With over 37,000 active alumni, there is always a reason to applaud and celebrate the accomplishments of our remarkable alumni and friends. Take pride as you glance at the accomplishments of this year’s recipients. Congratulations to all of our nominees and to this year’s list of awardees.
Distinguished Alumna Award: Ann Marie Mehlum
Distinguished Alumnus Award: Dr. Jeffrey Probstfield
Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award: Willie Painter
Alumni Service Award: Edwin Tijramba
Special Recognition Award: Alvin “Al” Broeckel
Special Recognition Award: Donna Schlitt
Heritage Award: David Johnson
The Brian C. Olson Student Leadership Award: Steven Shumaker
Ann Marie Mehlum '75
Ann Marie is an accomplished banker with more than 35 years of banking experience. She has served as the Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access in the U.S. Small Business Administration since 2013. She leads SBA’s lending programs with a current portfolio of more than $100 billion in loans to small businesses all over the country. She is responsible for the development and implementation of policies that ensure all small businesses have access to needed capital. At the SBA, she spearheaded the launch of an automated loan guarantee platform that is significantly reducing the amount of time it takes for lenders to obtain an SBA guarantee. Under her watch, loans to underserved businesses have increased by 28 percent. Mehlum has also served her community in many roles.
Dr. Jeffrey Probstfield ’63
Dr. Probstfield has a lifelong dedication to PLU and the worldwide cardiovascular healthcare community. Jeff is a professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Washington and an adjunct Professor of Epidemiology. He is a renowned research investigator and has led multiple national and international studies investigating the optimal treatments for heart failure, hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidemia (high serum cholesterol levels), and diabetes during the last three decades. In addition to his impressive professional career, he has been an active supporter of Pacific Lutheran University financially and as a volunteer, serving as President of the Alumni Board in the early 80s and as a member of the Board of Regents from 1981 – 1990.
Willie Painter '06
Willie has excelled in his service to the local community through his professional and volunteer roles. Since 2007, Willie has worked as the Public Information Officer for Franklin Pierce Schools. During his time with the school district, he has led school funding ballot measure campaigns totaling $166 million, and is currently leading the public relations effort on a $157 million bond. In 2015, Willie was recognized as one of 35 outstanding school public relations professionals under the age of 35 in the United States by the National Association of School Public Relations. He is currently a Member of the Board of Directors of the Franklin Pierce Foundation, which raises money for local high school graduates to pay for college. He served as the Board President of the Tacoma Rainbow Center during which time he helped to bring the Rainbow Center into a level of financial security through friend-raising, fund-raising, and strengthened partnerships with regional organizations.
Edwin Tijramba '93
Edwin is the Acting Executive Director for the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (NIPAM). He also serves as the substantive Director of Communications and Marketing at the University of Namibia. His professional career has focused on advancing the social, health, economic and educational sectors of countries in southern Africa, particularly of his homeland, Namibia. He has coordinated programs and activities of AIDS NGOs, including fundraising and human resource development and he has conducted survey research for determining social impact within Botswana, Namibia and South Africa among many other activities. Edwin has helped strengthen the long-term partnership between PLU and University of Namibia. Edwin was one of nine Namibian students who received their degrees from PLU after their newly-democratic country formed a partnership with PLU and other Lutheran colleges. His story was recently featured in the documentary, “The Namibia Nine.”
Alvin ``Al`` Broeckel '60 '70
Al has been an educator and coach in the greater Tacoma area for more than 43 years. He has taught thousands of students and athletes, and served as a track official in District III Sub District, District and State Finals, as well as for PLU Track and Senior Games. During the last 10 years, Al has contributed to the PLU track and field programs as the pole vault coach. He helped replace the roof on the south Track and Field shed, assembled the permanent covers for the high jump and pole vault pits, donated a fleet of pole vaulting poles to the program and offered countless hours to athletes and staff to aid them in their PLU journey.
Donna, along with her late husband, Bill Schlitt, is the parent of two PLU School of Business graduates, Michael Schlitt ’98 and Rena (Schlitt ’00) Rabe. Bill and Donna were members of the PLU Parents Council and served as Council Chairs. Donna went above and beyond, not only planning or executing the meetings but truly being a part of the campus community and life. She and Bill were known to help mediate issues between students, parents, the university, and community members. Donna stayed involved in the life of PLU after her children graduated. She always attends PLU events in her community and is faithful about attending events on campus. She just recently completed a nine year term on the Board of Regents.
David Johnson '74
David Johnson has demonstrated consistent and outstanding service to PLU and its mission as a student and active alumnus during the last 42 years. David has served as the Class Representative for his class since 1995. In 1998, he set up the Class of 1974 list-serve that has grown throughout time to include members of other classes who enjoy getting updates from David about PLU happenings. Through the list-serve he communicates about things happening at PLU, the fate of classmates, fun stuff and opportunities to donate. He also currently serves as a Lute Link Career Advisor and Corporate Representative. David previously served as President of the Alumni Board, a member of the Board of Regents, and on the most recent Presidential Search Committee.
Steven Shumaker '16
Aside from being a husband and father of four, Steven is a Political Science major with hopes of becoming a civil-rights lawyer. He is a decorated veteran who has taken a leadership role during his time on campus, as a member of the ASPLU senate, a member of the Student Veterans Association, and a Wild Hope Fellow. He takes time to help coach, guide and mentor his fellow students. As an ASPLU Senator he proposed legislation to explore and update PLU’s observance of Veterans Day and instituted a new program sponsored by ASPLU called “Let’s Talk about _____,” designed to foster discussion about controversial topics.