Distinguished Alumni Award

Each year, Albion College presents the Distinguished Alumni Award honoring alumni who have demonstrated excellence in career achievements and contributions to community and humanity.

Those chosen for this prestigious award will be distinguished in his or her chosen business, profession or life’s work and be a person of such integrity, stature, demonstrated ability and commitment to Albion College that the faculty, staff, students and alumni of the College will take pride in, and be inspired by, his or her recognition.

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2023 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients

Brad Coulter, ’82

President and CEO, Matrix Human Services
Detroit, Michigan

In 2021, Brad Coulter was recognized by Crain’s Detroit magazine as one of Metro Detroit’s leaders in diversity, equity and inclusion for his work leading Matrix Human Services. Matrix is a $50 million-per-year nonprofit that serves over 20,000 residents annually through 20 locations throughout the city of Detroit, providing services such as Head Start preschool education, teen activities, adult education, workforce training and housing counseling, plus health programs for people living with HIV.

Brad was the state-appointed emergency manager for Lincoln Park, Michigan, prior to joining Matrix as president and CEO in 2016. His current work in poverty solutions was inspired in part by his international work in finance and business development for Guardian Industries through which he spent eight years living in Asia, including five years in India. Brad is from Midland, Michigan, and he has a B.A. in economics from Albion College and an M.B.A. in finance from Indiana University.

Fazli Datoo, ’66

Co-Founder, Edesia Nutrition
Orlando, Florida

Upon retirement as an insurance executive, Fazli Datoo wanted to devote his time, energy, experience and resources to uplift the lives of children. With his support, Fazli’s daughter Navyn founded Edesia Nutrition, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating malnourishment for children around the world. Since its founding in 2010, Edesia has served over 19 million children in 62 countries. Fazli’s contributions to Edesia include start-up activities, fundraising and relationship building.

In the 1960s, Fazli came to Albion College from Tanzania as the recipient of a competitive scholarship from the African Scholarship Program of American Universities. After graduating from Albion with a degree in mathematics and Phi Beta Kappa honors, Fazli earned two master’s degrees in mathematics and in actuarial science from the University of Michigan. Fazli is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries. His actuarial career consists of 27 years at CIGNA, including head of CIGNA’s Actuarial Management Program, and 11 years as managing director at Swiss Reinsurance Company.

C. Robert Maxfield, ’63

Retired, Educational Leadership (Public K-12 and Oakland University)
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Dr. C. Robert (Bob) Maxfield’s career in education and educational leadership has spanned more than five decades. His professional interests and leadership have included reforming school organizational structures, new models of school finance, promoting teacher leadership and systemic approaches to addressing race-based achievement disparities in suburban schools. After graduating from Albion in 1963 with a degree in history, Maxfield earned his master’s degree and Ed.D. from Wayne State University. His career in public education in the Detroit area transitioned from teaching to administration in three school districts, including high school assistant principal, high school principal and superintendent.

In 2004, the Michigan Association of School Administrators honored Bob as the Superintendent of the Year. He joined Oakland University in 2005 as an associate professor of educational leadership and director of the Galileo Institute for Teacher Leadership; he was later appointed as interim dean of Education and Human Services followed by service as special assistant to the president and provost. Bob and his wife, Sara Maxfield, ’64, support several educational and community programs as philanthropists and volunteers.

Ande Nesmith, ’88

Associate Professor and School of Social Work Director, University of St. Thomas Morrison Family College of Health
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dr. Ande Nesmith has applied her passion for environmental and climate justice through teaching, research and professional service. She has developed curricular tools to promote an ecocentric perspective that values ethical decisions and prioritizes the health and well-being of all living organisms, ecological systems and planetary health. Dr. Nesmith serves on the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Committee on Environmental Justice and the CSWE Commission on Global Social Work Education. She has authored several peer-reviewed pieces.

Ande studies outcomes for youth and young adults in foster care and juvenile justice, and she was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study child welfare in the Czech Republic. At Albion College, Ande studied history and psychology. After graduating in 1988, she served in the Peace Corps and earned her master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington and her Ph.D. in social welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

2022 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients

Eric Allen, ’95

Attorney, Law Office of Eric J. Allen, Ltd.
Columbus, Ohio

Eric Allen, Albion College Class of 1995A class at Albion opened Eric Allen to the career he has pursued for the past 20 years. A criminal defense attorney specializing in post-conviction and appellate law, Allen’s work focuses on the difficult and thankless task of ensuring justice for incarcerated individuals. While his solo law practice is based in Ohio, Allen has worked on death row cases in North Carolina, Texas, Alabama and Illinois. His busy docket always includes pro bono service, and he has worked with the Knights of Columbus and other civic organizations to improve the lives of children in the Columbus area. At Albion, Eric was a member of the Black Student Alliance, Asian Awareness Group, Union Board and the intramural basketball program.

Watch Eric’s video profile

Lisa Gezon, ’88

Professor of Anthropology, University of West Georgia
Carrollton, Georgia

Lisa Gezon, Albion College Class of 1988Lisa Gezon has taught anthropology at the University of West Georgia since 1996. Her research has ranged from the impact of tourism and drug policies in Madagascar, to healthcare accessibility in Guatemala, and the benefits of cycling and pedestrian trails in the U.S. This work has been supported by the National Geographic Society, the National Science Foundation and a U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Fellowship. She has won awards for mentoring, teaching and scholarship from the University of West Georgia. At Albion, Gezon was active with Amnesty International, the Commission on the Status of Women and Albion Peace Alliance.

Watch Lisa’s video profile

Brenda Green O’Connell, ’99

Community Development Administrator, Lake County, Illinois
Libertyville, Illinois

Brenda O'Connell, Albion College Class of 1999In 2019, Brenda O’Connell was instrumental in effectively ending homelessness among military veterans in Lake County. Her innovative plan, in collaboration with the Lake County Coalition for the Homeless, coordinated the efforts of nonprofits, medical facilities and government agencies to make the county of 650,000 residents one of only 11 communities nationwide to be recognized by the federal government and the Built for Zero campaign. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, O’Connell has overseen the distribution of more than $30 million in food, homeless sheltering and rental assistance in Lake County. O’Connell was recently appointed by the governor of Illinois to serve on a statewide advisory council on homelessness. At Albion, O’Connell was a member of Delta Gamma and several music ensembles. She was one of the first student employees at the Kellogg Center and served as a resident assistant in the International House.

Watch Brenda’s video profile

2021 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients

Kent Beittel, ’69

Founder and Director Emeritus, Open Shelter
Columbus, Ohio
Posthumous award

In 1983, Beittel founded the Open Shelter—a nonprofit advocacy center and day-services shelter for homeless and marginally housed people in Columbus, Ohio. Beittel served as the first director of Open Shelter for over 30 years. To date, Open Shelter has worked with more than 40,000 individuals and developed innovative ways to address the complex needs of their clients. In particular, Beittel worked with financial institutions to set up banking and savings access for homeless people, a program that has since been adopted by communities across the country. Beittel and his late wife, Mary, received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Columbus Coalition for the Homeless, and in 2020 Beittel was named a Distinguished Alumnus by the Upper Arlington (OH) Alumni Association.

