Roxbury Celebrates Distinguished Alumni Award Honorees

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The Mission of the Roxbury Township School District is “Preparing the children of today for tomorrow”, so what better way to bring this to light than to show what tomorrow holds?

On Thursday, October 11th, the Roxbury Board of Education will hold the fourth induction ceremony to the Roxbury Distinguished Alumni Award at the annual fall Roxbury High School Academic Awards program at 7 pm in the auditorium.

Dr. Don Boroson (Class of 1969), Ret. COL. Brian Sperling (Class of 1985), and Dr. Russell Svenningsen (Class of 1990) will be honored with this year’s award, which was established to honor alumni who have typified the Roxbury School District tradition of excellence and brought honor to the community by their personal accomplishment, professional achievement, or humanitarian service.

Dr. Don Boroson

Don BorosonDr. Don Boroson grew up in Roxbury and graduated high school in 1969. He has lived in Needham, Mass. ever since graduate school. After completing his undergrad and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering at Princeton University, he went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT’s) Lincoln Laboratory. There he was able to apply his graduate education (which had been in rather general purpose techniques and analyses concerning signals and the systems that use and process them). Such a background was relevant to a number of areas of interest at Lincoln, and so after interviewing in several of those areas, he pretty much flipped a coin and ended up working in the satellite communications area.

It turned out to be a great decision though. “It’s always fun knowing that something I worked on is up there 20,000 miles or so. And within the past decade, I’ve worked on NASA projects, which has been fantastic. These can be WAY more than 20,000 miles up there, some as much as ten THOUSAND times or more. It’s mind-boggling that humans can create systems that do such amazing things over such huge distances.”

Dr. Boroson is a Lincoln Laboratory Fellow in the Communications Systems Division. He has contributed to several advanced satellite communication systems designs, developing digital beamforming algorithms, efficient receiver architectures, and novel modulation formats.

Dr. Boroson served as the lead system engineer on the NASA-sponsored Mars Laser Communications Demonstration study team, and he has worked on the design and prototyping of both space and ground terminals for the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration program. He continues to oversee programs that push the state of the art in free-space lasercom.

Dr. Boroson has participated in many government and cross-Laboratory system studies and holds BSE, MSE, MA, and PhD degrees in electrical engineering from Princeton University.

Colonel Brian Sperling

Brian SperlingDr. Brian Sperling was born and raised in New Jersey by his parents, Edward and Patricia Sperling, and graduated from Roxbury High School in 1985. In 1989 he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Systems from the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. He was first commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in Army Aviation.

Upon his graduation of flight school, he was assigned to the 4th Squadron of the Seventh U.S. Cavalry in Germany where he successfully led his Cobra Platoon through their deployment to Desert Storm and was awarded a Bronze Star and an Air Medal with “V” for valor in combat. He then transitioned to the Apache Helicopter and served as a Company Commander in Fort Campbell, KY.

Following Fort Campbell, he began his career as an Operations Research and Systems Analyst. He earned a Master of Science degree in Operations Analysis from the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1999 and in 2005 he received his Doctorate of Philosophy in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was certified as a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt Analyst, received a Master of Strategic Studies from the Air War College.

He has served at the Combat Readiness Center in Fort Rucker, as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Systems Engineering at West Point, he stood up an Analysis Branch in the U.S. Army Pacific Command, was the Deputy Director of the Center for Army Analysis in Fort Belvoir, Virginia and ended his military career as the Deputy Director of the Resource and Analysis Directorate in Central Command. In 2016, COL Sperling became the Founder and President of a Non-Profit Organization called “Collectibles for Christ.”

He completed the Army Air Assault School and earned Senior Aviator wings. Additional awards include the Legion of Merit, Defense Superior Service Award, five Army Meritorious Service Medals, and the Army Outstanding Volunteer Award.

Sperling is currently the lead for the Guidehouse Consulting, U.S. Army, in Huntsville, AL and is married to, his wife of 28 years, JoAnna and his children; Alana and Joshua & his wife Savanna.

Dr. Russell Svenningsen

Russell SvenningsenDr. Russell Svenningsen is Associate Professor of Music at Augustana University where he teaches applied voice, aural skills and is the conductor of the University Chorale. He holds the D.M.A., Music Education from Boston University, a M.M., Choral Conducting from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music and a B.M., Music Education, from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn.

Dr. Svenningsen is an active conductor, performer and clinician. Most recently he has performed Benjamin Britten’s The Holy Sonnets of John Donne as part of a collaboration with Dr. Mitchell Harris at Augustana and appeared with both the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and the Northwestern Iowa Symphony Orchestra; he is also a member of the GRAMMY-nominated South Dakota Chorale. Currently, he is preparing several recital presentations around the region of Franz Schubert’s epochal song cycle Winterreise for the winter of 2019.

Dr. Svenningsen is a proud member of the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, National Collegiate Choral Organization and National Association of Teachers of Singing. He has served on the executive boards of Opera South Dakota, the South Dakota Arts Council Music Panel and the South Dakota Chorale.

Russell and his wife, Sarah, are the very proud parents of two children, Anders (16) and Annika (14). He is an avid woodworker and deeply terrible golfer.

Please join us in honoring these impressive alumni Thursday evening.


  • Dr. Don Boroson (courtesy of Dr. Boroson)
  • Col. Brian Sperling (courtesy of Col. Sperling)
  • Dr. Russell Svenningsen (courtesy of Dr. Svenningsen)
  • Roxbury Distinguished Alumni 2018

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