Doane College presented nine alumni awards at its annual awards banquet Sunday, October 7 as part of the annual homecoming celebration.
Honor D Award
The Honor D Award dates back to 1958 and honors former Doane athletes who have succeeded in their chosen careers or service.
Holly Boucher Heyen ’91
A native of Burwell, Holly Heyen ran track and cross country for Doane. Her active lifestyle in college set the tone for accomplishments outside of the classroom in her career and eventual work-life balance.
Heyen graduated from Doane College in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in psychology with minors in philosophy and political science. By 1993, she was working in the financial services industry and had earned the Series 7 FINRA registration, the general securities representative exam. Heyen also holds the Series 63, 65 FINRA registrations and state insurance licenses. In 1999, after completing rigorous education, experience and testing requirements, Heyen became a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP) Practitioner. She completed her Masters of Science degree from the College for Financial Planning in 2007.
In 2004, Heyen joined RBC Wealth Management, the 6th largest full-service investment advisory and wealth management firm in the United States. As a Financial Advisor with RBC Wealth Management, Heyen’s top priority is helping clients financially prepare for the futures they desire. Due to her commitment to stewardship and the trust her clients put in her, Heyen was awarded Director’s Council as recognition for outstanding achievement and excellence.
Heyen has served her community as a youth sports coach, a volunteer at Food Net, and as an advocate for the less fortunate. As a mentor to young parents in the community, Heyen has created an outreach program in her church to teach financial budgeting and planning skills.
Heyen and her husband, Rob ’90L, have two daughters, Ashlea and Elianna. Heyen continues to lead an active lifestyle and has completed the Lincoln half-marathon several times. This year she finished with her oldest daughter. Heyen enjoys traveling and will be headed to Africa this year. Her other hobbies also include riding horses and tending the bees in her backyard apiary.
Dr. Mark W. Mulkey ’82
Dr. Mark Mulkey was born in Fort Collins, Colorado, but moved to Hawaii, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Nebraska as a child due to his father’s career in the Air Force. Making new friends in each town could be difficult for some, but Dr. Mulkey and his brothers always found common ground because of sports.
The football program and excellent science department led Dr. Mulkey to Doane College. He graduated magna cum laude with a double major in biology and chemistry. One of Dr. Mulkey’s fondest memories of Doane is playing football alongside his brothers, Kent and Darren, on the Doane offensive line. The Mulkey boys occupied the offensive guard position at Doane for eight years, playing alongside each other for four years. He received Honorable Mention All-NIAC in 1981. Dr. Mulkey also served as president of Sigma Phi Theta fraternity and Beta Beta Beta biology honor society. He was a member of Phi Eta Sigma freshman honor society, a Doane Scholar, and received the Doane College Chemistry Award.
After leaving Doane, Dr. Mulkey earned his medical degree from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine and completed a general surgery residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and finished a plastic surgery fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. During his plastic surgery fellowship he spent time in Ecuador with an Interplast surgical team performing cleft lip and palate repair.
During his surgical residency, Dr. Mulkey developed and presented a computer program to help residents prepare for in-service exams and general surgery boards at the Association for Surgical Education. He has also done presentations on nerve regeneration and central line catheter sepsis research. He currently is a guest speaker for Synthes on rigid plating systems for chest wall reconstruction and Allergan for breast reconstruction with Alloderm.
Dr. Mulkey joined the Mason City Clinic in Mason City, Iowa, in 1993. While in Mason City, he has served as a member of the board of directors at the Mason City Clinic and was instrumental in the establishment of the Mason City Surgery Center. He has served as Chief of Surgery at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa, and is currently the acting Medical Director of the OR. He is a past president of the North Iowa Physician Hospital Organization and currently serves on the board of the North Iowa Community Health Insurance. He has been a diplomat for the Iowa Medical Society and the American College of Surgeons. He is the current president of the Iowa Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Dr. Mulkey has been married for thirty years to Judy Steinkuhler Mulkey ’80, and together they have three children, Jessica, Brett, and Ryan.
Jeffrey S. Mollring ’74
Jeffrey Mollring came to Doane from Cambridge, following an outstanding high school sports career, to study education and join the football and track teams. He graduated from Doane in 1974 and was a four-year letter winner in both sports. Mollring was selected to be on the All-Conference and District NAIA teams for football for three years. During his senior year, Mollring was awarded the Philip Beck Award as Outstanding Senior Scholar Athlete and was also selected as the Omaha World Herald Defensive Player-of-the-Year for College Football.
