BISMARCK, N.D. — The University of Mary recognized three outstanding alumni at its annual Alumni Recognition and Hall of Fame Induction over the weekend.

 

Bob Martinson ’72 – Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

University of Mary Presidential Leadership Award: This award is conferred on individual alumni for distinguished achievements as servant leaders regionally, nationally, or internationally.

MartinsonAs a respected government leader, Martinson has faithfully served the people of North Dakota since 1972 in his long and distinguished role in the North Dakota House of Representatives. Those roles have included serving as past Majority Leader and past Chairman of the State and Federal Government Committee. Currently, he is a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Many groups have shown their appreciation for Martinson’s dedication to public service by honoring him with a Legislator of the Year designation — the North Dakota Bar Association, the Family Medical Association, the Children’s Caucus and the State Library Association.

His past career also includes an appointment by Gov. Ed Shafer to be the North Dakota State Tourism Director. He served his state and country as a member of the North Dakota National Guard for 26 years, retiring at the rank of Lt. Colonel.

Currently, Bob is the national chairman of the Center for Legislative Education Energy and Research.

Martinson earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Mary in 1972.

He appreciates the faculty, staff and Sisters at the university who had a great impact on his life, and he remembers them with gratitude — Sister Bridgette Dunn, Sister Jude Braus, Sister Thomas Welder, Dr. Harry Miller, Jim Volk and Greg Tschider.

Bob was born and raised in Bismarck, the son of the late Jo and Ed Martinson. He is married to the university’s own Dr. Jodi Roller, and has a wonderful extended family — siblings, Mary Jo (Mrs. Walt) Bailey, Deborah Martinson and Dr. Jon Martinson; Jodi’s children, Matthew Roller and Rebecca Ripley, and seven grandchildren, Sam, Max and Addison Roller; Toby, Sophia, Brody and Abigail Ripley.

Bob’s life outside the North Dakota Legislature includes a love of traveling, particularly to Europe, and gardening. Among his other accolades, Bob has earned the designation of Master Gardener.

Chris Baumgartner — ’95, Bachelor of Science; ’03, Master of Management; ’09, Master of Business Administration

2015 Bell Banner Award: In recognition of the ideals of the University’s sponsors, the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery, this award honors alumni for modeling the values of respect, hospitality, moderation, service, community, and prayer.
BaumgartnerIn his life and career, Baumgartner has modeled the values of the university’s sponsors, the Benedictine Sisters of Annunciation Monastery.

As the co-general manager and Chief Executive Officer for four electric cooperative utilities, Baumgartner helps lead service to approximately 30,000 residential and commercial electricity accounts in south-central and southwestern North Dakota — Innovative Energy Alliance provides management services to electric cooperatives that spread across 18,000 square miles of this state.

Baumgartner understands deeply that one person cannot do alone what can be accomplished by working together — for this reason, Baumgartner was attracted to the cooperative service aspect of the utility industry, and takes great pride in combining North Dakota’s tradition of agriculture with respect for the land and respect for the rural life of this state.

Baumgartner is a three-time graduate of the University of Mary — earning a Bachelor of Science in 1995, a Master of Management in 2003 and a Master of Business Administration in 2009.

Baumgartner points to the hospitality and charity that are truly lived at the University by Sisters and staff as an inspiration to live out these values in his professional and personal life.

Among many others, he mentions Bev Huschka, Donna Stack, Jaime Meyer, John Baker, Fr. Richard Wilhelmi, Fr. Dennis Fournier, Fr. Valerian Odermann, Milo Trusty, Sr. Mariah Dietz, Sr. Rosanne Zastoupil and Sister Thomas Welder.

Baumgartner’s dedication to the Benedictine values extends to his life as a community leader. He serves in many important roles in this community. He is a member of the Bismarck-Mandan Development Association leadership council. He is a member of the finance council for Cathedral of the Holy Spirit, and serves in the board of directors of Community Works. Previously, he was on the board of directors for Aid, Inc., in Mandan, a nonprofit that serves the working poor.

Baumgartner, raised in Napoleon, was also recently appointed to the University of Mary Board of Regents.

His parents are Sandra and the late David Baumgartner. His wife, Tiffany, is a native of Richardton, and a University of Mary graduate in nursing. They are the parents of six children; Simon, Lucia, Benedict, Jude, Mary Clare and Isidora.

Michelle Rivard ParksMichelle Rivard Parks—’96 – Bachelor of Science, English Honors

University of Mary Harold Schafer Alumni Leadership Award: This award recognizes graduates who have attained distinction as leaders in their professions while exemplifying the values cherished by the University of Mary.

