Alumni group announces ’16 distinguished alums; Brede, Hodge to be recognized during AHS homecoming

Published 10:07 am Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Two Austin High School alumni who have dedicated their lives to serving people — one as the leader of a major city and the other as a leader of a large university — will be recognized during Homecoming festivities in October.

Ardell Brede, class of 1957

Ardell Brede, class of 1957

Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede, class of 1957; and David Hodge, class of 1966, have been selected as the 2016 Distinguished Alumni by the Austin High School Alumni & Friends Association.

Brede and Hodge plan to travel to Austin for a reception and dinner on Oct. 6, along with taking in AHS’s homecoming festivities on Oct. 7, including the afternoon parade through downtown and the Packers football game against Albert Lea.

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Brede, the mayor of Rochester since 2003, worked for more than 43 years in administration at Rochester Methodist Hospital and Mayo Clinic. He retired in 2003 several months after starting as Rochester’s mayor.

During his mayoral tenure, Brede has helped Rochester grow significantly and plays a big role in the new Destination Medical Center initiative to make the city even bigger and better.

Brede also has served on the League of Minnesota Cities board; Regent Candidate Advisory Committee for the University of Minnesota; Minnesota State Arts Board; U.S. Conference of Mayors; Regional Council of Mayors; and United Way of Olmsted County, among many other boards and groups.

Brede tries to live by the “Golden Rule” of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

He believes in listening well to others, showing compassion, becoming involved in your school or community, volunteering and valuing diversity.

Brede also encourages people to believe in themselves. In high school, Brede did not think he could make the Austin Packers’ powerful baseball team. He didn’t even try out but served as its student manager for three seasons. Later, the Packers baseball coach saw Brede play exceptionally well at shortstop at Austin Junior College and asked him why he never tried out for the high school team.

“Don’t think you can’t do something,” Brede said in a press release.

David Hodge, class of 1966

David Hodge, class of 1966

Hodge, of Oxford, Ohio, served as president for Miami University (Ohio) for a decade and just retired this summer. Hodge was the university’s 21st president and left it with record applications for fall 2015 enrollment of 27,250 first-year applicants and two years after a successful $500 million capital campaign.

Hodge also led Miami University to the No. 1 national ranking for undergraduate education for public universities for five straight years and the No. 1 ranking for the most-efficient national university for producing high-quality results.

Prior to Miami University, Hodge served for 31 years at the University of Washington, including as a geography professor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1998 to 2006. He also served as program director from 1993 to 1994 for the National Science Foundation and on the Association of American Colleges & Universities’ Board of Directors.

Throughout his career, Hodge, a 2000 inductee to Austin High’s Athletic Hall of Fame, has been guided by the logic of servant leadership, seeing the world through the eyes of those being served and looking forward and sideways to prepare people and institutions for success. He also has carried a relentless desire to improve.

Hodge encourages people to embrace adversity rather than avoid it and remember that they are a member of a community, with all of the benefits and responsibilities that go with that. He also emphasizes the importance of good character.

“Few things will matter throughout your life as much as your character,” Hodge said, “and your character is entirely in your control. Accept the personal responsibility to do what is right.”

The public is invited to attend the Oct. 6 reception and dinner for this year’s Distinguished Alumni at the Hormel Historic Home in Austin. Tickets — $30 each — must be purchased by Sept. 30 for the 6 p.m. dinner by calling the Austin Public Education Foundation at 507-460-1938 or e-mailing

A school assembly is set for 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 6 at AHS’s Knowlton Auditorium to honor Brede and Hodge, who each will speak to the Austin High School student body.

Started in 1993, the AHS Alumni & Friends Association serves to renew its ties with AHS alumni, current students and the Austin community. It is a committee of the Austin Public Education Foundation.