After his years at Doane, Mollring went on to teach and coach at several schools throughout his 35-plus years in education, including Amherst, Gothenburg, Cambridge and McCook, where he currently serves as a coach for the track team. Additionally, for the past two years, Mollring has served as a volunteer coach for the Doane Tigers Football team, primarily helping with pre-season two-a-days as well as game days.
When it comes to winning, Mollring is no amateur. He has coached in twelve State Football Championships, winning eight state titles. His record to date is 289-65. Furthermore, Mollring has coached one state track championship team and four state runner-up teams. Mollring also served as a sports official for many years at the state level for football, basketball and track. A major highlight of his officiating career came when he was given the chance to present state gold medals to each of his three sons.
Honored for his success in coaching, Mollring was given the opportunity to coach in the Western Nebraska All-Star Football game, CSO All-Star Basketball games, and at Jay Novacek Dallas Cowboys Football Camps. Additionally, Mollring has served as a board member for the Nebraska Coaches Association for five years, a professional member of NEA-NSEA and as local education president at both Cambridge and McCook. He was named the 2006 Assistant Coach of the Year from the Nebraska Coaching Association.
Mollring and his wife, Sue Ann, recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary and are the proud parents of three sons; Jay and wife, Kenzie; Grant and wife, Mandi; and Scott and wife, Annie. They have two grandsons, Brody and Charlie.
Young Alumnus Award
This award, presented to Doane graduates 35 years of age or younger, recognizes their commitment to excellence in a chosen career.
Todd N. Troxel ’99
Skipping from one European country to the next, a world away from home, is quite a normal part of life for Todd Troxel. As a player development specialist, it’s not uncommon for him to spend early morning hours in the sweaty gym fine-tuning the techniques of players that receive media acclaim around the world. No nonsense. No politics. No ego. He just wants the best out of his players, whether they’re professionals or in high school.
A native of Eaton, Colorado, Todd Troxel has always had a passion for basketball. Despite being an extremely talented long distance runner, Troxel chose to attend Doane College and play the sport he loved, basketball. He played for the Tigers all four years of his college career and was the captain of the team when he was a junior and senior. He has made several trips back to Doane for summer basketball camps. Troxel graduated in 1999 with a major in mass communications and a coaching endorsement. He took a job in Milwaukee with a pharmaceutical business, but his intense relationship with basketball led him to other opportunities.
A chance meeting with the ninth pick in that year’s NBA draft, Joel Przybilla, a rookie center with the Milwaukee Bucks, changed Todd’s life. They both lived in the same apartment building and soon built a relationship over their common interest. Eventually, Todd began training Przybilla full-time and after Milwaukee, Przybilla signed a multimillion-dollar deal with the Portland Trailblazers. Word of Troxel’s prowess and passion as a trainer spread, and he was asked to train NBA star Yao-Ming (#1 NBA draft pick) in China.
The list of Troxel’s accomplishments as a trainer, personal coach, and player development specialist is long and distinguished. Along with Przybilla and Ming, he has coached and prepared over 50 European and professional basketball players for the NBA, NCAA, Euroleague and WNBA. He has also trained OJ Mayo (#3 NBA draft pick) of the Memphis Grizzlies, Luke Babbitt (#16 NBA draft pick) of the Portland Trailblazers, and Olympic gold medalists Sylvia Fowles and Sue Bird. Troxel was a personal coach for Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury, who was named MVP of the league and is widely considered the greatest female basketball player of all time.
When he’s not traveling, Troxel resides in Reno, Nevada.
Paul Kersenbrock Humanitarian Award
The Paul Kersenbrock award is given to alumni who exemplify the characteristics and life of the late Paul D. Kersenbrock, a member of the class of 1963 and a native of Crete, who distinguished himself by extraordinary, unselfish service to others.
Reuben H. Schleifer ’43
Reuben Schleifer, a graduate of Deshler High School, attended Doane from 1941-1943. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in social studies and went on to serve in the Air Force with G-2 military intelligence from 1943-1946.
During his time at Doane, Schleifer immersed himself in football, basketball, and track. But it was his love of people and staying active that led him to a 41-year coaching career spent in the Chester Public Schools. Schelifer’s remarkable coaching career includes a 58-18-1 football record and 456-167 basketball record. In 2000, he was inducted into the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame, and in 2002 he was the recipient of the Doane College Honor D Award.
