2011 Distinguished Alumni Receive College Honors

By Jake Weber

Albion College is pleased to announce the six recipients of its 2011 Distinguished Alumni Awards. Presentation of the honorees and awards took place during the College's Homecoming weekend, at the DAA luncheon on Friday, September 23, in the Science Complex atrium.

These annual awards are presented to a select few alumni who have demonstrated excellence in career achievements, contributions to community/humanity, and service to Albion College. "This year's nominees were such a strong group," said Albion College Alumni Board President Cheryl Almeda, '91. "They represent 'distinguished alumni' in the richest sense of the award."

2011 Distinguished Alumni Award winner William Dobbins, '74William Dobbins, '74, practiced family medicine with brothers James, '69, and Thomas, '79, before taking the helm of another family business in Albion. As president/CEO of Caster Concepts, Dobbins enhanced management and manufacturing to increase the company's business, as recognized by Manufacturer of the Year awards from Jackson and Albion organizations. Dobbins and Caster Concepts have supported community projects including Albion's summer concert series and a community playground build. Dobbins mentored Albion's premedical students and now provides internships for Gerstacker Institute members. His company also laser-cut and painted the hundreds of metal pieces used to create Albion College's Science Complex geometric sculptures. Dobbins is a member of Albion's Athletic Hall of Fame (with the 1971 baseball team). He received his M.D. degree from Michigan State University and his MBA from the University of Michigan, and lives in Albion.

2011 Distinguished Alumni Award winner Deborah Wyatt Fellows, '78At the tender age of 24, Deborah Wyatt Fellows, '78, founded Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine. Now in its 30th year, Traverse has 30,000 monthly subscribers, is sold on more than 600 newsstands, and has received a number of awards from industry organizations. Fellows' company, Prism Publications, now encompasses eight periodicals, a book publishing division, and a Web portal. Fellows served for nine years on the board of the Leelanau Conservancy and has provided numerous internships for Albion College students as well as students from other institutions. She lives in Lake Leelanau.

2011 Distinguished Alumni Award winner Kathryn Koegel, '782011 Distinguished Alumni Award winner John Koegel, '85Siblings John Koegel, '85, and Kathryn Koegel, '78, are leading a family business on the brink of a robust second century of existence. They serve as president and vice president of Koegel Meats, the largest producer of natural casing products in the state of Michigan. Koegel products are currently distributed in over 1,200 locations throughout Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio, with annual sales of $28.8 million and 115 employees working in Flint. The Koegels also own and manage Sunset Hills Cemetery in Flint, which recently underwent an expansion project. Active community members, the Koegels support the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, Tall Pine Council Boy Scouts and the YWCA, in addition to funding other projects anonymously. Both Koegels live in Flint.

2011 Distinguished Alumni Award winner Joel Manby, '81Joel Manby, '81, is president and CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation, manager of 26 operations in 10 states, including Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and Branson, Missouri's Silver Dollar City. Manby began his career at General Motors, where he was a member of the start-up team for Saturn Corporation and eventually became CEO of Saab Automobile USA. A three-sport starter at Albion, Manby was elected to the Albion College Athletic Hall of Fame and has served on the Albion College Board of Trustees. He is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Salvation Army and chair of reThink, a nonprofit company supporting biblically based moral education. Manby earned an MBA from Harvard University and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

2011 Distinguished Alumni Award winner David Sennema, '56David Sennema, '56, was nominated for this award by several people, including former U.S. Secretary of Education and former Governor of South Carolina Richard Riley. Sennema is a recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina's highest award for leadership and service. Sennema has served as executive director of the Columbia Music Festival, the South Carolina Arts Commission and the South Carolina Museum Commission; in those positions he was instrumental in establishing the South Carolina Philharmonic and the South Carolina State Museum. He also directed a grants program for the National Endowment for the Arts and created a graduate program in arts administration for Sangamon State University in Illinois. Sennema continues to sing and publish short stories, living in Columbia, South Carolina.