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Past Recipients



2011 Alumni Award Recipients

Alumni Service Award

Mr. Steven R Heacock

Steve Heacock grew up in Gaylord, Michigan and was blessed with wonderful hard-working parents. His father was a serviceman with Consumers Power and his mother was Otsego County Clerk, as well as the church organist. It was natural that, at the age of 14, Steve began working at various jobs, from grocery clerk to radio announcer. Steve met his future wife, Brenda, in high school when Tom Gill (MSU Master's in Education) became superintendent of Gaylord Public Schools. They were married just before Steve's junior year at MSU. Steve obtained his B.A. in accounting, with honors, in 1978. Brenda also graduated from MSU in 1978 with a B.A. in French, with high honors. They have been married 35 years and have been blessed with three daughters ' Sarah, Kirsten, and Erica. After leaving MSU, Steve worked for Price Waterhouse in Detroit. While he enjoyed his work as a CPA, he felt compelled to pursue a law degree in 1982. Two years later he obtained his Juris Doctor, cum laude, from University of Michigan Law School and joined Warner, Norcross and Judd in Grand Rapids. Personally, the Heacocks experienced healthcare challenges as daughter Kirsten was born with heart defects and later diagnosed with leukemia. The experience led to Steve's conviction to help others in similar situations. He left the partnership to join Priority Health and later became the chief administrative officer of the Van Andel Institute. He is now senior vice president of Community Relations at Spectrum Health. Steve has served in myriad volunteer roles focused primarily on kids, those with disabilities and the future of West Michigan. He played a key role in the creation of the Convention and Arena Authority, a city-county-private sector collaborative that owns the Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place; and the Grand Rapids campus of the MSU College of Human Medicine. In addition Steve has served on boards for many organizations, including: Kent County Commission, Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan, Developmental Disabilities Council of Michigan, Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, United Bank of Michigan (with MSU alumnus Art Johnson), World Affairs Council, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and First Steps (with MSU alumnus Kate Pew Wolters).


Distinguished Alumni Award

Dr. Kenneth C Earhart M.D.

Kenneth C. Earhart, MD, FACP, joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010 when selected to be the first director of CDC's Global Disease Detection (GDD) program in India. He has helped establish and jointly directs the GDD Center in India, a partnership between U.S. and India to address emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in South Asia. Dr. Earhart became the Chief of Party in India for CDC in August 2010. Prior to joining CDC Dr. Earhart was the Commanding Officer of US NAMRU-3, an infectious diseases research institute in Cairo, Egypt, leading operations throughout North Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. His diverse and successful 22-year career in the U.S. Navy included duties in Japan as 7th fleet diving and submarine medical officer, on the hospital ship Mercy, on the teaching faculty at Naval Medical Center San Diego, and for the last 10 years, living overseas working in the field of global health. Dr. Earhart graduated from Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University. He received his medical degree from Wayne State University and completed training in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Naval Medical Center San Diego. He has received various awards and honors and has coauthored more than 70 articles. Dr. Earhart has two daughters and resides with his wife in New Delhi.

Mr. William Clark Bunting

For over 25 years, Clark Bunting has been asking a lot of questions and his journey in pursuit of those answers has encompassed nearly the entire existence of Discovery Communications. The company currently employs almost 5,000 people worldwide, but back in 1985 it was Clark, after answering an ad in The Washington Post, who became Employee #19 at the small company with a big dream. Bunting has turned those dreams into winning realities with a multitude of leadership roles at the company including the launch of Animal Planet, Discovery Channel's annual rite of summer ' Shark Week, heading up Discovery Studios and shepherding signature event specials such as Walking With Cavemen, Nefertiti Resurrected and the highly anticipated Frozen Planet premiering in 2012. Currently as president and general manager of the flagship network, Discovery Channel, he oversees all aspects of the network's programming, production, development, operations, new media, marketing, communications and research teams. Under Bunting's leadership, Discovery Channel has seen ratings and revenue grow with such household mainstays as American Chopper and Mythbusters and more recently premiering new hits Gold Rush, Flying Wild Alaska and Sons of Guns. Bunting previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative assistant for Congressman Bob Carr (D-MI). He received a degree in advertising from Michigan State University in 1977, and in 1984 completed his master's in communications. He met his wife Karen while at MSU. They have two grown children, Kaitlyn and Ryan.


Honorary Alumni Award

Dr. Carole Ames

Carole Ames served as dean of the College of Education at Michigan State University for 18 years before stepping down last summer. A respected leader on campus and beyond, she has been heralded for her efforts to make the education programs, research and faculty at MSU among the very best in the nation. Since she arrived in 1993, U.S. News & World Report has consistently ranked the university's programs in both elementary and secondary education as No. 1. Additionally, several other study areas are ranked within the respective top 10. Ames initiated the college's first online-only degree program and a commitment to integrating technology with teaching and learning that persists today. She also championed new efforts to ensure cutting-edge research makes a difference in schools and communities through, for example, the Education Policy Center, the Office of K-12 Outreach, and partnerships with urban schools in Detroit and Chicago. Ames has been especially concerned with embracing global perspectives. Among other international programs and research projects, she recently established a college-sponsored opportunity for all doctoral students to study educational practices in another country.Ames also is a professor of educational psychology and a nationally and internationally known expert in the area of motivation. Prior to her appointment at MSU, she served as associate and acting director of the Institute for Research on Human Development and then chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research focuses on the effects of classroom structure, competition and teaching practices on children's motivation to learn, and on school and family relationships. Her scholarship and research have been recognized with the award of fellow status in the American Psychological Association. She has held several professional leadership roles and served on boards of many educational associations and committees of the National Academies. She received her bachelor's and master's degrees from Indiana University and her doctorate from Purdue University.