 

Michelle Rivard Parks expresses her beliefs in these words: “Peace and balance are the true measures of a life well lived.”

To Parks, Benedictine values such as living simply and with balance are among those great, simple things — a constant presence in her daily life, guiding her in her career and her service as she addresses issues that impact North Dakota’s Native American citizens.

Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, of Cree descent, Parks earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Honors at the University of Mary in 1996 and her Juris Doctorate from University of North Dakota School of Law in 1999.

Michelle has said that her time at the University of Mary set the stage for her life to come, a life that models the virtues of respect for others and is committed to the belief that all men and women are created in the image of God and should be treated with respect and compassion.

Currently, Parks is the associate director of the Tribal Judicial Institute, which provides training and technical assistance to tribal justice systems, as an attorney for the Spirit Lake Tribe in North Dakota. She is also the Chief Justice of the MHA (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara) Nation Supreme Court.

In addition, Parks serves as a special judge for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, and is working on a project with the First Nations Women’ Alliance, which works to meet the needs of victims of violence. Currently, Michelle is a member of the North Dakota Supreme Court State Tribal Court committee. A highlight of Parks’ career has been her appointment by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to the U.S. Department of Justice Violence Against Women Federal and Tribal Prosecution Task Force.

Parks appreciates the sense of hope generated by the nation-building happening in many tribal communities, which she sees as a testament to the strength of Native communities and people.

 

 

Four people also were inducted into the University of Mary Marauders Hall of Fame during the 2015 homecoming festivities.

Mike Seeger

Outstanding Athlete

Wrestling 1993-97

 

SeegerOne of the most decorated student-athletes in the history of the University of Mary, Marauders wrestler Mike Seeger was named a two-time national champion and four-time All-American in the University of Mary’s wrestling program.

 

Seeger grew up in Bismarck, graduated from Century High School, and spent his first year of college at the University of Nebraska. When he returned to Bismarck, he made an immediate impact on the Marauders wrestling program.

In Seeger’s first season at the University of Mary, the Marauders were the NAIA runners-up and Seeger finished second in the nation at 158 pounds.

In 1995, he won the first of two straight NAIA national championships at 158 pounds. As a junior in 1996, he was the champion again, earning the Gorriaran Award and being voted the national tournament’s outstanding wrestler. Once again, the Marauders placed second in the team standings for the nation.

In 1997, his senior year, a head injury kept Seeger from continuing to compete; nevertheless, he placed sixth and again helped the Marauders take second nationally.

In four seasons with the Marauders, Seeger posted a career mark of 140-6. He was a two-time NAIA champion and a four-time All-American. Additionally he captured four conference titles and four district championships. Seeger is just one of three Marauders wrestlers with multiple national titles and one of just six who are four-time All-Americans.

The son of Sherwin and Lorie Seeger, Seeger graduated from the University of Mary with a degree in accounting and business in 1997. Currently working for KeyImpact Sales, Seeger lives in Loretto, Minn., with his wife, Charity, and their children, Ava and Cole.

 

Jessica (Janusz) Keller

Outstanding Athlete

Women’s Soccer 2005-2008

 

Jessica Janusz KellerIn the University of Mary’s advance from NAIA to NCAA Division II competition, the Marauders women’s soccer team was immediately successful, earning consecutive Northern Sun conference championships and the school’s first NCAA team tournament berth, and Jessica (Janusz) Keller was the key ingredient.

During the Marauders transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II, the University of Mary began playing in the Northern Sun Conference in 2006. Following a fifth-place finish in the regular season, the Marauders captured the NSIC postseason tournament by winning three straight games by identical 1-0 scores.

Keller, who had assisted on the team’s lone goal in the semifinals, scored a golden goal in overtime to defeat reigning champion Winona State 1-0 in the championship. She earned all-tournament team and tournament most valuable player honors and made the all-NSIC third team.

The Marauders improved to fourth in the NSIC in 2007 and again won the conference tournament, all by 1-0 scores. Keller, an all-NSIC second team choice, scored the lone goal in the tournament opener and again was named to the all-tournament team. The Marauders then became the first University of Mary team to qualify for an NCAA tournament.

The team finished 16-7 and Keller earned all-NSIC first team honors as a senior as the University of Mary finished fourth in the league and made the conference tournament semifinals.

