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Decorah resident among seven Luther College alumni receiving a 2020 Distinguished Service Award

Posted: Thu, Oct 8, 2020 10:12 AM

Luther College President Jenifer K. Ward is announcing the 2020 recipients of the college's Distinguished Service Award. The award is presented to alumni or individuals with strong connections to Luther College who have exhibited admirable service to society in areas such as education, government, the arts, business, church, labor, industry, agriculture, research, medicine and community affairs.

This year's recipients include Decorah resident Mark Donhowe.  Other recipients are 1995 graduate Brian Juchems, 1960 graduate Karen Julesberg, 1970 graduate Rev. John Melin, 1980 graduate Dr. Kristin Tjornehoj, 1955 graduate Ted Tweed and 1985 graduate Cassie Warner.

--A Decorah resident, Mark Donhowe is honored for his contributions to the Decorah community. Donhowe served on the Decorah School Board, the NICC Foundation Board, the Decorah Jobs and Winneshiek County Development Board, the Decorah Lutheran Church Board, the Ulster Project and the Lions Club Board.  He served Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum as a local campaign co-chair and worked on the Trout Run Trail fundraising committee

--Brian Juchems is well known for his vocal support and activism on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community at Luther and well beyond. Juchems was among the first students and staff members at Luther to gain notoriety and respect for his bold and unflinching work to push forward the community's embrace of LGBTQ+ community rights.

--Karen Julesberg has taught at all levels of education and has been a management and marketing consultant.  Her lifelong dedication to volunteering led her to volunteering for the Cancer Information Service; being a founding member of the Friends of Fitchburg Library; serving at All Saints Lutheran Church and Midvale Community Lutheran Church in Madison; and volunteering for the Madison Urban Ministry.

--Rev. John Melin has spent his life serving people and congregations around the world, including Laos, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Middle Asian countries before completing his pilgrimage in the former USSR.  In 1977 he was called to serve as the first American pastor in the Lutheran Church of the Netherlands.  In 1990, Melin served as pastor for a church for international English-speaking people living in the Soviet Union. During the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Melin's congregation expanded their ministry to include the Russian people of Moscow.

--Dr. Kristin (Skogland) Tjornehoj is receiving the Distinguished Service Award for her dedication and service to the musical arts. Tjornehoj is active as a musician, conductor, educator and speaker, which has taken her across the U.S and world.  At Luther, Tjornehoj serves as class agent for the class of 1980 and was a member of her reunion Giving Committee in 2015 and 2020. She has served on the summer faculty at the Dorian Music Camps and as an adjunct faculty member for music education/student teaching.

--Ted Tweed has spent his life dedicated to educating hundreds of clinical audiologists to provide care for children and adults with auditory disorders. After graduating from Luther, serving in the army for two years and getting a master's degree in speech pathology and audiology from the University of Iowa, he worked at the University of Iowa College of Medicine and then at the University of Wisconsin-Madison until he retired in 1992.  Tweed is a coauthor of more than 50 professional publications

--Cassandra "Cassie" Warner began her career in public accounting as a staff accountant and manager with McGladrey & Pullen before entering the construction industry as controller with Knutson Construction Company. In 1996, Warner joined Weis Builders as their chief financial officer and senior vice president. She has helped the company exceed their goal of $1 billion in project starts over a three-year period.  In 2018, Warner was named one of the Top Women in Finance by "Finance & Commerce" magazine.  At Luther, Warner is a member of the President's Council and Heritage Club.