Skip navigation

Past Recipients


2004 Alumni Award Recipients

Alumni Service Award

Mr. Thomas Anthony Dutch

Thomas A. Dutch of East Lansing received his master's of student personnel degree in 1952. He is a former MSU residence hall manager and personnel administrator.Dutch worked at MSU for 52 years as director of student employment, director of housing, residence hall manager and personnel administrator. He has run guest services for the MSU Athletics Department since 1954. He served as the faculty adviser for Evans Scholars from 1954-2002. He was a member of the board of the MSU Federal Credit Union when it voted to give MSU $1 million to establish an endowed chair in financial institutions/investments, and also when it gave a $2.5 million gift for Study Abroad student scholarships.He has received the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award. He has served his church, St. Thomas Aquinas, in numerous capacities and has been active with the MSU Alumni Club of Mid-Michigan, MSU Women's Sports Booster Club, Volunteer Bureau of Greater Lansing, University Club and the Anti-Discrimination Judicial Board.

Dr. Darrell Lynn Grace D.O.

Darrell Lynn Grace of Girard, Ohio, received her medical degree in 1992 from the College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is a physician in private practice with Forum Health in Youngstown, Ohio, and former director of Grace Place Medical Services.Grace is currently the medical director at Windsor Nursing Home and a clinical assistant professor at Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine.She has won the Richard L. Alper award for community service from MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine and an award for community service during National Minority Health Month, along with a key to the city of Youngstown for community service.In association with the Greater Youngstown Coalition of Christians, Grace helped establish the Grace Place Medical Service, a clinic for the underserved, uninsured and underinsured. Phi Beta Lambda Sorority named her Business Woman of the Year. In 2003, she was awarded the Dean's Award for meritorious service by MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Mrs. Janice Marion Granger

Janice Thompson Granger of Dimondale, who received her bachelor of science degree in nursing in 1980, is a homemaker who has been involved in numerous volunteer leadership capacities in mid-Michigan and MSU.Granger worked as a student adviser in the College of Nursing and helped develop the infrastructure of the board of the College of Nursing Alumni Association. An original member of the College of Nursing Board of Visitors, she continues to serve and provide guidance in positioning the college for the future.She served as co-chairperson of the college's 50th birthday celebration in 2000 and chaired the college's 'It's All About You ' A Day For Women.'Granger and her husband, Alton, contributed to the Janice Thompson Granger Nursing Learning Center, which allows students to practice their clinical skills in a state-of-the-art center. She is a charter member of the MSU Alumni Association's national alumni board and currently serves as member of the President's Campaign Cabinet for The Campaign for MSU.

Mr. Thomas Phillip Notarainni

Thomas P. Notarainni of The Woodlands, Texas, earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting in 1963 and 1964, respectively. A former Exxon executive and member of the alumni board of The Eli Broad College of Business, Notarainni died Feb. 5, 2004. The award will be presented posthumously by the MSU Alumni Association.Notarainni volunteered to be a member of the inaugural class of Broad Career Coaches, counseling students on their careers. He tirelessly recruited fellow Spartans to contribute to MSU. In 1989 he and his wife, Cindy, established an endowed scholarship in international business studies. They were members of MSU's Snyder Society and donated generously to the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development.In his 33-year career with Exxon, Notarainni spent 13 years working with overseas affiliated companies.He was elected to the Board of Finance for Wilton, Conn.

Mr. Robert Richard Rorich

Robert R. Rorich of Manistee, received his bachelor's degree in 1962 and his master's degree in educational psychology in 1964. He is a semi-retired educational psychologist with 40 years of experience.A life member and former board member of the MSU Alumni Association, Rorich has been active in regional club affairs. He reactivated the Calhoun County club in 1963 and served as its first president. After retiring in 1999, he became president of the Manistee County club and developed it into an active club. He encouraged his daughter, Sarah, to organize a new club in Rochester, Minn.Rorich was a speaker at the dedication of the Jack Breslin Student Events Center in 1989 and spearheaded efforts for a plaque honoring Breslin. He is a member of the MSU Presidents Club and life member of the Varsity Alumni S Club. For 30 years, he has been spotted during homecoming football games wearing a raccoon coat, participating as an alumni cheerleader.

