Honors bestowed at alumni banquet

A decades-long tradition of honoring and recognizing UIndy alumni was celebrated again on Friday, October 4, with more than 300 alumni, students, faculty, and trustees attending the annual Honors & Recognition Banquet on Homecoming Weekend.

Awards-1Nikki Reed ’07, an on-air personality with Indianapolis radio station WZPL, served as emcee, and local jazz pianist Steve Allee helped to set the mood for the evening. Lynn Youngblood ’63, Dan Wilkinson ’63, Jim Clark ’63, Marilyn Ramsey ’63, and Carol Vawter Gladders ’63 (photo #1) surprised everyone by singing the Alma Mater  and the school fight song, which they performed again prior to the football game on Saturday. Awards were bestowed after the dinner.

The night ended with a dessert reception in the Schwitzer Student Center Atrium hosted by UIndy students. For pictures and individual videos of the award recipients created for the University by videographer Daniel Scott ’08, go to Alumni Central at alumni.uindy.edu.

Don-RayThe Distinguished Alumnus award, which recognizes outstanding professional accomplishments or long-standing devoted service in a chosen occupation or profession, was awarded to Don Ray ’50 (photo #2). After graduating from the first class in the School of Business, Don started at L.S. Ayres as a trainee. He served in various merchandising and management positions before becoming executive vice president of Ayres. Ayres was acquired by Associated Dry Goods in 1973. Following the acquisition, Don was promoted to president and CEO of Stewarts Baltimore. From there he went to a larger division, Stix Baer and Fuller in St. Louis, as president and CEO. In January 1984 he was promoted to president and CEO of Sibleys, a Rochester, NY, division of Associated Dry Goods. He retired in 1987. His philanthropic leadership includes serving for 29 years as chairman of the Leader Foundation, a St. Louis organization offering financial and counseling services to the elderly. He also served as a member of several other boards, including the Ayres Foundation and Gabriel House in Fort Myers, Fla. In Rochester, Don was a board member of the Geva Theater and was chairman of the United Negro College Fund.

Awards-3Megan Meadors ’07 ’09 (photo #3) received the distinguished young alumni award. This award recognizes and honors a graduate of the University who, while still relatively young, has made outstanding contributions to their community. Megan Meadors is an occupational therapist and former Miss Indiana and 500 Festival princess. In November 2012 she gained national attention as an Indianapolis Colts cheerleader by coming up with an unusual approach to raising money for leukemia research in support of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano. Megan agreed to have her head shaved by Blue, the Colts mascot, at the Colts-Bills game if he raised $10,000 for research at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center. More than $40,000 was raised. Meadors continues to practice Occupational Therapy with the geriatric population while volunteering at several organizations.

Awards-4The Gene & Joanne Sease award honors a couple who has exemplified commitment to the University of Indianapolis. Scott ’88 and Jenny Fogo ’85 ’87 (photo #4, with Juan Paz, Alumni Board president) received this year’s award for individual and combined contributions of time and talent. The Fogos earned their baccalaureate degrees at UIndy, and Jenny went on to receive her master’s degree here as well. As students, the Fogos were involved in mission work, taking part in the Appalachia Service Project and the Peru Project. They have continued to be involved in missions and other ecumenical endeavors as alumni, going with youth from their church to work camps and returning to Appalachia. In 2011 Jenny served as a co-director on a trip to Belize with students from the School of Occupational Therapy who provided therapy as part of their fieldwork experience.

Awards-5Dr. David Wantz ’84 (photo #5) received the distinguished faculty/staff award, which recognizes current faculty or staff who are alumni and who have demonstrated consistent dedication and superior service at the University. Dr. Wantz has been a true example to students, faculty, and staff by showing his dedication to the University throughout the years, from serving as vice president of student affairs to his current role as vice president for community and government relations. David serves as a liason between the University and state and local government leaders in addition to serving on numerous civic boards. He also has worked to make the University a major partner with the Gateway Business Alliance on the southside of Indianapolis.

Awards-6Phyllis Webster (photo #6) and Yvonne Shaheen (#7) were named Honorary Alumni, a designation that honors individuals who, although not graduates of the University of Indianapolis, have clearly demonstrated their commitment to the University over a significant period of time. Awards-7Yvonne Shaheen has been a dedicated member of the UIndy Board of Trustees since 1992 and volunteers for more than 20 other local organizations. She served as the CEO of Long Electric Company for 17 years, transforming the company into one of the largest electrical contractors in Indianapolis. Phyllis Webster and her late husband, Virgil Webster ’54, attended many campus events, becoming well-known members of the UIndy community. The Websters donated their farm to the University in December of 2009. This gift will create a scholarship of more than $1 million for future UIndy students.