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Past Recipients


2014 Alumni Award Recipients

Read about the 2014 Grand Awards recipients.

Alumni Service Award

Mr. James C Williams

James C. Williams received his B.A. in Social Science from Michigan State University in 1971 and currently serves as the president of Williams Distributing, a Michigan-based company that provides kitchen and bath, heating, ventilation and air conditioning products to businesses and home owners in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. Williams has a long and distinguished record of service to the West Michigan community. He has served as board chairman of the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, board chair of Celebration on the Grand, president of the Gerald R. Ford Council of the Boy Scouts of America, a board member on the Cascade Community Foundation Board, as chairman of the Grand Rapids Public Museum Foundation, board member for the Grand Rapids Rotary Charities Foundation and as a member of the Porter Hills Board of Directors. He created the Grand Rapids Community Foundation Sue and Jim Williams Donor Advised Fund, and has made a significant investment in MSU. He is a Grand Rapids Community Foundation Lifetime Partner in Philanthropy and has received the 2013 North Star Distinguished Citizen on the Year. In 2014, the MSU Club of West Michigan named him the MSU Business Person of the Year. Williams consistently represents Michigan State University with honor and integrity through his business dealings and prominent community involvement, setting an impressive example for all with whom he comes in contact.

Mr. Bruce Ransom Leech

Bruce Leech is known as a driving force and influential mentor for innumerable future entrepreneurs and business leaders through generously investing time and support to students and college initiatives. After earning his B.A. in Finance from Michigan State University in 1978, he earned an M.B.A. in Finance from DePaul University in 1981 and finished his education at Harvard Business School by completing the Owner/President Management Program in 2004. Leech founded CrossCom National in 1981, a voice and data services company that supports Fortune 500 retailers including WalMart, Blockbuster, Ann Taylor, ToysRUs, Cosco and TJ Maxx. He also foundedevolveusa.org, a non-profit membership organization that assists executives with succession and transition planning. He is a generous supporter of t he Eli Broad College of Business, and has played a significant role in guiding the entrepreneurship programs at Michigan State University and mentoring students through the Broad Career Coach Program. He is also active in alumni efforts in his home community of Chicago, serving as a member of the Founders' Council of the Broad Business Alumni Network of Chicago. Additionally, Leech is a leading member on the World Vision Council of Chicago, a faith-based organization committed to lifting children around the world from a life of poverty. He is also a board Member of Solidarity Bridge, Mission Program to Bolivia and an Advisory Board member of Living Water International. Following in the footsteps of his father, also a past recipient of the Broad College of Business Outstanding Alumni Achievement Award, Leech demonstrates the Spartan value of hardworking excellence daily to his two children, both current MSU students.


Distinguished Alumni Award

Ms. Micheline Ann Maynard

Micheline Maynard received a B.A. in Humanities-Prelaw from Michigan State University in 1978. She went on to receive her M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University where she was a Knight-Bagehot Fellow. Maynard is a veteran business journalist whose expertise ranges from reinventing the American economy, to the automobile industry to travel and food writing. She's best known for her work with The New YorkTimes, where she was the award winning Detroit bureau chief and a senior business correspondent. Her book, The End of Detroit, predicted the collapse of the American carmakers well before it happened. These days, her work appears in publications ranging from Forbes to The Economist, as well as the Times. She teaches business students at the University of Michigan, and is a frequent guest on NPR, the PBS News Hour and CNBC. Most recently, Maynard served as the senior editor of Changing Gears, a public media project exploring the reinvention of the industrial Midwest, and she currently serves as the Director of the Reynolds School for Business Journalism at Arizona State University. She has written for Fortune Magazine, and has been a staff writer or bureau chiefat news organizations including USA TODAY, Newsday, U.S. News & World Report, and the Reuters News Service.Maynard began her career as a legislative correspondent for United Press International here in Lansing, and served as an intern in the White House Press Office. As a journalist, Maynard has risen far beyond the expectations of her profession, establishing a sound and thoughtful national and international analytical standard. She flawlessly exemplifies the highest degree of integrity and character to reflect and enhance the prestige at Michigan State University.

