The Bemidji State University Alumni & Foundation has named four graduates as distinguished alumni for the 2023-24 academic year. The honorees, clockwise from top left, are Denae (Fisher) Alamano, Marc Bloomquist, John Thompson and Corby Koehler.
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By BSU Alumni & Foundation

Published 2:30 p.m. on July 24, 2023

The Bemidji State University Alumni & Foundation has named four graduates as distinguished alumni for the 2023-24 academic year.

Marc Bloomquist ‘96, Corby Koehler ‘97 and John Thompson ‘98 will all receive the Outstanding Alumni Award, while Denae (Fisher) Alamano ‘07 will receive the Young Alumni Award.

All four will be formally recognized during the 2023 Honors Gala on Sept. 29. Registration for that event opens on Monday, July 31, at

Alamano is the executive director for the United Way of Bemidji Area and has made a significant difference in the greater Bemidji community throughout her career, volunteerism and personal life. Alamano has helped the United Way triple its budget and realize drastic growth with its reach and effectiveness since starting there in 2016. She also created Women United, which honors local women making substantial community impact and enacts change through community projects. Additionally, Alamano invests in many ways across the community, including serving on the board of directors for Beltrami Area Services Collaborative, bringing Shield 616 to the region, taking on many volunteer roles at the Bemidji Evangelical Covenant Church and being a foster parent.

Bloomquist carved out a decades-long career with the Minnesota Department of Corrections, where he served on a number of committees, held offenders accountable for their actions while offering opportunities for change to make the community safer and advocated fiercely for staff. He was a tireless supporter for the less fortunate in his community, and he developed a program called Kingdom Builders that distributed donated funds to in-need community members without the hassle or delays of the typical red tape. He was also active in church and youth sports volunteerism. He died in December 2021 and will be honored posthumously.

Koehler has been serving his country since enlisting in the Minnesota Army National Guard in 1991 while still in high school. He has over 30 years of service and currently works as the commander of the Army Aviation Support Facility at Holman Airfield in St. Paul. Koehler has embarked on three overseas deployments and numerous domestic deployments, earning significant military awards such as the Bronze Star Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, the Army Achievement Medal, four Army Reserve Components Achievement Medals, two National Defense Service Medals and the Minnesota Medal for Merit. He also spearheaded significant training reform for aviation intelligence personnel in the U.S. Army.

Thompson has been a leader in many different avenues. He has worked for 25 years at Federated Insurance, climbing the ladder from an associate programmer to the first vice president, director of accounting. He was named to Federated’s leadership team in 2011 and has served various leadership roles in Federated and in other community organizations. He is a two-time winner of the Distinguished Graduate Award, which is issued by the Insurance Institute of America, and had the highest grade in the nation for his respective designations. He also leads fundraising efforts for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Minnesota, is a Kids Korner Education Center board member and treasurer, and is on the Bemidji State Department of Business advisory board.

More information about the Honors Gala is available at

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