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Alumni Association honors three outstanding alumni and mentors

Posted on Oct 2, 2012
The Alumni Association salutes Rick Sordelet, John Munsell and the Harold Larsen.
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Alumnus of the Year Rick Sordelet displays his award flanked by Alumni Director Tom Bergh, left, and retired professor Dr. Al Katz. who was among Sordelets mentors.

Alumnus of the Year Rick Sordelet displays his award flanked by Alumni Director Tom Bergh, left, and retired professor Dr. Al Katz. who was among Sordelet's mentors.

Rick Sordelet, who graduated from UW-Superior in 1982 and has built a career as one of the leading fight choreographers for stage, film and television, received the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the UW-Superior Alumni Association.

In addition, the Alumni Association presented its James Rainaldo Mentor Award to retired professor John Munsell, and it honored the late Harold Larsen with its Edward and Betty Kossak Service Award. The awards were presented at the annual Donor Recognition Dinner held Thursday, Sept. 27, by the UW-Superior Foundation and the UW-Superior Alumni Association.

"The Alumni Association is extremely proud of all the award recipients," said Tom Fennessey, chair of the UW-Superior Alumni Association. "This is a clear indication of the deep dedication these individuals have for UW-Superior."

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Rick Sordelet, Class of '82, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award in recognition of his career achievements as a fight coordinator and choreographer for stage, film and television productions. The award is presented each year to an alumnus whose success serves as an inspiration for current and prospective students.

Sordelet has built a career in arranging mock battles and teaching actors to engage in fights that are realistic and yet safe for the performers. He has been featured in the New York Times and The Washington Post, and he has received several industry awards in recognition of his unusual work.

Sordelet's credits include work on 54 Broadway productions and several Hollywood movies. He has staged fight scenes for the Metropolitan Opera, The Royal Opera House,and La Scala in Milan, Italy, along with 84 different productions of "Romeo and Juliet" and 66 different productions of "Hamlet."

He is the only fight director to stage battles for a Super Bowl Halftime Show -- the 1995 production of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye" seen by 83 million people.

Sordelet teaches at The New School for Drama and The Neighborhood Playhouse, both in New York City, and the Yale School of Drama. He is a board member for the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, and author of the play "Buried Treasure."

James Rainaldo Mentor Award

John Munsell, a popular and inspirational professor, will be presented the James Rainaldo Mentor Award. This award recognizes a UW-Superior faculty or staff member who has touched the lives of current and former students in a unique and significant way.

Munsell began his teaching career at UW-Superior in 1967 and was the teaching specialist in acting and directing for University Theatre. He taught more than 30 different courses in theatre, television and speech as well as professional communication courses for the business program. He retired in 2001.

In addition, Munsell was artistic director for University Theatre and directed more than 60 stage productions. He also appeared as an actor in more than 200 performances for stage and television, and he hosted public radio programs. 

Over the years, Munsell developed a devoted following of students, fellow actors and friends. His overall philosophy for teaching theatre and for life in general was simple - "If you aren't having fun, you're doing it wrong."  

Edward and Betty Kossak Service Award

The UW-Superior Alumni Association is proud to honor the late Harold Larsen with the Edward and Betty Kossak Service Award. This award is presented to someone who has made significant contributions in time, energy, leadership and support to further the goals of UW-Superior.

Larsen, a native of Superior, worked at UW-Superior as director of security for 24 years before retiring in 1990 and moving to the Twin Cities area.

In 2002, Larsen worked with the UW-Superior Alumni Association to form a Twin Cities Alumni Chapter and became its first chair. He helped organize alumni events and assisted in recruiting students by volunteering at college fairs held around the Twin Cities. Before he passed away in March 2012, he and his wife Lynette frequently attended alumni events in the Twin Cities and on campus.

News Contact: Heather Thompson | 715-394-8452 | hthomps9{atuws}
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