2003 Hall of Fame Recipients
alice jondahl - faculty
Alice Jondahl came to Fargo to teach in 1956, and it didn’t take long before she was recognized for her talents. The North Dakota Broadcasting Co. named her the state’s Outstanding Teacher in 1957. That epitomized a brilliant 41-year career for the English teacher, who received similar honors from the Fargo Public Schools in 1973, 1985, 1986 and 1991.
Her reputation was such that Gov. William Guy appointed her to the North Dakota Professional Practices Commission, where she served as secretary from 1966-72. She also served as chairwoman of the North Dakota Educational Policies Commission for two years. A Concordia College graduate, Ms. Jondahl was cited by that school with two prestigious honors, the C-400 President’s Award and the Regents’ Award.
Don Myrvik, a Concordia spokesman, says Ms. Jondahl has been a significant and effective influence in the community and in the state. “When has she had time to sleep?” Myrvik asks. “In addition, she has been generous to the college though the charitable giving and has been a very frequent participant in alumni and community events held on campus.”
Ms. Jondahl also has been active in the church, were she has served on several committees at Olivet Lutheran. “It is true that I have not known Alice as a teacher, from inside the classroom,” says Olivet Pastor T.A. Rykken. “However, I know her as a personable, intelligent, and caring person, and am sure that she did great honor to the teaching profession, and to the schools where she served as a teacher.”
Ms. Johdahl majored in English and history at Concordia. She received a Master’s degree from North Dakota State University in 1965. Her career began in Hope, ND where she was a high school teacher and principal from 1950-56. She taught for 35 years in the Fargo public school system. She is a life member of the National Education Association and was active in the North Dakota Education Association and Fargo Education Association.
Ms. Jondahl is currently serving as treasurer of the Fargo Retired Teachers’ Association.
jon kennedy - class of 1980
Jon Kennedy has traveled the world in defense of his country and gone even further to ensure the well being of the sailors serving with him.
After graduating from Fargo South High School in 1980, Kennedy received a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the University of Minnesota. For the next six years aboard the USS Trenton and the USS Aries, he traveled the world from the Mediterranean Sea. He provided security following the Libyan crises, to the Persian Gulf where he helped fight terrorism, to the Carribean Sea, where he took part in counter drug operations.
As Kennedy’s career progressed, so did his responsibilities. As a First Lieutenant aboard the USS Lasalle and the USS Guam in the mid 1990’s he was responsible for all seamanship evolutions and weapons systems and overseeing up to 200 sailors.
However, continuing his education remained a priority for Kennedy as he eventually received a Master’s of Science degree in Systems Technology and a Master’s of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies.
Following four years of service in Japan, Kennedy became the Chief of the Global Satellite Communications Support Center at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. His supervisor, Colonel John S. Haven II, said, “the services Jon and his people provided to the forces in Iraq were instrumental to their success.”
Kennedy’s career is characterized by his stellar successes. He received the Navy Commendation Medal (with two Gold Stars), the Navy Achievement Medal (with two Gold Stars), and the Combat Action Ribbon. One colleague called him “a man of unquestionable ethics and professionalism.” Another said, “There is no one more adept at leadership than Jon.”
But what makes Kennedy even more special cohorts say, is the personal side that makes his Naval Officer truly a gentleman. Captain Barbara Geraghty said. “His insight into human nature and his innate ability to inspire the best from everyone are his greatest assets. He was keenly interested in every aspect of his sailor’s lives.
Deputy Chief Jeff Simon said, “He always had time for what would seem, even the most trivial of details in a person’s life, quite simply because that detail was important to the person.”
Said Colonel Haven, “his subordinates absolutely enjoy his leadership and personality.”
Kennedy is “a sterling individual” with a strong moral core. “He stands tall for what is right and ensures others do as well,” Haven said.
dave kline - class of 1982
Scholar. Athlete. Leader. Three words that only begin to describe 1982 Fargo South High graduate David Kline. Former teachers describe him as an excellent student who imposed upon himself particularly high standards of achievement, not only in the classroom, but on the field of sport.
