ’08, Wilmington, Delaware, was hired as a litigation associate for Greenberg Traurig in their Delaware office.


Kristen (Stroemer) Barker ’10, Elkhorn, Wisconsin, recently received her doctorate in postsecondary and adult education from Capella University. Barker is currently an adjunct instructor for UIU.

Brian Bartz ’94, ’10, Marion, Iowa, accepted a position with the Marion Independent School District after two years as the Marshalltown Schools administrator. As director of business operations, Bartz serves as the Marion district’s chief financial officer.

Travis Eggers ’10, Denver, Iowa, was inducted into the NCAA DII Jim Koch Wrestling Hall of Fame in March 2018 as a part of the National Wrestling Championship Weekend in Cedar Rapids, hosted by UIU.

Mitchell ’10 and Jill (Preeshl) ’11 Norton, Waverly, Iowa, welcomed their first child, Mabel Jae, in March 2018.

Ananda Mirilli ’10, Madison, Wisconsin, was hired as an education equity consultant for the Department of Public Instruction in Wisconsin.

Sandra Kundert ’11, Walcott, North Dakota, began as the chief financial officer for Anderson Franchise Investments, Inc.

Brad Larson ’11, Lonsdale, Minnesota, began as the city administrator for Savage, Minn., after five years as assistant city administrator.

Matt ’11 and Kari Taylor, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, welcomed twins, Jack and Annie, 14 weeks early on December 4, 2017. The newborns came home at the beginning of March 2018. The babies’ grandparents are Teresa Ann ’09 and Eddie Taylor of Central City, Iowa.

Winston ’12 and Megan (Snyder) ’12 Robbins, West Union, Iowa, welcomed their daughter, Estella Darlene on October 1, 2017. She weighed 6 lbs. 13 oz and was 19 inches long.

Sheray (Lane) Wallace ’12, Madison, Wisconsin, is the recipient of the annual Jeffrey Clay Erlanger Civility in Public Discourse Award. Wallace has been an advocate for her family, friends and making her neighborhood a better place.

Tony and Lyndsay (Westgaard) ’13 Ampe, Belgrade, Minnesota, welcomed Stryker Maxine Ampe into the world on December 28, 2017. Their baby girl weighed 5 lbs. 6 oz. and was 18.25 inches long.

John Bamba ’13, Lawton, Oklahoma, was named command sergeant major of the 1-79th Field Artillery Battalion In March 2018.

Tyler Adams ’14, La Crosse, Wisconsin, joined Klos Davies Group as an associate financial advisor.

Patricia Hanson ’14, Bend, Oregon, started as the office manager of Stemach Design and Architecture.

Nicholas Linde ’14, Madison Lake, Minnesota, after five years at Minnesota State University, has accepted the opportunity to lead central development at the University of Nebraska Foundation.

Aaron Wilson ’14, Leander, Texas, accepted a position for math inclusion at Tom Glenn High School in the Leander Independent School District

Jacob Barron ’15, Baltimore, Maryland, recently accepted a new position as digital retail director for Antwerpen Auto Group in Clarksville, Maryland.

Daniel Meister ’15, Columbus, Wisconsin, was named chief of the Fox Valley Metro Police Department. Meister has previously served as the Columbus police chief and on the Columbus Community Hospital Board of Directors.

Steven ’15 and Lauren (Sharp) ’17 Keppler, Waterloo, Iowa, were married on Saturday, April 28, 2018, in Kansas City, Missouri. Steven works as a lead tax associate at RSM and Lauren is a special needs strategist at Lou Henry Elementary .

