Alumni Spotlight: Gene Knudsen (’71)

Dr. Gene Knudsen came to Morningside College focused on baseball. But Morningside opened new doors for the 1971 graduate that have taken him all over the world.

At Morningside, he became very involved with theatre, concert choir, and student government. Additionally, he enjoyed being involved in Delta Sigma Phi, a fraternity helping and encouraging its members to become better students, leaders, citizens, and professionals.

“I am a firm believer that when one door closes –baseball, in my case – other opportunities abound. An Introduction to Theatre class gave me the idea to try out for the musical ‘Kiss Me Kate,’ where I was cast and was privileged to walk in tights onto the stage at Klinger-Neal singing and dancing with a whole new set of non-baseball friends.

“One entire spring break, Dr. James Wood and his concert choir gave me the opportunity to travel west by bus, stopping about every 500 miles to give a concert and staying overnight with people I didn’t know until we reached Los Angeles. A plane ride to Hawaii gave us more destinations, more concerts and more interesting free accommodations before returning to Sioux City and our classes.”

Knudsen graduated from Morningside with a double major in English and history. He went on to earn a master’s degree and then his doctorate in education administration and curriculum from the University of Southern California. He is now retired after a 37-year career in education with Department of Defense.

“Working for the Department of Defense as a teacher and administrator took me around the world to see places and do things I only dreamed of in high school and college,” he said.

Knudsen appreciates how travel took him out of his comfort zone, allowing him to meet people from different cultures and with different perspectives than his own. He now spends much of his time taking photos of the world around him. “Documenting the journey of life and preserving memories for myself and others is fulfilling and a great stress reliever,” he said.

Looking back, his favorite thing about Morningside was the people he met and the life-long friends he made.

“Chief among those friends was Debra Anderson, who arrived as a freshman during my junior year and became my wife and best friend in 1972 during her senior year,” he said. “Eye-opening and life-changing professors included the generous and compassionate Dr. Sharon Ocker, always grammatically correct Beatrice Tift, and forever mind-altering Dr. Carrol McLaughlin.”

Knudsen’s advice to young alumni? “Make giving back a habit,” Knudsen said. “Morningside will provide you with many tools and skills you’ll use the rest of your life. Giving your time and talent to ‘our college dear’ will help others, and you’ll be helping yourself at the same time.”

 

Published in: on February 23, 2018 at 9:42 AM Comments (0)

Alumni Spotlight: Heidi Connelly (’11)

Heidi Connelly, a 2011 Morningside graduate, got her dream job as director of marketing at Knoepfler Chevrolet in Sioux City.

“I absolutely love my job,” she said. “It is exactly the kind of position I saw myself in after graduating from Morningside College. I am lucky enough to work for a family-owned company that has been in Siouxland since 1922! Knoepfler Chevrolet is dedicated to the Siouxland community, and I am proud to be employed with them.”

During her time at Morningside, Connelly majored in business administration with emphases in marketing and management and a minor in advertising.

“I went on a campus visit and instantly felt welcomed meeting some of the faculty and students,” she said. “Since I graduated from a small high school, the small college atmosphere appealed to me. I was looking to get involved in campus activities, and Morningside College offered plenty of those opportunities.”

During college, Connelly was a member of the dance team, the treasurer for Student Government, the president of Entrepreneurship Group, and a member of Ad Club, Interdepartmental Honors, Alpha Lambda Delta, and Omicron Delta Kappa.

“I also completed three internships while at Morningside for Powell Broadcasting, the Siouxland Community Health Center, and UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s,” she said.

Connelly reflected on her time at Morningside and noted one of her favorite memories.

“In Pam Mickelson’s Marketing Research and Ad Campaigns class, we were able to work with Palmer Candy on their new confectionary product line, helping with research, branding, design ideas and marketing plans,” she said. “This project really confirmed my love for marketing and advertising and gave me hands-on experience to carry into my career after college. The group I was a part of designed one of the packages that was chosen by Palmer Candy for their new line. It was very exciting to see our actual designs in grocery and convenience stores.”

Connelly’s advice to current students was to appreciate the resources available to you on campus.

“The professors at Morningside College truly care about their students’ education and future careers,” she said. “Be sure to utilize them and the Career Services department as resources when you need help during and after college.”

Additionally, Connelly encourages students to complete internships.

“I truly feel that having three internships listed on my resume, along with my class experience, assisted me greatly in landing my first job after college and the careers that have followed,” she said.

Connelly is grateful for the lasting impact Morningside has had on her life.

