NMC Fellows

NMC Fellows, 1964: (Left to Right); Arnell Engstrom, Frances and Gerald Oleson, Ferris Rennie, Ellis WunschThe Fellow is Northwestern Michigan College's highest honor, awarded since 1964. Fellows may be nominated because they have demonstrated influential networking on behalf of the College, have demonstrated a pattern of outstanding financial or personal time contributions to NMC, or as a retiree of the College continue to contribute back to their academic or professional fields as volunteers, mentors or advisors. Exceptional contributions in one or more of these areas may justify nomination. No staff, faculty, or trustee shall be named a Fellow while still employed or in office.

2023 recipients: Gene Jenneman and Brad, D.J. and Marty Oleson

2023 Fellow Gene Jenneman Gene Jenneman 2023 Fellow Marty Oleson Marty Oleson 2023 Fellow Brad Oleson Brad Oleson 2023 Fellow D.J. Oleson D.J. Oleson Gene Jenneman was the first director of NMC’s Dennos Museum Center. Appointed as Dennos director before the museum even opened in 1991, Jenneman led the museum until his retirement in 2019. His mission was to bring the world to Traverse City via the art exhibited in the galleries and performed in Milliken Auditorium. His culminating achievement was an expansion completed in 2017, which nearly doubled the museum’s square footage. The new galleries showcase pieces from the permanent collection that Jenneman acquired over 30 years, as well as the Dennos’ signature Inuit art collection. One of the permanent collection galleries bears his name.

The Olesons — siblings Brad and D.J. and cousin Marty — are the third generation of the family whose financial and volunteer support for NMC spans all eight decades of its existence. The Oleson trio carried on the NMC Barbecue tradition started in 1956 by their grandparents, Jerry and Frances Oleson, until it concluded in 2020 after raising nearly $2 million for college projects.

Marty Oleson is a member of the NMC Foundation Board, appointed in 2010. She served on the annual campaign and alumni committees, as well as the Innovation Grants Committee, now known as the Office of Possibilities Committee.

Brad Oleson was the Oleson family representative on the Barbecue Board for decades. He helped engineer many improvements through the years and was a tremendous stabilizing force. He was typically the first to arrive and the last to leave every Barbecue Day.

D.J. sits at the helm of Oleson’s Corporation and was recently chair of the Michigan Grocer’s Association. His internal leadership with the business helps make it possible for the Oleson legacy to live on as he cheers his sibling Brad and cousin Marty in their community-facing roles.

Fellows Tribute Videos

NMC Fellows Gallery

  • 2023: Gene Jenneman and Brad, D.J. And Marty Oleson
  • 2022: Ross Childs and Ann Rogers
  • 2020: Bill Marsh Jr. and Roberta Teahen
  • 2019: Daniel and Debra Edson
  • 2018: Dr. Edward and Sharon Rutkowski
  • 2017: Ross and Brenda Biederman
  • 2016: Chuck Judson
  • 2015: Bruce Byl
  • 2014: Richard and Diana Milock
  • 2013: Dr. Don Good, Walter J. Hooper
  • 2012: Hettie Molvang
  • 2011: Terry S. Malone
  • 2010: James MacInnes, Elaine C. Wood
  • 2009: Jean Howard, Ted Kidd, Phyllis Kidd, D. Jerome Slack, Margery Slack
  • 2008: Charles E. Benson, Barbara S. Benson, Louise Hagerty, Wayne H. Lobdell, Terry Lobdell
  • 2007: Donald Oleson, Sr., Gerald Oleson, Jr.
  • 2006: Walter E. Beardslee, Elaine L. Beardslee
  • 2005: William G. Janis, Jacqueline E. Ribel, Mark L. Ribel
  • 2004: Rotary Charities of Traverse City
  • 2003: Christian P. Kamm, Shirley S. Okerstrom
  • 2002: Marvin Rorick, Luella Rorick
  • 2001: George C. Comden, Bart T. Stupak, Norman Veliquette, Marjory Veliquette
  • 2000: Nick Rajkovich, Frances Rajkovich
  • 1999: Robert T. Hughes, Robert Rudd, Grace Rudd, Capt. George J. Ryan
  • 1998: Thomas C. Jones, Edward C. Walker
  • 1997: James J. Beckett, Al Shumsky, Dudley Smith, Barbara Smith III
  • 1996: David Lee Gray, Paul T. Johnson, Frances B. Johnson, Donald W. Nugent, Gail M. Nugent
  • 1995: Dr. Charles D. Kesner, Richard W. Olson, Dr. C. Russell Wentworth
  • 1994: Dr. Charles Kelly, Dolores Kelly, Barbara I.C. MacFarlane, Jane E. Norton, Frank E. Noverr
  • 1993: Walter Holland
  • 1992: Susie (Kildee) Janis, Paul Welch
  • 1991: Sen. George A. McManus, Jr.
  • 1990: Helen W. Milliken, JoAnne M. Zimmerman
  • 1989: Gordon Lightfoot, Arthur M. Schmuckal, Mary E. Schmuckal, Adm. Willard J. Smith, U.S.C.G.
  • 1988: Robert L. Goff, Jack B. Stegenga
  • 1987: Marie G. McCarthy, Mrs. William E. Votruba
  • 1986: Bernard C. Rink
  • 1985: Frank W. Tezak, Ralph J. Lautner, Mary E. Lautner, Joseph H. Rogers
  • 1984: Alice A. Drulard, Blake Forslund
  • 1983: Michael Dennos, Barbara Dennos, V. Adm. Paul E. Trimble (Ret.)
  • 1981: Lester M. Biederman, Warren W. Cline, M.D.
  • 1980: Lt. Gov. Connie Binsfeld
  • 1979: Doris Nerbonne, Everett R. Hames
  • 1978: John L. Horton
  • 1977: Julius C. Sleder
  • 1976: Ferris N. Crawford
  • 1974: James P. DeLapa, Andrew L. Olson
  • 1973: Harry L. Weitz, M.D., Sen. Robert P. Griffin
  • 1972: Dorothy C. Hall, Preston N. Tanis
  • 1971: James E. Clune, Arthur G. Whitelock
  • 1970: Harry T. Running, Mrs. Mark (Helen) Osterlin
  • 1969: Corrine J. Naar
  • 1968: Julius H. Beers
  • 1967: Eugene B. Power
  • 1966: Wilbur C. Munnecke
  • 1965: George I. Altenburg, Gov. William G. Milliken, Leslie Tremaine, Bernice Tremaine
  • 1964: Arnell G. Engstrom, Gerald Oleson, Frances Oleson, Ferris J. Rennie, Harold Wise, Imogene Wise, Ellis A. Wunsch, Ph.D.