Yankton College alumni will return to Yankton, the home of their alma mater, this summer to “Revisit. Reunite. Relive.” memories and friends from their YC school days and to honor deserving alumni for their career and college achievements and to friends for their support to Yankton College, July 19-21 during the 2018 All-Class Reunion.
Alumni awards and recognition make up a big part of the gathering. Members of the Yankton College Alumni Advisory Board, who are the actual “hosts” of the YC reunion, will bestow eight awards, Saturday evening, July 21 in Yankton, fulfilling their purposes of “fostering alumni relations” and “presenting awards.”
Alumni Achievement Awards will be presented to three Yankton College alumni for their outstanding accomplishments consistent with the college mission to the following: Dr. Roosevelt Weaver, Upper Montclair, New Jersey; Dr. Warren Peterson, Yankton, South Dakota and Thomas Martino, Hyde Park, New York.
Weaver was born and raised in Georgia. After serving in the military in the US Marine Corps Active Reserve from 1954-57, he came to the Midwest to attend Yankton College and graduated in 1962 with a major in Sociology & Physical Education. His additional education includes: a Masters Degree of Science in Urban Teaching from Simmons College, Boston, Massachusetts; a Certificate of Advanced Study in Educational Administration and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Administration from Harvard, Cambridge, MA. His career achievements include: Instructor of Black Studies at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York, Lecturer in Sociology at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire and Principal at Ecole Toussaint Louverture in East Orange, New Jersey for 35 years, receiving professional recognition along the way for leadership, outstanding contributions and as one of North America’s 100 Top Executive Educators.
Peterson was born and raised in Yankton and attended Yankton College, majoring in History, Social Studies, Education & Psychology, graduating in 1963. At the University of South Dakota, he enrolled in the Reserves Officers Training’ Corps and also earned a M.A. in Education, Psychology and Counseling. Continuing his education, he received a doctorate degree from the University of Missouri in Education, Psychology and Counseling as an Educational Specialist and took numerous courses, among them: Psychology and Special Education, Development and Learning Disabilities, Psychology for Family Education Certification and Adolescent Psychology and Behavioral Disorders of children. Peterson’s career began in Minnesota working for public schools in Alexandria, Tracy, Anoka-Hennepin, White Bear Lake, Minneapolis and Bloomington as an Elementary Counselor, Psychology Instructor and School Psychologist (K-12); as well as organizing and conducting therapy groups, mental health workshops, psychological tests and evaluations for over twenty five years within these communities. In addition, Peterson also established his own private practice, counseling individuals, including the elderly, children and families. He has been an active member of the Yankton College Alumni Advisory Board since 2008.
Martino came to Yankton College from Yorktown Heights, New York, in the fall of the 1966 and graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education. The Conservatory of Music was a perfect place for Martino to be during those days and he worked diligently to perfect his skill, returning to his home after graduation and settling in Hyde Park, New York. He furthered his education and earned a graduate degree in Musicology from Brooklyn College and expanded his expertise to the saxophone, clarinet and flute. He worked music into his life around a career and other positions including: 18 years with the U.S. Postal Service, of which the last eight were as superintendent; park ranger for the National Park Service and Town Supervisor for the City of Hyde Park for a number of years. Martino admits his musical education at YC afforded him the extraordinary opportunity to “see the world” performing as a jazz musician touring throughout the U.S., Europe, South America, China and Taiwan. He and friends formed dance bands and performed throughout the northeast region of the U.S. Martino established his own publishing venture, Mannheim Editions, expanding his love for music by collecting, editing and publishing 18th century music manuscripts that he had found during a 40-year period. Martino edited more than 400 volumes that have been distributed around the world to universities and libraries in the U.S., in Europe, South America, Asia and to his alma mater, Yankton College. Martino died unexpectedly May 12, 2017 when the correspondence of his Achievement Award honor began. Martino’s daughter, Kristin, will travel to Yankton to accept the award on his behalf.