Watch Kent’s video profile

Matt Heinz, ’99

Supervisor, District 2, Pima County Board of Supervisors
Tucson, Arizona

Heinz is a practicing physician and a newly elected member of the Pima County Board of Supervisors. He previously served two terms in the Arizona State House, where he was caucus whip and gathered bipartisan support for several bills to improve healthcare access for seniors and veterans. President Barack Obama appointed Heinz to serve as director of provider outreach in the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Heinz spent two years in Washington, D.C., assisting the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and helping to coordinate the federal response to the Ebola virus. During that time, he returned to Arizona several weekends a month to treat patients. Similarly, these days Heinz continues to work the night shift at his hospital while serving on the Board of Supervisors.

Watch Matt’s video profile

Caryn Ryan, ’79

Founder and Managing Member, Missionwell LLC
Pasadena, California

Through Missionwell LLC, Ryan applies her business-world expertise to the service of Southern California religious and nonprofit organizations, providing top-tier human resource and financial advice and services. Her executive background includes service as chief financial officer for World Vision International, overseeing microfinance and financial operations in more than 80 countries helped by a development fund of more than $2 billion. In a 20-year stint with Amoco/BP, Ryan held CFO and vice president/finance positions, working in Houston, Chicago, London and Moscow. She currently holds leadership positions on the board of directors for Union Rescue Mission, dedicated to eliminating homelessness in Los Angeles, and ECCU, a credit union serving Christian ministries across the United States. She has also served on the boards of her local church and for Oasis USA, which focuses on poverty alleviation and human trafficking.

Watch Caryn’s video profile

Richard Youle, ’74

Section Chief, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland

Youle received the $3 million 2021 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences from the Breakthrough Foundation, co-founded by Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg. Youle’s research elucidated a genetically linked cellular mechanism that clears damaged mitochondria and thereby protects against Parkinson’s Disease. In a career spent entirely at the NIH, Youle has also investigated the immunology of bone marrow transplantation, therapies for brain tumors and mechanisms involved in programmed cell death.

Watch Richard’s video profile

2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients

Deanna M. Behring, ’85

Assistant Dean for College of Agricultural Sciences International Programs, Faculty Affiliate in the School for International Affairs, Penn State University
City Councilwoman
State College, Pennsylvania

Deanna Behring leads and coordinates Penn State’s portfolio of international research and educational programs in food security, often utilizing her skills in speaking Chinese and French. Prior to joining Penn State, she was assistant director for international affairs for President Clinton’s White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Deanna has also worked for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Commerce as well as on projects for the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Agency for International Development. She is serving her first term as councilwoman for the city of State College and is working on her first book, a guide to help students find their way in the “passion economy.” As an undergraduate, Deanna was involved with Alpha Chi Omega, Albion College Players and College Democrats.

Watch Deanna’s video profile

Kevin Chalut, ’99

British Royal Society Research Fellow in Physics, Cambridge University
Cambridge, England, UK

Kevin Chalut is currently leading an interdisciplinary team of researchers that is making important new discoveries about the nature of stem cells and development. Based at the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute at Cambridge University, he is the principal investigator on a large program grant that applies physics and engineering to stem cell and developmental biology to better understand the how, when and where of the “choices” stem cells make. Kevin’s work has been featured in Nature and in the international press, and in the past two years alone he has shared his work with top research institutions in the Netherlands, Mexico, France, Singapore, Germany, Canada and the U.S.

Watch Kevin’s video profile

Bonciel Griffin-Burress, ’97

Orthodontist and Owner, Griffin Orthodontics and Ivory Dental Specialists
Chicago, Illinois

Bonciel Griffin-Burress is believed to be the first African American female to own a multi-office orthodontic and dental practice in the metropolitan Chicago area. In addition to treating her own full load of orthodontic patients and managing her business, Bonciel mentors interns and dental assistant trainees. In 2012, Bonciel was named one of WVON-Chicago’s 40 Under 40 Game Changers. The Chicago native studied dentistry at the University of Michigan and earned an orthodontics specialty at Howard University’s School of Dentistry. In 2017, Bonciel established Albion’s Gregory and Patricia Griffin Scholarship. While at Albion, she was involved with United Voices of Albion College and Black Student Alliance.

Watch Bonciel’s video profile

Craig Kirby, ’85

Founder/CEO, Golf. My Future. My Game.
Washington, DC

A retired political strategist whose clients included presidents and federal legislators, Craig is applying his networking and problem-solving talents to open the business and sport of golf to many who historically have been shut out. His nonprofit organization—Golf. My Future. My Game.—gives youth, people of color and women a unique opportunity to strengthen problem-solving and career-development skills through mastering a challenging sport. His efforts have led to successful partnerships with equipment manufacturers, golf courses, educational institutions, equal-access-focused groups, and both the PGA and USGA. In 2019 Craig was featured on ABC’s “Holey Moley” with NBA superstar Stephen Curry. While a student at Albion, Craig was active with Student Senate, Black Student Alliance and Delta Sigma Phi.

Watch Craig’s video profile

2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients

Timothy Bender, ’75

Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology, University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia

Now completing his 30th year with the University of Virginia, Bender is the associate director of the Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research. His research lab studies the role of gene expression in lymphocyte development and the possibility of harnessing the process as a cancer treatment. Beyond his role as a researcher and administrator, Bender has received the University of Virginia Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Robert J. Kadner Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching and Mentoring, and was elected a founding member of the UVA School of Medicine’s Academy of Distinguished Educators.

Robert Hetler, ’64

Partner (retired), PricewaterhouseCoopers
Suttons Bay, Michigan

Based at different times in San Francisco and New Orleans, Hetler was responsible for PwC’s worldwide services to clients in the engineering and construction industries. A member of the College’s Board of Trustees for 27 years, Hetler also served on the presidential search committee that selected current President Mauri Ditzler. Hetler’s interest in Albion’s welfare, however, has always focused on students: he enabled more than two dozen PwC internships for Albion students, and Albion’s Hetler/PwC Accounting Scholarship has been awarded more than 100 times. Hetler chaired the Class of 1964’s 45th and 50th reunions, and he is a member of the Class of 1964 Faculty Tribute Endowed Scholarship Committee. (Hetler is unable to attend the April 12 event but will receive his award during Milestone Reunions weekend, May 16-18.)

Allison Farmer Maki, ’97

Senior Vice President of Administration and Chief Financial Officer, Detroit Lions
South Lyon, Michigan

Originally joining the Lions in 2004 as director of finance, Maki has successfully overseen the team’s day-to-day financial operations for more than 15 years. In addition, she oversees the team’s human resources and information technology functions as well as operations at the Lions’ practice facility in Allen Park. Maki, who currently is one of only eight female chief financial officers in the National Football League, also serves as treasurer for Detroit Lions Charities. She has been a presenter at the NFL Women’s Career Development Symposium as well as other local events.

Keith Wilkinson, ’72

Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, Emory University
Lilburn, Georgia

An internationally recognized expert in the field of protein ubiquitination and degradation, Wilkinson spent his entire career at Emory University. While conducting his own research, Wilkinson helped envision and implement Emory’s Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (GDBBS). Wilkinson directed the program for more than a decade, helping it grow into one of the country’s top biomedical research and training programs. His leadership in the creation of programs targeting underrepresented students resulted in a 300 percent increase in underrepresented-student matriculants over the past 15 years.

