Hall of Fame
In 2013, Mankato West High School started a Hall of Fame for the purpose of providing our current students, staff, and community with the vision of the outstanding legacies of Mankato High School and Mankato West High School. It is hoped that these people will provide role models for our current students and offer us a chance to celebrate the successes of those from our school.
• Nomination packets will be distributed to selection team members in May. The selection team will include a broad cross section of the Mankato West community including representation from school administration, current faculty, alumni faculty, students and other members of our community.
Mankato Area Public Schools' West High School announced its fifth class of Hall of Fame inductees, Mankato High School and West High School graduates, who are being recognized for their legacies and celebrated for their success. Those honored with the Hall of Fame recognition serve as role models for current students. Categories established as selection criteria include professional; athletic/entertainment; science/technology and community service. This year's recipients:
Erik is a 1979 Mankato West High School graduate. Erik is currently the Principal at Mesabi East High School. He taught special education in Harmony, MN; Hutchinson, MN; Waterville, MN: and in Mankato. He has been named the State Region Principal of the Year and is active with community service, including the Kiwanis. Erik served in the Army for two years and was the Mankato West Athlete of the Year in 1979.
Craig is a 1972 Mankato High School graduate. Craig is currently the CEO and founder of Cohesive FT. He has also served as a member of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Boerse Ag since 2005. He has served a member of the Board of Directors at Avistar Communications, Corporation and was the managing partner at Hawthorne Group, LLC. He has also been an advisor to Silicon Valley start up ventures in technology planning.
Gary worked at Mankato West High School from 1977 to 2000 and worked in the Mankato Area Public School District from 1969 to 2000. He was the Assistant Softball Coach at West High School from 1986 to 1990, and the Head Softball Coach from 1991 to 2000. Gary was instrumental in developing the Mankato Peppers Softball program. Gary also was a volunteer softball coach at MSU-Mankato and Gustavus for several years.
Tom is a 1966 Mankato High School graduate. Tom is a combat-wounded Marine who served from 1966 to 1968. Tom has been an advocate for veterans since 1978 and was awarded the 2017 Veterans Voices Legacy Award. Tom served on the Mankato City Council from 1989-1996 and as a County Commissioner from 1998-2010. Tom also served as a Vietnam History Instructor at Minnesota State University-Mankato from 1986-1990.
Lori is a 1998 Mankato West High School graduate. Lori is currently the Head Volleyball Coach at MSU-Mankato, and was a 3-sport athlete and academic leader in high school. She played Division 1 Volleyball at the University of Wisconsin and then played professional volleyball in Spain and Croatia 2003-04. A four-year letterwinner on Badger volleyball teams that made a NCAA Division I Final Four appearance in 2000, an Elite Eight appearance in 1998, and captured Big Ten championships in 2000 and 2001, Rittenhouse-Wollmuth attained a masters degree in sport management from Minnesota State in 2007 and has been the head coach since 2013.
Mark is a 1974 Mankato West High School graduate Mark is a board certified OB/GYN for the Mankato Clinic and has been in practice in Mankato for 34 years. He is affiliated with the United Hospital District and Mayo Clinic Health System, Mankato. Mark graduated with honors from the University of Minnesota Medical School and completed his residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
Dan is a 1972 Mankato High School graduate. Dan is an expert in eyelid surgery and facial rejuvenation and is the premiere physician in the United States with use of botox. He is the past Medical Director of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, and he is the author of several publications involving ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery. Dan has also been a book reviewer for the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery since 1986.
Mankato Area Public Schools' West High School announced its fourth class of Hall of Fame inductees, Mankato High School and West High School graduates, who are being recognized for their legacies and celebrated for their success. Those honored with the Hall of Fame recognition serve as role models for current students. Categories established as selection criteria include professional; athletic/entertainment; science/technology and community service. This year's recipients:
Swen-Marie (Minnema) Germann
Germann, a 1992 graduate of Mankato West High School, was an All-American and Academic All-American volleyball player at St. Cloud State University. Germann received her Master of Physical Therapy from the University of St. Augustine in 2000. She is owner and physical therapist of AGADA Physical Therapy. She was awarded the Paris/Patla Manual Therapy Award. Germann is the author of "ABSolution! Progressive Core Training Made Simple."
