Alumni Awards 2009

Alumni Awards 2009


Shown from left with Drew Van Meeteren, center, president of the alumni association, are: Dr. Charles Slagle SL'60, Gary Lalone SL'72, Dr. Jaime Brower SL'00, and Dr. Robert Tollefson.

The Buena Vista University (BVU) National Alumni Association honored five individuals over Homecoming weekend for their service to the university and to society. The awards were presented at a special ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Those honored were:

Dr. Charles Slagle, Class of 1960, of Storm Lake, the recipient of the Henry Olson Award. The award is the highest honor presented by the BVU Alumni Association. Named in honor of BVU's 13th president, the award recognizes former students who have made significant contributions to society and/or to the University for their exceptional effort, dedication and self-sacrifice in service to others.

Charles is professor emeritus of chemistry at Buena Vista University, having served on the faculty for 30 years.

A native of Whittemore, Iowa, Charles earned his associate of arts degree at Emmetsburg Community College in 1956. He then attended the University of Iowa before transferring to Buena Vista, where he earned his bachelor's degree with a major in general science.

He taught high school math and science in Thompson, Iowa for five years and began graduate work at Iowa State University, completing his PhD at the University of South Dakota in 1970.

Charles joined the Buena Vista faculty in 1969. During his career at BV, he taught in every science discipline and was dean of the School of Science for 10 years. He developed BV's computer science program in 1971, co-authored a computer science textbook and obtained a grant for BV to purchase its first computer. He also established and staffed a research station for BV science students in Puerto Rico and developed BV's former Lambe Nature Preserve.

Charles also pioneered the development of foreign study courses at BVU, organizing and serving as the lead faculty member on 17 international trips, the first to Europe in 1973. He also coached women's golf, was an assistant women's basketball coach, served for 10 years on BVU's Athletic Hall of Fame board and completed two terms on the board of the BVU National Alumni Association.

Over the years, Charles has also been active in the community as a member of the Elks, Lake Creek Country Club, the Buena Vista Sesquicentennial Committee and a volunteer in the local schools and at "Santa's Castle."

His wife of 50 years, Mary, worked at BVU for 20 years serving as director of international students and starting the learning center, which was the foundation for what is now the Center for Academic Excellence. They have three daughters - Susan (class of 1991) and Peggy, both of Storm Lake and Ellen Christie of Portland, Oregon - and four grandchildren. His brother, Tom of Sioux City, is a 1973 graduate of BV.

Dr. Jaime Brower, Class of 2000, of Denver, Colo., the recipient of the Keith Briscoe Award. The award was named in honor of BVU's 16th President, who led the campus from 1974 to 1995. It is intended to recognize recent graduates for their past student achievements and present career success.

Jaime, who graduated magna cum laude from BVU with a double major in psychology and political science, is the clinical director and training coordinator for Nicolette-Flater and Associates of Denver, Colo. The nationally recognized company specializes in the psychology of high stress occupations (law enforcement, fire and other emergency services), violence, disaster management, peak performance and extreme environments.

Jaime performs threat assessments and consultations for schools and colleges on recognizing and handling situations that have the potential for violence against students, faculty and staff and was called in as an expert following several nationally publicized campus shootings, including those at Georgia Tech and Bailey, Colo. She also works with clients in situations that deal with stalking, sexual harassment and hostile work environments. Her area of specialty is police psychology with a concentration on pre-employment and fit-for-duty evaluations, trauma debriefings and counseling.

As part of her work with Nicolette-Flater, Jaime has traveled to Antarctica on three occasions (2004, 2005, 2007). She was assigned to both McMurdo and the South Pole stations during her visits and performed psychological debriefings of scientists and crew, as well as psychological testing for those personnel wishing to stay over the winter.

A native of Newell, Jaime was involved in women's basketball, band, the debate, team, student senate and College Republicans while a student at BVU. She completed her master's degree at the University of Denver in 2002 and her doctorate in 2004 with an emphasis on forensics and psychological testing.

In addition to working for Nicolette-Flater, Jaime has a private practice that specializes in therapeutic services and consultation. Outside of work, Jaime volunteers with "Safe Chicks," a non-profit organization that teaches self-defense, personal safety and survival strategies to young women.

