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Eileen Hebets, ’94

Eileen Hebets, '942007 Elkin R. Isaac Alumni Lecture

Assistant Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

“Exploring life on eight legs: The journey from Albion to Arachnophilia”

Wednesday, April 25, 2007; 7:30 p.m.
Towsley Lecture Hall/Norris 101

Eileen Hebets is currently assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she teaches zoology and behavioral ecology. From 2003 to 2005, she held appointments at the University of California, Berkeley as assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Science Policy and Management/Division of Insect Biology, curator of the Essig Museum, and member of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. She held a National Institutes of Health post-doctoral research fellowship in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University in 2002-03.

A specialist in the evolution of animal communication systems, Hebets is currently focusing her research on the development of complex signaling systems in various spider species. Supported by a Searle Scholars Program Fellowship and a National Science Foundation CAREER grant, her work includes both field-based experiments and observations and an array of laboratory techniques and methods drawn from molecular biology and neurophysiology. Hebets' field research has taken her to caves in Puerto Rico, rain forests in Costa Rica, and the sky islands in Arizona.

Her findings have been covered by national and international news organizations including The New York Times, USA Today, The Boston Globe, BBC Online, CNN, ABC News, and National Public Radio. She also served as a consultant for the movie Spiderman (2002). Hebets' scholarly publications include articles in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Journal of Experimental Biology, Animal Behaviour, Behavioral Ecology, and the Journal of Insect Physiology, among others.

After graduating from Albion College in 1994, Hebets went on to earn a master's in biology at the University of Cincinnati (1996), and then a master's (1998) and Ph.D. (2002) in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona.

This year's lecture marks the first time in the history of the Isaac Symposium that our Alumni Lecturer also participated in the symposium as an undergraduate. In 1994, Hebets gave a presentation entitled, "Habitat and Courtship Behavior of the Wolf Spider Schizocosa retrorsa." Named the outstanding senior biology major that year, she also received the Edmund and Kathleen Jenkins Research Award from Albion.

Joseph S. Calvaruso, ’94

Joseph S. Calvaruso, ’942006 Elkin R. Isaac Alumni Lecture

Senior Vice President and Director of Risk Management for Mercantile Bank

“Albion College - the Training Camp for the Nine Innings of Life”

Wednesday, April 26, 2006; 7:30 p.m.
Bobbitt Visual Arts Auditorium

Joseph Calvaruso currently serves as senior vice president and director of risk management for Mercantile Bank in Grand Rapids. He is also secretary and treasurer for the Board of Directors of Michigan Certified Development Corporation, which provides funding for business start-ups and expansions. As a member of the Michigan chapter of the Risk Management Association, he has held numerous leadership positions, including the presidency, and won many achievement awards. He has also served on the association's international Board of Directors and on numerous national committees.

Prior to joining Mercantile Bank, Calvaruso spent nearly 20 years as executive vice president of Chemical Bank Shoreline in Benton Harbor. He left that job in June 2004 to join Vice President Dick Cheney's reelection campaign as a member of the national advance team. Over the past six years, Calvaruso has also served as a coordinator for visits to Michigan and throughout the country by members of the Bush administration. Earlier in his career, Calvaruso held positions with City Bank in Jackson and Comerica Bank in Kalamazoo.

Calvaruso sits on the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Policy and Service Visiting Committee at Albion College and is a former member of the Michigan Work Force Investment Board. He is a past chairman of the Kalamazoo County Republican Party and is a current member of the Republican State Committee.

Earlier this year, Calvaruso and his wife, Donna, endowed the Joseph S. Calvaruso Keynote Address for this symposium. In keeping with Calvaruso's personal goal to "try different things in life," the keynote endowment ensures the symposium will continue to provide an exceptional variety of presenters from the arts, sciences, social sciences, and humanities. An Albion native and a product of the Albion Public Schools, Calvaruso graduated from Albion College in 1978 and holds an M.B.A. from Western Michigan University.

John Vournakis, ’61

John Vournakis, '61 2001 Elkin R. Isaac Lecture

“Serendipity - Just Plain Old Luck”

Wednesday, April 18, 2001; 7:30 p.m.
Bobbitt Visual Arts Auditorium

A teacher and researcher of distinction, John Vournakis has published more than 150 research articles in the fields of biophysics, molecular biology, and biotechnology, and is an inventor on over 15 U.S. and foreign patents. After graduating from Albion, he continued his education at Cornell University, earning his M.S. and Ph.D. in biophysical chemistry in 1966 and 1968, respectively.

From 1970 to the present, Vournakis has held faculty appointments at several of the nation's most prestigious colleges and universities. After a year on the Amherst College faculty, he served at Syracuse University from 1973 to 1985 as assistant, associate, and full professor of biochemistry. From 1985 to 1988, he was professor of biology and director of the Molecular Genetics Center at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. He left academia to become a senior executive in the biotechnology industry from 1988 to 1992 and returned to teach again at Dartmouth from 1992 to 1995. In 1995 he became a professor of medicine and associate director for the Hollings Cancer Center, Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

In 1992 Vournakis co-founded Marine Polymer Technologies, Inc., a start-up medical products company. He is the inventor of a polymer-based technology that has led to several FDA-approved products, including the SyvekPatch hemostat used for the rapid control of bleeding following medical procedures such as cardiac catheterization.

Vournakis was a predoctoral and postdoctoral Fellow of the National Institutes of Health, a National Academy of Sciences USA Fellow (1968), a European Molecular Biology Organization Fellow (1970), and received a National Science Foundation Senior Research Associate Award (1972-75). He currently holds six editorial positions, including editor of the Genetic Engineering News, and serves on the Hollings Cancer Center Board and the MUSC Foundation for Research Development. He is a member of the Tsintzina Society board and of the Greek Orthodox Church.

Vournakis received a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1996. He lives in Charleston, S.C., with his wife, Karen Munro Vournakis, '66. They have one son, Christopher.

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