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Alumni Spotlight

Highlighting Our Distinguished Alumnus

Need copy here about Alumni

F. "Chris" Christiaens - Alumni Action During COVID-19
Dear Fellow Alumni,

During this unsettled time of COVID-19 with social distancing, self-quarantine, and classes being converted to all online courses, we want to challenge each of you, as alumni, to reach out via the telephone, email or social media to potential students and their families. The university needs your help to recruit new students for the upcoming summer and fall semesters at UP and to retain students currently enrolled. Please check out the University of Providence website, https://www.uprovidence.edu/coronavirus/, for background information on how COVID-19 is affecting our students, staff, and faculty.

As a 1962 graduate, I believe now is a crucial and good time for alumni to step in and give a hand in recruitment. Many of us decided to attend the College of Great Falls, University of Great Falls, or University of Providence because a teacher or family friend shared their experiences at their alma mater with us. Coming from a small high school and fortunate to find small classes in the college setting lead by professors who became friends and helpers made for a smooth transition for me. The professors, coupled with the long tradition of helpful staff, made college a memorable experience and upon graduation we utilized newfound skills to better our lives and contribute to our communities and employers.

Each of us can be successful at recruiting high school graduates, neighbors, and friends who can benefit from higher education on campus in Great Falls and worldwide through online learning. We have strong ties with our neighbor, the McLaughlin Research Institute and UP’s new science and healthcare courses which serve to challenge students for the changes and workplaces of today and into the future. If you have questions about enrollment, athletics, cost of tuition, etc., please call Kelsey Hassinger, Student Services Specialist, 406.791-5221. Please know that Trace Richburg, our new Alumni Relations Manager, is always available to help guide you. She would love to connect with you via phone: 406.781-5511, or email: trace.richburg@uprovidence.edu.

As alumni know, we are spread throughout the states, nation, and the world. We can be a strong force in recruiting with an opportunity for us to “pay it forward”. Thank you so much for choosing to join me in this effort to help grow and sustain the University of Providence…GO ARGOS!!!

All My Best,
Chris

University of Great Falls Class of 1962 and 1994

Chris Christiaens had a heart of service long before graduating from the College of Great Falls, now the University of Providence, with a B.A. in Chemistry in 1962 and a Master of Human Services in 1994. “As a student and graduate of the College of Great Falls, I was exposed to community service and became involved early on working with minorities in our community and across the state. I learned that those who are given much, should return the same to their community and those in need. In light of those experiences, I returned to the College of Great Falls to complete a Master of Human Services degree. I now serve on several local boards and started a program called Opening Doors in 1995, assisting individuals returning to the community from jails and prison with the essentials to enhance their success. I continually give thanks to the outstanding faculty during my time on campus.”

Dr. Norman Erie

Dr. Norman Erie graduated in 1953 with a degree in Science and X-ray Technology. His wife, Irene graduated in 1947 with honors with a degree in English. Norman and Irene met at Lincoln County High School where Irene was an English and Literature teacher. Irene encouraged Norman to continue higher education and helped him receive a scholarship from what was then College of Great Falls. Norman had dreams of going into the healthcare field, and Irene furthered that dream by also helping him attain a position at Columbus Hospital as a student X-ray Technician. Norman and Irene married on July 30, 1951 at St. Ann’s Cathedral in Great Falls, he was 19 and she was 25.

Norman applied for the University of Washington Medical School after graduating from the University of Great Falls. Norman and Irene moved to Seattle, WA with their newborn child and another on the way in 1954. Irene worked as a social worker at King County Hospital while Norman continued in Medical School. Norman went onto serve with the Navy, completed internships and training, and graduated in 1958. Norman and Irene opened a solo practice in Richland, WA. Norman focused on his patients and Irene managed the office.

Norman and Irene lived a wonderful life together. After their 61st wedding anniversary, Irene passed away. She was 86 years old and left behind Norman, four children and eight grandchildren. The Irene Konecny Erie Memorial Endowment was established by Norman in 2012 to help students achieve an education rooted in the values by which Norman and Irene lived.

Norman spoke to the importance of scholarships and why he chose to establish a scholarship to support University of Providence students.

 

Harry Guetherman - 2019 Distinguished Alumnus

Past distinguished Alumni Award winners are:

Year

Name

Grad. Year

1996

Sr. Rita Mudd

1941

1997

Lena Vidahl

1977

1998

Karl F. Jorda, J.D.

1953

1998

John Waldhausen, M.D.

1950

1999

Angus Fok, Ph.D.

1965

2000

Tu-Hi Hong, M.D.

1973

2001

Shirley Polejewski, Ph.D.

1971

2002

Kennard Kapstafer, M.D.

1957

2003

William F. Whitsitt, Ph.D.

1967

2004

Evelyn Reed

1937

2005

Kevin Powers (posthumously)

2003

2006

Rose Many Lonczakv (posthumously)

1948

2007

Raymond E. Vath, M.D.

1952

2009

Dick Hensley

1973

2010

Minnie Spotted Wolf England

1955 & 1976

2010

John D Conners

1948

2011

George Willett

1964

2012

Gerard Van Houdt

1976

2014

Norman Erie, M.D.

1947

2014

Irene Konecny Erie

1947

2015

Mary Floyd

1944

2016

Sr. Kitsy Rutan

1961

2017

Bob Nommenson

1978

2018

Class of 2018 (First call from UP)

2018

2019

Harry Guetherman

1986