In recent years, she has been a featured speaker at a number of professional conferences and is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Psychology Services Section of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Gary Lalone, Class of 1972, of Storm Lake, the recipient of the John Fisher Alumni Award. The award was established in 1970 and named for Buena Vista's 14th president. This outstanding service award recognizes a former student who possesses a consistent and persevering dedication to the qualities for which the University stands.

Gary is the executive director of Storm Lake United, which was recently created by the merger of the Storm Lake Area Development Corporation (SLADC) and the Storm Lake Chamber of Commerce. He had previously served as executive director of both organizations.

Gary, who has lived in Storm Lake most of his life, attended Wayne State College for one year and graduated from BVU with a degree in business administration. He had started working in the retail clothing business while a student at BV.

In 1982, Gary joined The Buckle organization as manager/buyer for the company's Storm Lake store. He served as the company's regional manager from 1988-91 and was vice president of sales from 1991-2001. During his career at The Buckle, Gary was instrumental in growing the business from 17 stores with $9.4 million in sales to 283 stores with $393 million in sales.

In 2001, Gary joined Central Bank in Storm Lake as senior vice president of retail banking and left in 2002 to launch The Lalone Group, a marketing and consulting firm. He joined SLADC in 2003 and had a leadership role in the planning and the $2 million fundraising campaign for Storm Lake's Project AWAYSIS, which led to the development of the city's $28 million King's Pointe Water Park and Resort. As president of the Lake Preservation Association, Gary also led the $8.8 million fundraising campaign for the dredging of Storm Lake.

Gary has been a generous donor to Buena Vista University, with key gifts for the Lamberti Recreation Center and the Estelle Siebens Science Center. He has also worked as a volunteer for BVU Community Campaigns, serving as co-chair in 2007-08, and has chaired the BV Club.

In other community activities, Gary has served on the boards of Methodist Manor, and Faith, Hope & Charity; is chairman of the Lake Improvement Commission; treasurer of the Iowa Lakes Association board; and is president of the Storm Lake School District Foundation board. He has also been active in leadership at Lakeside Presbyterian Church.

Gary has five children, Ryan and Sherae, who live in Des Moines, and Max, Chloe and Samantha, and one grandchild. His wife, Mishelle, is a 1988 graduate of Buena Vista.

Dr. Robert Tollefson, of Storm Lake, and his late wife, Barbara, the recipients of the Wendell Halverson Outstanding Friend Award. Named in honor of BVU's 15th president, the award recognizes service by individuals who are not alumni of the university.

Robert is professor emeritus of philosophy and religion. A native of Cloverton, Minn., earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Michigan Tech in 1950 and then attended Princeton Theological Seminary, earning his bachelor of divinity degree in 1954 and master's of theology in 1956. He also taught electrical engineering part-time while at Princeton. He received his PhD in theology in 1963 from the University of Iowa. He also attended Cambridge University, England, during a BVU sabbatical in the 1978-79 academic year.

Robert served as pastor at Presbyterian churches in Vesta and Milroy, Minn. from 1955-58. He joined the BVU faculty in 1960 and retired in 1992. He was active in Kiwanis at the local and district level and the Storm Lake Arts Council. He also served a term as moderator of the Synod of Lakes & Prairies of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.

A native of Duluth, Minn., Barbara graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1949 and taught home economics in Keewatin, Minn. and at Whitworth College. She and Robert were married in August 1950 in Duluth.
Barbara was active in Lakeside Presbyterian Church in Storm Lake and in leadership of Presbyterian Women and Mariners at the local, regional and national levels. She was appointed by former Gov. Robert Ray to serve on the Iowa Department of Environmental Quality Commission.

In recognition of the Tollefsons' many contributions to the lives of students at Buena Vista, the Robert and Barbara Tollefson Reformed Theology Lectureship was established in 1992 by their children, the BVU community and friends. The lecture is an annual event on the BVU campus and is an opportunity for the community to hear from renowned scholars in the reformed field of study.

For several years, Robert was a distinguished faculty fellow at Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Alaska and Barbara did volunteer mission work there.

The Tollefsons have four children - Rebecca of Columbus, Ohio, Elizabeth Goudschaal of Tripoli, Iowa, Priscilla Robinson of Storm Lake and Jeffery of Alta - and four grandchildren. Barbara died on May 24, 2009.