2009 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients
Maynard C. Bowers, ’56
Maynard Bowers' devotion to life is exemplified in all aspects of his being, from his academic pursuits, his career achievements, and his community service to his leisure activities. His invaluable contributions to society as an Albion College alumnus include his accomplishments as a globally renowned scholar in the field of biology, his leadership on the National Board of Directors for Sigma Xi and in the Marquette (Mich.) Rotary, and his work as a naturalist for the National Park Service.
After earning a master's degree at the University of Virginia and a Ph.D. at the University of Colorado, he joined the biology faculty at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, where he served from 1966 to 1998. Bowers' passion for teaching has earned him numerous distinctions through the years. Recognized in the International Who's Who of Intellectuals and the Dictionary of International Biography, he also was named the Peter White Scholar for Research at Northern Michigan University for the 1986-87 school year. Bowers' expertise as a consultant continues to be widely sought by organizations seeking rare plant identification and by arborists in search of solutions to tree problems. He is a member of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, the Michigan Botanical Club, and numerous other professional organizations.
Bowers' commitment to others is evidenced by his leadership with Rotary International for which he served as a district governor and district chairman of the Rotary World Peace Fellowship. For his significant leadership, he has been honored with a district Governor's Citation. He has also served several times as a delegation leader to Marquette's sister city, Kajaani, Finland. Bowers has given back to his alma mater in many different capacities: as a Career and Internship Center volunteer, reunion committee member, and presenter at the Class of 1956 Symposium during their 50th reunion. His devotion to Albion has continued as he has conducted preliminary mapping and a plant survey of the Ott Biological Preserve. He has also recently donated his research collection of about 4,000 bryophyte (moss and liverwort) specimens, currently housed in the Albion College Herbarium. Just as significant is Bowers' attendance at as many college events as possible.
He and his wife, Leenamari, reside in Marquette, Michigan. They are the parents of four children, Maynard, Jr. (deceased), Janet, Piiamari, '95, and Eerik.
William R. Goudie, ’63, and Janet Matilo Goudie, ’64
Considered to be the quintessential Albion College couple, Bill and Janet Goudie have continued to be active in College affairs. Their love for one another that began on the Albion campus has extended to include a lasting love for Albion. For over 25 years their individual and dual responses have been "yes" to virtually any volunteer request from their alma mater. They are an inspiration for students and alumni alike as the consummate volunteer couple giving freely of their time, talent, and treasure for the sake of Albion. Through the years, the Goudies have promoted and served Albion as regional event volunteers, as enrollment volunteers, and as campaign committee members and annual giving volunteers, in addition to serving on reunion committees. They both attend every reunion, Homecoming, or alumni event that their schedules allow.
The Goudies have not only been loyal volunteers; they have assumed significant leadership roles in their service to Albion. Janet has served on the Albion College Board of Trustees and is currently an honorary trustee. Bill is a past president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and served on both the Gerstacker Institute Visiting Committee and on the Planned Giving Advisory Council. Bill and Janet's tireless dedication to Albion is a continuation of their involvement on campus as students, when Bill was active in Delta Tau Delta fraternity and served as editor-in-chief for The Pleiad, while Janet was president of Alpha Xi Delta and an honors student.
After he earned his M.B.A. in finance from the University of Michigan, Bill Goudie's career led him to leadership roles in the banking industry in metropolitan Detroit. He recently retired as first vice president of the financial institutions group with Comerica Bank and was formerly president of Manufacturers Bank of Southfield. Janet Goudie currently works for Doncaster, a women's clothing company, as a fashion consultant. She has also been active with P.E.O. and was a founding member and president of the Paint Creek Center for the Arts. Both Janet and Bill have also served in many volunteer positions at St. Paul's United Methodist Church.
They live in Rochester, Michigan and are the parents of two sons, Doug, '92, and Ted. Doug Goudie was inducted into Albion's Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend.
The Goudies' dual service to their alma mater makes them most deserving of being the second couple to be jointly honored as distinguished alumni.
Wilbur S. Hurst, ’61
When Wilbur Hurst was a student at Albion College he earned a reputation as a serious scholar in the classroom and a successful runner on both the men's track and field team and on the men's cross country team. Since then, he has earned a reputation as a humanitarian and a scientist, receiving recognition as a community leader for the Presidential Conversation on Race and the prestigious Edward Bennett Rosa Award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal.