LtGen. Judith Ann Fedder

Judith Fedder received her B.S. in Dietetics from Michigan State University in 1980. Afterward, she earned her M.S. in Systems Management from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1984 and studied extensively at Maxwell AFB and George Washington University. Renowned for her endearing and personable presence when talking to students, colleagues and alumni, Lieutenant General Judith A. Fedder currently serves as the deputy chief of staff for logistics, installations and mission support at the U.S. Air Force headquarters in Washington, D.C. Lieutenant General Fedder has responsibility for leadership, management and integration of Air Force logistics readiness, aircraft and missile maintenance, civil engineering and security forces. She also sets policies and prepares budget estimates to reflect enhancements to productivity, combat readiness and quality of life for those serving in the Air Force. Lieutenant General Fedder received the Michigan State University Alumni Club of Metropolitan Washington D.C. Distinguished Alumni Award in 2013. Her decorations include the Defense Superior Service medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service medal with four oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Commendation medal and the Air Force Achievement medal. Lieutenant General Judith Fedder is the quintessence of positive spirit and compassion, which makes her a remarkable leader and inspiration to current and future alumni.

Dr. Patricia M LoRusso D.O.

Before Dr. LoRusso became an exemplar and internationally respected expert and advocate of translational therapeutics, she studied at the University of Detroit, receiving her B.S. in 1977, followed by her D.O. from Michigan State University in 1981. Following graduation, Dr. LoRusso completed her internship and residency in internal medicine at Riverside Osteopathic Hospital in Trenton, Michigan and a fellowship in hematology and oncology at Wayne State University. Dr. LoRusso, widely-regarded as a leading expert on developing new cancer drugs through clinical trials, joined Yale Cancer Center in August as a professor of Medicine and associate director of Innovative Medicine. Prior to her Yale appointment, she served in numerous leadership roles at Wayne State University's Barbara Karmanos Cancer Institute, most recently as director of the Phase I Clinical Trials Program and of the Eisenberg Center for Experimental Therapeutics. She is the author of 202 peer-reviewed publications, eight books and chapters, 237 published abstracts, and has received 30 major grants, many of them over a million dollars and 11 of them currently active. Dr. LoRusso has served as co-chair of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program Investigational Drug Steering Committee and has served on the scientific committee of the American Association for Cancer Research, the education and scientific committees of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and as a member of several NCI and other peer reviewed grant committees. She has a long and impressive list of honors in both research and teaching, including the Karmanos Cancer Institute Faculty Award for Clinical Excellence and the Wayne State University Teaching Award. Dr. LoRusso's passion for cancer research provides hope and longevity to patients locally, nationally and internationally.

Ms. Elena Nicole Bongiovanni

2014-2018


Philanthropist Award

Dr. Donald F Koch Ph.D.

Donald Koch and Barbara Sawyer-Koch have given of themselves tirelessly to Michigan State University for many years. Donald is a professor emeritus of philosophy and Barbara a 1990 M.P.A. graduate of the College of Social Science who spent 16 years as a member of the MSU Board of Trustees. In addition to their volunteer work on behalf of the university, the Kochs have made significant investments to help further MSU's research, collaborative strengths and global reach in identifying and implementing solutions to increase environmental sustainability. The Kochs have established 'The Fate of the Earth Endowment' at MSU, crafted to take advantage of interdisciplinary efforts to harness knowledge among MSU faculty and students with insights from worldclass environmental scholars sharing technological, ethical and policy perspectives. Their endowment will bring noted world scholars to MSU to speak to students and faculty about sustainability, with programs recorded for sharing worldwide. The endowment will also identify cross disciplinary faculty experts who will be called upon to provide an environmental perspective for a diverse selection of campus courses and will support the Donald Koch Distinguished Lectureships held annually. In alignment with their endowment, the Kochs established the Koch Environmental Studies Spartan Scholarship Challenge award in 2010 as a needs-based scholarship for freshman and sophomore students. Through their estate plans, they will establish a special endowment fund for the MSU Library, a scholarship fund in the College of Osteopathic Medicine for students committed to serving rural Michigan and a supplemental discretionary fund to the Office of the Provost. In 2010, the Kochs funded the Ruth Jameyson Above and Beyond Award that supports non-academic staff members who are pursuing a postbaccalaureate degree. Additionally, they have made gifts to fund glass displays in the main MSU Library, an Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching award, the Jazz Studies program and WKAR.

