Alumni Awards 2016

Alumni Awards 2016

Alumni Awards 2016
Award winners during halftime of the Homecoming football game on Oct. 15. From left: Gwendolyn Martin, Tom and Kristine Obrecht, Stephanie Gronau, Dr. Bernadine Sikorski.

The Buena Vista University National Alumni Association honored individuals and couples for their service to Buena Vista University and to their communities at a special luncheon and at half-time of the Homecoming game on Oct. 15.

Those who were honored are:

Stephanie Gronau, Class of 1998, of Urbandale, is the recipient of the 2016 Keith Briscoe Alumni Award. The award is named in honor of BVU’s 16th president, who led the campus from 1974 to 1995 and recognizes recent graduates for their past student achievements and present career success. 

During her time at BVU, Gronau was a Senior of the Year finalist before graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Gronau was a letter winner as a member of the Beaver women’s basketball team and softball team, and was inducted into the BVU Hall of Fame in 2009. Gronau, a CPA, is now employed as a senior finance analyst in the DuPont Pioneer & DuPont Crop Protection Seed Treatment Enterprise. She works on the Seed Treatment Enterprise team, which is accountable for integrating seed treatment strategies between DuPont Pioneer and DuPont Crop Protection, as well as optimizing the research and development resources and business capabilities. 

Gronau is a loyal event attendee and Beaver fan. She assists BVU students by providing career advice, helping with admissions efforts, and engaging her fellow alumni in the life of BVU. She was a member of the Alumni Board for 6 years (2006-12), where she served as chair in her final two years, and a member of BVU’s Order of the Arch donor society.

Gwendolyn Martin, Class of 1960, of Sac City, is the recipient of the 2016 Henry Olson Distinguished Service Alumni Award. This award is the highest honor presented by the BVU Alumni Association. The award is named in honor of the University’s 13th president and recognizes former students who have made significant contributions to society and/or the University and for their exceptional effort, dedication and self-sacrifice in service to others. 

As a student, Martin worked in the library and assisted in creating annual yearbooks. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and went on to earn a master’s degree from Drake University. Before her retirement, Martin taught elementary and junior high students in Newell and Sac City, as well as at the Howard Center Inc. and GED classes at Iowa Central Community College. 

Martin and her late husband, Larry, established the Larry & Gwen Martin Endowed Scholarship to support students studying business education. Along with her father, philanthropist Charles Lehnus, they established the Charles Lehnus Endowed Fund in support of BVU’s spiritual life program. Lehnus’ gifts to BVU supported many capital projects including endowing the Lehnus Campus Bookstore. Martin is a member of the Order of the Arch, supported the Estelle Siebens Science Center and attends the Celebrating Scholarships Dinner each spring.

Tom Obrecht ’88 and his wife, Kristine (Albertsen) Obrecht ’90 of Mequon, Wis. are the recipients of the 2016 John Fisher Alumni Award. Established in 1970 and named in honor of the University’s 14th president, the John Fisher Award recognizes BVU graduates who possess a consistent and persevering dedication to the qualities for which the University stands. 

Kristine graduated from BVU with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and Tom graduated with a bachelor’s degree in music education. The couple moved to Omaha in 1991 where Tom worked as a personal trainer. Kristine began working for Deloitte & Touche. After several promotions, their family moved to Wisconsin. Kristine was made partner, and is currently a lead client services partner, where she directs all audit and related services for large publically traded financial services companies. 

Tom and Kristine remain active with BVU as members of the Order of the Arch and donors to the Harold Walter Siebens 25th Anniversary, Entrepreneur & Business Leadership Development fund and the Wayne Higley Endowment Scholarship. Kristine has served on the BVU National Alumni Association Board (1999-2004) and the President’s Advisory Council (2008-14).

Dr. Bernadine Sikorski of Festus, Mo. is the recipient of the 2016 Wendell Halverson Outstanding Friend Award. The award is named in honor of BVU’s 15th president and recognizes individuals who, although not alumni of the University, have demonstrated a commitment to Buena Vista University and its students. 

Sikorski is a former BVU Dean of Students/Vice President of Student Affairs and also served as a BVU Trustee from 1982-2007. Dr. Sikorski designed and taught an adult re-entry to college orientation course at BVU, as well as instructed classes at BVU Spencer. Sikorski is a loyal Order of the Arch donor, a member of the Z.Z. White Heritage Society and has supported many major BVU projects such as the Estelle Siebens Science Center and the Lamberti Recreation Center. 

Sikorski currently serves as a Human Resources Management Consultant, and is an Adjunct Faculty member in Drexel University’s Human Resources Graduate Program. She is a licensed professional counselor, and holds a doctorate in higher education administration from St. Louis University, a master’s degree in education and psychology and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northern Arizona University. Sikorski was a co-founder of Bechtel University, and a member of the Advisory Board for Online Learning at the University of Tennessee. She is a member of the Tri-Cities Optimist Club, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Court Appointed Special Advocates organization in Hillsboro, Mo.