The 2016 Saint Peter Public Schools Hall of Fame inductees include: front row (l to r), John Lager, Dr. Don Olmanson, Dr. Jennipher Wiebold; back row, Gayle Olson (represented by her mother Carol Peterson), and the late Gil Carlson (represented by his wife Peggy Carlson).
Dr. Don Olmanson— Don Olmanson, who passed away on October 17, 2016, was a member of the Class of 1949 and a long-time family physician in town. Upon completion of medical school and serving an internship, he and his wife moved their family to Burma, a remote area where good medicine was limited. This is where Don met and assisted the famed surgeon, Dr. Gordon Seagrave. He was the first American doctor to assist Dr. Seagrave. After a two-year tour, the Olmansons returned to Saint Peter, where Don joined his father’s clinic. He retired from family practice in 1988, after 31 years, to become certified in geriatrics. Dr. Olmanson then joined his daughter at the Foot and Ankle Clinic. He retired from a career in medicine in 1995. Don was very active in the community of Saint Peter, as well as in Nicollet County, through many civic, service, and church groups/organizations. He was also a Saint Peter School Board member for 12 years, including serving as Board president.
John Lager— John Lager graduated from Saint Peter High School in 1958. He received degrees in civil and mechanical engineering that secured him an aerospace engineer position with Martin-Marietta Aerospace as well as with Boeing Aircraft. As a senior research scientist, he worked on the Titan Missile, Space Shuttle, Hubble Telescope, and other top-secret projects. The lunar drill stems used on the Apollo Moon Mission, that are still used today, were designed by John. An avid hunter and fisherman, he changed careers in the mid 1980s to become a taxidermist. He was self-taught and has received several distinguished awards for his work. John is a resident of Littleton, Colorado, and had a grandson attending Columbine High School at the time of the 1999 school shooting. One of his most unique mounts was designed in commemoration of those who were injured and died.
Gayle Hanson Olson—Gayle Olson is a 1973 graduate of Saint Peter High School. As a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and Indiana University, Gayle has been recognized as a pioneer and visionary for the athletic profession. She is a Clinical Instructor for the Athletic Training Education Program at Florida Southern College. Gayle also serves as their athletic trainer, providing care for the FSC athletes. As an Education Coordinator for SwimEx, she travels internationally to train people in aquatic therapy. Gayle has served as an Athletic Trainer for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games (Salt Lake City, Utah), and the 1984 Summer Olympic Games (Los Angeles), along with U.S. Figure Skating national and regional events and many other international and national sporting events. She also received the National Athletic Trainer’s Association Most Distinguished award in 2013.
Dr. Jennipher Wiebold—Jennipher Wiebold graduated in 1987. Her Septo-Optic Dysplasia diagnosis at birth has led her to a career of helping others who have visual impairments. Her own struggles have been instrumental in moving the field of rehabilitation forward. In 2014 the Governor of Michigan appointed Dr. Wiebold to serve for three years on the Michigan Council on Rehabilitation Services. Currently, she works as an Associate Professor and Rehabilitation Counseling Program Coordinator at Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo) in a joint appointment with the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies and Department of Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology. Dr. Wiebold has received more than $3.5 million in research and training grant funding, which has helped over 50 people earn Master’s degrees in rehabilitation counseling and receive specialized training in blindness and low vision.
Gil Carlson — Gil Carlson, who passed away on November 25, 2015, was a long-time administrator with the Saint Peter Public School system. He served as Superintendent of Schools (1993-2003), High School Principal (1983-1993), and Assistant High School Principal (1978-1983). He was involved with the establishment of the Nicollet Meadows subdivision that ended a declining enrollment in Saint Peter. Gil was well known for his tireless efforts to help District 508 and the Saint Peter community rebuild after the devastating tornado on March 29, 1998. A community-minded leader, Gil was involved with the Sertoma Club, United Fund Board, Lions Club, United Way, Saint Peter Chamber of Commerce, and River’s Edge Hospital Board, to name a few.