Service Award

Church Relations

Susan J. Alexis ’71 believes that one ordinary individual can make a difference. For over thirteen years, Alexis, who holds a master’s degree in Spanish, has provided interpreting services for foreign medical mission trips in Nicaragua, Peru, Honduras, Ecuador, Venezuela, Uruguay, Mexico, and Guatemala. She has touched the lives of thousands of impoverished people, traveling abroad with other health care volunteers to provide humanitarian aid to patients in Third-world and war-torn countries. By putting her own talents, idealism, time and finances to work in hopes of a better world, she exemplifies living a life of leadership and service.

Alexis has authored two inspirational books. Healing the World One by One: Reflections on Third World Encounters (Xlibris Corporation, 2001) provides dramatic first-hand accounts of individuals from various states and diverse professions as they take health care to the world’s poor. Caring Hands (Fairview Press, 2003) illustrates short-term volunteer missions as experienced by Minnesota’s Fairview Health Services employees as they serve the disadvantaged through non-profit organizations across the globe.

Born and raised in Minnesota and proud to claim Swedish heritage, Alexis lived 17 years in Mexico and has made twelve trips to Latin America as interpreter for medical missions. This has given her not only an understanding of other cultures, but a greater appreciation of her own. She lives in Albuquerque and works in a law firm.

The Association of Congregations Service Award recognizes alumni and former students of Gustavus who have made distinctive commitments and contributions to the service of others. Since 1992, thirteen individuals have been the recipient of this award.

Service Award Recipients

Year Name
1992 Rev. Thomas Neilson, '73
1993 Claire Hobart, '35
1994 Rev. James Wiberg, '61
1997 Joanna (Lundgren) Kuehn, '64
1999 Marjorie (Knudson) Olson, '42 & (the late) Robert Olson, '41
Mark W. Monson, '76 (posthumous)
2005 Jean-Paul Bigirindavyi '00
2006 Mary K. Nelson '61
2007 Ellen Ruiters '97
Donn Escher '50 (posthumous)
2008 Mary Ellen (Torsden) Kitundu '65
Dennis Lofstrom '51
2009 Susan J. Alexis '71
2010 Travis Dahlke '00
Nathan Dahlke '02
2011 The Rev. Gerald (Jerry) Hoffman '59
2013 Dr. Daniel Dewey '93