Watch St. Thomas Day awardee profiles online

The University of St. Thomas community gathered Saturday, March 1, to celebrate its annual St. Thomas Day and to honor recipients of its Humanitarian, Distinguished Alumnus, Professor of the Year, Tommie and Monsignor James Lavin awards.

In past years, award recipients were introduced at the annual St. Thomas Day dinner, and traditionally they gave speeches. In recent years, short videos have profiled each award winner. You can watch them online by clicking the links below.

The videos were prepared by Web and Media Services, Alumni and Constituent Relations and University Relations. Dave Nimmer, professor emeritus of journalism and mass communications, narrates profiles of the Distinguished Alumnus, Humanitarian of the Year and Lavin Award winners; junior broadcast journalism major Joe Henke narrates the Professor of the Year video and senior broadcast journalism major Sarah Rieland narrates the Tommie Award winner’s profile.

Distinguished Alumnus – This year’s award was presented to explorer, educator and National Geographic writer Daniel Buettner, a St. Paul resident who graduated cum laude from St. Thomas in 1983. His globe-spanning bicycle treks earned him Guinness world records and more recently, he founded Blue Zones, a project the studies the world’s best practices in health and longevity. See video.

Humanitarian of the Year – St. Thomas alumnus Paul Langenfeld, who earned a 1989 Bachelor of Arts degree in theology and a 1992 Master of Divinity, received the 2008 Humanitarian of the Year Award. Langenfeld, of St. Paul, works as a personal-care attendant for those who are disabled. He founded the Langenfeld Foundation in 2006 to create opportunities in the areas of fishing, hunting, nature, sports and music for women and men with mental, physical and developmental disabilities.  See video.

Professor of the Year – Sister Katarina Schuth, who holds the Endowed Chair for the Social Scientific Study of Religion at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity of the University of St. Thomas, is this year’s Professor of the Year. The 47-year-old award recognizes excellence in teaching, scholarship and inspiration to students. Recognized internationally as a leading expert on seminaries, Schuth came to St. Thomas in 1991 and currently chairs the university’s Faculty Senate. See video.

Monsignor James Lavin Award – Michael Thyken, who holds a 1983 bachelor’s degree in business administration and quantitative methods-computer science, received this year’s Lavin award for volunteer service to the St. Thomas Alumni Association. Thyken, who also holds an M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota, is vice president of Corporate Information Technology, Merrill Corp. See video.

Tommie Award – Dejen Tesfagiorgis was selected the 2008 Tommie Award winner by a vote of students, staff and faculty. The award has been given annually since 1931 to a senior who exemplifies the ideals of the university. The award recognizes scholarship, leadership and campus involvement. Tesfagiorgis, of Madison, Wis., was selected from a field of 29 preliminary candidates and three finalists.   See video.