Tag Archives: Alumni

Feb. 10: Breakfast at the Capitol

Sandy Pappas
Sandy Pappas

State Senator Sandy Pappas (’86) and the Alumni Board Legislative Committee invite Metropolitan State alumni and students to attend Breakfast at the Capitol.

Light breakfast and beverages will be provided. The event is free to students, staff, faculty and alumni.

The event will be 8:30 to 10 a.m., Friday, Feb. 10 at the
Minnesota Senate Building, Room 2412, 95 West University Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55155

Space is limited. RSVP to Alumni Relations at 651-793-1808 or email alumni.relations@metrostate.edu.

A Minnesota leader you didn’t know is a Metropolitan State alum: Ramona ‘Mona’ Dohman

Top Cop: Minnesota’s Public Safety Commissioner

For the past four-plus years, this 1998 Metropolitan State graduate has claimed one of the state’s top public-trust posts—Minnesota’s Public Safety Commissioner.

At the time of her appointment in 2011, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that “Dohman’s passion and faith in justice have led her to blaze some trails. In every law enforcement position she has held, Dohman’s been the first woman—as an officer in two small-town police departments; in the Maple Grove Police Department, where she worked as police chief for the last 10 years; and now as the Minnesota Department of Public Safety commissioner.”

She prioritizes overseeing a $600 million budget, 2,100 employees and 14 divisions, including Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS), Minnesota State Patrol, Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Dohman, who was named 2015 Alumna of the Year, credits Metropolitan State for stoking her career. Her university diploma, a self-designed degree in criminal justice administration, is on a wall plaque near the U.S. and Minnesota state flags that flank her desk. A nearby table showcases a photo of her and her husband’s three kids (now adults), and a surprising artifact.
“Mother Teresa is one of my role models,”Dohman says, nodding to a large silver peace symbol. “I never got to meet her, but she embodied peace and that’s what I pray and work for every day.”

She grew up poor in tiny Vesta in southwestern Minnesota. Instilled with a strong work ethic, Dohman and five siblings occasionally earned money by picking rocks, detasseling corn and other chores. Higher education was a moot point, as there wasn’t money to pay for college. Dohman also harbored serious doubt about whether she was college material.
But she took a chance and enrolled at Metropolitan State in 1989 while serving as a Maple Grove police officer. Dohman was drawn to the university’s prior learning credits, accommodating schedule and the ability to design her own academic program.

She applauds Metropolitan State for valuing people’s uniqueness and differences and regularly refers prospective students to the university. “I never felt like I paid money (for education) or that I wasn’t getting something in return,” she said. “In fact, I would have paid more, because the experience was that good.”

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A Minnesota leader you didn’t know is a Metropolitan State alum: Gary Cunningham

CEO of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association and “First Gentleman” of Minneapolis

Gary Cunningham, Metropolitan State’s 2014 Alumnus of the Year, is the president and CEO of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association, which supports entrepreneurs of color. For the past five years, Cunningham has been a member of the Metropolitan Council, appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton, to lead the council’s examination of equity in housing for minorities and the poor. He also serves as a trustee on the Metropolitan State University Foundation Board.

Cunningham’s past experience includes serving as a research fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and the associate superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools. Cunningham graduated in 1990 with a bachelor of arts. He proceeded to attend Harvard University in 1992, where he received a master’s in public administration.

His wife, Betsy Hodges, is mayor of Minneapolis, making him the city’s first gentleman.

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A Minnesota leader you didn’t know is a Metropolitan State alum: Sandra Best

Minnesota Air National Guard Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Sandra L. Best

In February, alumna Air Force Col. Sandra L. Best became the first female general in Minnesota National Guard history when she was promoted to brigadier general. In her new position, Brig. Gen. Best will be the chief of staff of the Minnesota Air National Guard, responsible for command supervision, oversight and leadership of the 133rd Airlift Wing and 148th Fighter Wing to include all items pertaining to manning, operations, readiness, training and equipping of units in the Minnesota Air National Guard.

Best graduated from Metropolitan State University in 1988 with a bachelor of arts  emphasizing human resource management. Her post-graduate education includes a master of business administration from the University of St. Thomas, as well as advanced education in leadership, public affairs and military operations. She is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, and Air War College. She was a Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.

Originally from Northeast Minneapolis, Best joined the 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard in 1984, as a personnel specialist and progressed through the enlisted ranks to technical sergeant. She was commissioned in 1991 through the Academy of Military Science at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee. Best has deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2008.

In 2015, she attended the Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Leadership in Homeland Security Program. Her career includes both public sector and military service. She serves as the director of Strategic Relations and Mission Support Group commander with the Minnesota National Guard. She will continue to promote the benefits of lifelong learning and specifically the unique nontraditional environment geared for diverse working adults at Metropolitan State. Best and her husband of 27 years have four daughters and reside in rural Wisconsin. In her free time, she enjoys socializing with family and friends in the St. Croix River Valley.

More Minnesota Leaders

Art Purchase Awards Recipients

The Art Exhibition Committee announces the 2016 Art Purchase Awards recipients. The awards strive to promote growth and encouragement of the university’s studio artists. Each year, students and alumni are allowed to submit up to six pieces. Each award winner receives $1,000 and their artwork displayed throughout Metropolitan State’s campus.

The Student Senate purchase recipient is recent graduate Barbara Cobb. Cobb’s work is a mixed media textile, entitled Sunday on the North Shore.

The Academic Affairs and the Alumni Association purchase recipient was awarded to alumnae Susan Solomon. Solomon’s work is a gouache painting on panel, entitled Runway.