There is no doubt Schleifer has spent his life serving others. Today he is an instrumental voice in ensuring high quality healthcare to local communities. He will tell you that when you build a better healthcare delivery system, you build better communities and quality of life. The Nebraska Hospital Association presented their Trustee of the Year award to Schleifer in 2010 for his contributions on the Thayer County Health Services hospital board and for 16 years of service. Under his leadership and development skills, TCHS had the opportunity to grow into a modern hospital and medical clinic in Hebron with five satellite clinics in Bruning, Chester, Davenport, Deshler and Milligan. He and his wife, Gladys, co-chaired two successful capital campaigns in support of the building projects to raise $1.6 million. They exceeded their financial goals and heightened awareness of health in the region.
In May 2011, Schleifer expanded his philanthropic efforts toward creating the Chester Community Fund. The Fund is dedicated to the improvement and long term viability of the entire community, and encourages people from all walks of life to give back. A volunteer Fund Advisory Committee works actively to increase charitable giving and award grants to organizations that are addressing the emergency needs and future opportunities of Chester.
Schleifer and his wife, Gladys, of 64 years continue to live in Chester. The couple has two sons, Stanley Schleifer of Bennington and Dr. Wesley Schleifer of Council Bluffs, Iowa, along with 3 grandsons and 4 great grandchildren.
Exceptional Service Award
This award is presented to alumni for extraordinary service to forward the goals and objectives of Doane College.
Evla Anderson Mares ’52
A native of Bertrand, Elva Mares graduated from Doane with a Bachelor of Arts degree in social studies. She is now recently retired after 38 years as the parish secretary for the First Lutheran Church in Lincoln. As a faithful member of the congregation, Elva worked to faithfully inspire, reach, serve, and teach by the grace of God.
Doane is fortunate to be one of the organizations she has given her time to and has benefited greatly from her talents.
Mares followed in her parents’ footsteps and enrolled at Doane in the fall of 1948, where she met her husband, Jack Mares ’50. During her years as an undergraduate, Mares learned about Doane behind the scenes by working for Gus Lindberg, vice president of the college. She held many offices on campus and was a member and president of Omega Psi Theta sorority. After graduation, Mares became a stay-at-home mom for her three children, Diane, David, and Mary.
When her children left the nest, Mares reconnected with Doane and joined the Alumni Council. Mares was involved with supporting the Doane Scholarship Fund, recruiting students, networking with alumni and encouraging others to gather regionally and return to campus. Mares set a great example by being a regular participant in Capital Alumni Chapter and Lincoln campus activities.
While her personal service and dedication have proved immeasurable, she also assists the college in communicating to a generation of alumni in which she is closely tied. Through her leadership, the Half Century Club newsletter is sent out several times a year to alumni who have graduated from Doane at least 50 years ago. Mares works at length to keep this generation informed of improvements and developments at Doane, while also collecting information about her classmates and sharing it with others. Her writing always includes a special story from the past, helping connect the readers to the current Doane.
Mares currently resides in Lincoln. Just as she followed in her parents’ footsteps to Doane, she’s proud to announce that her granddaughter, Natalie Mares ’08, and daughter-in-law, Jan Mares ’11L, traveled the path to Doane as well.
Alumni Educator-of-the-Year Award
This award is presented annually to alumni who have made outstanding contributions in the field of education.
Gregory P. Sand ’96
Gregory Sand, a native of Crete, has been a mathematics teacher at Omaha Central High School since 2002. He serves as an adjunct instructor for the University of Nebraska Lincoln as part of the Nebraska Math and Science Summer Institutes. In addition, he also teaches various high level mathematics courses at the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Sand has given presentations to various local, regional, and national groups, including the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. At the UNO Math Appreciation Day in 2000, he presented a paper on Euler’s Foundation of Graph Theory and its modern applications. He is also a familiar face and presenter for 7th-12th grade mathematics teachers from across the district during Omaha Public Schools curriculum days.
Sand, a Noyce Master Teaching Fellow, won the Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award in 2011. Nominations were submitted by students, parents, or peers. He received $10,000 from the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation. Other education awards he has received include the Coca-Cola Distinguished Teacher Award in 2011, Central High Teacher-of-the-Year in 2009, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology Outstanding Mathematics Teacher in 2008 and 2011.
Sand will be the first to tell you that his favorite things about teaching are the relationships forged with students and the chance to watch them grow over four years. His enrichment math course has a unique quality in that students can take the course for all four years of high school. It gives him a chance to work with a set of students, know them well, and help them develop from first-year students to seniors.
This dedication to the student stems from the memories of his favorite teacher, Jill Conrad, from Crete High School. Not surprisingly, she was his math teacher in both junior high and high school. Sand recalls that she had an amazing talent of guiding him through very difficult topics, but also a wit that kept class interesting every day.
Sand received his Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Doane in 1996. He earned a Master of Science degree in mathematics from UNO in 2005 and is a doctoral student in mathematics education at UNL.