UIU alumni and friends helped Joe ’16 and Tara ’15 McCaffery celebrated their wedding on May 26, 2018. Among those attending were Casey Musgrave ’16, Riley Kruel ’17, Tara Walls ’17, Samantha “Sammy” Garrett ’17, Zeke Flick ’10, Dalton Lape, John Alanis ’16, Vincent “Vinny” Otdoerfer ’17, Joseph “Joe” McCaffery, Tara (Duran) McCaffery, Brooklyn Koranda ’15, Whitney Williams ’15, Jennifer “Jenny” Budds, Adrienna “Missy” Olson ’14, Madison “Madie” (Wilkin) Lechtenberg ’16, Tyler Walls, Matt Paulus ’16, Jordan Roths ’17, Dustin Hoefs ’17, Brian Steffensmeier ’17, John “Nate” Roemer ’17, Zachary Ries ’16, Cole Stephen ’16, Zach Gardner ’15, Keith Schwickerath ’17, Jalen Chambers ’17, Erica Kirgan ’16, Mara Jones ’16, Bradley Sweeney ’16, Jacqueline Flood ’16, Brooke Redmond ’16, Lauren Marlinghaus ’16, Jenna Hermsen ’15, Samantha “Sami” Kay Shafranski, Isaac (Ike) Elliot, Shannon Nix ’18, Katie Mnichowicz ’15, Victor Coronado ’14, Kayla (Bergman) Coronado ’14, Chandler Coronado.

Chyan Johanningmeier ’16, Waukon, Iowa, started as the mental health practitioner and coordinator at Caledonia Elementary School in Caledonia, Minn.

Danny John ’16, Iowa City, Iowa, is currently working at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He volunteers as a Boy Scout leader and helps with Special Olympics.

Joy (Sallis) Briscoe ’17, Waterloo, Iowa, was named one of The Courier’s Class of 2017 20 Under 40. This award is selected by a committee from nearly 80 individuals living in the Cedar Valley.

Heather Caya ’17, Waterloo, Iowa, is working as the team lead in the member contact center of Veridian Credit Union after seven years with the company.

Megan Fischer ’17, Ramsey, Minnesota, began teaching at Andrew Community Schools in Andrew, Iowa, in January 2018. She was hired as the middle school language arts teacher.

Logan Hopp ’17, New Hampton, Iowa, joined the Decorah, Iowa, Police Department as a police officer. He is continuing his education at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy beginning spring 2018.

Michael Lowe ’17, Des Moines, Iowa, was hired to reach English language learners, U.S. history and world history at East High School in Des Moines, Iowa.

Eric Stahr ’17, Decorah, Iowa, was named the new administrator of Riceville Family Care and Therapy Center.

Hannah Starr ’17, West Des Moines, Iowa, will be teaching 1st grade at Grant Ragan Elementary School in Waukee, Iowa, beginning fall 2018.

Leigh (Theisen) Stamer ’17, Urbandale, Iowa, accepted her first teaching position as the reading support teacher at North High School with Des Moines Public Schools.

Ashley Beringer ’18, Worthington, Iowa, accepted a position teaching geometry at Lebanon High School in Lebanon, Tenn.

Tamara (Peklic) Brase ’18, West Des Moines, Iowa, applied for and accepted the high school art teacher position at Valley High School of West Des Moines, Iowa.

Samantha Farrell ’18, Camanche, Iowa, was hired at Jefferson Elementary School in Clinton, Iowa, and will be teaching kindergarten.

Cloey Goedken ’18, Wadena, Iowa, was hired to teach science for grades 8-12 at Winfield-Mt. Union High School.

Alyson Kokjohn ’18, Wilton, Iowa, accepted a position with South Tama Middle School as a 6th grade social studies teacher.

Gunner Mohs ’18, Fredericksburg, Iowa, signed a contract with Sigourney to teach 9th grade physical science, biology, and environmental science in the fall of 2018.

Elizebeth “Libby” Payton ’18, Newton, Iowa, has been hired to teach second grade at Timber Ridge Elementary in Johnson, Iowa. She will begin in August 2018.

Ashley Rosenstiel ’18, Oelwein, Iowa, was hired at South Hamilton Middle School as a teacher of math.

Zachary Royston ’18, Le Roy, Minnesota, will begin teaching industrial technology in the Sumner-Fredericksburg School District in the fall of 2018.

Brooke (Behrens) Tripp ’18, Oelwein, Iowa, accepted a position with Oelwein Middle School as a special educator for students served at Level 2/3.

Melissa Trumbo ’18, Davenport, Iowa, accepted the life skills special education teacher position at Wood Intermediate
in Davenport, Iowa.

The electronic version of The Bridge 2018 and previous issues can be found here.

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