Midland Names Alumni Award Winners for 2019

FREMONT – Midland University will honor alumni Lynne Walz and Tyler Erwin along with the Arnold and Carolyn Lack Family during Homecoming weekend, October 4-6.

The Arnold and Carolyn Lack Family will receive the “Midland Distinguished Family Award.” Walz is being recognized as Midland’s Alumni Achievement honoree and Erwin is being recognized as Midland’s Distinguished Young Alumni.

Alumni award recipients will be honored at the Midland University Alumni and Legacy Luncheon on Sunday, October 6th at noon at the Fremont Golf Club as part of the Homecoming weekend festivities.

Arnold & Carolyn Lack

The Lack Family has a connection to Midland University that spans more than 40 years. It began in 1978 when Rev. Arnold Lack was hired to serve as Vice President of Advancement. Rev. Lack was a contributor to the University in many roles. He was involved in a fundraising project to purchase the first personal computer on campus and was a key figure in creating LutherFest, a bi-annual reunion celebration for Luther College alumni on Midland’s campus. He also served on the leadership team for the Century II campaign that helped fund the new Anderson Complex.

His love for the University spread throughout his family as two of he and Carolyn’s children, Janet and Jonathan, each graduated from Midland. Janet graduated in 1983 and has spent the past 35 years serving the University in a number of capacities. She has been Activity Director, Assistant Dean of Students, intramural athletics director, assistant softball coach and advisor. She currently serves as the Coordinator of the Academic Resource Center.

Jonathan graduated in 1987 and was a member of Kappa Phi Fraternity and the Warrior golf team. He later received his law degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has worked with Thompson Reuters for the past 29 years. He married Janice (Wickert) a 1988 Midland University graduate who was active in Tri Phi Sorority and a member of the Warrior tennis squad.

Several of Arnold and Carolyn’s grandchildren either graduated or attended Midland University. Jeffrey Wiitanen was a 2004 graduate and would later marry Gina (Dowis), a 2003 graduate. Another granddaughter, Sara Whaley, attended Midland University for two years.

Rev. Lack passed away on July 9 at the age of 88.

Lynne Walz

Walz (Class of 1994) grew up Fontanelle, Nebraska and graduated from Arlington High School. Walz received a BA from Midland University in Elementary Education and also received her coaching endorsement. She served as a direct care provider for people with developmental disabilities and would later serve as an administrator with Bethphage in Columbus, providing residential and day services for people with disabilities in the Front and Columbus area.

Walz would later move into the education field, teaching fourth and fifth-grade at Northside Elementary School and later teaching at Bell Elementary School. She taught full-time five years and spent six years as a substitute teacher. She also helped coached swimming during her years as an educator.

With young children at home, Walz decided to step away from teaching and gained her real estate license. She has spent the past 17 years working at Don Peterson & Associates as a realtor and partner.

In 2016, Walz decided to make a run for legislature and was elected to serve as a Representative for District 15, serving Dodge County.

Walz is married to Chris Walz and the couple has three children and four grandchildren.

Tyler Erwin

Erwin (00) graduated from Midland University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration and a minor in Coaching Endorsement. Erwin was a member of the Warrior basketball team during his four years at the University and was part of the 1999-00 squad that qualified for the NAIA Division II National Tournament. Erwin was also named the Midland Teammate of the Year. Following his playing career, Erwin remained on the bench as an assistant coach, leading the junior varsity program in the process. Erwin also worked as an admissions counselor with the University.

In pursuit of his Masters Degree, Erwin was a graduate assistant coach at the University of Nebraska at Kearney from 2003-05. He then became assistant coach and Athletic Academic Liaison at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. Erwin remained at Simpson for four seasons before landing an assistant coaching job with the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

During his time with the Mavericks, Erwin helped oversee the program transition from Division II to Division I and join the Summit League in 2012. Over the past four seasons, Erwin has helped guide the Mavericks to 66 victories and two appearances in the conference championship game.

Off the court, Erwin is involved the UNO chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and is active in helping with Special Olympics.

Erwin and his wife, Lindsey, have two children.


Founded in 1883, Midland University is a liberal arts college providing relevant opportunities in more than 30 academic areas, four graduate programs, and a variety of professional studies programs to students at both their Fremont and Omaha locations.