Hamline News


Class act

Steve Nelson ’85 and Lisa Shirk Carriere ’85 met in math class, though neither remembers which one. Details get a little foggy after 30-some years of friendship.

Over dinner last December, Nelson, director of IT quality at UnitedHealth Group, and Carriere, senior associate actuary at Securian Financial Group (formerly Minnesota Mutual), reminisced about their Hamline days and discussed their motivation to establish an endowment in honor of former professors Dale Varberg (center) and the late Walter Fleming. The fund provides scholarships to undergraduate students majoring in math and applied math majors such as physics, business analytics, or computer science.

What a wonderful tribute this endowment is to two of your professors. What impact did they have on you?
They were very in tune with how to deliver the message so that the students would understand it, and they were incredibly patient. They taught us how to take a complex concept and break it down into manageable pieces—a skill we both use every day in our jobs.
- Steve Nelson ’85

I was looking at the bulletin board outside of Dr. Fleming’s office and there was this posting for an actuarial internship at Minnesota Mutual. He encouraged me to pursue that internship, which has led to a fulfilling 33-year career.
- Lisa Shirk Carriere ’85 

I was cleaning out my house recently, and I came across a letter of recommendation that Dr. Fleming wrote for me. It’s the kindest letter of recommendation—truthful, but kind—that you could ever write for a student of my caliber. I put it in the bottom of my filing cabinet because I thought my heirs could read it someday.
- Steve Nelson ’85

There are many good causes you could have donated to. Why did you choose Hamline? 
We believe in Hamline’s mission, and this is a way to leave a legacy for the future. Even when we’re gone, this will continue to provide scholarships for future students. 
Lisa Shirk Carriere ’85 

Hamline was the best four years of my life. I was raised to give back, so this is an important thing to do. Lisa and I firmly believe that there are other people out there who feel the same way we do about Drs. Fleming and Varberg, and we hope that they will join us in this endowment.
- Steve Nelson ’85

 To learn how you can honor a professor, give future Pipers the Hamline experience, and create your legacy at Hamline, contact Elsa Scheie at 651-523-2565 or escheie01@hamline.edu.

By Julie Carroll