The University of Minnesota announced recently Alumna Dr. Kari Torkelson as one of this year’s recipients of the Alumni Service Award, one of the most prestigious awards bestowed upon alumni of the University. A reception for Torkelson will held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Bede Ballroom, Sargeant Student Center.
Torkelson, a past president of the U of M, Crookston Alumni Association (UMCAA), will be formally recognized during commencement exercises on May 7, 2011, on the campus. The ceremony begins at 2 p.m. in Lysaker Gymnasium. Torkelson is both humbled and pleased by the recognition, “It doesn’t seem quite right to be honored for something you love to do–promoting and supporting UMC,” she says.
“Kari is an outstanding and valuable ambassador of the University of Minnesota, Crookston. Her leadership and passion for our campus are unparalleled,” says Charles H. Casey, chancellor. “We are extremely proud to call her one of our alumni. She leads by example in every way.”
Torkelson attended the U of M, Crookston from 1989 to 1991 while the campus was still a two-year technical college. As a student, Torkelson participated in volleyball, basketball, sang in the choir, served as a resident assistant, and was a member of the Campus Ministry.
She transferred to North Dakota State University, Fargo, and then transferred to Indiana University, Bloomington, where she completed her bachelor’s degree, and then, went on to complete her doctorate of optometry there as well. She is currently an optometrist at Lifetime Vision Center in Grand Forks, N.D.
Torkelson participates in many service activities. She is a member of the Teambacker Board, All-Campus Advisory Board, North Dakota School for the Blind Foundation Board, and the Red River Habitat for Humanity Board. For several years, she was a member of the Grand Forks Master Chorale and served on their board.
“It is inspiring to serve on many different committees at UMC because I can see firsthand how other volunteers and administrators give of their time to make sure the campus continues to be a great asset to the University of Minnesota system and the state of Minnesota,” says Torkelson.
In 2001, Torkelson received the Outstanding Alumni Award. She also was a member of the 1989-90 women’s basketball team inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.