Ms. Elizabeth Z Schweitzer

Elizabeth Z. Schweitzer of East Lansing, who received her bachelor of science degree in multidisciplinary studies in social science in 1972, is the director of administration of the St. John Student Parish and former mayor of East Lansing. Schweitzer has served MSU in many capacities, including as a board member and past president of the College of Social Science Alumni Association, national board member of the MSU Alumni Association, as an advisory board member of MSU's Michigan Political Leadership Program, and as a member of the MSU Museum Volunteer Committee. She also served on the search committee for the dean of MSU's College of Social Science.Schweitzer has served as a board member for numerous community organizations including the Capitol Area Transportation Authority, the East Lansing Building Authority, Michigan Festival, the Red Cedar Community Association and the East Lansing Cable Commission. She has also served as co-chairperson of the Envision East Lansing Project.


Distinguished Alumni Award

Mr. Daniel Charles Edson

Daniel C. Edson of Traverse City received his master's degree in 1979. He is the president of American Proficiency Institute (API) in Traverse City, which is the second largest proficiency testing provider in the world.As a graduate student at MSU in 1977 and 1978, Edson developed the first blood test for Legionnaires' disease and conducted research leading federal investigators to links between bacteria and air-conditioning systems. After graduating, he established a virology and viral serology laboratory at Lansing's Sparrow Hospital.In 1980, Edson began his career in laboratory proficiency testing with the College of American Pathologists Computer Center in Traverse City.He developed special computer programs that helped revise quality control practices in U.S. hospitals. He is the author of 18 articles on laboratory medicine quality.In 1991, he co-founded API while working out of his home, starting with fewer than 100 customers. Today, API has more than 12,000 customers. Three years ago, API developed a proficiency testing program for the food industry and its detection of such pathogens as salmonella, listeria and e.coli. In 2002 Edson was appointed an adjunct instructor in MSU's Medical Technology Program. He is the recipient of the 2002 College of Natural Science Outstanding Alumni Award.

Mr. Alton Leo Granger

Alton L. Granger of Dimondale graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1954 and is now chairperson of Granger Construction Co., in Lansing.A business and civic leader on many fronts, Granger currently serves as chairperson of the labor relations division of Associated General Contractors (AGC). He also has served as president of the board of Holt Public Schools, director of the Capital Area United Way, trustee of Lansing General Hospital and treasurer of the board of trustees of the Granger Foundation. He also is chairperson of the church council for Mt. Hope United Methodist Church.In his 45-year career in construction, Granger has played a key role in the development of the community by constructing buildings for schools throughout Michigan, including MSU. He has received numerous awards, including the AGC Build America Award, the Innovation Award from the Michigan Concrete Paving Association and the Build Michigan Merit Award, all in 2003.

Dr. Robert L Green Ph.D.

Robert L. Green of Las Vegas, Nev., received his doctorate in educational psychology in 1963, is dean and professor emeritus of MSU's College of Urban Development and former president of the University of the District of Columbia.As a nationally known scholar on urban issues, Green was the first African American to receive tenure in MSU's College of Education in 1966 and became the first African American dean at MSU in 1973 in the College of Urban Development. He has been a consultant and adviser for urban mayors, public officials, college presidents and school superintendents. The current chairperson of the Piney Woods School board in Mississippi, he has worked with several major school districts on reform issues.In the 1960s, Green was an associate of Martin Luther King Jr. serving as education director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 2002, he received the Gandhi-King-Ikeda Award for Human Rights and Peace Initiatives from Morehouse College.

Ms. Carole Leigh Hutton

Carole Leigh Hutton of Farmington Hills, who graduated in 1978 with a degree in journalism, is the editor and publisher of the Detroit Free Press, the largest daily newspaper in Michigan.Hutton joined the Free Press in 1990, after a career in journalism that included starting up a weekly newspaper in Boston, reporting and editing at the Hammond Times in Indiana and editing roles at The Detroit News. At the Free Press, she rose to the positions of managing editor and executive editor. She now oversees the production of four daily and 13 weekly editions, as well as Free Press Charities. Hutton currently serves on the board of directors of the Detroit-based Women's Leadership Forum and the Detroit Economic Club. She is a trustee of the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan, the Media Board of Ready to Succeed and the Women's Advisory Group to Alternatives for Girls. Crain's Detroit Business has named her one of the 100 most influential women of southeast Michigan.