Keller finished her career with 30 goals, 22 assists and 82 points. She currently ranks eighth all-time in all three Marauders team career categories. A team captain as a senior, she was a three-time NSIC all-academic team selection (2006-08) and was the University of Mary’s NSIC Women’s Honor Student-Athlete for 2008-09. Keller was an NSCAA all-region third team selection in 2006, a first team choice in 2007 and was named to the Daktronics all-region second team in 2008.

A native of Bismarck and a graduate of St. Mary’s Central High School, Keller is the daughter of Jim and Mary Janusz. She graduated from the University of Mary summa cum laude in 2008 before earning her doctorate of optometry from Pacific University. Currently residing in Dickinson, N.D., she an optometrist at Eyewear Concepts. She and her husband, Mike, have a daughter, Brita.

 

Nichole (Seaver) Walker

Outstanding Athlete

Softball 2002-2005

 

Nichole Seaver WalkerA dominant player on some of the University of Mary’s most successful softball teams, Nichole (Seaver) Walker was a two-time All-American who led the Marauders to the NAIA World Series three times in the early 2000s.

Joining the University of Mary from her hometown of Visalia, Calif., Walker made an immediate impact. A career .350 hitter at the University of Mary, the outfielder was named the DAC-10 Freshman of the Year and earned all-conference and all-region honors as the Marauders won the conference crown, a regional title and made the NAIA World Series in 2002, winning three of five games.

The following season was nearly identical as the Marauders again won the DAC-10, the regional tournament and qualified for the World Series as Walker earned all-conference and all-region honors. The Marauders finished fourth in the country after taking five of seven games, the school’s best finish, and Walker was named to the NAIA all-tournament team.

As a junior in 2004, Walker hit .470 for the season and was named the DAC-10 Most Valuable Player. She earned NAIA All-American honors for the first time and repeated as an all-region selection, though the Marauders just missed the national tournament. In her final season, Walker claimed DAC-10 Senior of the Year honors, along with all-region and all-American recognition. Again the Marauders won DAC-10 and regional titles to advance to the NAIA World Series for the final time before beginning the transition to the NCAA the next season.

In her four seasons, the Marauders were 131-64 overall, 65-13 in league play, won four DAC-10 titles, captured three regional titles, and went 9-7 at three national championships.

The daughter of Greg and Alisha Adams and Ron and Sylvia Seaver, Walker graduated from the University of Mary in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in communication and minors in philosophy and theology. She later earned a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Phoenix in 2007 and is a fourth grade teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Avondale, Ariz. Nichole lives in Litchfield Park, Ariz., with her husband, Brett, a 2004 University of Mary graduate, and their children, Mia and Declan.

 

Jesse Laber

Outstanding Athlete

Wrestling and Football 2002-2008

LaberThe final NAIA national wrestling champion for the University of Mary and the school’s first NCAA Division II all-American, two-sport athlete Jesse Laber played a key role in Marauders athletics making a successful transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II. The three-time wrestling all-American was also an all-conference performer on the gridiron.

A two-time state champion at Napoleon (N.D.) High School, Laber made an immediate impact on the Marauders wrestling team, finishing third in the nation to capture NAIA All-American honors as a freshman in 2003.

He earned the Gorriaran Memorial Trophy for the greatest number of falls in the least amount of time at the national championships and University of Mary placed eighth in the country. After taking a year off, Laber returned to the mat and captured the ultimate prize as a sophomore in 2005 — a national championship. The last Marauders grappler to win an individual title in the NAIA, Laber was honored as the DAC-10 most valuable wrestler.

With the Marauders ineligible for postseason competition in 2006 and 2007 during the transition from NAIA to NCAA, Laber made sure to leave a mark in the record books during his senior year. Undefeated during the regular season, Laber lost for the first time all season at the regional meet and entered the 2008 NCAA national championships with a record of 15-1. He won twice on opening day to become the first Marauders student-athlete to claim NCAA All-American honors and finished fifth in the country.

Laber also made a mark in football. A two-year starter at defensive end, Laber led the Marauders in sacks and tackles for loss two straight years. After recording 9.0 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks as a junior, Laber claimed all-Northern Sun second team honors as a senior in 2007. He piled up a league-leading 11 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss as the Marauders finished second in the league. He is in the school’s career top 15 in tackles for loss and sacks.

The son of Dave and Patty Laber, Laber graduated from the University of Mary in 2008 with a degree in university studies. Laber is a farmer and lives in Steele, N.D., with his wife, Kayla, and their children, Hadley and Luke.