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Alumni honored for achievements, service

The Augustana Alumni Association recognized the achievements, contributions and service of four alumni and one college group at Homecoming Oct. 5.

The association solicits nominations and recommends candidates to receive Alumni Association awards each year. Each of type of award may be presented to one or more alumni.

Here are the 2019 winners:

Finest Under Forty

The Finest Under Forty Outstanding Alumnus/a Award recognizes the recipient’s achievement in his or her vocation, contribution to Augustana through service to the college, and/or contribution to society through exceptional community service.

Derek Strom, Class of 2002

After receiving a bachelor’s in physics and mathematics in 2002 at Augustana, Derek Strom earned a master’s in physics in 2004 and doctorate in physics in 2009 from Northwestern University.

Strom currently is a scientist at the internationally known Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich, Germany.

"Augie prepared me for a career in the physical sciences, with a strong foundation in physics and mathematics, while at the same time offered a place to pursue other interests, such as poetry, photography and Scandinavian culture. Studying abroad during the Latin America 2000 program also became the impetus for me to decide to live and work abroad, something I have done now for nearly a decade." – Derek Strom

Outstanding Achievement Award

The Outstanding Achievement Award recognizes the recipient’s achievement in his or her vocation.

William Farrow, Class of 1977

After graduating from Augustana in 1977, William (Bill) Farrow earned a master’s in management from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and in 1979 became a senior consultant at Arthur Andersen & Co. In 1983, he was an acquisitions manager for GD Searle Pharmaceuticals, and in 1985, he was named director of Strategy & Business Development for Dart & Kraft, before beginning his career in banking. 

Farrow currently is the owner of the advisory company Winston and Wolfe LLC, serving as its chairman and chief executive officer. He also is a director of three public companies and one GSE (government-sponsored enterprise). Farrow is highly sought after as a board member for organizations across the country and currently serves as a director of WEC Energy Group, Inc. Among his most impactful career achievements was co-founding Urban Partnership Bank in Chicago, where he served as chief executive officer and president from 2010 until 2018. Urban Partnership Bank was started in 2010 from a failed bank (ShoreBank) during the most significant global economic downturn since the Great Depression. Farrow helped lead the turnaround of the failed bank. This provided capital for job creation, saved churches and funded housing in communities that traditionally are the last to receive support. 

Before co-founding Urban Partnership Bank, Farrow was the chief information officer and executive vice president of the Chicago Board of Trade from 2001 to 2007. He has been a director of Chicago Board Options Exchange Global Markets Inc. and a director of Echo Global Logistics, Inc. He also served as a director of Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago from 2013 to 2018.

Outstanding Service Award

The Outstanding Service Award recognizes the recipient’s contributions to society through exceptional community service.

Dr. Norm Moline, Class of 1964

After graduating in mathematics from Augustana, Norm Moline headed east to the University of Chicago where he earned his master’s (1966) and Ph.D. (1970) in geography. He was the chair of Augustana’s geography department from 1975-1995, and he was the first professor to hold the Edward Hamming Chair of Geography from 1998 until he retired in 2013. Dr. Moline was one of four faculty members who started Augustana’s fall terms in East Asia in 1974 and then directed or co-directed all 14 subsequent fall term programs from 1977-2013.

Although retired from teaching at Augustana, Dr. Moline has continued his lifelong commitment to service. In 1990, he was named Rock Island Citizen of the Year, and in 2009, he received a River Action Eddy Award for Education for “going against the current in achieving excellence on the riverfront.”

Currently, Dr. Moline is a member of the River Action Board of Directors and presents summer Riverine Walks and Channel Cat talks. He also is a member of the City of Rock Island Planning Commission and Sylvan Island Advisory Committee. At the state and regional level, Dr. Moline is a member of the State of Illinois National Register of Historic Sites Advisory Council, a lecturer for the Illinois Humanities Council “Roads Scholar Program” and member of the Northern Illinois Synod – ELCA World Hunger Committee.

Richard A. Swanson Humanitarian Award

The Richard A. Swanson Humanitarian Award recognizes the recipient’s service to the church, to Augustana and/or involvement with social issues on a local, state or national level.