Mr. Kevin Paul Kelly

Kevin A. Kelly of East Lansing graduated in 1979 with a degree in economics. For the past 17 years, he has been managing director of the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS) and, prior to that position, was head of MSMS government relations for eight years. In his 25 years with MSMS, Kelly has achieved political success with the Michigan Patient's Bill of Rights, funding stabilization for the Medicaid program, nation-leading medical liability reform, increased education for AIDS and domestic violence, and improved end-of-life care. He also has been instrumental in a number of public health initiatives, including seat belt legislation, smoking bans, childhood immunization and patient safety education. As a student at MSU, Kelly served on the student judiciary, the student-faculty judiciary and as chairperson of Olin Health Center's Student Advisory Board. Kelly currently serves on the advisory council of the Wharton Center for the Performing Arts and is past president of the Michigan Festival and past chairperson of the Green and White Political Action Committee. He has been involved with numerous community organizations, including Ele's Place, the Children's Trust Fund, Michigan Hospice Organization, Michigan Health Council and the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Nguyet-Hong Thi Phung Ph.D.

Phung Thi Nguyet-Hong of Cantho City, Vietnam received her doctorate in biological sciences in 1973 and is now a biologist and project coordinator in the International Collaboration Office at Cantho University in Vietnam's Mekong Delta.Hong has earned an international reputation with her research on algae. She has served as the head of Cantho University's botany department, as vice dean of the faculty of biology and chemistry, and as coordinator for several projects, including the Cantho-MSU poverty reduction project, integrating school reform with community development.Hong has extensive teaching experience, having developed and taught courses in biology, plant anatomy, plant taxonomy, freshwater algae and scientific research methods. She has received the Medal of Education from the Ministry of Education and the Certificate of Outstanding Contributions in the Sector of Pedagogy in Vietnam.

Mr. Purachai Piumsombun

Purachai Piumsombun of Bangkok, Thailand, graduated in 1975 with a master's degree in criminal justice. He is the deputy prime minister of Thailand and the former minister of justice and minister of interior.Piumsombun is a longtime academic researcher and professor with an extensive political career. In 1998, he was a co-founder of the Thai Rak Thai (TRT) political party in Thailand and served as TRT secretary general from 1998 to 2002. TRT formed the current Thai government after winning the 2001 election. He currently is working on social policy and is involved in efforts to prevent human trafficking. In 2002, the Rajabhat Academic Institute named him the Outstanding Politician for Innovating the Social Order Policy. Prior to his political career, Piumsombun served as a professor at the National Police Academy of Thailand. He also held positions as dean, vice president and president of the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA), establishing two NIDA campuses. In 1997, he founded Shinawatra University in Thailand, a research university that has since won the 2003 Asian Energy Award for its efficiency and conservation practices.

Mrs. Marcella J Schalon

Marcella (Marcie) Schalon, '46, MA '47, and Ed Schalon (posthumous), have given MSU $2.3 million in cash gifts, including $1.7 million to the Eli Broad College of Business to establish the William C. and Martha H. Gast Business Library Endowment in honor of Marcie's parents; $450,00 for the Change at Childhood Clinic Endowment; more than $200,000 in gifts during the 1992-95 capital campaign; and many smaller gifts to the Spartan Fund, the Wharton Center for Performing Arts, the MSU Libraries Endowment Fund, F.A. Mike Jones Memorial Fund, and MSU Safe Place. Schalon is currently in the process of establishing an endowed scholarship in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences through a $250,000 cash gift and a $250,000 charitable annuity in honor of her daughter Susan Schalon.

Mrs. Marcella J Schalon

Marcella Gast Schalon of St. Joseph received a bachelor's degree in social work in 1946 and a master's in social work in 1947. She is a longtime advocate for education, family and children.As a social worker with the Lutheran Church, Schalon has made strong commitments to higher education with her support of many MSU initiatives, including the School of Social Work's Chance at Childhood Program. With her support, the Chance at Childhood Social Work and Law Clinic was launched in East Lansing in 2003. In 2001, she and family members provided key funding for an outpatient service in St. Joseph.Schalon was instrumental in the successful restoration of Silver Beach, a historic park near St. Joseph. Other behind-the-scenes efforts include the MSU library expansion and the expansion of a local art center. She has worked to increase symphony activities and visibility in the community, and was involved in projects for community center buildings and special education programs.

Dr. Rachel Ann Schemmel Ph.D.

Rachel A. Schemmel of East Lansing received her doctorate in nutrition in 1967 and is an MSU professor emeritus of food science and human nutrition.During her 45-year career in teaching, research and service, Schemmel never missed one day of work. With research focused on obesity, Schemmel has been featured in some 200 publications in scientific journals and was the editor of the book 'Physiology, Nutrition and Obesity.' She served as past president of the Michigan Dietetics Association and was active in many professional societies.Schemmel is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Dietetic Educator Award from both the Michigan and American dietetic associations, a Leader Award and a Borden Research Award from the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. She has also received the MSU Distinguished Faculty Award and the Research and Outreach awards from the MSU College of Human Ecology.

