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UMMAA Announces 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

A portrait of a man and a portrait of a woman
Jenna Ray
Publication date: 
June 1, 2017

Dennis Gimmestad '73 and Teresa Luckow Peterson '91 earned the 2017 University of Minnesota, Morris Alumni Association (UMMAA) Distinguished Alumni Award. The award honors alumni who make noteworthy contributions in their professional lives, in public service, or in service to the University of Minnesota.

Dennis Gimmestad '73

Dennis Gimmestad '73 has enjoyed a 40-year career in historic preservation. Through his professional and volunteer activities, he has devoted his life to stewarding Minnesota's history for future generations.

Gimmestad most recently acted as architectural historian at the Minnesota Department of Transportation; prior, he served the Minnesota Historical Society for more than 30 years. He holds BAs in speech communications and theater from Morris and in historic preservation studies from Metropolitan State University. Gimmestad sits on the Society of Architectural Historians Minnesota Chapter, Norwegian-American Historical Association, and Legacy of the Lakes Museum executive boards. A former UMMAA president, he returns to campus each summer to share his time and talents with library staff in the archives.

"Dennis played an instrumental role in shaping the field of historic preservation in Minnesota," writes Susan Granger '80. "He has had a hand in preserving and rehabilitating many of the state's best-loved buildings, structures, parks, and landscapes as well as preserving many important archaeological sites."

"Dennis has been an exemplary alumnus and friend of the University," adds Robert Hansen '73. "He has exemplified and lived the learning and values that the University strives to instill in its graduates."

Teresa Luckow Peterson '91

Teresa Luckow Peterson '91 has worked to revitalize the native language and lifeways of the Dakota people. An educator and tribal leader, Peterson has supported a number of indigenous communities.

Peterson serves the Upper Sioux Community as tribal planner. She holds a BA in liberal arts for the human services from Morris as well as an MS in education from Southwest State University and an EdD from the University of Minnesota Duluth. She has earned numerous honors, including the Native Governance Center Native Nation Rebuilder, American Association of Colleges & Teacher Education Holmes Scholar, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Endowed Scholar, Bush Leadership Fellowship, Minnesota Indian Education Association Tribal Official of the Year, and Southwest State University Ethel Curry Scholar. She also spent 10 years on Morris's American Indian Advisory Committee.

"Teresa is highly regarded by people in the Dakota community, the broader Native American community, and the general mainstream community," writes Peters. "I have witnessed how she builds positive coalitions wherever she goes. She believes we all have abilities we can contribute to our communities and to one another."

Gimmestad and Peterson will receive their awards at the UMMAA Distinguished Alumni Award and Homecoming Banquet on Friday, September 29, as part of Morris's 2017 Homecoming celebration, along with the 2017 Cougar Hall of Fame Inductees. More information is available at