George and Beth Beart Drost, Class of 1969

George Drost is a 1972 graduate of DePaul Law School, is an attorney and founding partner in the firm of Drost Kivlahan McMahon & O’Connor LLC (DKM&O LLC). Having served as the Honorary Consul of the Czech Republic for Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, Drost has been actively involved in several initiatives to strengthen relations between the Czech Republic and United States, including the American Friends of the Czech Republic, Washington D.C. He currently serves as chair of the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Drost also has served as a board member (and former president) of WorldChicago, Chicago; board member, Presbyterian Homes, Evanston, Ill.; board member, Ephraim Historical Foundation, Ephraim, Wis.; and adjunct professor, John Marshall Law School, Chicago.

Beth Beart Drost is a speech pathologist, gerontologist and community volunteer. She received a master’s in gerontology from Roosevelt University and began a career at the Lutheran Home in Arlington Heights, Ill. She was the first director of the Lutheran Home’s Hearthstone Assisted Living Facility. While still working, she made seven trips to Gaspar Hernandez in the Dominican Republic as part of a ministry team from First Presbyterian Church of Arlington Heights to provide medical clinics, worship opportunities and Bible school for children.

After retiring from Hearthstone in 2002, Drost served as first director of senior ministry at First Presbyterian Church. While there, she and her husband, George, were drawn to children’s ministry and founded the Lydia Home Safe-Families that provides respite for families under stress and duress. She also worked for several years as a Stephen Ministry leader and has been involved with the Ephraim Historical Foundation.

Honorary Alumnus/a Award

The Honorary Alumnus/a Award recognizes significant contributions to Augustana by a friend of the college.

Matt Fitzsimmons

Matt is a graduate of the University of Iowa. He lives in Iowa City and has been a guest pottery artist/volunteer/instructor at Augustana College since 2008.

“Matt has volunteered in the art department for the last 10 years. He has inspired students in the pottery shop, helping them to learn new skills. There are approximately 550 students who have benefited from Matt’s generous and helpful presence. His involvement makes our studio very welcoming and also very well equipped. Probably the most important thing he provides is as a cheerleader for the students. He listens to and advises them and keeps in touch with them once they leave us. Matt has made guest appearances for the past several years at a school where one of our alumni teaches.

“Primarily Matt volunteers in the pottery shop, but he’s also helped in other art department renovation projects. He’s always ready to volunteer his amazing problem-solving skills and has diagnosed and fixed numerous department machines such as our clay processor and our water vacuum.” – Megan Quinn, Augustana art professor

Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion recognizes an individual or organization that works to promote diversity, equity and inclusion on campus.

Lydia Ruelas Durán, Class of 2005

Augustana 2005 graduate Lydia Ruelas Durán majored in sociology with a concentration in anthropology and a minor in Spanish. She went on to earn her master’s in education.

She teaches 11th- and 12th-grade English at Delano High School in Delano, Calif. Duran has been a volunteer and advocate of the National Hispanic Institute’s leadership programs for several years.

"My liberal arts education provided me with an understanding of new and important perspectives, and how to communicate effectively. These lessons were the result of incredibly strong and caring professors, my study abroad experience, and a safe and encouraging campus, to name a few." – Lydia Ruelas Durán

Brenda C. Barnes Award for Distinguished Service to Augustana College

The Brenda C. Barnes Award for Distinguished Service to Augustana College was inspired by the example of 1975 graduate Brenda Czajka Barnes. This award recognizes the recipient’s personal commitment to advancing Augustana College and its mission. Recipients are selected by the president of the college.

Julie Hamman Elliott, Class of 1982

After graduating with a bachelor’s in music education from Augustana, Julie Hamann Elliot earned her master’s in piano performance. She is a member of the Board Of Trustees at Augustana College and a board member of the non-profit Tikkun Olam.

"I fondly recall the only poetry class I took and still remember the impact it had on me—the professor leading us through each line, explaining the meter, alliteration, the symbolic meaning and other elements of language a poet uses. I discovered a whole new world I previously knew nothing about, and that was a wonderful thing." – Julie Hamman Elliott

Lois Levine Mundie, Class of 1969

Augustana 1969 graduate Lois Levine Mundie majored in chemistry/pre-medicine. She earned her M.D. from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 1973. Mundie completed her residency in obstetrics/gynecology at the University of Iowa in 1976 and a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco in 1978.

She is retired from private practice and volunteers at the San Francisco Homeless Prenatal Program, the San Francisco Free Clinic and Marin County Free Clinic.

"Only after I compared my undergraduate experience with fellow medical students did I realize the value of the fostering and collaborative environment that I had been privileged to experience. Exposure to the broad curriculum fostered a desire for lifelong learning and going to the German summer program started a long history of travel." – Lois Levine Mundie

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