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UMMAA Announces 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Posted by Jenna Ray on Monday, Sep. 23, 2013


The University of Minnesota, Morris Alumni Association (UMMAA) Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it has selected three individuals to receive a 2013 UMMAA Distinguished Alumni Award. The Distinguished Alumni Award honors alumni who make noteworthy contributions in their professional lives, in public service, or in service to the University of Minnesota. The 2013 recipients are James “Doc” Carlson ’65, Mathew J. LeFebvre ’87, and Ann Michels ’92.

James “Doc” Carlson ’65, professor emeritus of music, served the University of Minnesota, Morris from 1978 until his retirement in 2009. Over the course of 31 years, Carlson was instrumental in establishing the Morris jazz program. He introduced a variety of classes into the music curriculum, including Jazz Combo, Jazz Ensembles, and Multicultural Music. In 1979, Doc created the now renowned University of Minnesota, Morris Jazz Fest. He received the Horace T. Morse-Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education in 1993 in 2000 he received Morris’s Faculty Distinguished Research Award and was named Minnesota Music Educators Association (MMEA) Educator of the Year. He was inducted into the MMEA Hall of Fame in 2006. Prior to beginning his career at Morris, Carlson taught at Augsburg College and Manchester College.


James “Doc” Carlson ’65

Carlson graduated with distinction from Morris with a degree in music education. He went on to receive a master of music with high distinction from Moorhead State College in 1968 and a doctor of music education with high distinction from Indiana University in 1972. Carlson received the Morris Dean’s Award in 1965, a School of Music Scholarship from Indiana University in 1969, and a North Dakota Education Association (NDEA) Title IV Fellowship in 1970.

Mathew J. LeFebvre ’87, professor of costume design at the University of Minnesota, began his career at the University in 1996. Since achieving the rank of associate professor in 2002, LeFebvre has produced designs for 52 professional (juried) productions at significant venues, including five off-Broadway productions, 20 for the Guthrie Theater, five for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, four for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and 15 for Penumbra Theatre Company. He received the Theatre Development Fund (TDF) Irene Sharaff Young Master Award for distinguished costume design in 2012, Lavender Magazine’s Best Costume Designer in 2010, an Ivey Award as a member of the production team for RUINED in 2010, and an Honorable Mention in the Star Tribuneʼs Artists of the Year in 2003.


Mathew J. LeFebvre ’87

LeFebvre received a degree in theatre arts from Morris and a master of fine arts from the University of Minnesota in 1996. His design work has been praised by such prominent publications as The New York Times, Daily Variety, New York Daily News, the New York Sun, The Wall Street Journal, and Entertainment Design.

Ann Michels ’92, actress and singer with the George Maurer Group, has worked extensively as a performer since graduating from Morris. As an actress, she has appeared in nearly 60 productions with over 25 companies, including Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, the Guthrie Theater, the Pantages and Hennepin Theatre Trust, and North Star Opera. She has also starred in three films and done voice work for animated features, commercials, and voiceovers. As a vocalist, Michels has spent 15 years recording with the George Maurer Group. She has also been a featured soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra, The Playwrights Center, and Saint Mark’s Cathedral. She will record and perform “Stations of the Heart,” a theatrical song cycle commissioned for her by Nautilus Music Theater.


Ann Michels ’92

Michels also works as a vocal coach and acting instructor. Prior to her career as a performer, she taught seventh-grade English and coached gymnastics at Morris Area High School. Michels graduated with distinction from Morris with a degree in theater, English, and secondary education as well as a coaching endorsement. She has studied voice under Janet Ahern, Barb Larson, and Jeanne Traun Grace and has done additional training at Theater de la Jeune Lune with Barbara Berlovitz.

“I look forward to welcoming these alumni back to campus this fall to accept their well-deserved Distinguished Alumni Awards,” says Carla Riley, ’85 director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. “Their accomplishments reflect well on their success and also on the merits of the university that is honoring them.”

The awards will be presented during the UMM Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award and Networking Banquet on Friday, September 27, as part of Morris’s 2013 Homecoming celebration. Additional information, including a list of past recipients and nomination requirements, is available online.