Also included was a special purchase by the Library and Learning Center’s Endowment Fund. This award considered the artwork of studio arts faculty members, in addition to students and alumni. The recipient was Alonso Sierralta, community faculty. His piece is an abstract mixed media sculpture, entitled SamothraceSamothrace has been placed on the first floor of the Library and Learning Center. The placement of the other works are yet to be established.

 

Trista Matascastillo named 2016 Bush Foundation Fellow

What kind of person enrolls in the College of Individualized Studies (CIS)? There’s no uniform pattern—the program works and is intended for people exploring the meaning of what it means to be an educated person.

One such learner is CIS alumni and women’s veteran advocate Trista Matascastillo, who received news last month that she received a 2016 Bush Foundation fellowship.

“Trista Matascastillo is one of few to have served in three branches of the U.S. military. Often, she was the only woman in her command. After 16 years of service in the Navy, Marine Corps and National Guard, she was compelled to form the Women Veterans Initiative, a nonprofit advocacy and networking organization. She wants to respond to the growing number of women vets nationwide and to guide her organization as it grows from a working group to a robust nonprofit. With her Bush Fellowship, Trista will pursue post-secondary and graduate degrees to strengthen her leadership skills.”

Bush Fellows receive up to $100,000 over one to two years for travel, formal academic study or training that they design themselves to develop their expertise. The honor, which is bestowed on  a new cohort every year, is a vote of confidence given to people age 24 or older who have demonstrated leadership and have “extraordinary potential to make significant contributions,” according to Tuesday’s announcement.”

Congratulations to this outstanding CIS grad! Where can CIS help you take your own vision and leadership? Check out the program here.

Learn more about Trista’s brilliant work by following her on Twitter at @TristaMatas.

 

Holly Holt recognized among top real estate agents by Expert Network

​​​​Holly Holt​, Certified Negotiation Expert, Cynthia Froid Group, has joined The Expert Network, an invitation-only service for distinguished professionals.

Holt​​ was chosen as a Distinguished Real Estate Agent and based on peer reviews and ratings, numerous recognitions, and accomplishments achieved throughout her career.

Holt​​​​​ outshines others in her field due to her career longevity, extensive educational background, numerous awards and recognitions, and outstanding customer service. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Social Work from Metropolitan State University. She is also a Certified Negotiation expert. Holt has been listed in Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine’s top 3 percent to 5 percent of Super Real Estate Agents for 2011-2015.

Read more.

Minnesota National Guard confers Col. Sandra Best as first female general

Metropolitan State University congratulates alumna Air Force Col. Sandra L. Best who will become the first female general in Minnesota National Guard history when she is promoted to brigadier general this week.

Best’s promotion was officially announced by the Minnesota National Guard on Feb. 23. Her promotion will be conferred at a ceremony on Feb. 25 in Minneapolis. Brigadier general is a one-star general officer. In her new position, Brig. Gen. Best will serve as the chief of staff, Minnesota AirNational Guard, responsible for command supervision, oversight and leadership of the 133rd Airlift Wing and 148th Fighter Wing to include all items pertaining to manning, operations, readiness, training and equipping of units in the Minnesota Air National Guard.

“We are very proud to call Col. Best a member of the Metropolitan State University alumni community. She has been a wonderful partner in our community as an Alumni Boardmember and an example to current and future students,” says Kristine Hansen, Metropolitan State alumni relations director.

Best graduated from Metropolitan State University in 1988 with a bachelor of arts emphasizing human resource management. Her post-graduate education includes a master of business administration from the University of St. Thomas, as well as advanced education in leadership, public affairs and military operations. She is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College, and Air War College. She was a Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. In 2015, she attended the Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Leadership in Homeland Security Program. Her career has included both public sector and military service, currently serving as the director of Strategic Relations and Mission Support Group commander with the Minnesota National Guard. She will continue to promote the benefits of lifelong learning and specifically the unique nontraditional environment geared for diverse working adults at Metropolitan State. Best and her husband of 27 years have four daughters and reside in rural Wisconsin. In her free time, she enjoys socializing with family and friends in the St. Croix River Valley.

Originally from Northeast Minneapolis, Best joined the 133rd Airlift Wing, Minnesota Air National Guard in 1984, as a personnel specialist and progressed through the enlisted ranks to technical sergeant. She was commissioned in 1991 through the Academy of Military Science at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee. Best has deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2008.

“I congratulate Col. Sandra L. Best for her well-deserved promotion to the rank of brigadier general,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in a statement released by the Minnesota National Guard. “Col.Best has proven her deep commitment to our state and country through her many years of dedicated service in the Minnesota National Guard. Her accomplishments as a leader in our Armed Forces should be celebrated by all Minnesotans.”

Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman: Alum of the Year

Things were about to get ugly for Ramona “Mona” Dohman. The then-Maple Grove police officer and her partner were called to a rowdy Hells Angels party in the middle of the woods. A big, burly leader clad in black-leather chaps and jacket snarled at Dohman’s command to break up the 1987 bash.

“The hair on the back of my neck stood up, because I thought this could go really bad quickly,” says David Jess, her then-partner and a 1997 Metropolitan State alum. As other bikers menacingly milled about, Dohman pointedly told the leader the party was over. No ifs, ands or buts.

“I remember thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, Mona, I hope you know what you’re doing,’” says Jess. “She did. She just has this knack for dealing with people no matter if it’s a time of sorrow, anger or whatever. The bikers didn’t necessarily like it, but they listened and did what she said.”

The Hells Angels incident illustrates Dohman’s career-long quest to earn the public’s trust, which she views as a “gift.” She has merited the public trust during 33 years in public safety, 11 years as Maple Grove’s police chief. For the past four-plus years, she has claimed one of the state’s top public-trust posts—Minnesota’s Public Safety Commissioner.

Continue reading Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman: Alum of the Year