A member of Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa at Albion, Hurst went on to earn his master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania before being awarded his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. These accomplishments led to a 40-year career as a physicist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce. During that span, Hurst's work included the development of high-temperature thermocouples for NASA, the development of non-linear Raman spectroscopic techniques, the use of these techniques for the study of the collision dynamics of gas molecules, the study of the spectra of gases at high temperature and pressure conditions, the study of combustion in supercritical water, the development of NIST standard reference materials employed for the intensity calibration of Raman spectrometers, and the application of spectroscopic techniques to investigate the chemical mechanisms during the growth of oxide insulators by single-layer steps. Now retired, he continues as a guest researcher at NIST.
As an active member of a United Methodist church with 1,200 members, Hurst has chaired numerous committees over the years. His service to Albion College has included chairing reunion committees, organizing the first class reunion symposium, membership in the "A" Club, volunteering as a class agent and career mentor, and attending numerous College events both on and off campus. He and his wife, Bette, reside in Damascus, Maryland. They have one daughter, Natalie.
James D. Rogers, ’69
James Rogers came to Albion knowing he would pursue a career in medicine. How expansive this career would become and how many lives he would touch in the years that followed his graduation were beyond his imagination.
Rogers earned his medical degree from Wake Forest University, where he received the Mosby Award for Scholastic Excellence from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine. He completed surgical residencies at Yale University and New York University. A cardiovascular surgeon, he began his career as an associate professor of surgery for Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and later was an attending surgeon for the St. John's and Cox Medical Centers in Springfield, Missouri. From 1999 to 2007, Rogers was director of cardiovascular surgery at Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc, Michigan, and since 2007 he has served as an emergency physician for Mercy Hospital in Grayling, Michigan.
Rogers' military career included serving as a staff surgeon at Walter Reed Army Medical Center during Operation Desert Shield, and on the medical staff for the 148th evacuation hospital of the Arkansas National Guard in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm. Recipient of a U.S. Army Achievement Medal and an Army Commendation Medal, he retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army Medical Corps.
Rogers' appreciation for his experience at Albion College is deep and lasting. As a "regular" at the old Eat Shop on Cass Street, he spearheaded the creation of the "new" Eat Shop in the Kellogg Center to include original booths and memorabilia. As a mentor to Albion premedical students, he provided them with an insider's look at medical practice unavailable to most undergraduate students. Many Albion alumni are physicians today because of Jim Rogers' willingness to share his insights and his passion for his work.
He and his wife, Linda, reside in Grand Blanc. They have four children, Kathryn, Taylor, Harry, and Dana.
Molly Ann Swart, ’82
Molly Swart credits her Albion experience as a member of the Ford Institute's first class in 1978 for having a significant role in shaping her world view, her career, and her life. A SOAR leader and Lomas Project 250 Award winner while a student, she says Albion helped provide her with the confidence to pursue and win a $25,000 Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship for study abroad after graduation. That led to two years in Toulouse, France, where she learned more than just the language and culture. That experience set her on her career path in international business.
Swart's life has personified the phrase, "think globally." After a brief stint as a technical interpreter for French foreign trade expositions, Swart joined the French Embassy Trade Office/Ubifrance. Now senior trade advisor there, she serves as the liaison for French industries doing business in the U.S., assisting the companies in attracting and retaining U.S. customers, marketing their products, and organizing banking, tax accounting, immigration, and legal affairs. But it isn't just business; she is a diplomat in many respects. Swart embodies global thinking in all aspects of her life, from hosting French interns in her home to involving high school students in fundraising for various causes.
In honor of her contributions to the French trade ministry, Swart was awarded the Chevalier (Knight) de l'Ordre National du Mérite by the President of France. This is one of the highest civilian honors in France.
Swart acknowledges Albion and specifically the Ford Institute, alongside her family, as catalysts for her dedication to public service and volunteerism. Committed to "giving back," she currently is a Visiting Committee member for the Ford Institute and has participated in regional alumni events. In her community, she has served on the boards of the French American Chamber of Commerce and the International Visitors Council of Metropolitan Detroit, and as the executive director of the French American Automotive Business Association. A past president of the Birmingham Rotary Club, she received a district Presidential Citation from Rotary International. She and her husband, David Smyk, reside in Birmingham, Michigan. They have two children, Mallory and Cameron.