English teacher Gelaine Orvik says Kline “was among the most articulate” communicators he ever taught – a student who demanded the best of himself with every assignment.
Kline was also an outstanding athlete in football, hockey and track and field. In football, Kline was an all-state tailback whose name is still etched in the South High record book. In track and field, Kline was an outstanding hurdler, still holding the title “Top Five” at Fargo South. More than that, however, Orvik, who was also Kline’s track coach, says Kline was a team leader who encouraged others to maintain “standards of class” for appearance and action on and off the field.
Not surprisingly, Kline’s outstanding high school career lead him straight to an Ivy League school where he continued to exhibit skills in academic and athletic achievement. He received the Gerald R. Ford Scholar-Athlete award in recognition of his academic achievement and for his role as starting running back for the Yale University football team. Former professors noticed how the two endeavors complimented each other, Professor Robert Farris Thompson says “athleticism perfects his intellectual hunger.” Kline is a person, “devoted to the life of the mind and the play of new ideas.” Other professors commend Kline for his good character, decency and “superior friendliness.”
After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Yale, Kline chose to further his education at Cambridge University, where he received an Honors Master of Arts in English literature, followed by a Masters of Art degree in literature from the University of Virginia.
Since graduation Kline has shared his love of English literature and football as teacher and coach at a boy’s school in Washington, D.C. Later, he later used his love of learning while working as a development officer for the New York Public Library.
After a stint as a Manager of the Central Park Conservancy, a non-profit agency which rebuilds, maintains, and programs Central Park, Kline took a job with the Showtime Networks where he continues to impress fellow employees.
“I am continually impressed with his intelligence, compassion, patience and ability to work with all levels of employees and situations,” says Showtime Vice President Annemarie Bray.
David Kline – scholar, athlete, leader and well-deserving inductee in the Fargo South High Hall of Fame.
susan nissen - class of 1982
Susan Nissen has been called “a remarkable individual” – a woman who turned a personal tragedy into the vehicle to help others.
Nissen graduated from Fargo South High School in 1982. Former orchestra teacher, Bruce Houglum called her “a brilliant scholar and fine cellist.” Nissen won first place in solo performing in the North Dakota State High School Class “A” music contest in 1982. She was also the recipient of numerous academic and music scholarships prior to college.
Nissen also has a love for forensics and she has consistently proven herself to be an outstanding speaker at all levels, from high school to college to professional. She was given a “superior ranking” at the National Pi Kappa Delta Speech Tournament and was recently named Outstanding Speaker at the Annual Meeting of the Orthopedic Rehabilitation Association.
Lest you think Nissen’s achievements are all of the cerebral variety, she was also the pitcher of the North Dakota Women’s Class “A” Fastpitch Softball State Champion team in 1983.
However, not long after high school Nissen was involved in a serious pickup/pedestrian accident. As the pedestrian she was seriously injured. Following surgery and therapy Nissen recovered. But because of irreparable small muscle damage her days playing the cello were over. However, Nissen made the most of the situation. Her experience with the medical field following her accident inspired her to pursue a career in medicine in the very area for which she was treated.
Nissen became a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician following graduation from the University of North Dakota medical school and residencies at UND/St. Lukes and the Mayo Clinic. Colleague Dr. Robert Jordheim calls her “a complete physician” who “not only demonstrated her medical skills, but showed herself to be empathetic, energetic and uncompromising in working with her patients.”
Another colleague called Nissen “a breath of fresh air – through her interaction with staff as well as through her desire to learn.”
While pursuing her career in medicine, Nissen has never forgotten her love of music. Early in her medical career she began looking at the physical problems and ailments of musicians. Her former high school orchestra teacher Bruce Houglum, now a music professor at Concordia College, referred many of his ailing students to Nissen. She conducted seminars for faculty and students on injuries of musicians and how to avoid them. Houglum says, “She became sort of a legend at Concordia for the work she was able to do.”
