From left, Dr. Fritts, Ms. Lantz, Robert MacDonald and Mr. Magnuson

From left, Dr. Fritts, Ms. Lantz, Robert MacDonald and Mr. Magnuson


Distinguished Alumni

The Distinguished Alumni Awards honor Stillwater Area High School alumni who have made a significant impact in the lives of others and the community. A dinner to honor the award winners is held on the day before graduation and represents the formal induction to the Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. The honorees are officially recognized at the commencement ceremony. Awarded since 1987, The Partnership Plan became a co-sponsor with Stillwater Area Public Schools of the awards in 2005.

Nominations are being accepted for the 2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards. The deadline for applications is Feb. 17, 2020.

Criteria for Distinguished Alumni Award:

The nominee must be a living or deceased graduate of Stillwater High School/Stillwater Area High School

  • Nominee must have shown distinguished achievements in his/her chosen profession or educational field

  • Nominee must have shown significant community involvement.

To be eligible, nominees must be graduated for at least 10 years.

Online nominations are preferred. However, a WORD DOCUMENT NOMINATION FORM is available.  Please mail the completed form to The Partnership Plan, P.O.Box 582, Stillwater, MN, 55082.

2019 Award Winners

Four individuals have been chosen as the Distinguished Alumni of Stillwater Area High School for 2019. They are:

  • Dr. David Fritts, class of 1967

  • Marcella Christine (Schell) Lantz, class of 1943

  • Robert D. MacDonald III, class of 1968

  • David Magnuson, class of 1959

A banquet to honor them will be held on May 31, at the Lake Elmo Inn Event Center. The cost of the dinner, which is open to the public, is $45. The honorees will also be recognized at graduation ceremonies on June 1.

Registration for the banquet is required, and the cost of the event is $45. The deadline for registration is May 24. On the night of the event, doors will open for a cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by a dinner and program beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The Distinguished Alumni Awards are co-sponsored by Stillwater Area High School and The Partnership Plan.

Dr. David C. Fritts 

Dr. David Fritts (Class of 1967) is a renowned scientist and researcher in the area of atmospheric dynamics, with broad experience in theoretical and experimental activities. From organizing rocket campaigns in remote corners of the globe to chairing international committees on atmospheric science, he has had important and lasting impacts on all aspects of this field. A tireless researcher, Fritts has guided rocket and ground-based radar campaigns on six continents. He has installed atmospheric radars all over the world, and as Interdisciplinary Scientist for the NASA TIMED satellite, he helped design this flagship mission now studying the dynamics and energetics of the middle atmosphere. Fritts earned his PhD from the University of Illinois, and has held faculty positions at University of Alaska, University of Colorado and Colorado State University.

Marcella Christine (Schell) Lantz

Marcella (Schell) Lantz (Class of 1943) spent her nearly 30-year career working at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). At a time when women were limited in career opportunities and advancement, Lantz found a way to serve her country and enjoy a meaningful career in public service. From 1943-1972, she worked in the FBI's Identification Division in Washington, D.C. under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover. She was fundamental in managing the administration and organization of FBI records, including criminal records, fingerprints and DNA samples. In retirement, Lantz is an active and involved volunteer within the St. Croix Valley. She can be found sitting with cancer patients at Lakeview Hospital, supporting residents and welcoming guests to Boutwells Landing retirement community, and serving the congregation of St. Michael’s Catholic Church.

Robert D. MacDonald III

Robert MacDonald III (Class of 1968) spent more than 40 years serving as a leader of the 3M Corporation. His distinguished career began as a mechanical/biological engineer doing product research and he became one of the youngest 3M executives, holding these responsibilities for 20 years. MacDonald led the firm’s Medical Division; served as Managing Director of 3M Italy; oversaw the development of 3M Innovation Center; and led the company’s sales and marketing functions as Global Chief Marketing Officer. In addition to his professional career, MacDonald has given back to the greater community by serving on various foundations and boards, including the American Red Cross, University of Minnesota Foundation Board, and Board of Regents for the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D. C. He’s also worked tirelessly to raise funds for ovarian cancer research. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota and a MBA and master’s degree in bio-engineering.

David Magnuson

For 40 years, David Magnuson (Class of 1959) dedicated himself to serving residents of the city of Stillwater as a highly-respected and trusted city attorney. He is believed to be one of the longest-serving city attorneys in the state. During his legal career he also represented the communities of Baytown, Lakeland Shores, Grey Cloud Island and North Oaks. Magnuson is an active volunteer in his community, serving on numerous commissions, boards and committees. He spent many years serving as a local hockey coach and youth hockey volunteer, and is a longtime member and former president of the Stillwater Rotary. Magnuson served in the U.S. Navy for four years and graduated from the University of Wisconsin — River Falls. He later graduated from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.

Plaques of Distinguished Alumni are permanently hung near the main rotunda at Stillwater Area High School. The plaques afford current Stillwater students an opportunity to read about the successful life paths former SHS and SAHS students have taken after graduation.

See a list of all Distinguished Alumni