2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients
Rick L. Going, ’77
Division President, Kroger Company
Starting as co-manager of a Kroger store in 1981, Going has held positions at the store, district, and division level, and served as the vice president for transition at the general office. Going spent 2007-13 as president of the Michigan Division, helping Kroger Co. reach the top of Forbes magazine's list of companies that give back the most. Going's division distributed more than eight million meals through regional charitable organizations. In 2010 alone, Michigan store campaigns raised nearly $2 million for Michigan schools, philanthropies and nonprofit organizations. During that same period, the Michigan Division earned a Pure Michigan award, a Forgotten Harvest award, and the Michigan Food and Beverage Association Retailer of the Year Award. Going was also vice president of Detroit's Forgotten Harvest, awhichcollects surplus food from area restaurants and retail stores. Going is one of only eight Albion Sigma Chis to receive the national "Significant Sig" award.
Katherine Y. Look, ’75
Senior Medical Director, Genentech Incorporated
San Francisco, California
At Genentech, Look serves on the team that gained FDA approval of Avastin for treatment of recurrent, persistent or metastatic cervix cancer and for platin-resistant ovary cancer. An angiogenesis inhibitor, killing cancers by preventing the formation of blood vessels that feed them, Avastin is an important new option for exceptionally challenging cancers. Look previously spent 22 years as professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine. During her academic career, Look received research grants totaling nearly $700,000. She has held executive positions with the national the Society of Gynecologic Oncology and the Society of Memorial Gynecologic Oncologists. Honored for excellence in teaching by the Association of Professors of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the IU School of Medicine, Look has also been recognized by Ladies Home Journal on its list of "Top Doctors for Women Coast to Coast." At Albion, Look was a member of Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Beta Kappa.
William R. Payne, ’75
Vice Chairman, Amway Corporation
Payne is involved in day-to-day management of the global Alticor Inc., enterprise, which includes Amway. Early in his career, Payne worked in Amway's marketing department before pursuing in marketing and sales management at Owens-Illinois, a partnership with mergers and acquisitions firm Payne-Zwiep and service as president of the Windquest Group. He returned to Amway in 2000 as executive vice president. Along with his wife, Jillane Lynas Payne, '75, Payne is a devoted Albion graduate; he has advised the College on current downtown revitalization efforts in Albion. The Paynes have sponsored regional alumni events, and Bill arranged Alticor flight travel for former First Lady Barbara Bush's visit to campus in 2005. At Albion College, Payne was president of Sigma Chi fraternity and served as head resident in Whitehouse Hall. He holds an M.B.A. from Bowling Green State University.
2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients
Shari Parker Burgess, ’80
Shari Parker Burgess has had a wild—and wildly successful—ride with Lear Corporation, a Fortune 250 company and one of the automotive industry's foremost suppliers of seating and electrical distribution systems, based in Southfield, Michigan. Over the past 22 years, Burgess has helped Lear make acquisitions, deal with activist shareholder issues, enter and emerge from bankruptcy, and grow annual sales from $1.5 billion in 1992 to over $17.5 billion projected for 2014.
After beginning her career as an auditor at Ernst & Young, LLP, Burgess joined Lear's finance team at the beginning of a corporate “growth spurt.” In a six-year period, she was a principal player in Lear's acquisition of 16 companies. Promoted to vice president and treasurer in 2002, she tapped her deep experience to help Lear weather several upcoming challenges. In 2013 she added the role of chief diversity officer to her responsibilities at Lear.
As early as 2005, Burgess reorganized the company's capital structure to provide the flexibility Lear required to proactively lead the industry in restructuring its global operational footprint to gain cost efficiencies and to prepare for the emergence of global car platforms. In 2007, she played a key role in Lear's evaluation of a $5.3-billion buyout proposal from Carl Icahn. Then, like many of its customers and other suppliers in the automotive industry, Lear was forced into bankruptcy following the 2008 financial crisis. Unlike most others, however, Lear emerged from bankruptcy with one of the industry's strongest balance sheets, thanks in part to Burgess' skillful management.
