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)