Distinguished Alumni Awards
The purpose of the Distinguished Alumni Awards is to honor alumni who have enhanced the reputation of the University through their actions, hard work and achievement.
Do you know an extraordinary alumna or alumnus? Nominate a candidate for a Distinguished Alumni Award! All nominees will remain eligible within the specified award category for a total of three years.
NOMINATION DEADLINE IS APRIL 30, 2021.
2021 Achievement Award
Deb Schoneman '90
Deb Schoneman is president of Minneapolis-based investment banking firm Piper Sandler, which she joined in 1990. From her initial role in the firm’s accounting department, Schoneman went on to hold several senior management positions, including global head of equities, chief financial officer, finance director and treasurer. Schoneman serves on the board of directors of the Securities Industry and Financial Management Association (SIFMA) and the board of trustees for the University of St. Thomas. She received Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal’s “CFO of the Year” award in 2014.
2021 Outstanding Young Alumni Award
Michael Jordan '16
Jordan is founder and CEO of UNRL, an athletic apparel brand based in St. Paul with its roots in Jordan’s days as a Minnesota State Mankato student.
UNRL began in Mankato with $400. In 2017, UNRL cleared $2 million in sales and touted clients that included NHL teams Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues. UNRL sponsors the wildly popular Red Bull Crashed Ice competition and is a major presence in events such as Hockey Day in Minnesota and the Super Bowl Live festivities in downtown Minneapolis. Today, the company employs 19 (including many University alumni) and is on track to reach eight figures in sales according to professional services firm Ernst & Young, which nominated Jordan for an Entrepreneur of the Year award in July.
2021 Harold J. Fitterer Service Award
Dale Wolpers '75, '83
A career educator who has also coached and directed theater, Wolpers’ passion and dedication has been recognized in teacher of the year awards as well as three National School of Excellence awards. He spent 20 years with the Hastings schools before taking on leadership roles in the South Washington County Schools, in the process earning an “Educator of the Year” award in 2009. Upon retirement, he worked with the Minnesota Twins in developing the Target Field “Learning Through Baseball” program in which students come to the stadium and, through baseball, learn principles of math, science, language and social studies among other subjects.
Wolpers received his bachelor’s degree in education from Minnesota State Mankato in 1975. Throughout college he was active in Phi Delta Theta fraternity.