Mrs. Barbara J Sawyer-Koch

Donald Koch and Barbara Sawyer-Koch have given of themselves tirelessly to Michigan State University for many years. Donald is a professor emeritus of philosophy and Barbara a 1990 M.P.A. graduate of the College of Social Science who spent 16 years as a member of the MSU Board of Trustees. In addition to their volunteer work on behalf of the university, the Kochs have made significant investments to help further MSU's research, collaborative strengths and global reach in identifying and implementing solutions to increase environmental sustainability. The Kochs have established 'The Fate of the Earth Endowment' at MSU, crafted to take advantage of interdisciplinary efforts to harness knowledge among MSU faculty and students with insights from worldclass environmental scholars sharing technological, ethical and policy perspectives. Their endowment will bring noted world scholars to MSU to speak to students and faculty about sustainability, with programs recorded for sharing worldwide. The endowment will also identify cross disciplinary faculty experts who will be called upon to provide an environmental perspective for a diverse selection of campus courses and will support the Donald Koch Distinguished Lectureships held annually. In alignment with their endowment, the Kochs established the Koch Environmental Studies Spartan Scholarship Challenge award in 2010 as a needs-based scholarship for freshman and sophomore students. Through their estate plans, they will establish a special endowment fund for the MSU Library, a scholarship fund in the College of Osteopathic Medicine for students committed to serving rural Michigan and a supplemental discretionary fund to the Office of the Provost. In 2010, the Kochs funded the Ruth Jameyson Above and Beyond Award that supports non-academic staff members who are pursuing a postbaccalaureate degree. Additionally, they have made gifts to fund glass displays in the main MSU Library, an Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching award, the Jazz Studies program and WKAR.


Young Alumni Award

Mr. Nathan Andrew Triplett

A two-time graduate of Michigan State University, Nathan Triplett received B.A.s in Political Theory/Constitutional Democracy and Social Relations in 2006. He went on to receive his master's degree in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan in 2009 and returned to Michigan State University to complete his J.D. from the College of Law in 2012. Triplett currently serves as the youngest Mayor in East Lansing history; his work has helped better integrate the city and university and assist international students. He is also the director of Priorities, Michigan, a nonprofit civic education and engagement organization funded by the Ford Foundation, and is working to change the conversation around Michigan's state budget to promote investment in education, community infrastructure and human services. Additionally, he has spent time as a law clerk in the U.S. Attorney's Office and as a practicing attorney in the state of Michigan. Triplett's list of volunteer activities is long and impressive. He currently serves with the MSU/East Lasing Community Relations Coalition, the Michigan Democratic Party, the Democratic National Committee, the Local Development Finance Authority, the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, Haven House, the Rotary Club of East Lansing, the Capital Area Transit Authority and the Michigan Municipal League. In nearly all of these organizations, he serves in a leadership capacity, and he has been awarded numerous honors for his work. In all aspects of his life, Triplett exemplifies MSU's core values through his desire to strengthen his community through inclusivity, open dialog and innovation.

Mr. Kurt Charles Rothhaar

Kurt Rothhaar received his B.S. in Computer Science from Michigan State University in 2004 and subsequently earned an M.B.A. from the Washington University Olin School of Business in 2010. Since graduation, Rothhaar has worked as a software engineer for The Boeing Company. In his time at Boeing, he has been honored with no fewer than 24 Boeing Pride awards of accomplishment, as well as several other company recognitions including the Software Engineering Recognition Award, the highest award given in the software engineering function. Rothhaar serves in a leadership capacity in Boeing's highly selective Emerging Leaders Program and has travelled throughout the country to present on the organization of the future. He has also worked with the United States Air Force, and maintains a top-secret security clearance with the U.S. Department of Defense. Rothhaar gives freely of his time to support his two alma maters and currently serves as a mentor for Washington University engineering students. He is also president of the St. Louis Spartans and an ad hoc member of the MSU Alumni Association International Board, where he has led several projects for the Alumni Engagement Committee. Rothhaar embodies the true Spartan spirit through his volunteerism, leadership and philanthropy, and sets a strong example for others to follow in these areas.

Mr. Travis Bernard Key

Travis B. Key is a two-time graduate of the School of Packaging, earning a B.S. in 2007 and a M.S. in 2012. A member of the Michigan State University football team while an undergraduate student, he served as the team captain in 2007 and earned Academic-All Big Ten awards from 2004-2007. After graduation, he had a two-year career in the National Football League and played at Minnesota, Cleveland, Detroit, San Diego and Indianapolis. After completing his master's degree, Key worked as a project engineer for Fellows Incorporated, managing over 80 product line extensions, and managed product cost reduction. He currently serves as the associate packaging engineer of cost optimization at Kellogg Company, where he is also a representative for the company's United Way campaign. Key authored the book Beyond the Gridiron: How to Successfully Transition into Collegiate Football. He seeks to positively impact the lives of young people, especially underrepresented student-athletes looking to attend college. He is the associate director of East Lansing's 4th and 1 Camp, a non-profit that provides student-athletes with a strong desire to attend college no-cost training in football, ACT preparation, life skills and character development. Key was also recently elected to the MSU Varsity S Club Board of Directors. Key continually raises the bar and sets an example, encouraging and motivating others through his humanitarian work and professional ethic. His passion to invest his time and talents in the lives of youth of color is an inspiration to many.