Mr. Michael Benson Serling

Michael B. Serling of Orchard Lake graduated in 1966 with a degree in history and in 1970 received his law degree from the MSU College of Law. He is an attorney in Birmingham, specializing in environmental and product liability.Serling taught in Detroit public schools while attending law school and began his private practice in 1972. He now employs 25 people specializing in environmental law with a focus on asbestos contamination. His clients include more than 300 school districts, building owners and individuals from 20 states, Europe and Israel. He has been a frequent guest lecturer at MSU.Serling has been chairperson of the MSU Jewish Studies Advisory Board since 1998 and has helped raise approximately $3 million. He has served on MSU's Development Board and currently serves on the President's Cabinet in The Campaign for MSU. He is also on the boards of directors of the Jewish Community Council and the Michigan Region Anti-Defamation League.

Mr. Michael Benson Serling

Michael Serling, '66, JD '70, is president of Michael B. Serling, P.C., a law firm in Birmingham, Michigan, specializing in environmental law and product liability. Serling and his wife Elaine are members of both the Kedzie and Landon Societies, with $900,000 in cash gifts and a $1 million estate commitment. Serling's support helped endow the Michael and Elaine Serling and Friends Chair in Israeli Studies with the Jewish Studies Program in the College of Arts and Letters. In addition to his personal gifts, another $650,000 were given in his honor by the Jewish community. Serling and his wife also established the Serling Endowed Fund for Israel Studies with a gift of $100,000. He also has supported the Spartan Fund, the Colleges of Human Medicine and Music, the Campus Arboretum Fund and MSU Hillel. He was instrumental in getting Elie Wiesel as MSU's Commencement Speaker in 1999.

Dr. Mitsuaki Shimaguchi Ph.D.

Mitsuaki Shimaguchi of Kawasaki, Japan, who received his MBA in 1968 and doctorate in marketingin 1977, is a professor of marketing in the Graduate School of Business Administration at Keio University in Japan.Shimaguchi has established himself as one of the leading marketing faculty members in the world. He teaches and lectures extensively in Western Europe and Asian countries. Shimaguchi is a consultant to major Japanese corporations and serves on the board of some 20 public and government organizations and has published more than 20 books. He has served as chief editor of the Japan Marketing Journal, the Journal of Marketing and Distribution and the Journal of Health and Society. Shimaguchi is considered the leading marketing professor in Japan and an expert on the Japanese distribution system. He was selected by several of Japan's top corporations, such as Toyota, Seiko, Suntory, Mitsubishi and Dentsu, to lead assessment tours of various countries in Asia, Africa, the United States and Europe. He also has participated with the activities of MSU alumni in Japan.

Mr. James R Von Ehr

James R. Von Ehr II of Richardson, Texas, graduated in 1973 with a degree in computer science. He is the founder, chairperson and chief executive officer of the Zyvex Corp., the world's first molecular nanotechnology company. One of the nation's leaders in nanotechnology, he made a personal contribution of $3.5 million to establish the University of Texas Nano Tech Institute in Dallas. There he endowed the James Von Ehr II Distinguished Chair of Science and Technology. He was instrumental in the passage of the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act and was in the Oval Office when President Bush signed the bill into law in 2003. He also serves on the U.S. President's Council of Advisors of Science and Technology. Before founding Zyvex in 1997, Von Ehr was founder, president, chairman and CEO of Altsys Corp., which developed FreeHand and Fontographer, the first commercially available postscript-drawing program. He has lectured widely on several continents and remains a member of the Senatorial Trust, a small group of business and political leaders named by the U.S. Senate to meet regularly with the highest-ranking members of the government, including the president and members of the Senate.


Honorary Alumni Award

Mr. Donald D Griffin

Donald and Phoebe Griffin of Okemos are retired business persons and former owners of Schmidt's supermarkets. For the past two decades, both have supported MSU in many ways.Donald Griffin has volunteered to serve as an off-ice official for MSU hockey for 38 years. Phoebe Griffin has volunteered with assisting students, beautifying the campus and supporting numerous projects with MSU President Peter McPherson and Joanne McPherson.The Griffins are members of the Abbott Society. Their contributions have spanned numerous areas, including, athletics, WKAR radio and TV, the Wharton Center and MSU Safe Place. They are frequent participants on MSU Alumni Association tours and events.

