WSU Medallion Society

The Winona State University Foundation established the Medallion Society in 2012 – a new tribute to honor individuals whose philanthropy makes the university’s mission possible. The President’s Medallion itself carries the spirit of philanthropy. The medallion was a gift from WSU students in 1968 in honor of President DuFresne’s inauguration. The gems in the medallion were donated by members of the Winona community. It was said that the medallion represented the people’s faith in education, a responsibility for the university’s mission and guardianship on behalf of the State of Minnesota and future generations. The Medallion Society is prominently displayed outside the entrance of Somsen Auditorium and recognizes giving levels by aligning each with a gem represented in the actual medallion.

$25,000 Gold
Original gem donated by the 1967-68 students of Winona State College

$50, 000 Aquamarine
Original gem donated by Mrs. James Browning

$100,000 Topaz
Original gem donated by Mrs. Ward Lucas

$500,000 Garnet
Original gem donated by Allyn S. Morgan, Jr.

$1,000,000 Opal
Original gem donated by Miss Floretta M. Murray

$5,000,000 Alexandrite
Original gem donated by Dr. John J. Fuller

$10,000,000 Diamond
Original gem donated by Mrs. R. H. Watkins

The very foundation of Winona State University was built on philanthropy in the mid-1850s under the campaign leadership of Dr. John Ford, an advocate for public education. Dr. Ford swiftly raised more than $7,000 in cash and land. The gifts obtained were at all levels, much like the new Medallion Society which will showcase this tradition and honor the leaders who continue to make Winona State University's mission possible. 




2014 Inductees 

Merchants Bank
Merchants Bank was founded in Winona in 1875 when the community was in its prime growth stage. The Bank and Winona State University have been long-time partners in contributing to the vibrancy of Winona and the Region both institutions serve. Merchants Bank has provided generous gifts to WSU in the form of scholarships, corporate support of academic programs and athletics, and a leadership commitment to the Light the Way Campaign, more specifically the Integrated Wellness Center. Greg Evans, Merchants Bank President, says the Bank supports Winona State because of the investment it represents for the strength of this Region. "We value Winona State as one of the cornerstones of the strength of our community. Our investment in Winona State is an investment in our potential future employees and an investment in our Winona community."

William A. & Barbara Owens
William A. Owens, Jr. passed away Sept. 28, 2005 at the age of 91. Owens graduated from Winona State University with a B.A. in mathematics in 1935 and received advanced degrees from the University of Chicago and University of Minnesota. Owens had a long and distinguished academic career, beginning at Iowa State University in 1940 until his retirement from the University of Georgia in 1984. He was a well-known applied psychologist and received much recognition for his work, including two awards named in his honor at the University of Georgia: the highest award for scholarship in the social and behavioral sciences and the annual Scholarly Achievement Award given by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Owens helped develop the applied psychology program at the University of Georgia and was the first director of its Institute for Behavioral Research. The Institute continues to acknowledge his contributions with the Annual William A. Owens Lecture series. He was active with many national organizations as well, serving in leadership roles and receiving honors from such organizations as Kappa Delta Pi, Purple Key, Psi Chi, Sigma Xi, Midwestern Psychological Association, American Psychological Association and International Association of Applied Psychology. Owens and wife Barbara were married for 64 years. Owens was a mentor to many and was known for his smile. His hobbies included fishing and tennis.

Aspen Capital Company Inc.
Aspen Capital was founded in 2001 by leading experts in the leasing industry who had a vision of unsurpassed service, innovative leasing solutions and creative ways of giving back to communities. Due to the growing demands of its customer base, Aspen Capital has evolved its services to include Consignment Programs, Educational Laptop Programs and a customized asset tracking tool, Aspen Tracking System.

Susan Loeffler Anderson
Since graduating in 1967, Susan has worked in both Maryland and North Carolina. She continued her education at Towson State (Maryland) and Greensboro Technical Community College (North Carolina). Susan returned to Minnesota in 2005; met and married Jim Anderson. They reside near Henderson, Minnesota. She is an enthusiastic volunteer in Le Sueur and on a board at St. Anne's Catholic School and Minnesota Valley Health Center. When asked why she gives to WSU Susan said, "Receiving a scholarship was an honor; sponsoring a scholarship is a true joy!"

