This year’s University of Minnesota Morris Distinguished Alumni Award winner is James “Jim” Odden from the Class of 1971. Odden had a career as a classroom teacher and teacher educator. He co-developed the Miltona Science Magnet School, listed as an “Outstanding Education Program” by the Minnesota Rural Education Association. He was also on the U of M Morris education faculty from 1991-92, and as an adjunct instructor from 1992-2000.
Odden was named Minnesota Classroom Teacher of the Year by the Minnesota Association of Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities in 1988, Minnesota State Conservation Teacher of the Year by the Minnesota Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts in 1989, and Teacher of the Year by the Alexandria Education Association in 2000. He is a past president of the Alexandria Education Association, and also served on the advisory board for the Minnesota Center for School Change advisory board to improve rural Minnesota schools.
After retiring in 2007, Odden has continued to volunteer at the Douglas County Library, and at Garfield Elementary School. He’s been a member of the Douglas County Library Board, member of the Alexandria Tree Board, and is past president of the University of Minnesota Morris Alumni Association Board of Directors. He also helped coordinate efforts to fund two named scholarships for U of M Morris students.