Alumni Achievement and Sent Forth Award Recipients
Robert Johnson '71
Robert C. Johnson ’71, retired manager of music organizations for St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., passed away in October after a yearlong battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Prior to St. Olaf, he taught public school music and worked at the University Musical Society. At St. Olaf, Johnson’s office was responsible for managing all aspects of the St. Olaf Band, St. Olaf Choir, and St. Olaf Orchestra, including arranging tours, production of the St. Olaf Christmas Festival, and managing St. Olaf Records. He was honored with an Emmy by the Upper Midwest Emmy Awards, received the ACE award for lifetime achievement from the American Choral Directors Association, and inducted into Alexandria School District’s Hall of Fame.
Karen (Quanbeck) Grandstrand '77
Karen (Quanbeck) Grandstand ’77, a shareholder with Fredrikson & Byron, is a nationally recognized financial services regulatory attorney and financial industry advisor. Prior to Fredrikson, she had a 14-year career with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Grandstand earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar, the American Bar, and the Hennepin County Bar Associations. She is a past and current member of several boards, committees, and associations, including the TCF Financial Corp. and the Concordia College Board of Regents. She has been involved with numerous presentations, articles, and has guest lectured at area universities. Among her several awards, she received the Concordia College Regents Award in 2000.
Rachel (Nelson) Hollstadt '70
Rachel (Nelson) Hollstad ’70 founded Hollstadt & Associates Inc., an information technology and management consulting company, in 1990 and grew it to more than 185 employees before selling it in 2012. She began her consulting business after a career as an English teacher and she and the company received multiple awards. A mentor, Hollstadt sponsored women in leadership events and gave back to the community through charitable means, including launching Big Give based on Oprah’s idea. Hollstadt is a member of Concordia’s Board of Regents and board member for the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, among other organizations.
Dr. Bennett Larson '63
Dr. Bennett Larson ’63 is Corporate Fellow Emertius in the Materials Science and Technology Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, Tenn. He earned a master’s and a doctorate in physics from the University of North Dakota and University of Missouri, Columbia. Larson began his 45-year career in 1969 as a research physicist at ORNL, where his work included development and application of new and innovative X-ray diffraction techniques. He has authored or co-authored more than 125 scientific papers, presented at more than 50 national and international scientific meetings or workshops, and won a number of prestigious awards. Although formally retired, Larson remains actively involved in scientific research at ORNL.
Cmdr. Brian C. Kesselring '00
Cmdr. Brian C. Kesselring, a 2000 Concordia graduate, joined the Navy in 2001. Following fighter jet training, Kesselring served with several squadrons, trained aircrew at the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), and completed combat deployments in support of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom, New Dawn, and Inherent Resolve. He has more than 3,900 flight hours, 812 carrier arrested landings, over 120 combat missions, and received several medals and awards. He earned a master’s degree in national security strategy (JPME Phase II) from the Naval War College. Most recently, Kesselring was selected to serve as the Blue Angels’ commander leading a team of 141 members serving as ambassadors to the Navy and Marines.
Tara (Steuber) Wilson '06
Tara (Steuber) Wilson grew up on a farm near Perham, Minn., graduating from Concordia in 2006 with majors in mathematics and Spanish. She earned her master’s degree and a doctorate, both in mathematical sciences, from Clemson University where she was honored with the Outstanding Citizenship Award in 2009. She also received the Graduate Assistance Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2010. She is currently senior decision science consultant for The Walt Disney Co., based in Orlando, Fla. Her team performs analytical consultation, research, and applications/systems development to optimize business decisions for various segments across the company, including several resorts, the Disney Cruise Line, and ABC and ESPN. Wilson was a President’s Seminar speaker at Concordia as part of the 125th Anniversary of Concordia celebration and has co-authored two publications. She volunteers at Quest Camp Thunderbird, a camp for adults and children with disabilities, and with Central Florida Junior Achievement.