2018 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients

Beverly Hannett-Price, ’58

English Teacher, Detroit Country Day School, Bloomfield Hills, MI

Beverly Hannett-Price is finishing her 60th year in her dream job as an English teacher, which includes 50 years at Detroit Country Day School. Beyond educating, mentoring and inspiring generations of students, Hannett-Price broke important gender barriers as DCDS’s first Upper School female teacher, first female department chair and first female dean. Hannett-Price has served on both the Albion College Alumni Association Board of Directors and the College’s Board of Trustees. She has won numerous teaching excellence awards and has had many students win oratory and essay contests.

George Martin, ’52

Retired Principal/School Administrator, Royal Oak Public Schools, Davisburg, MI

George Martin encouraged and inspired thousands of Royal Oak students during his 40-year tenure with Royal Oak Public Schools. Martin served the district as a teacher, counselor, coach and longtime principal of Dondero High School. Prior to his career in education, Martin served two years in the Army Signal Corps, earning a Soldier’s Medal. A member of Albion College’s Athletic Hall of Fame, Martin received nine varsity letters as student manager for the baseball, football and indoor track and field teams. He is a past president of the Albion College Alumni Association Board of Directors and served two terms on the College’s Board of Trustees. Martin was inducted into the Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame in 2001.

Amy Elaine Wakeland, ’91

First Lady of the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

Amy Elaine Wakeland has spent more than two decades as a political strategist and public policy expert, a background that has suited her exceptionally well for her current role as First Lady of the City of Los Angeles. Among many accomplishments over the past four years, Wakeland played a key role in the City’s first-ever data-driven analysis of the status of women and girls and expansion of its Domestic Assault Response Teams to all police divisions. Wakeland helped found the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust and the Pobladores Fund, a giving circle for social justice causes. She advises numerous organizations on human rights and social justice issues, including the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking and the L.A. Alliance for a New Economy.

Skot Welch, ’90

Founder/President, Global Bridgebuilders, Kentwood, MI

Skot Welch has spent 20 years helping churches, municipalities, nonprofits and industry leaders develop sustainable and measurable diversity initiatives. He is founder and president of Global Bridgebuilders, a leader in the field of organizational diversity management. Welch recently served as vice president of benchmarking services and analysis for DiversityInc magazine, where he was responsible for best-practices analysis within the Fortune 500. He is the founder of the Mosaic Film Experience, the Mosaic Mobile and the Mosaic Community, programs that engage some 1,500 young filmmakers annually. In March, Governor Rick Snyder appointed Welch to the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council.

2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients

Dave Egnatuk, ’71

Retired Head Coach, Albion College Track and Field, Albion, MI

Dave Egnatuk first earned the adjective “distinguished” as a student at Albion, when in 1970 he rushed for 1,079 yards, a school record that stood until 1989. After serving in the U.S. Army and earning a master’s degree at the University of Southern California, Egnatuk embarked on the career that has made him Albion’s longest-serving coach (1975-2010). Along with serving for 24 years as an assistant football coach, Egnatuk was head coach for track and field for 36 years, amassing eight MIAA championship programs and guiding five student-athletes to NCAA Division III titles. In all, he coached 17 Britons to 31 All-American finishes. Off the field, Egnatuk was a member of the physical education faculty, director of the Albion College Summer Adventure Program, and longtime coordinator of Special Olympics Track and Field Training Day. A member of Alpha Tau Omega while a student, Egnatuk advised Albion’s ATOs for more than 25 years, and was named the fraternity’s National Advisor of the Year in 1995.

Edmund Jenkins, ’57

Past Chair, Financial Accounting Standards Board, Tucson, AZ

From 1992-97 Ed Jenkins served as chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, where, among other things, he was a charter member of the Emerging Issues Task Force. Before heading FASB, Jenkins chaired the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ Special Committee on Financial Reporting, commonly referred to as the “Jenkins Committee.” Professionally, Jenkins enjoyed a 38-year career with Arthur Andersen, retiring as managing partner of the Professional Standards Group of Arthur Andersen’s worldwide practice. Jenkins is a member of the international Accounting Hall of Fame (housed at The Ohio State University) and holds honorary doctorates from DePaul University, Lycoming College and Albion College. He served as an Albion College trustee for 22 years, and received the College’s Meritorious Service Award in 2007.

2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients

Brook McClintic Griese, ’97

Executive Director
Judi’s House/JAG Institute for Grieving Children and Families
Denver, Colorado

A clinical psychologist and therapist, Griese is co-founder and executive director of Judi’s House, a comprehensive center for children and young adults mourning the death of a loved one. Griese directs and develops service provision, longitudinal research and professional training programs, many of which have been used by similar organizations across the country. Her latest research-based program, Pathfinders, is a 10-week, grief-focused and trauma-informed curriculum for children and families. Griese is on the board of the University of Colorado’s Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center; she is also an adjunct assistant clinical professor with the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Griese presents her research regularly at national professional conferences and writes regularly for both scholarly journals and general-audience publications.

Terrence Karpowicz, ’70

Chicago, Illinois

An internationally respected sculptor, Karpowicz’s work plays on tensions created between organic materials (such as wood limbs and granite shards) and machine-tooled geometric shapes. He has received the Frank Logan Medal and Prize from the Art Institute of Chicago, two National Endowment for the Arts awards, four grants from the Illinois Arts Council and The Newhouse Award. As a Fulbright-Hayes Fellow to the United Kingdom, Karpowicz worked with the last millwright affiliated with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, gaining skills and insights that continue to inspire his work. Karpowicz was a founding member of Chicago Sculpture International, itself the first regional affiliate of the International Sculpture Center. Karpowicz has shown his work through North America and Europe, and his commissioned works stretch across the Midwest, including one on the Albion College campus.

David Wood Jr., ’79

President and Chief Medical Officer
Beaumont Health Systems and Beaumont Physician Partners
Royal Oak, Michigan

While chief of the Division of Urologic Oncology at the University of Michigan Health System (2002-2011), Wood was the key investigator in the study of the healing properties of lycopene, which may contribute to the prevention of prostate cancer. Furthermore, he directed the implementation of robotic radical prostatectomy, a less invasive procedure designed to help decrease prostate surgery side effects. Wood has taken part in 25 grant-funded studies, directing or co-directing three clinical trials at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. He regularly presents at conferences worldwide and has published nearly 200 research-based works. Wood previously worked with the Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University and the Karmanos Cancer Institute, including service as chief medical officer of the Karmanos Cancer Hospital.

2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients

Rick L. Going, ’77

Division President, Kroger Company
Nashville, Tennessee

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
Ada, Michigan

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.

2012 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients

Josh A. Cassada, ’95

The sky’s the limit for all Albion alumni, but in Josh Cassada’s case, that might not be quite high enough. He has spent much of the past decade flying combat and rescue missions, training pilots, and testing out new wings for the U.S. Navy.

Then two years ago, at the ripe old age of 37, Cassada began helping the Navy purchase planes, directing nearly $28 billion in contracts with Boeing. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing production of the P-8A (anti-submarine) and KC-46 (refueling) aircraft, airborne early warning and control systems, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Cassada currently serves as a test pilot for the P-8A, evaluating each one for the government prior to purchase and delivery.