Burgess' outstanding leadership in her field has been recognized with a number of professional awards. In 2007, she was named one of Detroit's Most Influential Women by Crain's Detroit Business; in 2010 she made the Automotive News list of 100 Leading Women in the North American Automotive Business and in 2011 was recognized as one of Treasury and Risk's Women in Finance.
Burgess is a board member with Inforum Center for Leadership, Health Alliance Plan, and the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, and is active with the United Way Tocqueville Society. She holds an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan and was a member of Albion's Alpha Xi Delta sorority. She is the mother of Parker Burgess, '06, and Eric Burgess.
Paul R. Dixon, ’83
As a postdoctoral researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico, Paul Dixon delved into a range of projects in physical chemistry, nuclear chemistry, and nuclear geochemistry. Dixon's wide-ranging expertise prompted LANL to invite him to lead the geochemistry research for, and ultimately their entire contribution to, the ambitious vision for a permanent nuclear waste storage facility for the United States at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
The Yucca Mountain project was intended to address the nation's growing stockpile of nuclear waste. Dixon and his colleagues were tasked with designing a leak-proof, disaster-proof storage facility that would contain tons of dangerous materials for at least 25,000 years. As the LANL team program manager, Dixon oversaw an annual $12-million budget devoted to creating and studying geological and geochemical tests that Los Alamos was conducting. Under two different Department of Energy (DOE) contractors, Dixon was the deputy science manager for the Yucca Mountain project and managed an annual budget of approximately $85 million and support from seven national laboratories, twelve subcontractors, and four universities. He also briefed congressional committees and officials from four states. During the final year Dixon worked on the Yucca Mountain project, he also became the technical manager of the post-closure criticality group.
Since the federal government's abandonment of the Yucca Mountain project, Dixon has applied his unparalleled understanding of hazardous waste management to a career involving safe and cost-effective cleanup of environmental contamination at former DOE weapons production sites. Dixon is currently the senior program manager for environmental sciences within the civilian nuclear program office at LANL and is also the multi-lab program manager for the DOE's Advanced Simulation Capability for Environmental Management (ASCEM) program. The ASCEM program is developing standardized state-of-the-art modeling software to facilitate both a better understanding and communication of the cleanup decisions for contaminated soil and groundwater across the former DOE weapons complex. As the multi-lab program manager, he supervises a 30-person team of the nation's foremost geochemists, hydrologists, mathematicians, and computer scientists from the Los Alamos, Berkeley, Pacific Northwest, Oak Ridge, and Savannah River laboratories. In 2014, Dixon's team released a research version of the ASCEM program to the scientific community for their evaluation and feedback.
Dixon currently serves as chair of the Clark County, Nevada, Wildlife Advisory Board, volunteers with Youth Charities of Southern Nevada, and is a volunteer science teacher with the Clark County School District of Southern Nevada.
Dixon holds master's and doctoral degrees in geochemistry from Yale University. He and his wife, Mary Lou, live in Las Vegas and are the parents of three grown children (Ian, Jessica, and Hannah) and one grandchild (Gavin).
Carolyn Aishton Ouderkirk, ’64
French high school students, business executives, Albion alumni, and women around the world have all benefitted from Carolyn Aishton Ouderkirk's dedication to professional excellence, education, and her alma mater. Ouderkirk pursued a hard-driving business career while maintaining a lifelong devotion to service, especially on behalf of Albion College.
Ouderkirk spent 24 years at Avon Products, Inc., eventually becoming vice president of corporate affairs. At Avon, she oversaw training programs for some 500,000 Avon representatives, directed Avon's $20-million sponsorship of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, organized an Avon partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, and headed the Avon Women's Breast Cancer Crusade globally to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer research.
Following her retirement from Avon, Ouderkirk spent eight years as an independent consultant, teaching business communication skills and offering executive training and coaching. This education-focused work brought Ouderkirk full circle to her first 11 years out of Albion, spent teaching English for a year in France as a Fulbright-Hays Teaching Fellow, and teaching French and Spanish to elementary, high school, and college students in Michigan, Illinois, and Vermont.