Philanthropist Award

Mrs. Bernadette Marquez

Bernadette Bott Marquez graduated from Michigan State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Bernadette Marquez worked for many years as a nurse, most recently at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver, Colorado. Today Bernadette Marquez manages a corporate giving program that she established in 2000 for the prominent oil and gas company, Venoco, Inc. She also serves on the Colorado State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education. Timothy Marquez is founder, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Venoco, Inc. which is a public, Denver-based energy company. He also was founder and chief executive officer of Marquez Energy, LLC. Together, the couple founded The Timothy and Bernadette Marquez Foundation and the Denver Scholarship Foundation. Led by Bernadette Marquez's devotion to the profession of nursing and inspired by the education she received from Michigan State University, the leadership commitment from The Timothy and Bernadette Marquez Foundation will enable the relocation of the college's Nursing Research Center and faculty into the Bott Building for Nursing Education and Research. Construction of the Bott Building is underway, adjacent to the Life Sciences Building.

Mr. Timothy M Marquez

Bernadette Bott Marquez graduated from Michigan State University in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Bernadette Marquez worked for many years as a nurse, most recently at Presbyterian/St. Luke's Medical Center in Denver, Colorado. Today Bernadette Marquez manages a corporate giving program that she established in 2000 for the prominent oil and gas company, Venoco, Inc. She also serves on the Colorado State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education. Timothy Marquez is founder, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Venoco, Inc. which is a public, Denver-based energy company. He also was founder and chief executive officer of Marquez Energy, LLC. Together, the couple founded The Timothy and Bernadette Marquez Foundation and the Denver Scholarship Foundation. Led by Bernadette Marquez's devotion to the profession of nursing and inspired by the education she received from Michigan State University, the leadership commitment from The Timothy and Bernadette Marquez Foundation will enable the relocation of the college's Nursing Research Center and faculty into the Bott Building for Nursing Education and Research. Construction of the Bott Building is underway, adjacent to the Life Sciences Building.


Young Alumni Award

Ms. Brittany Joy Fox

Brittany Fox received her B.A. from James Madison College in 2009. She is the director and co-founder of Thai Song Fair Trade, a social business dedicated to empowering Thai women to overcome poverty, improve their community, and better their environment. Thai Song seeks to bring economic freedom and hope for impoverished women in the slums of Bangkok while raising environmental awareness through the use of recycled materials to craft trendy accessories for a global market. Three weeks after her graduation from MSU, Brittany founded Thai Song with Panida Ponkampin, a Thai national whom she had met while on an MSU study abroad trip in Thailand. Today Thai Song's work isn't limited to the slums of Bangkok but spreads globally through advocacy for environmental and humanitarian awareness to its customers across three continents. Brittany's passion for fighting social and gender injustice has been ignited by the stories of the women she's met while taking part in humanitarian work across Asia and Africa. Whether they were Karen refugees in Burma, women working in the sex-industries of Thailand and India, Ugandan women infected with HIV/AIDS, or socially ostracized Afghani women she saw a common thread of perseverance and hope in their lives that deserved to be advocated and championed. Apart from directing Thai Song she dedicates much of her time to speaking on gender injustice in an effort to inspire others to get involved in becoming a part of the solution.

Mr. Aaron Wade Scheidies

Aaron Scheidies is a 28 year old who has overcome more in his short life than many conquer in a lifespan. Born with a hereditary eye condition that slowly deteriorates his central vision, Aaron now has 10% of the vision of a fully sighted person. After battling through hard times in his early teens, Aaron found the sport of triathlon and turned his life around. Beginning with sprint triathlon and continuing up the triathlon pyramid, Aaron is now a five-time triathlon World Champion and seven-time National Champion, having traveled around the globe competing in over 125 triathlons. Just as he is a multi-dimensional athlete, he also excels in all aspects of life. At Michigan State University Aaron had a perfect 4.0 GPA, was the president of the MSU Triathlon Club, volunteered over 100 hours helping other students with disabilities, and was inducted into the Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame. He graduated with a B.S. in Kinesiology from MSU in 2004, and completed his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Washington in July 2008, going on to work as a therapist for RehabCare. In the past few years Aaron has started a career in film and modeling. He has been featured in such magazines as GQ, Esquire, Competitor and in Men's Health running down the road of life. On screen he plays himself in the documentary Victory Over Darkness