Alumni in Action

Participants in the Alumni Banquet

Honoring Wildcat Movers & Shakers

Congratulations to this year’s Alumni Award Recipients, honored by the NMU Alumni Association!


Lynnae Ruttledge ’71 BS | Salem, Oregon

Ruttledge has devoted her career to promoting disability rights and the importance of worthwhile employment as the best avenue to independence and personal dignity for people with disabilities. In 2010, President Barack Obama appointed her commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration with the U.S. Department of Education. Ruttledge later served as a member of the Senate Commission on Long Term Care and on the National Council for Disability. She has been affiliated with Mobility International USA and was co-chair of the Global Symposium on Assistive Technology for the European Parliament. 

Jana Simmons ’93 BA | Ferndale, Michigan

Simmons serves as Of Counsel in the Michigan office of national law firm Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, where she focuses on American Indian law and complex civil litigation. She is on the board of editors of Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Her honors include a 2014 appointment by Gov. Rick Snyder to the Michigan Board of Counseling, which assists with licensing and oversight of more than 9,000 legal counselors in Michigan. She also received the 2011 Michigan Defense Trial Counsel’s Distinguished Service Award, and is a two-time recipient of the “Rising Stars” award. She also led the effort to establish the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel’s “Golden Gavel Award” to recognize the outstanding achievements of young civil-defense lawyers. 


John Gremmer ’66 BS, ’74 MAE | Winneconne, Wisconsin

Gremmer has had a distinguished teaching career at Oshkosh High School and Oshkosh North High School, earning the city’s Teacher of the Year Award in 1993 and the Kohl Award for Educational Excellence. He also launched a leadership class for the school district that motivated student involvement in several community service activities. He retired from the public schools in 2000, but continues teaching at Fox Valley Technical College. He has served as president of the Central Wisconsin chapter of Trout Unlimited and was awarded one of its highest honors, the Gold Net Award, as well as the Fox Valley Sierra Group Environmental award. 


Luke Steinke ’00 BS, ’02 MS | Champaign, Illinois

Steinke is a tenured associate professor at Eastern Illinois University. He also serves as program coordinator for the organizational and professional development bachelor’s program and created a master’s in talent development. He has been recognized for exemplary teaching and for leadership in curriculum design with awards from EIU, Southeast Missouri State University, Epsilon Pi Tau, the Association for Career and Technical Education, and the National Association of Industrial and Technical Teacher Education. He recently published DACUM: The Seminal Book, with DACUM creator Robert E. Adams. DACUM, short for Develop A Curriculum, has been the “go-to system” for designing training programs directly connected to the workplace. 

Nominate a Wildcat for an alumni award and read about past winners at

Alumni Gatherings

Dakota house Alumni gathering

Alumni and friends of Dakota House gathered in Marquette July 21-24 for a fun-filled reunion weekend.  Activities included a gathering at Vango’s, Sugarloaf hike, campus tour, reception at Casa Calabria, tour of Ore Dock Brewing Company, visit to their old stomping grounds and more.
Photo courtesy of Dennis Hawk ’76 BS.


Football golf alumni outing

It was a record turnout for the Football Golf Outing, held at NMU’s course on Saturday, June 25.  The event, attended by Wildcat football alumni and friends, raised money for NMU’s football program.


Wildcat Hokey get-together

A record number of alumni and friends came together in Marquette on Saturday, July 30 to celebrate the 25th year anniversary since Wildcat Hockey’s Championship season and a reunion for the program’s 40th year.


Theater alumni from the ’80s and ’90s returned to Marquette for a reunion on July 29-30.  Alumni from as far away as Alabama, Tennessee and even Hong Kong attended. Activities included a tour of the Forest Roberts Theatre, Art on the Rocks, and a dinner at the Masonic Center downtown.  Graduates also spent the afternoon with Dr. Panowski at Brookridge Heights and visited the grave of Dr. Rapport.  Another reunion is tentatively planned for 2020.  Photo courtesy of Bobby Glenn Brown ’87 BS.


Theater Alumni Gathering

Theater Alumni Gathering


Alumni Wine Tasting

Alumni and friends gathered at Bullfrog Creek Winery in Moraga, California, on July 29 for a special alumni wine-tasting event, hosted by the late Tony DeVenuta ’71 BA.


NMU Alumni and friends gathered at Green Bay’s Resch Center on October 7 to cheer on the Hockey Wildcats as they faced UW-Madison.  The ‘Cats won the game and the victory was celebrated at a post-game party. 

Wildcats in Green Bay