Midland University will recognize outstanding alumni and one distinguished family during the Alumni and Awards Legacy Brunch Sunday, September 19th, at the Fremont Golf Club as part of Homecoming weekend.
Jennifer Bixby, ‘97, is being honored with the Alumni Achievement Award while C.J. Anderson, ‘12, and Alex Knobbe, ‘12, are being recognized as Outstanding Young Alumni. The Distinguished Midland Family Award is going to the Suhr/Francis Family. (Click the links in this paragraph to see full stories.)
Anderson and Knobbe are two of the three founding members of Cognitive Clinical Trials (CCT Research). CCT Research is a network consisting of 22 clinical research sites in Arizona, Nebraska, Utah, Nevada, and Alabama, conducting studies in neurology, internal medicine, dermatology, and COVID-19. Anderson serves as CCT’s President, while Knobbe is the Vice President of Finance. In July, CCT Research was awarded the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine trial that involved 1,460 patients, the second-largest enroller in the world.
Anderson graduated from Midland with a degree in Psychology. He served as president of Finding Pharma prior to helping found CCT. Knobbe graduated with an Accounting degree from Midland and worked at Deloitte and Finding Pharma prior to CCT Research.
Bixby is the president of the conglomerate known as DPA Holdings, Inc. Under this umbrella, Don Peterson & Associates Real Estate, Dodge County Title & Escrow, and DPA Insurance Services all operate. After earning her degree in Business with a concentration in Accounting, Bixby went to work for Seim Johnson in Omaha. Once she obtained her CPA certificate, she returned to Fremont in 2000 to work for Methodist Fremont Health (formerly known as Fremont Area Medical Center).
Bixby served two terms on the Fremont City Council and currently serves on the boards at Fremont Area Community Foundation and Fremont Methodist Health.
The Suhr/Francis family has more than 75 years of memories at Midland University, beginning with Marvin Suhr graduating from Midland in 1944. Marvin’s four sons each attended Midland University with both Paul, ‘68, and Joel, ‘76 earning their degrees from Midland. Paul met his wife, Donna Jedlicka, ‘68 at Midland, and would later serve as president of the Alumni Association. Joel was a member of the Warriors’ basketball team and would become one of Midland athletics’ biggest supporters. Joel, who passed away in 2018, has a scholarship in his honor awarded each year to a member of the men’s basketball team.
Marvin Suhr married Virginia Pedersen and Virginia’s sister, Irene, married Raymond Francis. The Francis family would have lasting connections to both Midland University and Dana College for four generations. Raymond and Irene had three daughters (Brenda Krueger, Janet Francis, and Gloria Breithaupt) who would graduate or attend Dana College and a future daughter-in-law (Sharon Petersen) who graduated from Midland. Brenda’s husband, Sieg Krueger, would later teach at Dana. Their granddaughter, Xandy Krueger, graduated from Midland in 2019.
More generations of the Francis family would follow. Jeremy Francis ‘03, met his future wife, Jill (Weiner) Francis ‘01 at Midland, when they both worked off-campus at the same store at the local mall. Younger brother Tim Francis ‘04 also was also enrolled at Midland at that time, with sister Katie Francis Duran ‘09 just a few years behind him. During the time that the Francis brothers were on campus, their cousin, Darcy Breithaupt Metschke ‘04, daughter of Gloria Francis Breithaupt, was also attending Midland, as was Darcy’s future husband, Nate Metschke ‘02.
Both families agree their bond has been strengthened through their connection to Midland. Donna Suhr said the emotions they felt going to Midland more than 50 years ago remain with them today. “I’ve always loved the feeling I get being around Midland,” she said. “It’s made me feel comfortable and feel like I’m home.”