A standout physics student at Albion, Cassada earned recognition as an exemplary graduate teaching assistant. While completing his doctorate, he was a research assistant at the Collider Detector Facility within the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and also served briefly as a postdoctoral fellow there. Wanting an even bigger challenge, Cassada joined the U.S. Navy, becoming a patrol plane commander and pilot. He and his 10-member crew assisted with tsunami relief, did stand-alone counternarcotic operations, and flew 23 combat missions, including ground support and reconnaissance for Operations Iraqi Freedom, Joint Guardian, and Deliberate Force. Cassada also trained military test pilots at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School in Patuxent River, Maryland.

In 2011, Cassada was recognized as the Defense Contract Management Agency Northwest Field Grade Officer of the Year. He has received several military medals, including combat medals from the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Cassada holds two graduate degrees in physics from the University of Rochester. He and his wife, Megan, are the parents of Quinn and Graham, and live in Seattle.

April DuVal, ’65

This past July, April DuVal retired as executive director of the Jefferson County, Kentucky, Council on Developmental Disabilities (CDD). During her 43-year tenure there, April provided leadership for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, helped develop educational, vocational, and residential programs for persons with intellectual disabilities and established the Parent Outreach and Citizen Advocacy programs in Louisville.

Even more admirably, while April helped change society’s view and treatment of the developmentally disabled, she served hundreds of clients with individual, personal care. “Almost every parent who is active in the CDD could tell a story about how April personally helped them through a trying time,” says Natalie Semaria, a “CCD parent” for nearly 40 years. Semaria further notes that April has been “the guardian and/or payee for several disabled adults who have no one else to stand up for them. She personally accompanied me to Guardian Court, understanding that it was a difficult step for me. April has retired from her leadership role but I know that she will never “retire” from caring for disabled people and acting as an advocate.

DuVal was among the first in her field to recognize the potential for computers to transform learning and employment for people with disabilities. She won grants from Apple to establish an enabling technology center and is a past president of the National Alliance of Technology Access. She has taught classes for the School of Social Work at Spalding University. She is also a past president of the Kentucky Association on Mental Retardation.

April has received numerous awards, including the University of Louisville Outstanding Social Work Field Supervisor, the Louisville Courier Journal Phenomenal Woman Award, and the Kentucky Colonel Award, presented by Governor John Y. Brown. She has been honored officially by the mayor of Louisville, the 3rd Kentucky Congressional District, the Kentucky House of Representatives, and the Kentucky Senate.

Childhood friend and Albion classmate Sharon Thorne Vydick, ’65, notes that April was also their sixth-grade class president and organizer of their 50-year high school reunion. “She’s been my friend for life,” said Vydick, who notes that she and classmate Teresa Trostmiller, ’65, regularly enjoy being with their friend. “April is very driven and that’s gotten her where she is. She is a friendly, happy, smiley person and that’s why everyone loves her.”

“April and I benefitted from the Kresges and Putnams, the people who love Albion and support it in very tangible ways,” says April’s sister, Marcia Lile, ’67. “It’s great that Albion acknowledges people like April, who never made a lot of money, but who also loved Albion and were also impacted in the same way. When we were students in the 1960s, Albion brought us speakers like Martin Luther King, Jr., who encouraged us to act in daring ways. Those were inspiring times and April’s life is a response to that.”

After graduating Phi Beta Kapp with honors from Albion, April earned her MSW from the University of Michgian. In 1994 she was inducted into Albion’s Athletic Hall of Fame for her prowess on the field hockey team. She has two children and six grandchildren and lives in Louisville.

Lori Latowski Grover, ’85

When it comes to professional dedication, Lori Grover doesn’t just “talk the talk”—she’s got a pile of frequent flyer miles to prove her passion. A nationally recognized clinician and educator, she commutes during the year several times each month from her family’s home in Scottsdale, Arizona, to work at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. At the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Grover serves as an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology in the Wilmer Eye Institute and Director of Research in the Office of Women in Science and Medicine.

A clinical specialist in vision impairment and low-vision rehabilitation, Grover also collaborates with other health care professionals on evaluating and improving their care delivery eye care programs. She has been intensely involved in serving her profession, as past chair of the American Optometric Association (AOA) Vision Rehabilitation Section Executive Council and current member of the AOA Evidence Based Care Committee. She was recently elected to serves as a Vision Care Section Councilor of the American Public Health Association and was recently appointed to the Prevent Blindness America Board of Directors. Grover is a former board member of with the Arizona Optometric Association and past President of the Greater Baltimore Optometric Society.

As the recipient of a five-year National Eye Institute/National Institutes of Health Mentored Clinical Scientist Training Grant award, Grover completed her is also finishing a doctorate in Health Services Research and Policy at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

On top of her work and professional service, Grover regularly publishes journal articles and presents at professional gatherings across the country. Among many awards, she was recognized as a Distinguished Practitioner and Fellow in Optometry by the National Academies of Practice, named to the inaugural Leadership Program for Women Faculty by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and received 2004 Alumna of the Year honors from her other alma mater, the Illinois College of Optometry.

Grover also holds certificates in public health economics and public health informatics from the Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. A member of Delta Gamma and president of the Panhellenic Council while a student, Grover is a current Albion College admission volunteer. She is married to her Albion sweetheart, Michael Grover, ’86. The couple and their daughter, Kate, live in Scottsdale.

Richard B. Jones, ’71

For 24 of his 38 years in education, Richard Jones was employed as a teacher, coach, and principal at North Farmington High School in suburban Detroit—but what he did there reached far beyond any of those job expectations. An innovative and out-of-the-box thinker, Jones implemented programs that energized and inspired not only his own students and teachers, but the Farmington community and other educators across the country. Upon his retirement in 2011, North Farmington High School’s main building was renamed the Richard B. Jones Academic Center. The school’s athletic campus is also named in his honor.

Jones’ legacy includes his implementation of school year “themes” that involved students, teachers, parents, and the community in exploration of social justice issues through numerous interdisciplinary activities. Environmentalism and sustainability, civil rights, and the revitalization of Detroit were among the topics studied, with the goal of moving the students “from awareness to activism.” During the school’s yearlong examination of genocide, Jones was co-recipient of the Anne Frank Center USA’s Spirit of Anne Frank Outstanding Educator Award. Jones and North Farmington joined forces with a high school in Danbury, Connecticut, together raising over $135,000 to build “Promise School” in Sudan as an activism project for the genocide study.

Not surprisingly, Jones has earned many awards for excellence, including four Teacher-of-the-Year honors; he is also a recipient of the Great Seal of Michigan, for his school’s efforts to pass a state divestiture bill regarding Sudan. He is Michigan’s 2008-09 High School Principal of the Year. Jones has been on the board of the Michigan Chapter of the National Football Foundation since 1995, and since 2004 has traveled to Mali, in West Africa, three times as a member of a medical team.

A Detroit native, Jones spent 14 years as a teacher and coach in Bay County, Florida, before moving to Farmington Hills. He earned a master’s degree in movement science and sports psychology from Florida State University, where he also studied school administration.

As a student at Albion, Jones played varsity baseball, was a member of Alpha Tau Omega, and founded Albion’s chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

He and his wife, Kathy, are the parents of Keely and Lauren, and live in Farmington Hills.

Duane Nelles, ’66

Like many good economics and mathematics students, Duane Nelles was attracted to the world of accounting, where he quickly built a very successful career. So it may have surprised some when he turned to venture capitalism, but the move proved to be beneficial both for Nelles and the little startup that caught his eye. Partially thanks to his investment, and his presence on its board for nearly a quarter century, the “little startup,” Qualcomm, has become a global leader in telecommunications, supporting most wireless technologies including cell phones with all their numerous applications.

