University Distinctions

University Distinctions

Explore St. Cloud State Distinctions and Facts

The oak leaf has long been a symbol for life and learning at St. Cloud State, where change is as constant as the flowing waters of the Mississippi River. Here the oak leaf signifies distinctions and facts that set St. Cloud State apart and foster institutional pride.

How to use:

  • Use the fields and tabs below to search for distinctions and facts that set St. Cloud State apart. A distinction is a story about an award, accomplishment, agreement, unique offering or excellent program. Facts are data-centered statements about the University including enrollment, economic impact and general statistics.
  • Use the check boxes with each entry and the report-building tool to create a customized PDF, based on distinctions and facts you've selected.
  • Use the submission form to suggest additions and corrections to the University Distinctions website.

View the current university profile.



Search Results

Accomplished alumni

Distinction


St. Cloud State has nearly 110,000 alumni worldwide. Nearly 77,000 of those live in Minnesota. About 15,600 live in the state's most populous county, Hennepin County. More than 11,000 live in Stearns County, where St. Cloud State is located.*

St. Cloud State's many accomplished alumni include:

  • John Stumpf (1976, finance), chairman, CEO and president of Wells Fargo, an American banking and financial services company
  • James Bullard (1984, economics and quantitative methods), president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, a branch of the U.S. central banking system
  • Tina Gust (1997, mass communications), vice president of Minor League Baseball, the century-old organization that manages the developmental teams that feed Major League Baseball
  • Keesha Gaskins (1996, criminal justice studies), senior counsel for the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, New York University School of Law, New York City
  • Beth Sorensen (1990, computer science), MakeMusic vice president and driving force behind Finale, the industry standard for music notation, which was used to score films such as "Argo," "Life of Pi," "Lincoln" and "The King's Speech."
  • TyRuben Ellingson (1981, elective studies; 1982, master of art), conceptual designer who has worked with film directors such as James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo Del Toro and the late Stanley Kubrick
  • Tiffany Reiter (1997, biotechnology), Mayo- and Harvard-trained molecular biologist practicing intellectual property law in Boston
  • Valeria Silva (1990, elective studies), superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools, a 39,000-student school district in St. Paul, Minn.
  • Brian Belski (1988, finance), chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, a financial services multinational
  • Paul Diethelm (2003, elective studies), is an award-winning songwriter and world-traveling guitarist, best known for his songwriting and touring with Grammy winner Johnny Lang from 1996-2004
  • Deeann Griebel (1976, physical education), is a nationally ranked wealth advisor with more than $270 million under management 
  • Bonnie Henrickson (1986, physical education), women's basketball coach at the University of Kansas
  • Dan Hooper (1999, physics), dark matter expert and associate scientist in the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Chicago
  • Jim Graves (1974, elementary education), founder of Graves Hospitality Corporation, which has developed more than 100 hotels, restaurants and resorts
  • Ben Graves (1996, speech/interdependent studies), president of Graves Hospitality Corporation, which has developed more than 100 hotels, restaurants and resorts  
  • Bruce Pearson (1964, music), author of "Standard of Excellence Comprehensive Band Method," one of the world's most widely used music instruction series, available in English, Chinese, Spanish and Italian
  • Joel Goergen (1986, mathematics and electrical engineering), distinguished engineer at Cisco Systems, a networking equipment multinational based in San Jose, Calif.
  • Joseph Nayquonabe (1993, applied psychology), commissioner of corporate affairs, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe
  • William Knese (1974, accounting), chairs the global board of directors for the Institute of Management Accountants 
  • Akash Sen (2003, master of business administration), talent director at Saatchi & Saatchi, a global advertising agency with offices in 76 nations
  • Joseph Ripka (2004, music), Oberlin- and Yale-educated classical organist of international repute
  • Clay Matvick (1996, mass communications), sportscaster for the ABC and ESPN networks
  • Search more notable alumni

Notable people who have attended St. Cloud State include:

  • Leo Kottke, Grammy-nominated, hall of fame acoustic guitarist with a four-decades-long recording career
  • Frank Brimsek, National Hockey League goalie who won two Vezina trophies and backstopped two Stanley Cup championship teams
  • Drew LeBlanc, winner of the Hobey Baker Award as the outstanding college hockey player of 2012-13 season
  • Jim Eisenreich, 15-year Major League Baseball player who won a World Series with the 1997 Florida Marlins. In 1990, he was the first recipient of the Tony Conigliaro Award, for overcoming Tourette syndrome.
  • Bret Hedican, National Hockey League defenseman who played parts of 20 seasons with five teams and won the 2006 Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes
  • Matt Cullen, 16-year National Hockey League veteran who earned the 2006 Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes

* Alumni Relations data from July 2013

Organizational Units: St. Cloud State University

Learning Commitments:

alumni

2

Alumni, Beth Sorenson

Distinction


Beth Sorensen (1990, computer science), is the vice president of MakeMusic, Inc., and a driving force behind Finale, the industry standard for music notation.