Karen A. Biel
Karen graduated from Winona State University with her BSN in 1968. She went on to become a Captain in the Army Nursing Corps, worked for 20 years at Saint Mary's Hospital, and retired in 2007 after a 16-year career at Mayo Clinic, where she developed leadership teams, especially in the perioperative nursing program, and planned and designed operating room suites. Her research focused on operational programs and working with medical teams on patient care from the nursing perspective. She is a member of the Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses. Her hobbies include tennis, softball and golf. Biel feels her "first class" WSU education helped her to establish herself professionally and to develop "quality patient programs and quality teams to care for patients." Biel and her partner, Elayne Achilles, share their time between their homes in Arizona and Rochester.

Etta H. Howell
Etta H. Howell, a friend of the university, generously left a portion of her estate to Winona State University to fund scholarship for education majors.

James Marley
James was born and raised in Winona and graduated from Winona Senior High School in 1977. He received his BS from the University of Minnesota in 1982 and his MBA from The Wharton School in 1988. Marley has been with Graycliff Partners, a private equity firm, since 1991 and is a founding partner and managing director. He was previously employed with Merrill Lynch, Shearson, Lehman Brothers, and John Nuveen & Co. Marley's parents, Dr. Warren and Dorothy Marley, were longtime members of the Winona State University community, and his father served as a professor at WSU. Marley and his partner, Isvari Mahadeva, have two daughters, Anitra and Tara, and live in New York City.

Judith A. Ramaley
Judith is President Emerita of Winona State University having served as President from 2005-2012. From 2001-2004, she was Assistant Director, Education and Human Resources Directorate (EHR) at The National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Ramaley was President of The University of Vermont (UVM) and Professor of Biology from 1997 to 2001 and President and Professor of Biology at Portland State University (PSU) in Portland, Oregon for seven years from 1990-1997. She has now returned to PSU where she holds the title of Distinguished Professor of Public Service and President Emerita. She first came to WSU because it was here that two very important themes in her career could finally come together: a place that cares deeply about educating its students for a rapidly changing world and a place that is willing to bring together scholarship and learning in ways that engage and enrich the broader community and make that kind of education possible. Judith says she gives back to WSU because "we are a community of learners and I shall feel connected to WSU no matter where I go or what I do. Think of me as an ambassador in a purple cowboy hat."

Robert A. & Barbara DuFresne
Robert earned his bachelor's degree in social sciences from St. Cloud State University in 1950. He continued his education by earning a master's degree in education administration from the University of Colorado - Bolder in 1954. From there, he furthered his education and earned his doctorate degree in administration and political science from the University of North Dakota in 1959. He taught in public schools and was an English professor at Minnesota State University - Mankato. He was the chair of the education division and Director of Teacher Education at Kearney State University. He served as president of WSU from 1967-1978. After his presidency, he taught political science at WSU and later developed and supervised a study abroad program in England. DuFresne is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and served during World War II. He has one son, one grandson and three great grandchildren. He enjoys playing golf in his free time.
Barbara received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in piano performance from the University of Maryland, where she studied with Stewart Gordon. She has been on the music faculties of the University of Maryland, St. Mary's of Minnesota, and Winona State University, teaching piano, class piano and piano ensemble. She has kept an active schedule as an accompanist and as a duo pianist and has performed at the International Workshops in Exeter, England, Glasgow, Scotland and Graz, Austria. Barbara and Robert are now retired and reside in Winona, MN.

William Doerer
William "Bill" was born Dec. 28, 1939 in Winona. Bill graduated from Winona Senior High School in 1957 and went on to earn a business degree from the University of Miami, FL and returned to Winona where he joined the family business. His roles in the family business included partner in Doerer's Fuel Oil and vice president of Doerer's Genuine Parts. Bill was former director of the Winona Housing Authority, past President of the Rotary Club of Winona where he was a 49 year member, past exalted ruler of Winona Elks Lodge where he was a 52 year member and past ambassador supreme and board member of the Winona Chamber of Commerce. He was a lifelong parishioner and former Vestry member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church of Winona. Bill passed away March 15, 2013.