Nelles’s accounting career began in 1968 in the Detroit office of what was then Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers). After just four years, he opened Coopers & Lybrand’s San Diego office and became a partner in 1974. Over the next 14 years, Nelles worked with the firm’s California-based clients while directing several administrative operations in the San Diego office.

In 1988 Nelles left public accounting to become president of a private venture capital firm in La Jolla. In that role he made many venture capital investments including Qualcomm, now one of the largest companies in the world. He had further success in venture capital having served on numerous boards of directors including Price/Costco, Wescorp, and WFSI Financial. In addition to his position on Qualcomm’s board, he is currently a board member for American Assets Trust (a NYSE-listed real estate investment trust). Over the years Nelles has served on many boards of not- for-profit organizations, chairing the Salvation Army board in San Diego.

Despite the distance between San Diego and southern Michigan, Nelles continues to have an active interest in Albion College. He has underwritten several alumni events in the southern California region and is an informal adviser to President Donna Randall and a leading donor to the President’s Discretionary Fund. In spring 2010, Nelles and his wife, Gail, returned to Albion, where he divided his time between executive planning sessions and meetings with Gerstacker Institute students.

Nelles received an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan. He and Gail live in La Jolla, California and Sun Valley, Idaho, and have two sons and four grandchildren.

2011 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients

William H. Dobbins, ’74

Bill Dobbins loves Albion. Simply stated yet running incredibly deep, there truly is no better way to describe the feeling he has for his hometown and alma mater.

A premedical student who played football, basketball, and baseball (and was part of the 1971 Athletic Hall of Fame baseball team), Dobbins gained admission to the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine after just three years at Albion. His medical training completed, he began practicing in Marshall with his brother James Dobbins, ’69. Younger brother Thomas Dobbins, ’79, later joined the family medical practice that continues to serve patients today in Marshall and Albion. For a quarter-century, Dr. Bill’s care and compassion for his patients were well known throughout the community–and beyond, as he regularly made trips to Jackson to administer care to incarcerated individuals.

Throughout those 25 years, Dobbins helped a number of Albion premedical students gain firsthand knowledge of the practice of medicine–which sometimes included picking them up at their dorms for a late-night baby delivery at the hospital. Those students are practicing physicians and physician assistants today.

In 2003, Dr. Bill changed gears, taking a leadership role in the family business. Since his father, Richard, started Caster Concepts in 1986, Dobbins had helped grow the business and handle the financials. But becoming president and CEO meant going back to school: he received his Executive M.B.A. from the University of Michigan in 2004.

While Dobbins has successfully expanded Caster Concepts into new, technologically focused areas, receiving Manufacturer of the Year Awards in Jackson and Albion, he has continued to give back to the community and Albion College. In 2004, he initiated the Swingin’ at the Shell summer concert series. His other community efforts include the Victory for Kids playground project and the Manufacturing Education Fund at the Albion Community Foundation. His close ties to the College’s Gerstacker Institute mean that Albion students will often be found hard at work as Caster Concepts interns.

In his leisure time, Dobbins enjoys golf, cycling, and collecting amberina art glass. He and his wife, Karen Knudson Dobbins, ’74, have three children: Andrew, Emily, ’03, and Caroline, ’12.

Bill Dobbins continues to live in the place that he loves–Albion, Michigan.

Deborah Wyatt Fellows, ’78

Deb Fellows promptly began contemplating the life of a writer upon graduating from Albion with Phi Beta Kappa honors and majors in English and sociology. After many months of traveling, she found a magazine job in the big city … working on such inspiring titles as Industrial Waste and Water and Sewage Works.

After two years in Chicago’s trade publishing scene, she moved to Northern Michigan to figure out how to wed her now-true passion for magazines with her desire to live in the beautiful northern reaches of the Great Lakes State. Not long afterward–in June 1981–with a pledged $20,000, Fellows, at the age of 24, launched Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. From day one, its mission was to share stories that celebrate and protect the natural resources, small communities, and unique lifestyle of Northern Michigan.

Today, Fellows’ Traverse City-based company, MyNorth Media, employs 26 people. Thirty years after its first issue, Traverse has a circulation of 30,000. It has won Magazine of the Year honors from the International Regional Magazine Association as well as First Place General Excellence awards from the City and Regional Magazine Association. Traverse is also the flagship of a group of eight magazines that includes Northern Home & Cottage. There’s a book division, too: published titles include Fellows’ own Reflections of a Life Up North, The Cottage Cookbook, and others.

Three years ago, MyNorth Media launched MyNorth.com; in 2010, the Web site received nearly a half-million visitors. Earlier this year, MyNorth Media was chosen as part of Folio magazine’s Folio 40 for its innovative and successful use of multimedia.

Fellows has led national webinars for Folio, and she speaks at conferences around the country on such topics as blending new and traditional media. A member of Alpha Chi Omega who wrote for The Pleiad, Fellows has never forgotten Albion–regularly hiring students as interns. She’s a former board member of the Leelanau Conservancy and also belongs to the smart growth-focused Elm Street Writers Guild.

Deb is married to psychiatrist Neal Fellows; they live on the shores of Lake Leelanau in Leelanau County and have four children: sons Ben, Peter, and Austin, and daughter Olivia.

Kathryn Koegel, ’78

With an unrelenting focus on other individuals as well as the community at large, Kathryn Koegel continues to make an impact on the lives of many Flint, Michigan, residents.

She received her bachelor’s degree from Albion in 1978, and immediately became a financial assistant at her family’s company, Koegel Meats, which by then was already a Michigan institution, having been launched by her grandfather, Albert, in 1916. It wasn’t her first job at the place that was already a second home of sorts: during the summer months of her Albion career, she gained experience in the packaging department.

It wasn’t long before she found her true niche with the company, as its No. 1 people person. Today as vice president, she oversees operations, which includes a particular focus on employee relations. Over the course of three decades, she has also led efforts in consumer relations and community outreach, executing projects on behalf of the company. Koegel’s day-to-day leadership has kept the company thriving to the tune of 250,000 pounds of frankfurters and lunch meats produced and distributed every week.

Kathryn Koegel’s commitment to Flint extends well outside the factory. She is an active supporter of both the Flint Institute of Music and the Flint Institute of Arts, and has served in leadership roles with the Junior League of Flint, the Genesee County Historical Society, and the McLaren Regional Medical Center Foundation. Koegel also played a key role in building and managing Penny Whistle Place, a beloved children’s playground.

The YWCA of Flint recognized Koegel’s efforts by presenting her its Women of Achievement award.

In the time she does set aside for herself, Koegel enjoys travel, reading, sewing, and skiing. She resides in Flint, Michigan.

John C. Koegel, ’85

Koegel. It’s a household name in Michigan, especially during summer evenings around the grill. John Koegel and his sister, Kathryn Koegel, ’78, are keeping it that way as third-generation leaders at Koegel Meats.

Fresh out of Albion with an economics and management degree, John Koegel started working on special projects for the 95-year-old, family-run Flint company started by his German-born grandfather, Albert. A major assignment for the recent graduate involved setting up bar coding and scanning for inventory purposes. Before long, Koegel rose into a sales manager position and in 1994 became the company’s president, taking over for his father, Albert, Jr.

