August 6, 2008

Western National Insurance Group Announces 2008 Scholarship Recipients

Western National Insurance Group today announced that its scholarship committee has selected six outstanding applicants to receive college scholarships worth $2,500 each for the upcoming fall term: Micayla Kohlnhofer (Goodhue, MN), Scott Omland (Madison, MN), Paul Pasterik (Champlin, MN), Aric Skurdal (Seattle, WA), Kelly Splonskowski (Madison, MN), and Jenny Weeden (Sheboygan, WI).  To ensure neutrality and integrity in the selection process, applications were scored blindly—that is, with names and other identifying information hidden from the scholarship committee—based on a pre-determined combination of objective and subjective scoring criteria.

Micayla Kohlnhofer, daughter of Jeff (of the Kohlnhofer Insurance Agency in Lakeville, MN) and Carla Kohlnhofer, will begin her freshman year this fall at Winona State University studying Elementary Education.  Micayla is a recent graduate of Goodhue High School, where she served as secretary of the school’s National Honor Society chapter, delegate to the student council, editor of the yearbook, school board representative and captain of the cheerleading team.  She has also held several leadership positions in 4-H, has coordinated blood drives, and has been an active participant in choir, Teens Needing Teens (a peer help group), and Future Farmers of America.

Scott Omland, son of Gary (of Klein Insurance in Madison, MN) and Kim Omland, will begin his freshman year this fall at South Dakota State University studying Engineering. Scott is a recent graduate of Lac qui Parle Valley High School, where he served as a delegate to the student council and a member of the school's National Honor Society chapter. In addition to these leadership organizations, he has been an active participant in the high school bands, choirs, music solo/ensemble and theater productions. Outside of school hours, he is a three-sport athlete (football, basketball and baseball), a church volunteer and a peer tutor.

Paul Pasterik, son of Gary (of Western National’s Claims Department) and Martha Pasterik, will begin his freshman year this fall at Hamline University (St. Paul, MN) studying Political Science and Spanish.  Paul is a recent graduate of Champlin Park High School, where he served as captain of the debate team, captain of the student congress, and manager of the girl’s varsity tennis team.  In addition to holding these leadership positions, he has been active in the school’s National Honor Society chapter, in playing varsity tennis, in teaching religious education at his church, and in volunteering for a number of service organizations including Feed My Starving Children and Relay for Life.

Aric Skurdal, son of Linda (of Western National’s Seattle Commercial Lines Department) and A.J. Skurdal, will begin his sophomore year this fall at Washington University (St. Louis, MO) studying Architecture.  In his college career-to-date, Aric has been appointed a leader of The Wilderness Project—an annual social-justice-oriented trip for incoming freshmen—in addition to serving as a Performing Arts Department technician and earning a spot on the W.U. Dean’s List.  Prior to attending W.U., he was an active member of his high school orchestra, drama club and the Boy Scouts of America.  He is currently spending the summer gaining experience as an intern with Mahlum Architects in Seattle, WA.

Kelly Splonskowski, daughter of Sara (of Klein Insurance in Madison, MN) and Dan Splonskowski, will begin her junior year this fall at The College of St. Scholastica (Duluth, MN) studying Accounting, Economics and Finance.  In her time at college so far, Kelly has served as a peer advisor, a member of the student senate and a leader of the college’s softball camps.  She has also been active in a wide variety of volunteering capacities including Volunteers Involved Through Action, Loaves and Fishes, Children Against Hunger, YWCA and Adopt-a-Highway programs.

Jenny Weeden, daughter of Kimberly (of Burkart-Heisdorf Insurance Agency in Sheboygan, WI) and Robert Weeden, will begin her freshman year this fall at the University of Wisconsin–Madison studying Communications.  Jenny is a recent graduate of Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School, where she served as class president and secretary of the student council, editor of the yearbook, senior leader of the pep club, and captain of the varsity cross-country team.  In addition to these roles, she has been active in basketball, track, drama, and coordinating a service project that sends greatly needed items to alumni serving in Iraq.

“Western National developed this program in 2008 to support the sons and daughters of 2 employees and 4 independent agents. We are pleased to have the opportunity to award six very talented individuals these scholarships,” said Western National president and chief executive officer Stuart C. Henderson, JD, CPCU.  “We designed our scholarship program to reward—and thereby further enable—the hard work and determination that these students exemplify.”

Western National Insurance Group is a super-regional insurance group writing over $240 million in Direct Premium.  The group consists of four regional Property and Casualty Insurance companies with shared administrative offices in Edina, MN and a local underwriting and claim office in Seattle, WA.  Western National Mutual Insurance Company writes personal lines in MN, SD and WI, and commercial lines in IA, MN, ND, SD and WI; Western National Assurance Company writes personal lines in NV, OR, UT and WA, and commercial lines in OR and WA; and Western Home Insurance Company writes personal lines in MN, NV, UT and WA.  Pioneer Specialty Insurance Company will commence writing niche commercial lines in those states in 2008.  All of the companies' products are sold exclusively through professional independent agents.

For further information, contact:

Mary S. Manley

SVP Corporate Affairs & Administration