Alumni Award Recipients
"The Hames Alumni Honors Award recognizes alumni who have exemplified the ideals of Saint Thomas Academy while distinguishing themselves in their communities. Honorees are chosen for their advancement of the goals of the Academy and enriching the lives of those around them through professional and civic leadership, intellectual and cultural pursuits, and human welfare activities."
2019 Hames Award REcipient Dr. Joseph Hamel '39
"Well known and admired" is how the 1939 yearbook describes Dr Joseph Ignatius Hamel. Dr. Hamel is a retired OB-GYN and the recipient of the 2019 Hames Alumni Honors Award. After his time at STMA, Joseph studied at the College of St. Thomas, and later went on to earn his MD from Marquette University Medical School. Dr. Hamel received honors at both institutions. He served in the U.S. Air Force after his residency, and then entered private practice in Minneapolis, eventually starting his own firm, where he delivered over 10,000 babies. In His field his skills were well known and respected, so after his retirement from active practice, Dr. Hamel went on to teach as a clinical professor at the University of Minnesota. In addition to his medical practice, in 1975 Dr. Hamel helped build the Physicians Health Plan or what today is known as Medica. He and his wife of 66 years, Katherine Hamel, also gave considerable time to the church including providing marriage preparation for couples at their parish and volunteering their talents to aid seminarians and local religious orders. Dr. Hamel is the father of six children and his two sons, Joseph and Nicholas, graduated from the Academy respectively. Those that know Dr. Hamel note that he is humble in his service to God, his family, and his patients.
Greg Vannelli ‘72 was an accomplished three sport athlete at the Academy. During his time at STA he was a four-year letter winner on a hockey team that was region champions in 1969, 1970 and 1971. He was selected as the captain of the hockey team for both his junior and senior seasons. Greg was also the baseball captain his senior year in 1972. The 1972 senior poll voted Greg “Best Athlete”, and he continued his athletic career at the College of St Thomas where he was a 2x All-American in hockey. Greg returned to the Academy in 2003 to take over the hockey program with his brother Tom. While coaching at the Academy, Greg helped lead the Cadets to five state titles in 16 years, including a three-peat from 2011 to 2013. Greg currently serves as the Cadet golf coach where he has led the Cadets to three straight Minnesota State Tournament appearances.
Jim Bard ‘74 led the way for some of the Academy’s most successful wrestling teams. He was a four-time letter winner during his time at the Academy and was the captain of a 1974 team that won the conference championship, and notched wins over traditional rivals such as Cretin and Hill-Murray. Individually he is arguably the most successful cadet wrestler of all time having won two consecutive individual state championships in his junior and senior seasons. After the Academy Jim continued his wrestling career at St Johns in Collegeville where he represented the Johnnies at the NAIA National Championships.
Peter Assad’ 75 was a remarkable athlete while at the Academy. He lettered twice in football and was a superstar running back for the 1973 and 1974 Cadet football teams that won conference championships, and narrowly missed bids to the state tournament. Individually, Peter was the captain of the 1974 team, and was All-Conference and All-State his senior year and represented the Academy at the 1974 MN All Star Game. Peter’s 1973 and 1974 seasons are still remembered as two of the best individual seasons by a Cadet football player. To this day, Peter is still ranked fifth in STA history for rushing touchdowns.
Jim Boland ‘76 was voted “Most Respected” in the 1976 senior poll in large part because of his co-curricular and athletic achievements. He was the commander of the crack drill squad and captain of the 1976 baseball team. Jim lettered was a three-time letter winner in baseball while at the Academy and helped lead the Cadet to a 1974 regional championship and a 1975 conference championship. In football Jim was the leading rusher on the 1975 State Championship team, and was voted all-conference in that same year. He was also a member of the basketball team during his time at STA. After the Academy, Jim continued playing baseball at the College of St. Thomas where he was a four year starter in center field.
Mikael Dahlstrom ‘01 was a rare three sport captain at the Academy. He was the captain of the 2000 Cadet football team that finished as state runner up. Individually Mikael was All-Conference and All-State honorable mention in football and also represented STA at the MN State Football All-Star Game. In basketball, he also was a member of the 2000 and 2001 state runner up basketball teams. As an individual, Mikael was a captain for the Cadet basketball team in 2001 and was All-conference and All-metro in 2001 as well. In track he was the Team MVP in 2000 and 2001, conference MVP in 2001 and was a three-year letter winner, as well as three-year All-Conference athlete. In his Junior year he was an integral member of a team that was True Team State runner-up. After his time at the Academy, Mikael continued his athletic career playing basketball at the University of St. Thomas.
To instill and preserve pride in the rich tradition of Saint Thomas Academy by celebrating the outstanding athletic accomplishments or contributions to the athletic history and traditions of the Academy by alumni athletes, their coaches, directors, advisors and loyal supporters.
- Participation in athletics enhances the educational program in preparing students for future success.
- Involvement in athletics cultivates pride in Saint Thomas Academy and our community, nurtures respect for others and promotes cooperation and teamwork.
- Work ethic, skill, values and friendships attained through athletics are enduring and establish a life long bond with Saint Thomas Academy.
- Participants who have attained excellence by virtue of their involvement in athletics are deserving of recognition.
- The Athletic Hall of Fame seeks to instill Saint Thomas Academy alumni and students with pride in and awareness of the high level of excellence in competition of Saint Thomas Academy athletes, coaches and loyal supporters.
- Host an annual event for the purpose of recognizing and inducting nominees to the Saint Thomas Academy Athletic Hall of Fame.
- Establish an Athletic Hall of Fame site at Saint Thomas Academy that is designed with dignity and good taste and displays appropriate memorials and commemorations of inductees.Maintain a network of friends, acquaintances and supporters having in common the ideals and excellence, which the Saint Thomas Academy Athletic Hall of Fame represents.