Alumni Service Awards will be presented to another three Yankton College alumni for displaying significant service to Yankton College to the following: Marley Ann and Rev. Dr. Paul Opsahl, Sioux Falls, and Peter O’Toole, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Rev. Paul Opsahl felt the “call” to ministry early while growing up in northern South Dakota. He entered the School of Theology program at Yankton College graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1957 and a Bachelor of Theology degree in 1958. There he met his wife-to-be, Marley Ann Brosz who was attending Yankton College (like many in the Brosz family before and after her) who graduated in 1956 with a degree in Education. The two recall later on that, “Yankton College gave us knowledge, an appreciation of music, of friends and the skills to succeed.” Opsahl then attended the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut from which he earned a Bachelor of Divinity degree. He and Marley Ann were married and the young couple set out together and served many parishes over the years in Minnesota and later in South Dakota. The Opsahls eventually returned to Yankton to serve the United Church of Christ until their retirement. In 1980, Opsahl became a member of the Yankton College Board of Trustees and served for 36 years, with Marley Ann by his side, becoming a vital part of Yankton College and its Legacy Committee to search for a permanent home for Yankton College, its alumni and the historical work begun by YC founder, Rev. Dr. Joseph Ward. Since his retirement from the BOT in 2016, Opsahl transitioned to Trustee Emeritus.
Peter O’Toole came to Yankton College from Long Island, New York, to earn a degree in Business Administration and play football for the Greyhounds. He met and married his wife, Janice, from Tyndall, and became lifelong friends with many of his classmates and fellow Y-Club members. His school records indicate that O’Toole has been assembling YC mini-reunions since 1974 with his classmates, meeting in various places. For that, he has the distinction of being known as “Mr. Spirit.” O’Toole was recognized at the 2010 All-Class Reunion as “Mr. Greyhound” for his involvement in YC athletics and loyalty to Yankton College in numerous ways and in 2013 he hosted a successful YC Regional Reunion in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he and Janice reside. O’Toole visits South Dakota often, visiting his wife’s family, attending All-Class Reunions and serving on the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Advisory Board during their annual meetings.
Pro Causa Awards will be presented to Jan Bertsch and Jan Garrity, both from Yankton, who have displayed significant service to Yankton College as non-alums. This honor is bestowed to individuals who are involved with Yankton College in several ways, by volunteering, serving on the BOT or AAB or by working for YC.
Bertsch has been an active volunteer and supporter of Yankton College by marrying a 1965 YC graduate, Ron Bertsch, who was also a former Greyhound basketball coach, an interim college president and is currently, the chair of the Alumni Advisory Board. For more than 50 years with Ron, Jan has lovingly attended Yankton College activities and events, befriended many YC contacts that she has made from those college days to the present with Ron. She willingly has helped with hundreds of YC events, mailings, collection care and other needs, enhancing the services of the college. When YC staff calls asking for volunteer help, Jan always says “yes.” They are the parents of Jennifer and Jud, who were raised in Yankton but live out of state with their families and careers, allowing Jan and Ron the opportunities to visit. Jan currently serves as the president of the U.S. Federal Prison Camp’s Community Relations Board in Yankton that meets quarterly on the old YC campus in Ward Hall. One of her favorite things is spending time with her two grandchildren in Kansas City, Missouri.
Jan Garrity owned and managed a family business near Mission Hill before becoming the executive director of Yankton College. Garrity and her husband, Pat, graduated from South Dakota State University, after studying horticulture there and with their son, Sam, owned and operated Garritys’ Prairie Gardens from 1984 to 2006, a family entertainment farm that raised apples, pumpkins, berries and asparagus for sale with made from scratch jams and jellies, pies and apple cider. After 25 years, a career change was calling. Jan’s marketing skills and Yankton connections earned her the YC job that she began in 2009. She credits help from her historian father, Robert Karolevitz, who authored “Yankton College: A Continuing Story,” which she uses regularly as a resource. Garrity is currently the only full-time staff member whose function is to supervise and carry on the day-to-day business activity of the YC business office and assist the Yankton College Board of Trustees and Alumni Advisory Board. Garrity says that YC alumni have become like family to her. Her main focus with her part-time staff, Office Assistant, Camille Swift and Office Accountant, Donna Ellis, is to prepare the contents of the current office for a successful move to the Mead Cultural Education Center in the next few years.
For more information about the Yankton College 2018 All-Class Reunion, visit www.yanktoncollege.org or phone 866-665-3661.