Despite the many demands of her professional life, Ouderkirk's work on behalf of Albion College has remained constant and significant. She spent six years on Albion's Alumni Association Board of Directors, followed by 15 years on Albion's Board of Trustees, much of that time as the only woman on the executive committee. At their 45th reunion, Ouderkirk and a committee of her classmates presented the Class of 1964 with an ambitious five-year plan for their 50th reunion. The Class of 1964 Faculty Tribute Scholarship is well on the way to its $250,000 fundraising goal. Ouderkirk has served on a number of College advisory boards, worked on Albion capital campaigns, chaired class reunions, co-chaired a leadership campaign, organized events for New York-area alumni, and mentored Gerstacker Institute students. She has maintained close friendships with Albion faculty and residents of Albion, decades after graduation.
Ouderkirk holds a master's degree in French literature from the University of Michigan. As an Albion undergraduate, she held leadership roles in a number of organizations, including Kappa Delta sorority and student government.
She and her husband, Jerry, live in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.
2013 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients
Douglas R. Armstrong, ’88
At the age of 13, Doug Armstrong had an unpaid job filing x-rays at Albion Community Hospital because he was too young to join the hospital’s “red vest” volunteers. Since then, he has continued to follow his passions for medicine and service, saving and enriching the lives of thousands of seriously ill people.
Armstrong became a licensed emergency medical technician (EMT) even before he graduated from Albion High School, and during his student days at Albion College, he volunteered for the Albion Area Ambulance Service. While earning his bachelor’s degree in nursing at Wayne State University, he worked for the University of Michigan as a transplant organ perfusionist, flying with surgical teams to collect and transport organs. He helped initiate U-M’s clinical transplant research program and served as the assistant director of transplant clinical research and clinical trials manager, a position he held for 13 years.
As a volunteer during this time, Armstrong helped create Camp Michitanki (Michigan Transplant Kids), but quickly realized that complete success of such a program required a custom-designed facility. In 2007, he left transplant research to found and serve as chief executive officer for North Star Reach, a nonprofit now affiliated with Paul Newman’s SeriousFun Children’s Network. Next year, thanks to his leadership and energetic fundraising, North Star Reach will begin construction of a 105-acre camp near Pinckney, for campers ages 7-15 with chronic and life-threatening health challenges.
Formerly the assistant fire chief for Scio Township Fire Department and a firefighter/paramedic with the Dexter Area Fire Department, he has been honored with a Police and Firefighters Insurance Association Heroes Hall of Fame Award and Washtenaw Area Mutual Aid Association Life Saving Award.
After his Albion graduation, Armstrong spent two years traveling with Up with People. He holds a master’s degree in clinical research design and statistical analysis from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. He is the son of Roberta Armstrong and Robert Armstrong, professor emeritus of chemistry. Armstrong and his wife, Joan Marie, live in Dexter, Michigan with their son, Jackson Douglas.
Martin H. Nesbitt, ’85
He may have grown up in Ohio, but Marty Nesbitt is a true Chicagoan. Beyond meeting his wife and befriending a future U.S. president there, Nesbitt has distinguished himself as both a professional success and an engaged community servant in the Windy City.
Nesbitt moved to Chicago as a General Motors Fellow, to complete an M.B.A. at the University of Chicago. After earning his degree, he joined the real estate investment company LaSalle Partners, where he became an equity vice president within five years.
At LaSalle, Nesbitt recognized the resilience of parking as a real estate asset class even during tough economic cycles and the investment opportunities associated with the way the parking industry was structured. This insight led Nesbitt to develop The Parking Spot, an airport parking company which today has nearly million in annual revenue and 2,000 employees. Earlier this year, Nesbitt launched a new private equity firm, The Vistria Group, which focuses on investing in middle market companies that operate at the nexus of the public and private sectors in the education, health care, and financial services industries.
A friend of Barack Obama for nearly 20 years, Nesbitt served as finance chair for Obama’s Congressional race and served on the Finance Committee for his U.S. Senate campaign before becoming treasurer of Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. These presidential campaigns birthed innovative Web-based efforts that combined with traditional fundraising tactics to break all previous fundraising and citizen-engagement records. Ultimately, they helped elect Nesbitt’s close friend and basketball buddy the first African-American president of the United States.
