2017 Alumni Achievement Award
Karan Armstrong-Friedrich ’63 trained under operatic experts Lotte Lehmann, Fritz Zweig and Tilly de Garmo. She gave her debut as Musetta in La bohème at the San Francisco Opera in 1965, then won the 1966 Western Regional auditions of the Metropolitan Opera New York. Armstrong built her repertoire, primarily in Puccini, Verdi and Wagner lead roles, at the New York City Opera and with many U.S. companies in opera houses across the U.S. In 1974, Armstrong made her European debut as Micaela at the Oper’a du Rhin Strasbourg. By the early 80s, she had sung at the Oper’a de Paris, Covent Garden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Staatsoper Vienna. In 1986, she and her director husband Gotz Friedrich co-founded The American Berlin Opera Foundation, Inc., which awards scholarships to American singers wishing to study at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Armstrong has sung in several operatic world premiers, including Gottfried von Einem’s Jesu Hochzeit and Siegfried Matthus’s Desdemona und ihre Schwestern. She was awarded the Kammersänger, the German honorific title for distinguished operatic singers (Stutgart, 1985 and Berlin, 1994), and the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Cross of Merit). Celebrated as a primadonna of modern music for her many lead roles in contemporary opera, Armstrong is also recognized as a champion of early 20th century opera. Armstrong gives masterclasses in Europe, Asia and the U.S. and most recently performed a modern version of Rigoletto at the Komische Oper Berlin.
Dr. Allan Carlson ’61 is widely recognized at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and throughout the world as a leading expert in neutron cross section data development. As the foremost U.S. physicist for the standards on the effective cross sectional area of the nucleus of an atom, his work is vital for understanding the performance of nuclear power reactors, nuclear defense systems and nuclear medicine applications. With NIST, he coordinated the Van de Graaff and linear accelerator neutron data programs. He has served as a staff member for Gulf General Atomic (1967-72) and the General Atomic Division of General Dynamics (1966-67), and a research assistant for the Department of Physics at the University of Wisconsin (1962-66) and the Argonne National Laboratory (1961-62). Carlson chaired projects for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Energy Agency’s Working Party on International Evaluation Cooperation. Carlson is a member of the American Physical Society, the United States Nuclear Data Program, and has authored more than 100 publications in a wide range of journals. Carlson received his Ph.D. (1966) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Now retired, Carlson works as a NIST contractor, with DOE support, evaluating nuclear data standards that are essential for new libraries such as the European Joint Evaluated Fission and Fusion Files. With this and his involvement in meetings of the European Community, Carlson’s work directly impacts the nuclear data needs of the U.S., Europe and Japan.
Dr. Philip Noss ’61 served more than 40 years in Bible translation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon (ELCC), the United Bible Societies, and the Eugene A. Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship of the American Bible Society. He earned a Ph.D. in African languages and literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1969) and taught in that department, the first of its kind in the world. Noss founded the Gbaya Translation Center of the ELCC, serving as its translation exegete, and established undergraduate and postgraduate programs in African languages and literature at the University of Calabar, Nigeria. He then became a translation consultant with the United Bible Societies, with responsibilities for Bible translation projects in 34 African nations in 200 languages. Of great significance, Noss led an interconfessional translation team whose work culminated in the publication of the Bible (1995), with the Apocrypha (2011), in the Gbaya language of Cameroon and the Central African Republic.
Mary (Sorenson) Ranum ‘78 is the chair of the board and shareholder at Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., a Minneapolis headquartered law firm with approximately 275 lawyers. Ranum joined in 1984, following a judicial clerkship with the Minnesota Supreme Court. She became a partner at her law firm in 1990 with years doing real estate transactional and debt finance work for major retailers, real estate developers, health care organizations, and lending and educational institutions. In addition to chairing the firm’s real estate practice group for more than 10 years and focusing on pro bono work, diversity and associate development, Ranum became the first board chairwoman in 2010, making her one of few female law firm leaders nationally. Due to Ranum’s work, 34% of the partners at her firm are female, a percentage far above national averages. Ranum is also dedicated to the hiring and retention of people of color in the Twin Cities legal community. She served on the board of directors of The Advocates for Human Rights, an internationally acclaimed organization that advocates for human rights around the world, and assists OneVillage Partners, a nonprofit that builds self-reliance skills for communities in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Still actively involved with Concordia as a member of its board of regents, Ranum recently co-chaired a task force that explored new ventures for the college. In recognition of her merit, Ranum was made a fellow of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys in 2007 and of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers in 2015. She was noted among the Top Women in Finance in Finance and Commerce (2011) and 25 Industry Leaders in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal (2011), and named the Metropolitan Economic Development Association’s Volunteer of the Year in 1997.
2017 Sent Forth Award
Dr. Meelad Dawlaty ’04 is the youngest faculty member in the department of genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, where he leads a research program on the epigenetics of stem cells and cancer with a focus on enzymes that modify DNA and regulate gene expression to define cell fate during development. His vanguard expertise in manipulating embryonic stem cells is crucial to understanding how such cells can be used to cure and treat human disorders like cancer and neurodegenerative disease. Previously, he was a Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellow at MIT (2009-14), a graduate fellow in chromosomal instability and cancer at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine (2005-08) and a research technologist in DNA methylation and cancer at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (2004). Despite entering an extremely competitive field, Dawlaty has successfully conducted ambitious experiments to reverse the phenotype of human cancer cells and determine the importance of certain genes in embryonic and postnatal development.
Dr. Susan Webb Yackee ’97 is a tenured professor of public affairs and political science and the director of the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In 2013, she received a $500,000 Innovations in Regulatory Sciences Award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund to study how public participation shapes the rules issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, thus digging into the social science behind the food we eat and the drugs we take. An award-winning expert on policymaking, regulation and bureaucratic politics, Yackee served as a fellow of the prestigious National Academy of Public Administration, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research, a Smith Richardson Domestic Policy Fellow, a UW–Madison H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellow and a Harry S. Truman Scholar. In 2011, she advised Congress members about legislation to prevent special interest groups from controlling the federal agencies that regulate their activities. Yackee’s work draws needed attention to how corporate, political and interest groups can affect laws after they’re passed, a critical focal point in today’s increasing imbalance of partisan politics and third-party influence.