Mary (Hesla) Huntley
Huntley is a 1958 graduate of Mankato High School. She is a Professor Emeritus, School of Nursing, at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Huntley co-authored three books: "History of the School of Nursing," "Laughter and Wellness" and "Aging and Friendship." She was the history writer of the Mankato Symphony Orchestra for its first 60 years and has served in multiple leadership roles in the community.
Krabbenhoft is a 1976 graduate of Mankato West High School. He has served as chief executive officer and president of Sanford Health since 1997. Krabbenhoft received the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award in 2009 from Minnesota State University, Mankato. He has served as president of several hospitals in the Midwest. Krabbenhoft facilitated the largest gift ever to a U.S. health system.
Rogers, a 1957 graduate of Mankato High School, is owner/president/chief executive officer of Austram, Incorporated, a manufacturer of outdoor living products. After high school, he played football for the University of Minnesota, and was a member of the 1960 National Championship team. Rogers was the only Mankato High School graduate ever to participate in the Rose Bowl.
William Schimmel, Sr.
Schimmel was a faculty member of Mankato High School/Mankato West High School from 1962 to 1987. He coached boys’ cross country from 1963 until 1982. During that time, his teams won four Big 9 titles, 15 sub-section and 13 section titles. Schimmel established girls’ cross country at West High School in 1976, and organized and coached girls’ softball from 1978 until 1982. He has been a swim official for 42 years. He served as Nicollet County Commissioner from 1981 until 1997.
Mankato Area Public Schools' West High School announced its third class of Hall of Fame inductees, Mankato High School and West High School graduates, who are being recognized for their legacies and celebrated for their success. Those honored with the Hall of Fame recognition serve as role models for current students. Categories established as selection criteria include professional; athletic/entertainment; science/technology and community service. This year's recipients:
Jim Bassett is a Mankato High School Class of 1970 graduate and taught Special Education at West High School for 31 years, from 1979 to 2010. In his role as a Special Education teacher, he helped to develop a district-wide EBD program. Jim was the Mankato West Boys Cross Country Head Coach from 1983-2010. He was also the Mankato West Boys Track and Field Head Coach from 1985 to 2009. His boys cross country teams had two 2nd place finishes at the MSHSL state meet. His boys track teams won one MSHSL State Championship, finished 2nd two other times, and won 4 True Team championships. Jim was inducted into the Minnesota Cross Country Coaching Hall of Fame in 2010.
Jean Fitterer Lance
Jean Fitterer Lance is a 1980 graduate of Mankato West High School. She is currently the Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for Boston Scientific Corporation. Jean is also an International Health Care Speaker and the Executive Speaker of Boston Scientific’s VETS employee research group. Jean is also a practicing attorney in both Minnesota and Illinois. She is a member of the US Medical Technology Trade Association and the AdvaMed Legal Committee.
James Fowler is a 1999 Mankato West High School graduate. He is the founder of MOOCulus, an award winning online calculus program. James attended Harvard University and received his PhD from the University of Chicago. He is now a faculty member and assistant professor at The Ohio State University. James has been recognized by Forbes Magazine for his online course developments.
Kristine Lindvall was a founding member of the Mankato West Hall of Fame. Kristine taught English, Communications, and Theater at West High School for 35 years before retiring in 2014. As the Head Speech Coach at West High School, she coached multiple State Speech Champions and had teams that won 16 Big 9 Conference Championships. She was a member of the National Speech and Debate Association and was named a Diamond Key Coach. She also was a board member of the Communication and Theater Association of MN. Kris passed away in May of 2015.
