Springfield, Ohio – As Wittenberg prepares to welcome hundreds of alumni back to their alma mater, Oct. 19-21, for its annual Homecoming festivities, seven individuals will be front and center during the university's annual awards ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, in the Benham-Pence Student Center.
Lanty Smith, Wittenberg class of 1964, will receive the university's most prestigious recognition, the Class of 1914 Award, given to an individual from the university community who has served Wittenberg above and beyond what might be expected of any contributor to the college's welfare. Wittenberg will also present Alumni Citation Awards to three alumni who have brought honor to Wittenberg by their exceptional accomplishments in which service to humanity is placed ahead of personal gain or recognition. Those receiving the awards this year are Suzanne Stiver Lie, class of 1956, Kara Teeple, class of 1993, and Douglas B. Vinsel, class of 1972. In addition, Daniel C. Stroeh, class of 2001, will receive the G.O.L.D. Service Award for sharing his time and talent with the university, and Jennifer Meier Geistfeld, class of 1998, will be honored with the Outstanding Young Alumna Award for professional achievement. At the same time, Wittenberg employee Kenny E. Lake will be named an honorary alumnus.
The current chair of the executive committee of the Board of Directors and lead independent director of Wachovia Corp., a diversified financial services company, Smith also chairs the board of Precision Fabrics Group, a leading manufacturer of high-technology, specification textile products. Additionally, Smith, who majored in mathematics at Wittenberg and graduated with honors, served on the Wittenberg Board of Directors from 1989-91 and established the prestigious full-tuition Ellen and Lloyd Smith Scholars program in 2001 at his alma mater. Smith continues to serve on a number of other boards at Duke University, where he earned his law degree with honors prior to becoming a partner with the law firm of Jones Day. He later joined Burlington Industries Inc., where he served as executive vice president and senior general counsel prior to being named president in 1986.
Active in his community, including serving as director of the North Carolina Institute of Medicine, Smith also founded the Piedmont Angel Network and continues to serve on advisory committees for Triad Health Project, the Central North Carolina Chapter of Multiple Sclerosis Society and Reading Connections. Throughout his career, Smith has been recognized repeatedly, including receiving the Americanism Award from the Anti-Defamation League and the Greensboro Outstanding Community Service Award.
The author of eight books and multiple articles on women, Lie co-founded the Estonian Women's Studies and Resource Centre at Tallinn Pedagogical University in 1997 and served as its academic director for three years. In 2006, she was honored by the Norwegian-Estonian Association as Estonia's friend of the year for her work in furthering democratization in Estonia and engagement on its behalf.
Married for nearly 50 years to Kai Lie, a Fulbright student at Wittenberg from 1955-56 who later became a Norwegian ambassador, Lie has lived around the globe, including in Stockholm, London, Prague, Damascus, Washington, D.C., Beirut and Tallinn. She received her M.A. in sociology from American University in Washington, D.C., in 1967, and though now retired, she continues to supervise master students as they write their theses.
Prior to her work with DCFS, Teeple was a part-time child and family therapist with CareWorks Inc., where she established treatment plans to monitor progress for both individuals and families. After graduating from Wittenberg with a B.A. in sociology, Teeple served as childcare counselor with Allendale Association, where she supervised emotionally disturbed adolescent females in residential treatment programs and established treatment plans. Shortly thereafter, she joined Catholic Charities as a child welfare specialist, where she managed relative family care child abuse and neglect cases. For the last eight years, she has also directed, on a part-time basis, Dignity Diner, a restaurant-style meal program for the homeless. Teeple earned her M.S.W. from Loyola University in 2000, and she continues to remain active in her community, including as a longtime festival committee member for the Irish American Heritage Center.
Prior to his current position, Vinsel spent 12 years as the COO and executive vice president of Hospital and Health Systems, WakeMed, in Raleigh, where he not only managed a 700-plus bed hospital, but also served as the lead executive in establishing a comprehensive children's program with the first North Carolina Children's Emergency Department, an eight-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, a 25-bed in-patient unit and a 28-bed level III Neonatal ICU. Additionally, Vinsel created a mobile cardiac transport service with expanded service to provide pediatric support to the Children's Program, and developed and sustained a successful self-governance model for nursing leadership.
Vinsel has also served as vice president/operations at Euclid General Hospital in Euclid, Ohio, assistant administrator at York Hospital in York, Pa., and administrative assistant, First Health of North Carolinas in Pinehurst, N.C., where he developed a state-of-the-art ophthalmology program. Following his graduation from Wittenberg, he received his master's in health administration from Duke University in 1974 and attended King's Fund College of Hospital Management in London, England, that same year thanks to a grant from the Duke Endowment.
The former resident playwright for Boston's Alarm Clock Theatre, which commissioned him to write 10 a.m. Signing, Stroeh has also been a contributor to Monologues for Men by Men, American College Theatre Festival Presents, the Audition Arsenal, Smith & Kraus' forthcoming Short Scenes for Young Actors. His poetry and prose has also been featured in the Wittenberg Review of Literature and Art, and The Florida English Journal.
An enthusiastic educator, Stroeh has served as guest lecturer at various universities, high schools and young writers' conferences on creative and dramatic writing, theatre and literary theory. At the same time, Stroeh was an educational consultant to Communities in Schools, New York City Inc. (CISNYC), a non-profit organization working with at-risk youth in under-funded New York City public schools. As a consultant, Stroeh ran tutoring programs, developed curriculum, assisted with the implementation of the Leading Change Program and worked closely with at-risk young men on schoolwork and college preparation.
Chair of the foreign language department for four years, Geistfeld was selected twice by the principal to serve on the building advisory committee. At the same time, Geistfeld, who earned her master's in education from Ashland University in 2005, served as a mentor teacher for graduate student teachers in education through The Ohio State University. She has also served as an adviser to numerous school organizations, including Future Educators of America, the International Club and the Student Council, where she coordinated an annual blood drive, helped to generate school spirit and met regularly with students to address their concerns.
Prior to Beechcroft, Geistfeld taught the ninth-12th graders at Walnut Ridge High School from 1998-2003, where she regularly showcased students' efforts, progress and achievements through portfolios, which were used for production, assessment, revision and reassessment.
From building the oak cross that hangs beneath the arch on Weaver Chapel's altar and the marble Veler chapel to Wittenberg's first computer lab and the recent rebuilding of the historic Kissing Bridge, Lake has literally had a hand in much of what defines Wittenberg. In 2006, Lake created another masterpiece when he helped the class of 2006 begin a new tradition at Commencement. After months of research and design work, Lake crafted an original Wittenberg torch, modeled after the one that appears on the university's Seal, which each class now physically passes to the next class during graduation.
His creativity can also be seen in the restored Myers Hall cupola to accommodate the hanging of the bell, given by the classes of 1992-93, as well as in the setting up of approximately 12,350 chairs throughout his career for Commencement, a ceremony that still inspires him each year.
Written By: Karen Gerboth
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