DAA Award Winner: Dennis W. Wahr, '74
After ending the 20th century as a highly regarded cardiologist, Dennis Wahr is beginning the 21st century as an equally successful entrepreneur. His expertise in medical device development, the management of multicenter international clinical studies, and product commercialization is evident in his current role as president and chief executive officer of his third medical device company, Holaira, Inc. Holaira is dedicated to the development of products to treat lung diseases. The company’s first product in development is a novel catheter-based system that may improve lung function, exercise capacity, and quality of life for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In 2001, Wahr became co-founder, president, and CEO of Velocimed, which developed and clinically tested three innovative products to treat cardiovascular disease prior to the company being acquired and commercialized by St. Jude Medical in 2005. Wahr then co-founded and served as president and CEO of Lutonix, which developed a unique drug-coated balloon angioplasty technology for the treatment and prevention of vascular stenosis (narrowing) caused by atherosclerosis. Wahr sold the company after four years to leading medical device manufacturer C.R. Bard, Inc. The Lutonix device has been approved for sale in Europe and is expected to be available soon to U.S. patients.
Wahr’s desire to serve patients through improving technology grew from his 15 years working as an interventional cardiologist. He also was director of
interventional cardiology and chief of cardiology at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor. He is a graduate of Wayne State University’s School of Medicine.
An Athletic Hall of Fame inductee for individual and team achievement, league medalist Wahr led the Britons to a 1972 MIAA golf championship. He was also an honorable mention All-MIAA basketball selection and the team’s Most Valuable Player during the 1973-74 season. Wahr was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity at
He and his wife, Joyce, live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and are the parents of Alexa, Christine, and Jennifer.
Meet Kevin Kline
Where do you call home?
Royal Oak, Michigan, although I grew up in Saginaw and spent 10 years in Chicago.
What did you study?
While I majored in Political Science and Economics (and also took a lot of History courses), what I really learned was how to think critically and how to learn from everyone – fellow students, professors and other members of the college community.
Activities as a student:
- Student Senate
- Gerald R. Ford Institute
- Tutored Writing for the Student Learning Center
- General College Life
Why did you choose Albion?
I don’t really have a good answer to this question. I was the first in my family to go to college, so there was no one in my family to provide guidance on a college choice. I grew up Methodist, saw a flier at church for Albion, visited campus my Junior year of High School, loved the campus and enjoyed the people I met. It just felt like the perfect fit. When I was accepted, I immediately responded. In fact, Albion was the only college or university I applied to. I did not know that you were supposed to apply to more than one school for “backup” purposes.
What is one of your favorite Albion memories?
As odd as it may sound, it was a History class, English Constitutional History (390). We met once a week for 4 hours, from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm (plus the walk there and back), in Julian Rammelcamp’s living room. There were only 6 students in the class and two of the other students were my best friends. I remember drinking coffee and tea, eating Mrs. Rammelcamp’s cookies and talking in depth about the theories and values behind the law, civil society and constitutional principles. That seminar represented everything that is special about an Albion education, personal relationships with professors and their families, being with close friends, learning from peers and applying knowledge and critical thought to real life and societal issues (not just learning information).
What have you been up to since you left Albion?
After Albion, I wen t to Law School, married my wife (Karen Pugh Kline – 83) and signed on with a law firm in Chicago. Karen and I soon joined the First Presbyterian Church of Evanston and became Senior High youth leaders for the next ten years. We also had three children while living in the Chicago area. After about 10 years, we decided to move back to Michigan to be closer to both of our families. I also took the move as an opportunity to move from a law firm to the Legal Department at the National Bank of Detroit. After NBD went through two mergers in five years, I decided to move to a more “stable” company and took a position with the Legal Department at Chrysler Financial. Of course stability is a relative term as I have helped steer Chrysler Financial through an integration with Mercedes-Benz Credit, a spin-off from Daimler, its acquisition by a Wall street investment banking firm, the Chrysler Bankruptcy and the sale of Chrysler Financial to The Toronto-Dominion Bank (we are now called TD Auto Finance). Never a dull moment professionally. In the meantime, Karen and I have continued with Senior High youth work. I also have become very involved in Scouting, camping once a month. We have raised three wonderful young adults and have loved every minute (well almost every minute) of everything.
How have you remained connected to Albion?
At first, it was just through financial contributions, friends and returning to campus for a few homecoming weekends. Then our kids got to college age and two of the three chose to attend Albion (Jeff Kline - 2010 and Dan Kline - 2015). This ramped up involvement as parents brought us back to the Albion community and all that it represents. Our involvement expanded as we felt welcomed back into the Albion family, including my involvement with the Alumni Board, Karen’s involvement with the Parent Leadership Counsel and as a volunteer for the Admissions Office and the both of us attending various Detroit Alumni Chapter events.
How do you believe Albion alumni can effect change at their alma mater?
The way to start is simply to care about Albion and what is going on. That caring will lead to a level of involvement that meets both your skill set and amount of time (often limited) that you have to offer. Financial contributions are key because they keep Albion strong and affordable for all students. Admissions is another area that Alumni can have a great impact. Albion is all about its students and we are the face of Albion to our communities and the youth in those communities. Wear your Albion swag proudly. Talk up the College with your friends and acquaintances. Look for students who you know would thrive at Albion and refer them to the Admissions Office through the new Alumni and Parent Referral Program that offers accepted students a $1,000 a year scholarship in your name. More opportunities are always available as each of us reaches a stage where we can and want to do more. If you are at that place, just ask around.
Most importantly, always remember that Albion is a long series of success stories (including each and every one of us Alumni). Be proud of that fact and your continuing connection to Albion and let others know about that connection.
Class of 2014
Zero Year Reunion
Saturday, October 4, 2014
10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Tailgate, Ferguson Parking Lot
611 E. Porter St.
Albion, MI 49224
Registration has been closed. You can register on-site at the Kellogg Center.
Join us in the Ferguson Parking Lot for Food, Drinks, Games, and more!
Reunion Chairs: Dannie Fountain, and Lindsey Lubanski
If you have any questions, or would like to join your Class Reunion committee, please contact the Office of Alumni Engagement at 517/629-0448 or