Concordia honors alumni with Sent Forth award

Erin Campbell '04 and Alex Ritter '09

Concordia College honored its 2024 Sent Forth recipients, Erin Campbell '04 and Dr. Alex Ritter '09, during the Senior Banquet. 

The Sent Forth awards are given to young alumni who have made an impact early in their careers, emphasizing service to others and strong vocational commitment.

Erin Campbell/Minnesota Management and Budget

Campbell works as the commissioner of Minnesota Management and Budget and leads the state agency by supporting enterprise employee relations, statewide accounting, debt management, budget services, and planning.

In her two decades of public service, her work has included being a senior policy advisor, leading Minnesota's facilities management division, and driving the advancement of sustainability in government operations.

In 2020, she began leading the Minnesota Department of Health’s Long-Term Care Battle Plan, working to keep COVID-19 out of long-term care facilities. 

She has earned numerous honors, including the Minnesota Department of Administration Star of the North in 2017 and the MSSA Grassroots Advocacy Award in 2004. She has been a board member of Avenues for Homeless Youth and served on the District Energy Board of Directors. 

"Erin’s leadership in public service and commitment to community well-being reflect the core values that Concordia College instills in its students," said Eric Johnson, director of Alumni Relations at Concordia College. "Her significant contributions to state governance and her advocacy for social justice demonstrate the impact that our alumni can have when they carry forward the spirit of service and dedication. It's a privilege to honor her achievements with the Sent Forth award."

Ritter is a senior cell and tissue reprogramming scientist with Altos Labs in Redwood City, California. He established imaging techniques that allowed him to produce quality videos and pictures of cells, which are now widely used to demonstrate cytotoxic T-cell activity.

He is deeply engaged in science outreach through traditional media and social media outlets, and his work has been featured on BBC and the cover of Science Magazine.

Throughout his career, he has continued contributing to Concordia academics, delivering the biology department’s Fuglestad Lecture in 2022, presenting at the chemistry department’s 100th anniversary celebration, and serving on the advisory board for Concordia Leads: Instructing and Mentoring in Biotechnology (CLIMB). 

"Alex's work in the field of cellular biology not only represents the cutting edge of scientific advancement, but it also speaks to Concordia's commitment to fostering graduates who are dedicated to making a difference in the world," remarked Johnson. "His innovative research and continued engagement with the Concordia community are truly inspiring, and we are honored to recognize his accomplishments with this award."

Alex Ritter offers guidance for graduating seniors.

At the Senior Banquet, both alumni gave advice to graduates, including taking risks and seizing new opportunities throughout their careers. Another highlight of their speeches was the importance of Concordia faculty in their lives. 

Campbell’s advisor was a resource for advice when she didn’t know what path was right for her. She emphasized the significance of staying connected to faculty after graduation. 

Ritter remembered the faculty members who helped him obtain research opportunities where he discovered that he didn’t feel connected to dentistry or doctoring but knew he still wanted to be involved in the field of science. 

Past Sent Forth recipients