Mr. Frank Perrin

Frank 'Bob' Perrin of Lansing was a conservationist and former politician with a half-century relationship with MSU's Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. He died Oct. 6, 2004. The award will be presented posthumously by the MSU Alumni Association. For some 50 years, Perrin volunteered to work with MSU professors and students to improve and protect Michigan's fish and wildlife assets. He helped to establish an MSU scholarship at the Ruffed Grouse Society and worked for Trout Unlimited, which named the Lansing chapter after him. As director of the Estes Palmer Foundation and the Hal and Jean Classen Foundation, he worked to promote the understanding and appreciation of the state's natural heritage to state youth. Perrin served unofficially as an ambassador for MSU's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, helping recruit and mentor students and playing major advocacy roles for the preservation and protection of natural heritage and championing scholarships and endowments to MSU.

Mrs. Phoebe Tyler-Griffin

Donald and Phoebe Griffin of Okemos are retired business persons and former owners of Schmidt's supermarkets. For the past two decades, both have supported MSU in many ways.Donald Griffin has volunteered to serve as an off-ice official for MSU hockey for 38 years. Phoebe Griffin has volunteered with assisting students, beautifying the campus and supporting numerous projects with MSU President Peter McPherson and Joanne McPherson. The Griffins are members of the Abbott Society. Their contributions have spanned numerous areas, including, athletics, WKAR radio and TV, the Wharton Center and MSU Safe Place. They are frequent participants on MSU Alumni Association tours and events.


Philanthropist Award

Mr. Randall Lee Pittman

Randall and Mary Pittman of Ypsilanti are charter members of MSU's William J. Beal Society as well as scholarship level donors for intercollegiate athletics. Randall Pittman received his bachelor of arts degree in political science in 1976 and his master's in finance in 1978 from MSU. Randall Pittman is chairperson and chief executive officer of Chatham Capital Corp. and Forest Health Services Corp. in Ypsilanti. He is a member of MSU's Board of Trustees, co-chairperson of The Campaign for MSU and a member of The Eli Broad College of Business Campaign Advisory Board. He and Mary made a significant capital campaign leadership gift to restore Marshall-Adams Hall, a move that significantly raised the profile of the university's Campus Heritage Project.The couple was married while he was in graduate school. They lived in Spartan Village and she worked at the university while he pursued his advanced degree. Later, her career was in the banking and finance industry. Together, they have supported MSU and made crucial contributions, and encouraged others to help as well. They are members of the Ralph Young Inner Circle, Scholarship Level, Breslin Center Courtside Seating, and Munn Arena Seats and have hosted numerous donor events.

Mrs. Mary Pittman

Randall and Mary Pittman of Ypsilanti are charter members of MSU's William J. Beal Society as well as scholarship level donors for intercollegiate athletics. Randall Pittman received his bachelor of arts degree in political science in 1976 and his master's in finance in 1978 from MSU. Randall Pittman is chairperson and chief executive officer of Chatham Capital Corp. and Forest Health Services Corp. in Ypsilanti. He is a member of MSU's Board of Trustees, co-chairperson of The Campaign for MSU and a member of The Eli Broad College of Business Campaign Advisory Board. He and Mary made a significant capital campaign leadership gift to restore Marshall-Adams Hall, a move that significantly raised the profile of the university's Campus Heritage Project.The couple was married while he was in graduate school. They lived in Spartan Village and she worked at the university while he pursued his advanced degree. Later, her career was in the banking and finance industry. Together, they have supported MSU and made crucial contributions, and encouraged others to help as well. They are members of the Ralph Young Inner Circle, Scholarship Level, Breslin Center Courtside Seating, and Munn Arena Seats and have hosted numerous donor events.

Dr. Gary Leonard Seevers Ph.D.

Gary L. Seevers of Westport, Conn., is a retired financial market specialist and limited partner of Goldman Sachs & Co. He received his bachelor of science degree in animal science in 1959, his master of science in 1966 and his doctorate in agricultural economics in 1968 from MSU. After working as a county 4-H extension agent for MSU while pursuing graduate degrees, and later serving as assistant professor at Oregon State University, Seevers was named a member of President Nixon's Council of Economic Advisers. He was the youngest person and the only land-grant agricultural economist ever appointed to the council. He also was named by President Gerald Ford to serve a four-year term on the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.In 1979, he joined Goldman Sachs as a vice president and in 1990 became the general partner in New York and was responsible for futures brokerage business worldwide.He endowed the Guyer/Seevers Chair at MSU and serves as co-chairperson of the President's Cabinet in The Campaign for MSU, remaining very active in his efforts to help MSU, specifically the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Honors College.