Finale enables composers, arrangers, musicians, teachers, students and publishers to create, edit, audition, print and publish musical scores. It was used on the 2013 Oscar-winning pictures "Argo," "Life of Pi and "Lincoln," among thousands of other film and television projects. Finale also serves educators and school worldwide, notably at conservatories such as Juilliard School and music colleges such as Berklee.  

Finale is the the flagship product of MakeMusic, an Eden Prairie, Minn., music technology company that also makes virtual instrument software, musical practice software and the XML-based format for exchanging digital sheet music.

Sorensen has worked for MakeMusic since 1999, serving as software engineer, engineering manager, notation product manager and vice president of engineering. 

Organizational Units: College of Science and Engineering

Learning Commitments:

alumni

2

Alumni, Bonnie Henrickson

Distinction


Bonnie Henrickson (1986, physical education) is women's basketball coach at the University of Kansas.

The former women's Husky Basketball star coaches on the very campus where greats of the game made their names. James Naismith, the inventor of the sport, Phog Allen, the father of basketball coaching, and Wilt Chamberlain, who once scored 100 points in a professional game, all made stops at the University of Kansas.

She has helped Kansas advance to postseason play in seven of her nine seasons, including each of the last six years, highlighted by back-to-back NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 runs.

She established herself as one of the nation's brightest young coaches at Virginia Tech, where she was head coach for seven seasons and guided the Hokies to a record of 158-62 and seven postseason appearances.

As a hard-charging forward at St. Cloud State she helped the Huskies win three Northern Sun Conference championships and advance to three NCAA Division II quarterfinals.

http://www.kuathletics.com/coaches.aspx?rc=554&path=wbball

Organizational Units: St. Cloud State University,School of Health and Human Services

Learning Commitments:

alumni

2

Alumni, James Bullard

Distinction


James Bullard (1984, economics and quantitative methods), is president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, a branch of the U.S. central banking system.

In these roles, Bullard participates in the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and directs the activities of the Federal Reserve’s Eighth District head office in St. Louis and branches in Little Rock, Ark., Louisville, Ky., and Memphis, Tenn. FOMC makes the key decisions about interest rates and the growth of the U.S. money supply.

An economist and monetary policy scholar, Bullard has been with the Federal Reserve since 1990. His research has appeared in numerous professional journals, including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Monetary Economics, Macroeconomic Dynamics and the Journal of Money, Credit and Banking.

He holds a doctorate in economics from Indiana University, Bloomington.

http://research.stlouisfed.org/econ/bullard/

Organizational Units: Herberger Business School

Learning Commitments:

alumni

2

Alumni, Jim Graves

Distinction


Jim Graves (1974, elementary education) is founder of Graves Hospitality Corporation, which has developed more than 100 hotels, restaurants and resorts worldwide.

Seven years after earning his St. Cloud State degree, Graves built his first motel. While that single AmericInn was blossoming into a chain of 220 across the United States, Graves Hospitality Corporation was graduating to more upscale establishments with names like Radisson and Marriott and finally, Graves.

The elegant Graves 601 Hotel – the place the New York Times magazine called “the hottest, most fashionable hotel in town” opened in 1997 in downtown Minneapolis to rave reviews.

Graves gained national attention during his 2012 congressional race against Republican incumbent Michele Bachmann. Despite being outspent  12 to 1 in Minnesota's most conservative district, Graves lost the general election by 4,300 votes, or less than 1 percent.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Graves

Organizational Units: St. Cloud State University,School of Education

Learning Commitments:

entrepreneur, politics, alumni

2

Alumni, John Stumpf

Distinction


John Stumpf (1976, finance) is chairman, CEO and president of Wells Fargo, an American banking and financial services company with $91.1 billion in revenue in 2012.

The former farm boy from Pierz, Minn., earned a cover feature in Forbes magazine in 2012. Headlined "The Bank That Works," the piece compared Stumpf to George Bailey, the selfless savings-and-loan manager in the 1946 Frank Capra film "It's a Wonderful Life."

Stumpf worked his way to the top, building an American Dream type career. His first job out of high school was breadmaker. With his St. Cloud State degree in hand, Stumpf found work repossessing cars, boats and the like for First Bank, St. Paul. He then joined Northwestern National Bank (later known as Norwest Bank), where he made his name as a regional manager and expert at managing bank mergers. He was regional president for Norwest Bank Texas when his company acquired Wells Fargo and assumed the Wells Fargo name. Four years later he took charge of Wells' community banking. In 2005, his path to leadership was paved when he was named president.