Gary Mielke is a 1981 graduate of Mankato West High School. Gary played baseball in for the Texas Rangers Major League Baseball team for 3 years, and was also named the AAA Minor League Reliever of the Year. Gary served as a minor league coach for two years following the completion of his playing career. Gary attended MSU-Mankato, where he was an all-conference pitcher and was the MVP pitcher in 1985. Gary is also a Past President of MAYBA and a past MAGFA coach.
Andrew Swanson was a 1991 graduate of Mankato West High School. He was a Presidential Scholar and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Dartmouth College. He then graduated from the University of Chicago Medical School. Andrew went on to become an orthopedic surgeon for the Orthopedic and Fracture Clinic in Mankato. As a medical student, he was awarded traveling fellowships from the Cervical Spine Research Society in Switzerland and Germany. Andrew passed away in a mountaineering accident on Mt. McKinley in Alaska in June of 2009.
Mankato Area Public Schools' West High School announced its second Hall of Fame recipients, Mankato High School and West High School graduates, who are being recognized for their legacies and celebrated for their success. Those honored with the Hall of Fame recognition serve as role models for current students. Categories established as selection criteria include professional; athletic/entertainment; science/technology and community service. This year's recipients:
David Bigham (1971-2012) was a 1989 graduate of West High School. He played for the United States Hockey League St. Paul Vulcan’s Hockey club in 1989. That same year, he was recruited by the Minnesota Twins. In addition to the Minnesota Twins, Bigham played professional baseball for the Chicago White Sox, New York Mets and Boston Orioles. Bigham was the winning pitcher in the 1995 All-Star Class A Game in the Midwest League. He played for the Minnetonka Millers Amateur Class A baseball team from 1997 to 2012. Bigham, who was also a realtor, was named in the top one percent of sellers of all realtors in the nation.
Dean Brudwick taught industrial technical studies at West High School from 1973 to 1998. He also coached junior high school basketball and track, ninth grade and varsity basketball and varsity golf. He had a perfect regular golf season with no losses in 2007 and 2008. His 1985 and 1996 golf teams earned the state championship. His teams also placed twice as runners-up, seven times as section champions and earned third place in state twice. Brudwick was named section coach of the year seven times and Minnesota Golf Coach of the year twice. His best record was in 2008—71 and one.
Ann Bryant (formerly known as Pat Thompson)
Ann Bryant, a 1969 graduate of Mankato High School, is founder and executive director of Bear League. Bryant is active in educating the public about co-existence with bears and was featured in the Animal Planet mini-series, "Blonde vs. Bear."
Lee Johnson, a 1980 graduate of West High School, is music director/conductor of La Grange Symphony Orchestra New Music Ensemble and the La Grange Youth Orchestra. He also serves as artistic director of the New Music Festival of La Grange College and as music director of the First Presbyterian Church of La Grange. Johnson has participated in several musicals, 10 symphonies and three operas. He’s received numerous awards and honors including an Emmy Award, best original score in a short film, first place for music composition in a public service film and Silver Award in music videos and shows. He was also named a Georgia artist of the year.
Fred Lutz graduated from Mankato High School in 1958. He is the retired owner/president of Northland Beverages, Inc. and Lutz-Lloyd Enterprises, Inc. He has been involved in a variety of community opportunities including the Mankato Jaycees, YMCA, Downtown Kiwanis Club, Mankato Area Foundation, Mankato Airport Commission, South Central College and Minnesota State University, Mankato. He is a limited partner of the National Basketball Association Minnesota Timberwolves and served as co-chairperson of the Minnesota Air Spectacular in Mankato. He was honored with the Federal Aviation Administration’s Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award.