“I made life-long friends and met my husband while at Morningside College,” she said. “I am so thankful for receiving an amazing education, but also for the people in my life who chose to attend Morningside College as well.”

Published in: on at 9:19 AM Comments (0)

Student Spotlight: Rachel DeJong

Rachel DeJong is a sophomore at Morningside College from Leota, Minn., with a passion for finance. She feels like Morningside is the perfect place to pursue her passion.

“I feel incredibly blessed to be able to attend a school like Morningside,” she said. “I can’t imagine getting the same experience at a larger state school.”

DeJong is a double major in managerial accounting and business administration, with an emphasis in finance.

When asked what she likes about Morningside, DeJong explained, “My favorite thing about Morningside is how the small classes allow you to get to know other students and faculty in your department. The professors are such a valuable resource and they are all willing to help you find the best way to succeed.”

DeJong explained that she chose Morningside because it felt like home from her first visit. “I loved the small campus, small class sizes, and the community feeling among students and faculty,” she said.

DeJong is a very active student who takes every opportunity to get involved. Currently, she serves on the leadership team for the Connie Wimer Women’s Leadership Program; is in the President’s Book Club; participates in Alpha Lambda Delta, a women’s honor society; as well as being involved in Accounting Club and the Interdepartmental Honors Program. She also works in the tutoring center, is a Resident Assistant and is a member of the production team in the theatre department.

“I love how much overlap there is in these areas,” she said. “Because Morningside is so small, everyone can be involved in several activities and groups, which only serves to enhance the atmosphere of community on campus!”

After graduation, DeJong plans to continue her education to help her achieve her goal of becoming a finance professor.

Published in: on February 14, 2018 at 1:29 PM Comments (2)

Alumni Spotlight: Chris Delfs (’09)

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Chris Delfs is a 2009 Morningside College graduate who even worked at Morningside for a time before pursuing a career in real estate. Delfs is the current assistant managing broker at Keller Williams Siouxland.

“In my profession I am active as a member of the board of directors for the Northwest Iowa Regional Board of Realtors, which oversees 17 counties of realtors,” Delfs said. “I am active in state committees and regularly engage our state legislature to work for property owner rights.”

Delfs also serves as a board member for several organizations and is an active volunteer in the Siouxland community. “I find that giving back to my community financially or with my time and talents is a great way to stay connected and help me feel a sense of adding value to those around me,” he said.

Delfs said that he chose to attend Morningside for convenience, the atmosphere of the campus and quality of education that he would receive. Today, he is still involved with campus events and activities.”I’ve found that the Morningside experience does not end at graduation. For me, remaining connected has helped me appreciate my college experience,” Delfs said.

His favorite thing about Morningside was the people. “The culture of the college from when I met with admissions was like walking in and meeting with family. It carried throughout the staff and faculty during my Morningside experience,” Delfs said.

During college, Delfs enjoyed being involved. He worked on campus at the radio station, KMSC (92.9 FM), and served as the manager there for a short period of time. Additionally, he worked in computer services. “Both were great experiences and a fun way to be connected with the staff and students,” he said.

His advice to current students was to get involved in areas that interest you. Additionally, he said, “Ask questions and follow the people that you aspire to be like.”

His advice for young alumni? “Remember that the college has resources available to help in career services, and get connected with the alumni group,” Delfs said. “There are a lot of people who are there and willing to help you with mentoring, networking and career advice.”

 

 

Published in: on February 7, 2018 at 1:43 PM Comments (4)

Student Spotlight: Brock Bourek

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Brock Bourek has always had a passion for theatre and the arts that led him to Morningside College. He is currently a junior with a double major in arts administration and theatre and a minor in religious studies.

When asked why he chose Morningside, Bourek’s answer was simple. He explained that he loved the theatre department as well as the beautiful campus. Bourek said, “I felt at home.”

Bourek said he loves the small campus size, how friendly everyone is and the endless opportunities that are available to get involved on campus.

Bourek doesn’t pass up any opportunity that comes his way to get involved on campus. He currently participates in the theatre department, College Choir, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a music fraternity, Alpha Psi Omega, a theatre honor society, and Brockapella, an acapella group that Bourek started two years ago. Additionally, he is a member of Residence Life working as a Resident Assistant. He stated, “I appreciate that there are endless opportunities for all students to be involved on campus regardless of their background or experience.”

After graduation, Bourek plans to move to a larger city and do some form of professional theatre. He said, “Eventually down the line, I would like to open and run my own theatre company.”

Published in: on February 1, 2018 at 1:35 PM Comments (1)