Says Houglum, her intelligence, diligence and uncanny understanding of her patients’ problems and an extraordinarily caring attitude have combined to make her an unqualified success in her field.”
myron wagner - faculty
Demanding. Uncompromising. Relentless. Yet Caring. Those are terms used to describe Myron Wagner, whose “tough love” approach helped many students and athletes become the best they could be. Mr. Wagner was known as an outstanding history and government teacher, as well as an accomplished football and hockey coach. Yet he did much of his work behind the scenes, choosing to put the students, not himself, at center stage.
Michael Kelly, a member of the Class of 1980, says Mr. Wagner had a straightforward style in the classroom that made it easy for students to learn. On the football field, Kelly says Mr. Wagner personified “old school” greats like George Halas, Vince Lombardi and Paul “Bear” Bryant. “His methods produced hundreds of great and successful men,” Kelly says. “Underneath, he truly cared for and wanted only the best for each one of them. He is all about respect, accountability and the importance of these, not only in football and the classroom, but also in life.”
Mark Larson, Class of 1974, says Mr. Wagner was all about preparing students to meet the demands of the real world. “He challenged each and every student and student athlete under his care to offer up, as well as accept nothing less than the very best effort from themselves and each of their classmates or teammates.” Larson says. While Myron was uncompromising and relentless with demands, he was equally quick to dispense rewards and praises for a job well done.”
Mr. Wagner served as head high school hockey coach for more than a decade, leading the Bruins to three second-place finishes in state. He was an assistant football coach for a quarter of a century, helping South to three state championships.
Ward Muscatell, Class of 1979, played on the school’s first state championship team as a senior. He says it was a result of a dedicated coaching staff, especially Mr. Wagner. “I can’t count the number of times I have stolen one of his pep talks to use during my own staff meetings,” Muscatell says. “When I run into old classmates, and we begin reminiscing about the good old days, simply saying Myron’s name brings a smile to everyone’s face and one quick story after another.”
drew wrigley - class of 1984
Drew Wrigley became one of the youngest U.S. attorneys in the country when he was sworn into office at age 36. His quick rise to prominence came as no surprise to friends, classmates and teachers. “Drew fits his calling as United States District Attorney like Michael Jordan fits representation of the NBA,” says Gelaine Orvik, who coached Drew in cross country and track at Fargo South.
A 1984 graduate, Drew graduated *** Laude from the University of North Dakota in 1988 and received his law degree from the American University in Washington, D.C., in 1991. He began his career as a clerk for the Delaware Superior Court in 1991. Drew went on to become a prosecuting attorney for the city of Fargo, as assistant district attorney for the city of Philadelphia, general counsel for the North Dakota Workers Compensation Bureau, and executive director of the North Dakota Republican Party,
North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven, who made Drew his deputy chief of staff in 2000, says Drew brings energy and principles to every project. “He’s fearless,” Hoeven says. “He’ll do whatever he needs to do, but he does it the right way. He doesn’t back down at all.”
Scott Miles, a high school classmate, says Drew’s belief in strong education and his love for North Dakota are two qualities that seem relevant to his induction. “He has always been immensely proud and very forthcoming about his appreciation of the Fargo Public School system.” Miles says. “Because of his work ethic he achieved success at each stop along his journey, but he ultimately knew North Dakota was where he wanted to be.”
While at South, Drew played in the band and wind ensemble and the jazz band. He lettered three times in cross country and twice in track, and served as captain of both teams as a senior. Orvik says Drew was a great competitor for the Bruins. “Drew always held his teammates and himself accountable for behavior and demeanor in competition and in practice while continuing to provide a humor and enjoyment that few could equal,” Orvik said. “He maintained his same accountability for his class work as well.”
Drew and his wife, Kathleen, have two children, Quinn and Patrick. “Even more impressive than his distinguished service to our country and all the hard work that preceded it, Drew is a great friend, son, husband and father,” Miles says. “To me, Drew embodies the very best qualities that are enshrined in the Fargo South High School Hall of Fame.”