His 2011 total compensation, including pay for serving on the boards of directors of other companies, was nearly $20 million, according to Forbes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stumpf

Organizational Units: St. Cloud State University,Herberger Business School

Learning Commitments:

banking, alumni

2

Alumni, Tiffany Reiter

Distinction


Tiffany Reiter (1997, biotechnology), is a Mayo- and Harvard-trained biologist practicing intellectual property law in Boston.

Reiter is an associate in the Boston office of Fish & Richardson, an intellectual property and patent litigation firm with 12 offices in the U.S. and an office in Munich, Germany. She earned her law degree at Suffolk University, Boston.

She holds a doctorate in molecular biology from the Mayo Graduate School, Rochester, Minn. Her dissertation investigated the redox regulation of the phosphatase calcineurin.

She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health. 

She also worked as a patent agent for Clark & Elbing, a Boston-based intellectual law firm.

Organizational Units: St. Cloud State University,College of Science and Engineering

Learning Commitments:

alumni

2

Alumni, Tina Gust

Distinction


Tina Gust (1997, mass communications), is vice president of Minor League Baseball (MiLB), the century-old organization that manages the developmental teams that feed Major League Baseball.

She manages revenue-generating opportunities and advances its company initiatives. She supervises three departments:  Business Development, Event Services and Exhibition Services. In addition, Gust is responsible for identifying and reviewing new business opportunities.

Gust joined MiLB in 1998. She held two different jobs in the Licensing Department, before becoming director in January 2008.

Organizational Units: College of Liberal Arts

Learning Commitments:

alumni

2

Alumni, TyRuben Ellingson

Distinction


TyRuben Ellingson (1981, elective studies; 1982, master of art), is a conceptual designer who has worked with film directors such as James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo Del Toro and the late Stanley Kubrick.

Among his recent filmwork are "Pacific Rim" (2013), "Priest" (2011), "Avatar" (2009), and "Hellboy" (2004).

The son of a St. Cloud State art professor, Ellingson spent his childhood in his father’s studio, engaged in drawing, painting and constructing cardboard “machines”. While completing his master's degree at St. Cloud State, Ellingson taught drawing and design courses at the university and exhibited his paintings in regional and national shows, receiving recognition and awards.

Combining his fine art successes with a life long interest in film, Ellingson landed a position at George Lucas' Industrial, Light and Magic (ILM) in 1989 as a visual effects art director. While at ILM, Ellingson contributed to the creation of ground-breaking special effects in films such as Jurassic Park, Star Wars: A New Hope, and Disclosure.

He launched his career as an independent designer in 1995.

http://www.stcloudstate.edu/news/outlook/story.asp?pubID=15&issueID=27337&storyID=32398

Organizational Units: St. Cloud State University,College of Liberal Arts,School of the Arts

Learning Commitments:

art, alumni, CLA

2

Alumni, Valeria Silva

Distinction


Valeria Silva (1990, elective studies), is superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools, a 39,000-student school district in St. Paul, Minn.

Silva began her career as a teacher at Adams Spanish Immersion School on St. Paul's west 20 years ago, rising through the ranks to principal, director of English language learning and chief academic officer.

She also worked for the Minnesota Department of Education.

She was named superintendent in 2009.

Silva grew up the youngest of four children in Antofagasta, a port city in a desert region of northern Chile. When she came to St. Cloud State she knew little English.

http://www.stcloudstate.edu/success/stories.asp?storyID=33998

Organizational Units: St. Cloud State University,School of Education

Learning Commitments:

alumni

2

Alumni, Valerie Snobeck

Distinction

11/15/2013 12:00:00 AM

Valerie Snobeck '03 has been invited to exhibit March 7-May 25, 2014, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, on Madison Avenue in New York City. The Whitney Biennial is an every-two-years show of new American art. Snobeck, 33, was born in Wadena and has lived in Detroit Lakes. She holds an St. Cloud State bachelor's degree in art with a minor in creative writing. She earned her master of fine art at the University of Chicago.

http://whitney.org/Exhibitions/2014Biennial

Organizational Units: College of Liberal Arts,School of the Arts

Learning Commitments:

alumni

2

Natalie C. Davis, Miss Minnesota 2011

Distinction


Natalie C. Davis (2013, mass communications) represented Minnesota in the 2012 Miss America pageant, appearing on a live ABC television broadcast. At summa cum laude student at St. Cloud State, Davis earned scholarships and a awards as a student journalist for UTVS Television. Notably, she earned the Jodi Huisentruit Scholarship and won a 2013 Midwest Emmy and a 2014 Broadcast Association Award. 

 

 

http://youtu.be/_-0DroA6bAI

Organizational Units: College of Liberal Arts

Learning Commitments: Active and Applied Learning,Community Engagement

alumni

2