From bockwurst to Whole-E-Smokes, Koegel’s nearly 60 products today account for over $28 million in annual sales at 1,200-plus locations in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. The Flint factory employs 115 people. And while business practices have evolved over the course of a century, Koegel has not touched the company’s commitment to delivering to individual stores, thereby ensuring a fresher product.

Before settling into the family business, Koegel made sure not to just settle during his time at Albion. A member of the Professional Management Program (now the Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management), he attained Albion College Fellow distinction and graduated magna cum laude. He also laced up his skates as a member of Albion’s club-level ice hockey team. Today, Koegel’s free time is less grounded–he’s a private pilot and owns his own plane. He’s not always whizzing about, though; he also finds enjoyment in calmer activities such as fly fishing and playing the guitar.

Koegel serves as vice president and board member of Sunset Hills Cemetery in Flint, and is also a leading trustee for the city’s First Presbyterian Church. He has a particular love for the Tall Pine Council’s Boy Scouts of America. His active involvement with Scouting has included time as a den leader and on the executive board, and he has received the Silver Beaver Award for his distinguished service to youth.

Along with John, the Koegel household includes his wife, Lisa, and their four children: Katlyn, Chloe, Carson, and Cameron. They live in Flint, Michigan.

Joel K. Manby, ’81

A natural: That’s an accurate phrase to describe Joel Manby. A brilliant mind and a strong business sense–atop an even stronger foundation of family and faith–have carried him to many successes in life. And more than a decade in a CEO’s corner office has done nothing to dull those qualities.

Born and raised in Battle Creek, Manby went on to shine 25 miles to the east at Albion College: class valedictorian; a Rhodes Scholar finalist; Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Nu fraternity; an All-MIAA selection and member of Albion Athletic Hall of Fame teams in football and baseball; and an NCAA Postgraduate Scholar (one of only four in Division III in 1981).

Manby went to work at General Motors, and two years later he was in Harvard’s M.B.A. program on a GM scholarship. Upon completion in 1985, he was back at GM, helping to launch the Saturn brand. After seven years with Saturn and a two-year term with GM’s International Division, he was promoted to CEO of Saab Automobile USA. After a brief dot-com calling to start the 21st century, he has been on a nearly 10-year ride as president and CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment, the largest family-owned theme park corporation with 10,000 employees and 26 properties in 10 states.

Beyond his career commitments, Manby maintains an unwavering devotion to his family as well as his Christian faith. He serves as board chairman of reThink, a nonprofit dedicated to values education. Other volunteer work includes the Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board; he is also a former trustee of Albion College.

In short, Manby is not your everyday boss. Millions saw that for themselves when CBS featured him on an episode of Undercover Boss in spring 2010. While learning the ropes of several customer-service jobs incognito, he got to know several of his employees as well as some of their obstacles in life. By show’s end, he was able to make a difference for each of them–something that has always come naturally to Joel Manby.

He and his wife, Marki, are the parents of four daughters: Lauryn, Erin, Jesse, and Anna. They live in Alpharetta, Georgia.

David C. Sennema, ’56

Grand Rapids native David Sennema came to Albion nearly 60 years ago with a gifted singing voice and an eagerness to participate. Naturally, he joined the College choir and sang in the Sigma Nu fraternity’s quartet. He graduated from the College with a deep appreciation for the arts and an amazing capacity not only to achieve, but to create.

Drafted into the Army one year after graduation and stationed in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, he concluded that the Palmetto State was the place he would eventually make his mark. In 1964 he became the first full-time executive director of the Columbia Music Festival Association, where he helped to start the South Carolina Philharmonic. And the hits kept coming: in 1967, the first executive director of the South Carolina Arts Commission; in 1970, a move to the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., to help lead state arts grants; in 1973, a stop in Springfield, Illinois, to create a master’s program in arts administration at Sangamon State University.

He saved arguably his best success for his return to South Carolina, in 1976, when he became director of the state’s Museum Commission. There was one thing missing, however: a museum. Starting with a staff of four and virtually no collections, let alone a building, Sennema, over more than a decade of effort, led the way in creating a state museum of history, natural history, and science and technology, as well as art. The South Carolina State Museum opened in 1988 in a historic mill building in downtown Columbia.

In the 1980s, Sennema launched his own arts management consulting firm. Now retired, he has put his magical voice to paper as well–to date, he has written 25 short stories and a one-act play.

Twenty-five years ago, South Carolina awarded its highest citizen honor, the Order of the Palmetto, to David Sennema. It’s wholly appropriate that Albion College act similarly through this Distinguished Alumni Award.

In 2006, Sennema received the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award. Presented by the South Carolina legislature, the award honors a South Carolinian who has demonstrated exceptional achievement and statewide impact through his leadership, support, and advancement of the arts.

David and his wife, Martha, live in Columbia, South Carolina, and are the parents of son Daniel and daughters Julia and Alice.

2010 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients

Forrest W. Heaton, ’60

Forrest Heaton, or “Wally” as he is called by his Albion classmates, was known early on for his compassion, leadership, and love of music. An economics and political science major and Dean’s List student, he was also active in Delta Tau Delta fraternity and helped to organize the Charlie Brown Orchestra on campus.

After graduation, Heaton went on to a management career with Olivetti Corporation. That culminated in his leadership of the company’s management and sales education/training programs. He then founded two publishing/educational marketing subsidiaries for Prentice Hall, Inc., serving as president through 1984. After joining American Express in 1985, he was appointed vice president, providing leadership to American Express’ worldwide strategic account management program before his retirement in 1998.

Heaton has many passions, which include writing, poetry, and music. Playing guitar, singing, and writing music led him to release a self-published DVD entitled Sweet Mary on the St. Croix and, later, a CD entitled Delts in Duet featuring tenors Tom Leavy and Dick Morse. He also wrote and published Heaton’s Hit Parade Songbook, followed by Aunt Mary & Uncle Wally & Friends with the Young at Heart Songbook.

He married his college sweetheart, Sally Ann MacArthur, ’60, and together they raised three children, Matthew, Sara, and Amanda. Sally died of cancer in 1997. Following her death, he established the Heaton Endowment at Albion College, which provides scholarship assistance to first-year and/or sophomore females with special interest in literature. The Heaton Endowment also provides motivation for senior women and/or men via the Heaton Prize for top honors in English. Heaton also co-chaired his 50th class reunion at Albion this year.

While living in Summit, New Jersey, Heaton volunteered with Stephen Ministries at the Central Presbyterian Church, where he assisted pastors in one-to-one confidential ministry to members experiencing life difficulties. Through his work in this ministry, Heaton met and married his current wife, Mary.

He and Mary reside in Pittsboro, North Carolina.

Michael A. Jurasek, ’81

Mike Jurasek is an everyday hero: a community leader, selfless provider of time and financial support, and a family man. His story of local boy (Concord High School) becoming a star athlete at Albion College (cross country and track), and then staying to give back to the community makes him a positive role model. Jurasek’s achievements as a teacher, coach, and member of the community are proof that he is one of the “best of best.”

For more than 25 years, he has touched lives in a meaningful way each day as an educator and coach. The academic success of his student athletes consistently exceeds the school’s norm. Through Jurasek’s skillful coaching, Albion High School cross country and track teams have set school records, won numerous conference titles in both the Twin Valley and Southern Michigan Athletic Conference, and garnered multiple state championships.

