Celebrating Iowa Central

Distinguished Alumni honored at annual banquet

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Kirk Yung, a distinguished Iowa Central Community College Alum, shares a laugh during the 2017 Iowa Central Community College Hall of Fame Banquet Saturday night. Yung, a 1981 St. Edmond Catholic School graduate, was honored at the event.

Iowa Central Community College is a place where Kirk Yung developed lifelong friendships in the early 1980s.

“A lot of my friends from Senior High and St. Edmond got their start here,” he said. “And I met a lot of people from other areas who I am still friends with today.”

Yung, a 1981 St. Edmond Catholic School graduate, was among those honored for the Distinguished Alumni Award at the 2017 Iowa Central Community College Hall of Fame Banquet Saturday night.

He graduated from Iowa Central in 1983.

“A lot has changed here,” Yung said. “The campus was much smaller when I was here. There weren’t as many students. But this was still a great experience. I have a lot of great memories and an affection for Iowa Central.”

His family has ties to the school.

“My mom (Eileen Yung) was a nurse here from 1973-2001,” he said. “My children, Michael and Anna, attended Iowa Central.”

Yung went on to graduate from Iowa State University where he majored in finance. He also earned his Masters of Business Administration from Drake University.

He works as group president at Great Western Bank.

Phil Gunderson, owner of Gunderson Funeral Home & Cremation Services, was also honored as a Distinguished Alum.

Gunderson attended Iowa Central in the 1970s.

“At that time they had about four buildings and then the towers, which were the dorms,” he said. “It’s all different now, but even then it was a great experience for me.”

“Having been in Fort Dodge most of my life, to see what Iowa Central has become is just incredible for these students and this area,” Gunderson added.

He said the partnerships that Iowa Central has developed within the community have been impressive.

“Iowa Central helps define what’s good about Fort Dodge,” Gunderson said. “The collaboration with businesses and the job training to nursing and trucking, it just seems endless.”

Dave Stevens, Dr. Timi Jordison, and Quentin Hart were also chosen as Distinguished Alumni.

Chuck Peterson was singled out as this year’s winner of the Triton Humanitarian Award. He was profiled by The Messenger in Friday’s newspaper.

The 1973 Iowa Central football team was honored.

Jeff Ruth, of Paton, played primarily special teams for the 1973 group that went undefeated during the regular season.

It was a difficult task to get the old crew back together, he said.

“The search for the team was incredibly challenging because there’s no record of where they ended up,” Ruth said. “Some went on to other schools, some dropped out, and some are no longer with us.”

He said social media was one tool he used to help track them down.

About 15 members of the team were scheduled to be in attendance.

He recalled how close they were.

“We all got along really well and worked together really well,” he said. “We were tough. We were a team.”

The Triton Athletic award winners were:

• John Schaumburg, wrestling

• Kevin Russell, wrestling

• Craig Carlson, basketball coach

• Amari Spievey, football

• Stanley Kebenei, track