Despite the professional and political demands on his time, Nesbitt has been devoted to community service. Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed him to the board of the Chicago Housing Authority, where he eventually served as chair. Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed him to an advisory committee weighing the privatization of Midway Airport. Nesbitt is a current trustee of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. He also serves on two corporate boards, Jones Lang LaSalle and Norfolk Southern Corporation.
At Albion, Nesbitt served as co-captain of the Briton basketball team and was also a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity, Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa, and the Professional Management Program. In 2009, he delivered the Stoffer Lecture at Albion’s Opening Convocation and was awarded an honorary doctorate at that time.
Nesbitt and his wife, Dr. Anita Blanchard, are the parents of Alex, Maxine, Roxanne, Xavier, and Xiomara, affectionately known as “Nesbitt Nation” at the White House.
W. Douglas Parker, Jr., ’84
Doug Parker became chairman and chief executive officer of US Airways Group following the 2005 merger of US Airways and America West Airlines. The nation’s fifth largest airline, with 32,000 employees, has flourished under Parker’s leadership. US Airways reports revenue growth, operational performance, and profit margin improvements that have outpaced most industry peers. In fiscal year 2012, US Airways set company records in on-time performance and profits, leading all Fortune 500 companies in total shareholder return. It’s no surprise that Parker is the longest-serving current CEO of a U.S. airline.
Currently, he is spearheading the pending merger between American Airlines and US Airways. He is slated to become the CEO of the combined airline, to be headquartered in Dallas.
Parker got his start as a financial analyst at American Airlines and held a number of other financial management positions in his five years there. He spent four years as vice president and assistant treasurer at Northwest Airlines before becoming senior vice president and later chief financial officer of America West Airlines. Parker was appointed America West’s CEO on September 1, 2001, just 10 days before what would become the second industry-wide transformation of his career.
As a civic leader in his adopted state of Arizona, Parker has chaired the board for Valley of the Sun United Way, New Day Homeless Center, and the Committee to End Homelessness in Phoenix.
Parker gave the Commencement address to Albion’s Class of 2010. He continues to be supportive of Albion College’s Alumni Association, and he maintains his connections with fellow Sigma Nu alumni.
Parker holds an M.B.A. from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. At Albion, he was a member of the Student Senate and of the 1980 and 1981 football teams. He and his wife, Gwen, have three children, Eliza, Jackson, and Lucas.
Norma J. Taber, ’78
Airline passengers today fly with fewer delays, thanks to the air traffic management systems Norma Taber has helped design. Norma Taber has spent 30 years with the MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit research and development organization trusted for its impartiality in working with the Federal Aviation Administration, current air traffic management operations, and academic researchers. As a lead systems engineer, working with various government, industry, and academic researchers, Taber has contributed to improvements in air traffic operations including tools for assessing the impact of changing a flight’s route or altitude, planning air traffic flows, and collaborative decision-making for rerouting or delaying flights. Currently, Taber is working with a research team developing concepts and algorithms for what will be the next generation of departure flow management systems.
Throughout her professional career, Taber has taken a special interest in encouraging women to pursue careers in engineering. Just four years after graduating from Albion, Taber established the Norma J. Taber Scholarship for Women in Pre-Engineering at Albion College, which has supported alumnae who are now working in environmental engineering, astrophysics, petrophysics, and other science-related fields. She has also supports a similar scholarship to encourage students at liberal arts schools to pursue dual degrees at her engineering alma mater. Less directly, she also supports female engineering students through her long-term affiliations with the Society of Women Engineers and the Association of American University Women.
Taber has been an active member of the United Methodist Church (UMC) at both local and conference levels. Through the UMC’s Volunteers in Mission program, she has traveled twice to Zimbabwe; she crochets blankets and clothing distributed to children and cancer patients via local and international charities.
Along with her Albion degree in mathematics, Taber completed B.S. and M.S. degrees in systems engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, a liberal arts honor society, and Tau Beta Pi, an engineering honor society. She served as an officer for five years in the Baltimore Alumni Chapter of Tau Beta Pi. Taber lives in Maryland near Washington, D.C.
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. Currently, 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 Albion College.
He and his wife, Joyce, live in Hopkins, Minnesota, and are the parents of Alexa, Christine, and Jennifer.