Jurasek continues to demonstrate genuine leadership, dedication, and service to others in many ways. With reductions in the local manufacturing sector, a majority of the students who attend Albion High School are challenged both socially and economically. He provides guidance and holds the students accountable to do their best. And he has provided the encouragement for young men and women who would not normally consider advanced education or military service to successfully pursue these opportunities. As head coach, he has helped his students become collegiate athletic competitors at more than 25 different institutions.

A five-time recipient of Coach of the Year honors within the Albion Public Schools, Jurasek is the director of Michigan’s Indoor Track Series and is the current selection chairperson for Team Michigan in the Midwest Meet of Champions. He is an eight-time recipient of the Kellogg Distinguished Educator Award. Jurasek remains active with Albion College cross country and track and field programs in his spare time.

He and his wife, Cheryl, reside in Concord, Michigan. They have two children, Lesley and Christopher.

Walter L. Pomeroy, ’70

It is incredibly appropriate that during the Albion College Year of Sustainability, Walt Pomeroy is being honored by his alma mater. On April 22, 1970, just weeks before his graduation from Albion College, he was a pioneer in creating and celebrating our nation’s first Earth Day. The geology major appeared on a CBS-TV prime-time special hosted by Walter Cronkite that day, Earth Day: A Question of Survival. That was only the beginning of his lifelong dedication to environmental causes. He contacted activists on other college campuses who agreed that the next logical step was the formation of a student lobby for the environment. Described as “lobbyists in blue jeans” by one newspaper, the new Michigan Student Environmental Confederation took its message to the state capitol in Lansing.

In 1981 Pomeroy joined the Mid-Atlantic Division of the National Audubon Society and served there as regional vice president. He remained with the society for 17 years. He was later appointed the executive director of the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, Inc., where he assisted in watershed and river planning, environmental clean-up activities, and public education programs throughout Pennsylvania. During his professional career, Pomeroy helped write and lobby for numerous state and federal environmental laws relating to water and air pollution, wildlife habitat preservation, and wilderness protection.

His service to his alma mater includes many visits to campus to meet with faculty, staff, and students. He has also participated in the Geology Department Colloquia, and conducted a workshop that focused on environmental activism.

His local community service includes serving as an assistant master for his local Boy Scout troop in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Pomeroy has traveled as a scoutmaster leader at the World Boy Scout Jamboree in Thailand and the Andes foothills in Chile. In 2004 he received the Boy Scout District Award of Merit for his service and leadership in the community. He continues to assist with National Audubon Society field trips as well as consulting to help watershed associations with planning and management concerns.

He and his wife, Lin, live in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. They have two sons, Brian and Brent.

Bill Richardson, ’62

Bill Richardson’s love of learning and humanity that began and blossomed at Albion College have influenced countless lives throughout Michigan and around the globe.

After college, he taught Latin and English in the Pontiac School District, at the time one of the finest school systems in Michigan. As the socioeconomic composition of the district evolved, Richardson reworked his courses to address the needs of his students and provide them with the communication and research skills that would serve them well after high school. While at Pontiac Central High School, Richardson also was the facilitator for Japanese and Russian language instruction as well as the coordinator of programs for the talented and gifted. During his 33 years at Pontiac Central, he taught or coached more than 10,000 young people.

In 1988, he was recognized by students and the superintendent of schools as a “Prominent Pontiac Teacher” for the high expectations he always held for his students. Richardson was also honored by the Oakland Community College/Detroit Edison Foundation Summer Program designed for at-risk urban students in 1993. The following year, he was presented the Comcast Cablevision Educator Award for his unique use of cable television programming in the classroom. He was one of only 28 teachers nationwide selected to participate in the Satellite Educational Resources Consortium (SERC) Japanese Project Facilitators’ Conference in Omaha, Nebraska.

Richardson currently works at Oakland University as the director of the summer English Language Institute in Guizhou Province, China, educating Chinese English teachers in China’s poorest province. Over the past 24 years, he has trained more than 4,000 English teachers from primary schools to university level, most of whom continue to reside in the rural Guizhou province. And he has advanced international understanding through the common medium of literature, as well as his open and accepting manner.

Richardson’s wife, Lynne, passed away in 1977. He currently resides in Waterford, Michigan. He has four children—Michael, William, Jennifer, and David, ’93.

Jess Womack, ’65

Jess Womack is the epitome of a liberal arts education that has lasted a lifetime. A biology major and Dean’s List student, Womack discovered diverse interests that included the Albion College Players, the Black Student Alliance, and student government. He was elected vice president of the Student Senate and was later president of his class. His passion for humanitarian service has spanned decades and continues to benefit society.

Womack proudly served his country as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, and as a platoon sergeant with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. After earning his law degree from the University of Michigan, he began his career with the Ford Motor Company and later was appointed senior corporate counsel in environmental affairs for the Atlantic Richfield Company. With a lifelong interest in education, Womack later accepted a role as deputy general counsel for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). Currently he is an interim inspector general for LAUSD.

Womack’s volunteer leadership has benefited countless organizations, including the Los Angeles Conservancy where he served as vice president, the Environmental Law Institute board, and the California Lawyer legal journal as an advisory board member. His love for Albion College resulted in his longtime service to his alma mater, first on the Alumni Association Board of Directors, which ultimately led to his appointment to the Board of Trustees at Albion College. His passion for Albion continues today as he spearheads volunteer College enrollment efforts with Southern California alumni. His personal visits to more than 25 private high schools in Southern California last fall alone only underscores his unqualified commitment to Albion College.

His career is filled with awards and accolades. As president for the ACCA Southern California Chapter, he was recognized as an ACCA Diversity Award winner. Womack also received the Distinguished Service Award from the Los Angeles Conservancy, and received a similar award as president of the John M. Langston Bar Association.

He and his wife, Beverley, reside in Sherman Oaks, California.

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.

Past Award Recipients


  • Kirk L Heinze,’70
  • David L. Neilson, ’66
  • James G., ’63 and Tamara Transue Royle,’63
  • Janet K. Welch,’71


  • Gregory L. Eastwood, ’62
  • Debra Frey Fadool, ’85
  • John E. Pickelman, ’67
  • Paul L. Stewart, ’53


  • Robert A. Armitage, ’70
  • Theodore H. Fleming, ’64
  • Paul R. Lawrence, ’43
  • Ann M. Lewicki, ’56
  • David G. Moore, ’68
  • Richard B. Smith, ’60


  • Duncan M. Beagle, ’70
  • Faith E. Fowler, ’81
  • George K. Heartwell, ’71
  • Margaret “Peg” Mitchell Turner, ’69


  • Herold “Mac” Deason, ’64
  • B. June Luke Dempsey, ’54
  • Mary Ann Stokes Egnatuk, ’76
  • Richard B. Krueger, ’67
  • Robert W. Mutch, ’56
  • Glenn A. Powell, ’58


  • Kenneth C. Ballou, ’47
  • Julie Brigham-Grette, ’77
  • James N. Garber, ’55
  • Michael C. Halbig, ’68
  • Susan I. Pellowe, ’61
  • Justin L. Sleight, ’43


  • Ronald A. Knief, ’67
  • William C. Lauderbach, ’64
  • Nancy Graham Roush, ’72
  • James A. Welton, 1904


