Past Featured Alumni
Matt and Anne Ahmann
This month's issue is special in that we have a married couple who both graduated from MMC, Matt Ahmann '95 and Anne (Dinslage) Ahmann '98.
Matt was attending the University of Arizona and applied to transfer to a handful of schools, Yale, Dartmouth, et al., and was rejected. He needed a place to land, so his dad suggested he reach out to Coach Bob Tereshinski, his former Yankton College teammate about MMC. Matt adds, "in short, I wound up at MMC by accident, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me." Anne chose MMC because it offered a bachelor's degree in her field of study via a 2+2 program (2 years on campus, 2 years in an x-ray program), which was rare at the time. She visited the campus and liked it, which sealed the deal.
Ironically, one of Matt's least favorite things, turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to him. As an incoming junior, he ended up in S. Cynthia's 8am M/W/F English class and wasn't happy about it, because at that time he was not an early morning person. However, as it turned out, Anne was in that class and he made sure to sit by her every class and within the month they were dating. With a wink and a smile Anne agrees that it was English class "made better".
After graduation from MMC in 1995, Matt was accepted into the College of William and Mary Law School. During Matt's second and third year of law school, Anne completed her x-ray training at a hospital in Newport News, VA., and in doing so completed her undergraduate degree. While there, she became interested in radiation therapy (treating cancer patients), in part because of her mom's successful battles with cancer. After graduation from law school, Matt and Anne returned to Des Moines in order for Matt to join a private practice law firm. Anne was then accepted into the University of Iowa's radiation therapy program, and after graduation in 1999, took a position with a Des Moines clinic. In 2000, Matt accepted a position at a life insurance company, learning the industry, managing litigation nationwide and handling a litany of day-to-day issues and challenges. In 2005, he accepted a position with Principal Financial Group in Government Relations. In contrast to his prior jobs and litigation focus, with the conflict and negativity inherent in those roles, his current responsibilities include building and nurturing relationships with external parties (e.g., state insurance regulators, trade associations, counterparts at other insurers) so that he can successfully advocate the company's position and views. Matt's future goals are either leading the government relations area at Principal, or as a lobbyist at the state level, or transitioning back to a "real" lawyer as a general counsel at a life insurance company. Anne continues to work in radiation therapy at the same Des Moines clinic, which is now owned by Mercy Hospitals. She states, "I love my job and the satisfaction I receive from helping my patients. My job puts life into perspective, because whatever problems I may have, they are nothing compared to what my cancer patients are facing. We have many success stories, old and young, and the job is as gratifying now as it was when I started back in 1999." Anne plans to continue at her current job and jokes with her co-workers that she was the youngest in the department when she started 15 years ago... and that being the youngest doesn't last for long, they should enjoy it!
For Matt, looking from today back to his Mount Marty days he states "the sense of community and the guidance of my professors, helped me figure out who I was (or who I wanted to be). It felt like home from the time I stepped on campus, and who's not comfortable at home? MMC was a strong anchor for me after I'd spent my first two years of college drifting, lost at sea. I owe my career not only to S. Ann, because without a nudge from her, I would never have gone to law school. She knew what made sense for me more than I did, and I was at least smart enough to trust her. I really have no idea what I would be doing but for the path she set me on. Also, to the professors like Doc Lofthus and S. Marielle, for the academic rigor they demanded, for how they made me think, and for how they cared about me as a student and person. That's not how it is at every college, I know, I tried two of them before ending up at MMC." Anne adds "I attended a Catholic High School and I was not necessarily looking for a Catholic college; I did not realize until I arrived at MMC how much I enjoyed and appreciated being a part of a Catholic community. Going to Mass on campus on Sunday nights was a highlight of my week."