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New trustees

Barry McNamara
Three alumni are among the newly elected members of the Monmouth College Board of Trustees. Scheduled to attend their first meeting later this month are John Courson ’64, Neil Dahlstrom ’98, Larry Gerdes and Dennis Plummer ’73. Dahlstrom will serve as one of three Alumni Board representatives.

The President and CEO of Mortgage Bankers Association, Courson has been involved in the mortgage industry for more than 40 years. He completed his undergraduate degree in business and finance at the University of Colorado after attending Monmouth for one year. Even before his degree was completed, he began originating loans as a branch manager in a Denver suburb.

Following his graduation, Courson worked as a loan officer on both commercial and residential loans at a Denver branch of Fort Wayne Mortgage, a company he would later lead as president and CEO. He also worked for Central Pacific Mortgage Company and Westwood Mortgage Corporation, and he was president and chief operating officer of Fundamental Mortgage.

Beginning in 2004, Courson served four years as chairman of the board of directors of the California Housing Finance Agency, a position he was appointed to by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“John Courson brings tremendous industry knowledge, business savvy and political skills to MBA,” said its chairman, Kieran Quinn, when Courson joined the association. “He has been an advocate ensuring safe and affordable housing for all Americans and for simplifying the mortgage process.”

In 2010, Courson delivered the college’s Wendell Whiteman Memorial Lecture.

Dahlstrom is the manager of research and analysis at Deere & Co., and he is also an active author/historian.

His first book, “The John Deere Story: A Biography of Plowmakers John and Charles Deere,” was co-authored with Jeremy Dahlstrom. He was also the co-author of “Lincoln’s Wrath: Fierce Mobs, Brilliant Scoundrels and a President’s Mission to Destroy the Press,” a book about newspaper censorship during the Civil War.

Following his graduation from Monmouth, Dahlstrom received a master’s degree in historical administration from Eastern Illinois University. After a stint as the chief archivist at the Space Business Archives in Alexandria, Va., Dahlstrom joined Deere & Co. in 2002.

Gerdes is chairman of the board and CEO of Transcend Services, a healthcare services industry. He has been the company’s CEO since 1993. Prior to 1991, Gerdes held various executive positions with HBO & Company, where he came to know emeritus trustee Walter Huff ’56. In 1991, the two men formed the partnership Gerdes Huff Investments.

Gerdes is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, where he earned his MBA. His bachelor’s degree is from the University of Illinois.

Plummer worked for Monsanto from 1980 to 2007, including a stint as president of American Seeds, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Monsanto. His other duties there included chief of staff to the CEO, managing director of U.S. crop protection and director of biotechnology licensing for South America.

Plummer is currently a consultant as well as an adjunct faculty member at the St. Louis University School of Business, where he earned his MBA. He also serves on SLU’s International Business Advisory Board.

As a student at Monmouth, Plummer majored in business and economics and was a member of baseball and football teams and Theta Chi. He starred on the undefeated football team of 1972 and received the program’s prestigious McClintock Award. In 1999, Plummer was inducted into the M Club Hall of Fame.

“Everyone should have the chance I did to be a part of something as special as those football teams of the early ’70s,” he said.