Sand and his wife, Susan Polk, live in Omaha with their children, Jacob and Sam.
Platt Music Award
The Platt Alumni Music Award is presented to alumni for outstanding achievement in music. Recipient is selected by the music department, and it is not necessarily given each year.
Ronald D. Rickert ’78
As the band brings their instruments to attention and the crowd takes its cue to quiet down, Ronald Rickert feels right at home. Nearly 33 years of practice with students in 5th-12th grades will help calm the nerves.
For Rickert, his Nebraska roots have served him well in the field of music education in the state’s schools. From the day he graduated from Doane in 1978, he has shared a love of instrumental music with hundreds of school children.
Rickert’s desire to build quality music programs is evident. He began his career as the director of bands for Sutton Public Schools, increasing the band size from 25 to 87. After one year at Aurora High School, he began teaching at Geneva (Fillmore Central). Over 18 years, the band grew from 35 to 109 students. This was especially impressive with only 147 students in the high school altogether.
Under his direction, Rickert’s students received numerous superior ratings in marching, concert, and jazz bands. He credits his farm background, his high-school music teachers, a supportive home front, and classrooms full of students willing to work for success. He knew what hard work entailed, and his students were quick to follow and enjoy the music.
Rickert’s talent and effort extends past the performances. He has been a member of the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association and Nebraska Music Educators Association for over 30 years. He served for seven years as the District 1 music coordinator for the Nebraska State Activities Association and helped revise bylaws for all district music contests. He was a member of the local Geneva Arts Council for six years and traveled four times to Europe with 300 students for the Nebraska Music Ambassadors program.
Although he has been honored numerous times, the Donald A. Lentz Outstanding Bandmaster Award Rickert received in 2002 certainly hits a high note. This award is given by the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association to recognize the finest band directors in the state. It is the highest and most prestigious award a band director can receive. Rickert was also the 2012 Doane Homecoming honorary band director.
Rickert, who is now retired, lives with his wife, Susan Dudley Rickert ’79, in Geneva. The especially proud Doane family includes Benjamin ’07 and Ashlee Adkisson ’08, ’10E Rickert, Robert ’09 and Amanda Coon ’10E Rickert, and current Doane music student Samuel Rickert. Grandsons Adam and Ryan are sure to continue the Doane lineage.
Doane Builder Award
Builder Awards are presented yearly to alumni who have made immeasurable contribution of time and effort to the building of the college and whose leadership has set a living example.
Verlyn L. Barker ’52
Verlyn Barker, a 1952 Doane graduate, majored in history and minored in English and German while at Doane. He was a Doane Scholar and graduated magna cum laude. Barker’s fondest memories of Doane include his classes with Dr. Kenneth Rossman, time spent with his Delta Kappa Pi fraternity brothers, as well as lectures and concerts in the conservatory. But he knew there was another calling within reach.
Barker followed his inspirational calling after Doane and enrolled in Yale Divinity School, graduating in 1956 with a Bachelor of Divinity degree. During the 1953-1954 academic year, he took leave from Yale to fill in at Doane for one of his favorite professors, Dr. Rossman. He followed in Rossman’s footsteps by teaching courses in European and American history, but also set out on his own path by serving as acting chaplain of the college. He served as University Pastor from 1956-1959 at the University of Nebraska for the United Church of Christ and United Presbyterian Church. Barker returned to Yale in 1959 to complete a Master’s degree in sacred theology. Ever the lifelong learner, he also received a Doctorate of Philosophy from Saint Louis University in 1970.
In his professional career, Barker was Minister in Higher Education at the United Church of Christ for 35 years, succeeding Dr. Bryant Drake, the sixth President of Doane. Throughout his career, Barker has received various honors and awards such as the 25-year Service Award from the United Church Board for Homeland Ministries and the Society for Health and Human Values Annual Award.
Throughout the years, Barker has always maintained a close relationship with Doane. He served as President of the Alumni Association from 1957-1958. In 1977, on the 25th anniversary of his graduation, Barker was presented an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree from Doane and has been a speaker at the baccalaureate ceremonies on several occasions. Furthermore, when given the opportunity, Barker has served on many capital campaign committees and has hosted numerous alumni gatherings over the years. During the inauguration of both Presidents Fred Brown and Jacque Carter, Barker served as a delegate from Yale University.
Barker’s active support has allowed Doane to not only maintain its high level of education but also made it possible to grow its programs for further generations. He is a member of the Doane College Society.
Barker currently resides in Denver, Colorado, where he enjoys hobbies such as genealogy and collecting Heisey glass.