Seven Selected for 2019 Distinguished and Young Alumni Awards

March 19, 2019

Albion College is pleased to announce four recipients of the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award, along with three recipients of the 2019 Young Alumni Award. A dinner and ceremony in recognition of this year's honorees is scheduled for Friday, April 12 in Baldwin Hall. The proceedings start at 5:30 p.m. with a panel featuring the Young Alumni Award recipients, followed by dinner and the Distinguished Alumni Awards program.

The 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipients

Timothy Bender, Albion College Class of 1975Timothy 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, Albion College Class of 1964 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, Albion College Class of 1997 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, Albion College Class of 1972 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.

The 2019 Young Alumni Award Recipients

Dannie Lynn Fountain, Albion College Class of 2014 Dannie Lynn Fountain, ’14

Account Representative, Search Ads 360, Google
Chicago, Illinois

Fountain, who started her first marketing business in high school, is the author of four books on entrepreneurship and travels the globe speaking about marketing and small business growth and development. Her work has been recognized by Bustle, Business Insider, Cosmopolitan, Forbes and more. Dannie has been involved in team projects that won prestigious international awards and is Creative Council chair for the Rising Tide Society, a 100,000-member organization for mostly millennial-age entrepreneurs.

Kwame Sakyi, Albion College Class of 2009 Kwame Sakyi, ’09

Assistant Professor of Public Health, Oakland University
Rochester Hills, Michigan

Along with teaching biostatistics, research methods, and community and public health, Sakyi is a well-published expert on maternal, neonatal and child health in low- and middle-income countries. He is founder and director of the Center for Learning and Childhood Development, a nonprofit research organization that focuses on creating solutions to end newborn deaths and promote child development in Ghana. Via his service as an executive member of the National Institutes of Health's Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training Program, Sakyi has also conducted global health training with socially and economically disadvantaged undergraduate and graduate students.

Rebekah Snyder, Albion College Class of 2014 Rebekah Snyder, ’14

Victim Advocate, State of Michigan Office of the Attorney General
Royal Oak, Michigan

Snyder's tenure with the Michigan Attorney General has coincided with the office's task of preparing the state's case against sports physician Larry Nassar. Snyder worked with hundreds of survivors to craft individual victim impact statements. She coordinated the presentation of nearly 200 live impact statements made during the 10-day sentencing hearing, reading many statements herself on behalf of victims who were reluctant or unable to address the court in person. As a graduate student, Snyder joined the State of Rhode Island Sexual Assault Task Force and was one of four statewide honorees recognized during National Crime Victims' Rights Week in 2016.

Each year, Albion College presents the Distinguished Alumni Award honoring alumni who have demonstrated excellence in career achievements and contributions to community and humanity. The Young Alumni Award honors alumni who have achieved great success in their first 10 years after graduation and/or service to the College. Visit the College's Alumni Awards web page for more information and to register to attend the 2019 ceremony.