Alumni Association News

Honoring the 2015 Alumni Award Winners

The Northern Michigan University Alumni Association honored three award winners at a celebration brunch over Homecoming weekend. 

Lisa Kelly Alumni Achievement Award

Kelley ’99 is an undersea specialist and expedition leader at Lindblad Expeditions and second in command of the MS National Geographic Explorer. She creates and executes expeditions while managing 160 guests and a team of up to 16 staff members. Kelley has led expeditions in nearly 60 countries and on all seven continents. She films underwater environments around the world and produces video presentations for Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.

Kelley has helped to oversee operations of a station for the U.S. Antarctic Program. She was the first person to achieve scuba diving credentials in Antarctica and wrote The Antarctic Dive Guide. She was the captain of the NMU women’s soccer team and graduated with honors and a health education degree in 1999. When not on the seas, her home is in Buffalo, N.Y. (En route to Marquette, Kelley’s flight was delayed by fog in Newfoundland and she was unable to attend the brunch.)


John Kukuk Alumni Achievement Award

Kukuk ’76 is the owner/president of Nestegg Marine in Marinette, Wis., which was named National Marina of the Year in 2011. He was one of the first in the nation to achieve the marine industry’s five-star dealer certification and the first Wisconsin Certified Clean Marina. Kukuk is the national education chair for the Marine Growth Initiative.

Kukuk has been active in the Marinette Chamber of Commerce for more than 19 years, including service as a board member and past president. He was honored as Marinette’s Person of the Year in 2005 and received the NMU Alumni Service Award in 1995. Jon has served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors. He earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from NMU in 1976.



Oswald ’03 is the executive vice president at Hill & Wilkinson General Contractors, a $450 million, full-service construction firm. He is responsible for the overall operation and leadership of projects encompassed by the aviation, commercial, food and beverage, manufacturing and special projects markets. He also oversees operations of the firm’s central Texas office remotely from the headquarters in Richardson.

Oswald has served on the NMU Advisory Council for the last two years. He is involved with attracting talent, adjusting curriculum and styles to conform to industry trends and providing leadership as a mentor in the industry. He is responsible for hiring and retaining at least 12 NMU construction management students over the years. Mike attended NMU on a football scholarship, earning team MVP and two-time Academic All American honors. He graduated summa cum laude in 2003. Oswald is involved in the Real Estate Council of Dallas-Fort Worth and participates in related community programs such as ACE Mentorship, Habitat for Humanity and Hearts and Hammers.

Welcome To The Alumni Association

Introducing New Board Members



'11 Economics

Derek is a demand planner for RTI Surgical in Marquette. While at NMU, Derek was a Research Assistant, a member of the Economic Student Association, and vice president of the Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society – Telion Chapter. He received Full Honors Designation from the NMU Honors Program, the Community Service Award from the Economic Club of Marquette County and was the recipient of the Emerging Leaders Scholarship from the Detroit Regional Chapter in 2013.


’05 Public Relations

Fabiana is a graduate teaching assistant at The George Washington University – Columbia College of Arts and Sciences in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was a program manager at Boston University and a teacher for The Global Language Network. While attending NMU, Fabiana was a member of the Associated Students of Northern Michigan University, Ethnic and Cultural Diversity Committee, The North Wind, All Nations Club and Spalding Hall Academic Committee.


’13 Nursing

Brendan is a registered nurse for Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. He previously worked as a RN in the Emergency Department at Beaumont Health Systems in Grosse Pointe. While attending Northern, Brendan was a Campus Visit Program assistant and a Discovery Initiative student representative. He received the ENA Michigan Council Rising Star Award, was an Eagle Scout and received the Clinical Excellence Award from NMU. He was a recipient of the NMU Leadership Scholarship, Michael D. Nunnally Award recipient for Outstanding Community Service and a Superior Edge Program graduate. /p>


’01 Public Relations, Psychology

Lindsay is a marketing operations manager for UnitedHealthcare in Minneapolis. She manages the Explanation of Benefits fulfillment process for the Medicare and Retirement and Community and State divisions. Prior to UHC, Lindsay was the director of marketing and public relations at Northstar Health System in Iron River, where she was actively involved in the community serving on the Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce and Iron County Historical Museum boards and volunteering for the Northwoods Animal Shelter, NHS Women’s Auxiliary & Northwood’s Living Foundation. She earned her MBA in marketing from Lawrence Tech University. Lindsay is married to Mike Demske ’01 and together they have a young son, Dean.

Foster_Barton_2015_AABOD-9768.jpgBARTON FOSTER

’79 Sociology

Barton is the executive recruiter, owner and president at The Barton Group, Inc., a search and recruiting firm in Livonia. He is also a career, life, growth and trust coach. Previously, he worked for Sanford Rose Associates Search Firm as an executive and technical recruiter. In his career, Bart has worked in Fortune 100 corporations, small companies and startups. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, Human Resource Association, Automotive Women’s Alliance, and Top Echelon Recruiting Group, as well as being a Certified Personnel Consultant. He is active in the Northridge Church in Plymouth. At Northern, Bart was a resident assistant in Payne Hall.

Upcoming Events

Wildcat Night Across the Country

Saturday, March 5

Gather with alumni in your town and cheer on Wildcat hockey as they take on the Michigan Tech Huskies!

Puck drops at 7 p.m. EST  (see the ad on page 25 for details)

NMU Hockey vs. University of Alabama-Huntsville

Pre-Game Gathering

NMU alumni and friends are invited to gather on Saturday, December 5 at “The Pub” inside Von Braun Arena (700 Monroe Street, Huntsville, Ala.) before watching the hockey Wildcats take on the UAH Chargers.  The pre-game gathering starts at 6 p.m. CST and the puck drops at 7 p.m. CST. Stop by to win prizes, including an NMU hockey jersey signed by the team!

Find details on how to purchase tickets and register for the pre-game gathering at 


Born to be Wild!

It’s never too early to instill pride for Northern Michigan University in your little Wildcat!  And with the new Wildcat bib program, initiated and funded by the NMU Alumni Association Board of Directors, you can do just that.

Alumni can now request one complimentary bib for the special little Wildcat in your life.  Additional bibs may be purchased at a cost of $10, with the goal of making the bib program self-sustaining. Visit to get yours—then “share” your adorable photo with an NMU Alumni Association social site for a chance to be our featured “Born to be Wild” baby—like this little cutie Charli, daughter of alumna Lindsay and granddaughter of alumna Peggy.



The 1975 NMU Football team, coaches, and staff, gather during Homecoming 2015 to celebrate 40 years since their National Championship victory.