John & Barbara Heddle
John graduated from Winona State University with a bachelor's degree in communication and received a master's degree in speech from Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. He taught at the vocational and high school levels, wrote for Big River magazine, and worked in sales for Big River Magazine, the Winona Daily News, Airwick and Shilling Paper. Heddle is a member of the Minnesota Miata Club, National Ski Patrol, the Winona DFL, and the Winona Human Rights Commission. His hobbies include downhill skiing, boating, and "traveling the roads less traveled." Barb enrolled in Winona State College as an elementary education major in the fall of 1966 and graduated in the spring of 1970. That fall Barb began her teaching career in Houston, Minn., where she taught for two years. Then, in Coos Bay, Ore., Barb taught special education at Charleston Elementary School and later at Willard School in Spokane, Wash., while John pursued his master's degree.
In 1978 they returned to Winona, where John worked as a sales representative and Barb earned her master's degree in special education. After graduating, Barb was hired by the Hiawatha Valley Special Education Co-op, where she worked as a lead teacher. She also taught special education for two years at Winona State University.
After working for the Education Co-op, Barb transferred to Winona Senior High School, where she taught special education until she retired. Throughout her career, Barb was a tireless advocate for "her" kids. They all knew they had someone who cared, took an interest in them, and would always stand up for them.

Michael Leaf
Michael Leaf was born and raised in Winona. After earning his bachelor's degree in elementary education from Saint Mary's University in 1983, Leaf furthered his education at WSU, graduating in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in physical education and in 1989 with a master's degree in physical education. Since graduation, Leaf has led an outstanding coaching career at WSU including the first ever NCAA Division II National Championships victories in 2006/2008 and runner up in 2007. He has earned numerous regional and national coaching awards and during his tenure at WSU, his players have won many awards as well. Leaf is WSU's all-time leader on the coaches list for wins and in winning percentage. Mike supports a number of campus initiative and focuses on supporting Warrior Athletics. Off the court, Leaf spends his time with family and friends, plays golf, enjoys traveling, and dabbles in gourmet cooking.

Family of Judy Whetstone
Judy was a lifelong Winona resident. She taught first grade at Central Elementary School for 28 years, retiring in 2002. Whetstone was a member of Central Lutheran Church, Winona Area Retired Teachers Association, and the Winona Tennis Association. She was a pioneer for the Grandparent Program, affiliated with the Pen Pals Program, and never failed to keep in touch with her students. She treated every child with compassion and kindness and will be remembered for her compassion and kindness. Her hobbies included tennis, biking, gardening and vacationing at her home in Florida. Whetstone passed away April 25, 2011.

Minnesota Office of Higher Education
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education is a cabinet-level state agency that provides students with financial aid programs and information to help them gain access to postsecondary education. Their mission is to advance the promise of higher education to all Minnesotans and provide the critical information that guides higher education decisions.

Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants
The Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA) was established in 1904 as a professional association for CPAs. It serves CPAs working in public accounting, business, academia, and government through education programs, resources, and government advocacy. Its mission is to help members succeed professionally while being mindful of the public interest. They have a long history of providing scholarship to accounting students at Winona State University and has established an endowment to generate such scholarships in perpetuity.

James & Ruth Erickson
James graduated from Winona State University with a B.S. in 1961 and an M.S. in 1962. He worked for WSU from 1974 to 1996, and during this time started the Elderhostel Program and The Learning Program. Erickson was a member of many organizations and held many leadership roles. In 2009, he received the Spirit of Winona Award, and in 2012, he received the Winona County Historical Society Heritage Service Award. Erickson's hobbies included traveling, boating, hunting, cooking and learning. He and his wife, Ruth, are blessed with one daughter, one son-in-law and grandson, Maxwell.

Kenneth Janz
Ken graduated from Dickenson University in North Dakota with a B.S. in 1991. He received a B.S.Ed. from Dickenson in 1993, then went on to get his M.A. from North Dakota State University and his Ph.D. from Indiana State University in 2005. He worked for West Fargo Public Schools and Indiana State University before coming to Winona State University in 2008, where he currently serves as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Information Officer. Janz is a Senior Member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world's largest educational and scientific computing society. Janz and his partner, Lori Mikl, live in Winona. He has two daughters, Katie and Jessica, and Katie is a current WSU student. He is an avid softball player and musician.

Dick Record
Dick graduated from Youngstown State University in Ohio. Currently, Record works for the Midwest Family Radio in Madison and La Crosse, Wis., and is a Director Emeritus for Viterbo University in La Crosse. He is a member of Board of Directors of the WSU Foundation and was inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2001. Recent awards include the Pope John XXIII Award (2014), the Lifetime Award from the La Crosse Visitors and Convention Bureau (2013) and the Fellowship Award from the La Crosse Hmong community (2012). Record enjoys traveling and working at the radio station.

Donor Honor Roll

All existing members of the Medallion Society.