Mark Foss was a member of the Class of 1945 at Fergus Falls High School, where he was an Eagle Scout, class president and three-sport athlete. He served two years in the Army before earning a degree in civil engineering at the University of North Dakota. He returned to the Army and served in Korea and Japan, where he supervised construction of the first Mobile Army Surgical Hospital. He returned to UND and earned a master’s degree. With the architectural and engineering firm Foss Associates, he helped design West Acres Shopping Center, Westside Terminal at Hector Airport and MeritCare Medical Center. He was active in Fargo community service organizations and received two alumni awards from UND prior to his death in January 2008.
Gerald (Jerry) Liedl, Fergus Falls High School Class of 1951, found his way via a football scholarship to Purdue University, where he earned his undergraduate degree and doctorate in metallurgical engineering. His career centered on higher education and revolved around his position on the faculty of Purdue from 1958 until his retirement in 1999. For his last 20 years at the university, he was the head of the School of Materials Engineering and was involved in both teacher and extensive research. He was recently a co-editor of the “Encyclopedia for Condensed Matter Physics.” Now a resident of Carriage Park in Hendersonville, NC, his contributions to the community were acknowledged when the dam for a new lake was named the Gerald L. Liedl Dam.
Fergus Falls native Noel Olson played basketball, football and tennis at St. Olaf College, where he majored in physical education and biology before earning a master’s degree in physical education from the University of North Dakota. He played and coached basketball and baseball in the Air Force for three years, then coach for six years in Fertile and Virginia. He launched his collegiate career at the University of Minnesota, Morris, then move to St. Cloud State University, where he was twice honored as conference coach of the year. Olson became St. Cloud’s athletic director in 1976, and eight years later became commissioner of the North Central Conference. He retired in 1997 after amassing an array of awards for his athletic and leadership accomplishments.
John Hermes was an institution in the Fergus Falls athletic community when he retired in 1977 after 31 years of teaching physical education and coaching. He was head baseball coach for those 30-plus years, with his teams compiling a record of 241-169 and making state tournament appearances in 1961 and 1969. Hermes coached cross-country for 17 years and was assistant coach for the Otters’ 1957 trip to state, and he was also assistant coach for football and baseball. He received countless coaching awards during his tenure and was elected to the state Coaches Association Hall of Fame and, following his death in 1983, to the Fergus Falls High School Hall of Fame. Each fall, the Otter cross-country teams hos the John Hermes Invite.
Lori Ronning Folland graduated in 1982 from Fergus Falls High School, where her activities included orchestra and choir. She earned her Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from Oberlin College Conservatory, traveling nationwide to perform in concert tours with the Music from Oberlin chamber ensemble. She received a scholarship to attend the Aspen Music Festival. Ronning attended graduate school at the University of Michigan, concentrating on collaborative performace studies. She was a collaborative pianist at Carnegie Mellon University before she became staff pianist at St. Olaf College in 1991. As a chamber musician, she has appeared in concert series in Pittsburgh and the Twin Cities and in numerous recitals with friends and colleagues. Ronning also has soloed with the St. Olaf Philharmonia.