  • Frank L. Joranko, ’52
  • Paul A. Sandford, ’62
  • Jennifer L. Trost, ’79
  • William C. Wadland, ’69


  • David L. Camp, ’75
  • Emilio De Grazia, ’63
  • James J. Leisenring, ’62
  • Jon R. Scieszka, ’76
  • Karen Munro Vournakis, ’66


  • Shirley Ruemele Bloomquist, ’64
  • Garry G. Carley, ’61
  • Roy C. “Bud” Johns, ’51
  • Larry J. Robson, ’59
  • C. Thomas Wilson, ’51


  • Melvin S. Larimer, ’53
  • George R. Reed, ’53
  • Thomas G. Schwaderer, ’56


  • Bruce C. Berndt, ’61
  • Richard W. Huff, ’54
  • Denise Cortis Park, ’73
  • Michael E. Williams, ’78


  • Charles W. “Bud” Ricker, ’50
  • Lawrence B. Schook, ’72
  • Marvin J. Vann, ’40
  • John N. Vournakis, ’61


  • Robert W. Bemer, ’40
  • Sally Lynas Lamkin, ’54
  • Norman R. Sleight, ’40
  • James A. von der Heydt, ’42


  • John P. Hummon, ’53
  • Karin McClow Orr, ’64
  • James L. Reutter, ’55
  • Richard K. Vitek, ’56
  • Judith Koch Wilcox, ’60


  • Cedric W. Dempsey, ’54
  • Philip R. Glotfelty III, ’55
  • Thomas E. Sagendorf, ’62
  • Shirley Brattin Wirt, ’47


  • Truman H. Cummings, Jr., ’43
  • T. John Leppi, ’59
  • George S. Weston, ’52
  • James M. Wilson, ’77


  • Daniel Boggan, Jr., ’67
  • Joseph H. Britton, ’46
  • Philip C. Curtis, ’30
  • Richard C. Johnston, ’59


  • Nelda Kurtz Balch, ’37
  • David M. Barrett, ’64
  • Michael S. David, Jr., ’64
  • John E. Joyner, ’55
  • Roger L. Landrum, ’59


  • Blair C. Bedient, ’49
  • Joyce Ann Livak Benjamins, ’63
  • Harry T. Cook, ’61
  • Margaret Drake Elliott, ’24
  • Phyllis Wagner Houghton, ’41


  • Judyth Fetzer Dobbert, ’69
  • Nancy Carpenter Hammond, ’68
  • Robert Hargreaves, ’36
  • Frederick E. Shideman, ’36


  • John G. Batsakis, ’51
  • William Cargo, ’37
  • O. James Clark, ’51
  • Helen Harton Manning, ’43
  • Myrtle R. Crouse Reul, ’47


  • Wallace A. Bacon, ’35
  • Gary L. Jones, ’66
  • William Henry Perkins, ’49
  • James R. Sebastian, ’32
  • Joseph B. Serra, ’56


  • B.G. “Bill” Brown, ’23
  • Peter J. Christ, ’55
  • Keith J. Fennimore, ’39
  • Willard L. Meader, ’54
  • Hazen G. Werner, ’20


  • Roy E. Heath, ’36
  • David W. Hills, ’48
  • John A. Krsul, ’59
  • William R. Peterson, ’45
  • Florence “Dinghy” Spalding Sharp, ’50


  • Roy W. Battenhouse, ’33
  • Mildred Oberlin Bennett, ’58
  • Vinod L. Doshi, ’53
  • James C. Kingsley, ’63
  • Gordon L. Thomas, ’36


  • Jack C. Curtis, ’51
  • Jack C. Dart, ’34
  • Lois Skagerberg Heller, ’64


  • E. Maynard Aris, ’37
  • Russell B. Babcock, ’27
  • Dennis O. Cawthorne, ’62
  • Karen Johnstone, ’60
  • Andrew G. Sharf, ’44


  • Edward M. Brigham, ’25
  • E. Lee Feller, ’47
  • Robert W. Freligh, ’47
  • Betty Jones Neberman, ’50
  • Helen Sparling Terpenning, ’45


  • Charles E. Anderson, ’56
  • Vivian Johnson Bull, ’56
  • Wendell Cole, ’36
  • Rex B. Martin, ’38
  • Lewis L. Redmond, ’50
  • Robert Stoppert, ’39


  • John E. Bromley, ’29
  • Patricia Sanford Brown, ’53
  • Bernard T. Lomas, ’46
  • Sherry Hood Penney, ’59
  • William J. Smith, ’35


  • Patricia McKean Dick, ’48
  • G. Bruce Feighner, ’42
  • Richard M. Fluke, ’56
  • Eva A. Moore, ’19
  • Lawrence L. Wade, ’50


  • Wayne H. Fleenor, ’24
  • Phyllis Harrison-Ross, ’56
  • Richard L. Humphrey, ’56
  • John S. Ludington, ’51
  • Richard D. Mange, ’25


  • W. Clark Dean, ’21
  • Emerson J. Elliott, ’55
  • Ruth Holland Scott, ’56
  • Norma G. Sleight, ’24
  • Harold R. Spiegel, ’32


  • Jeffery W. Barry, ’60
  • Helen M. Desjardins, ’14
  • Donald J. Dunham, ’23
  • Burley F. Lamb, ’13
  • Floyd Starr, ’10


  • D. Hale Brake, ’16
  • Alice F. Campbell, ’29
  • C. Morse Huffer, ’16
  • Elsie E. Munro, ’26
  • Richard M. Smith, ’68


  • James G. Crane, ’51
  • W. W. Diehl, ’24
  • Michael G. Harrison, ’63
  • D. Nolan Kaiser, ’56
  • Ray B. Loeschner, ’53
  • Paul Rood, ’16
  • Gordon B. Wheeler, ’24


  • Jack C. Bedient, ’25
  • Philip J. Gannon, ’47
  • George E. Hardy, Jr., ’61
  • Polly Ruth Mosteller Hughes, ’47
  • Stanley C. Penzotti, ’30
  • Winston J. Schuler, ’30


  • Robert H. Bartlett, ’60
  • Margaret E. Berry, ’35
  • Elkin R. Isaac, ’48
  • Wallace M. Pearson, ’17
  • John W. Porter, ’53
  • Andrew W. Sunyar, ’42
  • Raymond A. Wauthier, ’46


  • Hira E. Branch, ’29
  • William A. Niles, ’98
  • Gary R. Noble, ’57
  • Richard G. Smith, ’43
  • Louise Jean Walker, ’17
  • Margaret Zolliker, ’43


  • Clarence H. Blanchard, ’22
  • Kenneth Borland, ’59
  • J Harlen Bretz, ’05
  • James L. Curtis, ’44
  • Clarence H. Elliott, ’25
  • Marvin F. Pahl, ’30
  • Audrey K. Wilder, ’18


  • Richard W. Calkins, ’60
  • Marian Clark Corwin, ’35
  • Gilbert A. Currie, ’47
  • Keith J. Leenhouts, ’49
  • Charles A. McKenny, ’42
  • Hugh D. McLeese, ’19
  • Leroy E. Perine, ’96
  • Leigh Prettyman, ’36


  • Geraldine Townsend Fitch, ’17
  • Dexter Horton, ’36
  • Ella Meinke Kuhn, ’08
  • Richard G. Toncray, ’19