Wittenberg Honors Its Own With Distinguished Awards
During Homecoming Weekend 2008
Oct. 17, 2008
Springfield, Ohio —
2008 Wittenberg Alumni award-winners
As Wittenberg welcomed hundreds of alumni back to their alma mater, Oct. 10-12, for its annual Homecoming festivities, 10 individuals were front and center during the university's annual awards ceremony on Oct. 11 in the Benham-Pence Student Center.
Springfield residents Bob and Ruth Bayley, classes of 1939 and 1942, respectively, received the university's highest non-academic award, the Wittenberg Medal of Honor, presented to those who have contributed significantly to the university's mission and/or given extraordinary service to Wittenberg over a long period of time.
William H. Steinbrink, class of 1964, received the university's most prestigious alumni 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 also presented Alumni Citation Awards to five 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 were Virginia Ellis Franta, class of 1936, James Dove, class of 1961, Olive Shimp Warner, class of 1965, Julie Aufderheide Britton, class of 1980, and Sufiy James Davis, class of 2000. In addition, Susan Welker Benne, class of 2002, received the G.O.L.D. Service Award for sharing her time and talent with the university, and Michael Ann Effron, class of 1998, was honored with the Outstanding Young Alumna Award for professional achievement.
Throughout their lives, Bob and Ruth Bayley
have served as true reflections of Wittenberg's beloved motto, "Having Light We Pass It On To Others." Their gifts of time, talent and treasure have not only transformed the university, but inspired generations. Most recently, Bob and Ruth gave a very generous gift to improve and update the lobby of Wittenberg's Health, Physical Education and Recreation Center. Believing that the entrance to the heart of our athletics program should always be student-centered, the Bayleys asked that the students themselves select the name for the lobby. Today, Legends Lobby honors those men and women who built Wittenberg's athletic program. In 1994, the couple provided the lead gift to renovate the former Phi Kappa Psi fraternity into the Bayley Alumni House, now home to Wittenberg's Office of Advancement and a welcoming retreat for Wittenberg alumni and friends. They also created an endowed scholarship, which benefits four to six students annually. More than 35 students have received a Bayley Scholarship since its establishment in 1998.
Chair of Wittenberg's Board of Directors from 2005-2008, Bill Steinbrink
has consistently served his alma mater in numerous capacities, including as the university's interim president in 2004-05. In that position, Steinbrink met frequently with student leaders, became acquainted with many of Wittenberg's strong academic performers, marveled at the skills of Wittenberg's artistically inclined students and their athletically enabled compatriots, and witnessed a faculty that he called "the raison d'ętre of Wittenberg." A member of the board since 1996, Steinbrink previously spent 27 years as an attorney with the international law firm of Jones Day. As a partner with Jones Day, Steinbrink assisted and advised businesses in connection with fundamental transactions, financing and governance, and later led an initiative to implement formal knowledge management practices at the firm. A graduate of Duke University Law School, Steinbrink also served as president and CEO of Laurel Industries Inc. and as president and CEO of CSM Industries Inc. He and his wife Betsy, also 1964 graduate of Wittenberg, live in Shaker Heights, Ohio.
From the day she first arrived on campus, Virginia Ellis Franta
has maintained contact with Wittenberg. A chemistry major, she also earned a biochemistry degree at the University of Gottingen, Germany, before marrying and devoting her life to her family and community. Not only did she remain active with the Chi Omega Alumni Association and the Wilmington Pan-Hellenic Association, she volunteered as a docent to an area museum, as an aide to a senior home and with the Girl Scouts for more than 25 years. Franta has also generously supported her alma mater throughout the years, including establishing The Virginia Ellis Franta Fund, which has provided annual support for student and faculty research in chemistry, along with equipment and other needs of the department.
A cardiologist, president emeritus of Prairie Cardiovascular Consultants Ltd. of Springfield, Ill, and a leader in innovation and development of cardiac diagnostic and treatment procedures, James Dove
is also a founding partner of the 45-member cardiology practice, nationally known for its doctors and their expertise in quality comprehensive and compassionate care. A founding partner of the Prairie Heart Institute of St. John's Hospital of Springfield, Ill. – the largest heart program in the state, Dove was recently honored by the hospital for his contributions to cardiac care with the establishment of the James T. Dove MD Endowment for Cardiac Care. He is current president of the prestigious American College of Cardiology, and he is a clinical professor of medicine, Division of Cardiology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. In 2001, Dove and his nephew, attorney Rick Dove, class of 1980, established the Dove Scholarship at Wittenberg, which provides for two one-half tuition scholarships each year. The scholarships benefit a pre-medical student and a pre-law student meeting academic standards.
The dedication Wittenberg has for its students struck a chord in Olive Shimp Warner
, who endeavored to offer that same dedication to her students. She retired from the classroom in 1992 and quickly pursued numerous interests she developed in college, primarily the performing arts. While a student at Wittenberg, she sewed pleated skirts for a production of Brigadoon
and acted in a small play. Today, she sings, acts, produces and creates costumes for the Eastern Upper Peninsula Fine Arts Council. Warner credits Wittenberg with providing her the background to make a good life, and Wittenberg recognizes Warner for the life she has lived, which has benefited her students and the communities where she has made her home.
For nine years following graduation, Julie Aufderheide Britton
served as a member of the Wittenberg Alumni Board of Directors, where she assisted in restructuring the new member orientation and constitution. After securing her M.B.A., she worked in the non-profit sector for many years managing annual campaigns and grant writing. In her private life, her actions resulted in the Lawrence Wasser Humanitarian Award in 2006. She was also the volunteer captain of the 2002 Tampa Bay Super Bowl Host Committee, and she continues to be an active member of the Junior League of Tampa, the University of Tampa National Alumni Board and Leadership Tampa Alumni. Since 2001, she has served as the vice president of development of the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
Grateful for the opportunities she received at Wittenberg, Sufiy James Davis
has continued to serve others since graduating. She began as an Americorps volunteer with City Year Columbus, where she served as a Literacy Service Leader and moved on to create effective treatment plans for children with emotional and psychological disorders, and provide community support linking families with community resources. Last year, she purchased 10 tickets a week for homeless members of the Columbus community to view the movie Pursuit of Happyness – following Wittenberg's "Pass It On" tradition, and her actions came to the attention of Oprah Winfrey.
Susan Welker Benne
taught English as a second language and served as an assistant English teacher in the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program prior to becoming Wittenberg's Freeman project administrator, where she managed a $2 million budget and executed six campus-wide East Asian programs. In 2006, Welker joined Wittenberg's admission department as coordinator for international recruitment, where she increased international applications to her alma mater by 39 percent and secured the largest degree-seeking international class in five years.
Meeting the needs and the challenges of teaching inner-city students with special needs has brought to light the extraordinary talents and commitment Michael Ann Effron
brings to the field. In addition to earning the trust and respect of her students, she encourages them to give their best to improve. She also volunteered her time to participate on a committee to review dozens of texts and was nominated to co-chair the committee. Her guidance led to a new curriculum, which was implemented in every elementary school in the Columbus Public School District. Her actions gained recognition from the district superintendent and honors from the Columbus school board. She also acquired funds for new textbooks and phonics workbooks, and she volunteered to prepare individual education plans for the learning-disabled students for all the teachers at Starling Middle School. The plans she and her team teachers developed have since received praise from her principal.
Written By: Karen Gerboth and Phyllis Eberts
Photo By: David Maki
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