Outstanding Alumni

The Outstanding Alumni Award honors a former student of Century College, Lakewood, 916 AVTI or Northeast Metro Technical College, who exemplifies excellence in one or more of the following categories: leadership in school, leadership in the community, lifelong learning, noteworthy accomplishments, inspirational behavior/actions, and overcoming obstacles.

To nominate an alum for the 2021 Outstanding Alumni Award, please complete the nomination form and submit by April 2, 2021. Current employees of Century College are not eligible for nomination.

2021 - Mindy Johnson '82

Mindy Johnson

Mindy Johnson, Associate of Arts, '82, Lakewood Community College

Mindy is an award-winning author, historian, filmmaker, playwright, Grammy-nominated songwriter and musician, and expert on women in early animation. She is the recipient of the 2020 ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Educators Forum Grant, as well as the 2019 AMPAS/Oscars.org Film Scholar Award for her continued research revealing the contributions of the earliest women of animation.

 Read more >

2020 - Jo Emerson '92

Jo Emerson, Associate of Arts, '92, Lakewood Community College

“I’m thrilled and honored to be the Alumni of the Year. Century did and continues to influence my life.”

Learn more about alumna Jo Emerson’s dedication to her family and community, leadership as Mayor of White Bear Lake, statewide recognition of her talents as President of the League of Minnesota Cities, service as president of the White Bear Lake Historical Society, as vice chairwoman of the White Bear Lake Planning Commission, and as president of Minnesota Mayor’s Association – among many, many other positions of service. Read more >

2019 - Loren Else '73

Portrait of Loren Else

Loren Else, Associate of Arts '73, Lakewood State Junior College

"This college was the perfect fit for me. The education and life skills I received from Lakewood steered me in the right direction in my career and life. I have stayed connected with Lakewood instructors, coaches, friends and teammates since my graduation in 1973. Life is about relationships – be kind."

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2018 - Debbie Johnson Hill '14

Portrait of Debbie Johnson Hill

Debbie Johnson Hill, Associate of Arts '14, Century College

“Century College literally changed the trajectory of my life. Not only did it give me the skills to reach my full potential, but also the confidence to chase dreams I never thought possible! A debt of gratitude to the faculty for investing in my future and for believing in me long before I believed in myself. Thank you!”

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2017 - Heidi Gunderson '93

Portrait of Heidi Gunderson

Heidi Gunderson, Associate of Arts '93, Lakewood Community College

"Opportunity knocks on your door every day. Answer it. Don't let the fear of failure or self doubt ever stop you."

To view Heidi's 2017 commencement speech, click here >

2015 - Matthew Langer '97

Portrait of Matthew Langer

Matthew Langer, Associate of Science - Law Enforcement '97, Century College

"Believe in what you do, and always have a plan.” 

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2014 - Carl Thomas '04

Portrait of Carl Thomas indoors at his auto repair shop.

Carl Thomas, Automotive Service Technology '04, Century College

"With the hopes of taking over the family business, I attended Century College to get my Automotive Service Technology certificate along with an Applied Arts and Science degree. I'm extremely proud to hold such a strong passion for the industry that has helped to shape the very person I am today."

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2013 - Peter Fischer '79

Portrait of Peter Fischer

Representative Peter Fisher, Associate of Arts '79, Lakewood Community College

"Century offers people hope and opportunity. Education is the key for people who want to improve their lives. Higher education instructors - they make a difference."

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2012 - Carol McFarlane '70

Portrait of Carol McFarlane

Carol McFarlane, Associate of Arts '70, Lakewood Community College

“I am grateful for the foundation of life, learning, and community service that the “new” Lakewood State Junior College provided me in its beginning.”

2011 - Tim Deis '82

Portrait of Tim Deis outdoors in front of a red brick wall.

Tim Deis, Graphic Arts '82, 916 Area Vocational Technical Institute

"Century College was more than a bridge to my career, it was the spark that ignited my life."

Fun fact: Tim's company, Thread Connected Content, designed the current Century College logo!

2010 - Victoria Reinhardt '90

Portrait of Victoria Reinhardt

Victoria Reinhardt, Associate of Arts '90, Lakewood Community College

“What Lakewood Community College gave me was confidence in myself, and hope for the future.”

2009 - Brian LaCroix '85

Portrait of Brian LaCroix

Brian LaCroix, Emergency Medical Services '85, 916 Area Vocational Technical Institute

“In September of 1984 I entered the Paramedic program at what is now Century College. It is no exaggeration to say that the experience changed my life. Not only was I given the support needed to master skills that afforded me a long and rewarding career in service to others, I also gained life-long friends and built relationships. Century College is a true community asset, providing exceptional education and changing lives in a positive way every day.”

2008 - Daryl Parks '92

Portrait Daryl Parks outdoors with a green background.

Daryl Parks, Associate of Arts '92, Lakewood Community College

"Century College provided me with a strong academic foundation within a supportive community of professors and peers. I am forever indebted to this institution of excellence."

2006 - Michael O'Connor '87, '89, '98

Michael O'Connor in a graduation cap and gown.

Michael O'Connor
AA '87, Lakewood Community College
QD '89, 916 Area Vocational Technical Institute
AAS '98, Century College

“My time at Lakewood, 916 Vo-Tech, and Century College was very eye opening and helped me develop into my current career. I had great experiences during my time in all three schools, and I received a great deal of encouragement and information when transferring to continue my education at Metropolitan State University.”

Michael was also named Metropolitan State University Alumnus of the Year for 2019 - Read more >