2023 Alumni Achievement Award Recipients

Photo L-R top: Betty Malen, Steve Wonderlich/L-R bottom: Randy Boushek, Gary Henderson

Concordia’s National Alumni Board has named Dr. Betty Malen ’68, Dr. Stephen Wonderlich ’78, Randall “Randy” Boushek ’79, and The Rev. Gary Henderson ’79 as the 2023 Alumni Achievement Award (AAA) recipients.

The AAA is the college's highest honor and is conferred upon alumni who have distinguished themselves in their careers and service to others. For graduates of 20 years or more, the AAA is reserved for alumni at the pinnacle of their vocational life. Malen, Wonderlich, Boushek and Henderson have embodied the qualities of the AAA recipient throughout their careers.

Dr. Betty Malen ’68 was professor of education policy and politics at the University of Maryland, College Park, until she passed away from cancer in February. She began her career as a speech/English teacher and debate/forensics coach at Huron High School in Ann Arbor, Mich. After three years as a nationally recognized teacher, she moved into central administration and was a member of a committee planning for an alternative high school. She earned a master’s degree from the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota. She was assistant principal for Fargo (N.D.) North High School and, while in Fargo, worked to carry out educational programs on drug and alcohol abuse. She held professorial positions at the University of Utah and the University of Washington and, when she transitioned to higher education, worked closely with school communities in Salt Lake City, Bellevue, Wash., and Prince George’s County, Ma., to foster improvements in public schools. She received UMD’s Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award and many other honors and grants. She had numerous scholarly works – books, book chapters, presentations – and many leadership roles on committees and associations. 

Dr. Stephen Wonderlich ’78 is vice president for research and co-director of the Center for Biobehavioral Research at Sanford. He is also a Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, University of North Dakota (UND) School of Medicine & Health Sciences. He has published widely in clinical and scientific journals. He currently is on the editorial board for several professional journals, is a past president of the Academy of Eating Disorders, and was a member of the Eating Disorder Workgroup for DSM-5. He serves, or has served, on the board of directors for several eating disorder organizations, including the Eating Disorder Research Society and the National Eating Disorder Association. He also serves as the director of the Treatment Collaborative for Traumatized Youth, an organization dedicated to enhancing treatment for abused and neglected children. He earned his doctorate from the University of Missouri and did postdoctoral fellowship training at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He served in professorial positions at UND for more than 34 years and, during that time, was engaged at the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute in Fargo, N.D., where he conducted much of his research.

Randall “Randy” Boushek ’79, retired senior vice president and chief financial officer for Thrivent Financial, joined Lutheran Brotherhood, which merged with AAL to become Thrivent Financial, as an associate actuary in 1981 and held various positions during his 40-year career with the organization. A Fellow of the Society of Actuaries and member of the American Academy of Actuaries, he also earned a certificate from the Minnesota Management Academy. In 2010, he was named CFO of the Year in the Twin Cities by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce, the Board of Directors of Concordia Plan Services (LCMS) in St. Louis, and the Board of Directors of the Minneapolis Downtown Council. He was also a member and chair of Concordia’s Board of Regents and chair of the search committee that brought President Craft to the college. He also gave Concordia’s Commencement Address in 2012. He is generous with his time and resources, was actively involved with church sports, and coached youth soccer teams for 12 years. In 1995, he was the recipient of the annual Anoka Community Service Award for work with youth.

The Rev. Gary Henderson ’79 has been chief relationship officer – Global Partnerships for United Methodist Communications since 2017. He is the primary protocol officer for the strategic development and maintenance of communication ministry for the United Methodist Church around the world. He has traveled to six of the seven continents and visited more than 100 countries to preach, teach, and lead. He was previously executive director of Global Health Initiative, a senior salesman and account supervisor for Union Oil of California, and pastor or senior pastor at several churches in Ohio. He is currently a member of Concordia’s Board of Regents. He is Head of Delegation to the United Methodist General Conference for 2024 and five-time delegate to the General Conference, the highest legislative body of the denomination that meets every four years. He received a Courageous Leadership Award, an Ecumenical Award, and several others. He has been a member of numerous committees and a plenary speaker and workshop leader at conferences and churches. He earned a Master of Divinity from Interdenominational Theological Center at Gammon Seminary, Atlanta, and a Summer Institute for Religious Studies certificate from Oxford University.

Concordia will honor the recipients during Homecoming 2023 this fall.

Learn more about prior AAA honorees.