Peter McGuire graduated from West High School in 1995. He is second concertmaster at Tonhalle Orchestra in Zurich, Switzerland. He has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York All-Star Orchestra, Des Moines Symphony Orchestra and Pioneer String Quartet. He served as concertmaster for Gurzenich Orchestra; associate concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra, assistant concertmaster for the Cedar Rapids Symphony Orchestra and as guest concertmaster for the Seattle Symphony and Richmond Symphony Orchestra. McGquire has also been a faculty member for the Cedar Rapids Symphony and has been a visiting professor at Gustavus Adolphus College and college lecturer at Grandview Community College.
Luverne Klar came to Mankato High School in 1951 and taught physical education until his retirement in 1987. Klar is credited with starting the high school wrestling program. He served as Mankato High School’s head wrestling and baseball coach and assistant football coach. Klar’s wrestling team won state in 1964 and achieved runners-up six times. He coached 15 individual state champions and 57 place winners. Klar also managed a summer wrestling camp for children. He is a member of the Minnesota Wrestling Hall of Fame, Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Mankato Area Public Schools' West High School announced its first Hall of Fame recipients, Mankato High School and West High School graduates, who are being recognized for their legacies and celebrated for their success. Those honored with the Hall of Fame recognition serve as role models for current students. Categories established as selection criteria include professional; athletic/entertainment; science/technology and community service. This year's recipients:
Dan Akerson, a 1966 graduate of Mankato High School, is chairman and chief executive officer of General Motors (GM). Akerson received the McKenna Humanitarian of the Year Award from So Others Might Eat for his funding of Marguerite’s Place, a Washington, DC-based community center named for his mother. He’s received the Distinguished Graduate Award from the U.S. Naval Academy and the Executive Award from the Executive’s Club of Chicago. As part of the award, Akerson was lauded for being a champion for the inclusion of more women in senior management at GM, including the boardroom--women comprise 33 percent of GM’s Board of Directors, one of the highest percentages in all of American business.
Margaret Anderson-Kelliher graduated from West High School in 1986. She has served two terms as Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2007 to 2011. She is the second woman to hold this position and the first to win major-party endorsement for a Minnesota governor election. Anderson-Kelliher served as a legislator for 12 years before joining the Minnesota High Tech Association as president and chief executive officer. She serves as chair of the Governor’s task force on broadband and was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. She teaches a class about negotiations at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute.
Matthew Drake, a 1989 graduate of West High School, is a consultant in endocrinology as well as an assistant professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Drake has participated in the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, International Myeloma Working Group, Professional Practice Committee, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research and the Mayo Clinic Institutional Review Board. He’s been honored with the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Young Investigator Award and the Mayo Clinic Department of Medicine New Investigator Award.
Sharon Euerle spent 38 years in education. She served as athletic/activities director for 20 years at West High School. She also served as assistant director at St. James High School where she started the girls’ volleyball, basketball and softball programs. She’s served on numerous athletic boards and associations and has been inducted into halls of fame including: the Minnesota State High School League, Minnesota State Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, Minnesota State Girls’ Basketball Coaches Association and Winona State University. She’s been named Minnesota State High School Athletic Administrator of the Year and also received a Directors’ Distinguished Service Award.
Jim Northenscold, graduated from West High School in 1975. He is a manager at Neubert Millwork Company, where he has worked for 29 years. He was state champion in shot put (a track and field event) and still holds the high school record and is one of the top 20 all-time best in Minnesota. He has volunteered with the West High School track and field team for the past eight years. Northenscold is active in the community football program and has officiated for football, basketball and track and field.
Louis Todnem (1898-1997) served as football coach at Mankato High School for 40 years, having a winning football record between 1923 and 1962. The West High School football field is named in his honor. He also served as athletic director and coach for basketball, track and golf. His basketball team won the Big Nine Conference Championship nine times. He played an integral role in developing the Little Eight (Southern Minnesota teams) which became the Big Nine Conference. Todnem received the Distinguished Service Award by the Minnesota Association of Health and was inducted into numerous halls of fame including the Minnesota Football Coaches Association, Minnesota State High School Association, Minnesota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, the Minnesota State High School League and Dakota Wesleyan University.