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Alumni Association applauds honorees

02/24/2012

Recognized at the 2012 Miami University Alumni Association Awards Dinner Feb. 18 were: (sitting, l-r) Charlotte Newman Goldy, Peg Hickey Faimon and Robin Parker; (standing, l-r) Peggy Hamman Landes, Jeff Sabo, Glenn Platt, Mike Leonakis and Robert Essner.
The Miami University Alumni Association honored nine alumni, faculty and staff at its 2012 awards banquet during Charter Day celebrations Saturday, Feb. 18.

Robert Essner, Miami '69, accepted the Distinguished Achievement Award. This medal is presented to alumni who have earned distinction in their fields. A former senior vice president for sales and marketing at Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, a subsidiary of American Home Products (AHP), he became president of Wyeth-Ayerst, then president, COO, CEO, and finally chairman of the board of directors of AHP. Now retired, he is lead director for Massmutual’s board of directors, the Carlyle Group’s senior adviser of the Global Healthcare Group and executive in residence and adjunct professor at Columbia University’s business school.

Accepting the A.K. Morris Award, honoring faculty and staff who provide exemplary service to Miami’s alumni body, were Peg Hickey Faimon, Miami ’82, and Glenn Platt. Faimon is the lead faculty for Miami’s graphic design program and director of the Miami Design Collaborative. She will become chair of the art department in July.

Platt, the C. Michael Armstrong Chair and director of interactive media studies, also teaches within the AIMS curriculum as a professor of marketing. He has helped conceptualize the “inverted classroom,” a progressive model for education and technology.

Juan Gilbert, Miami ’91, chair of the human-centered computing division and professor in the automotive engineering department at Clemson University, received the Bishop Medal, presented to Miami alumni who have demonstrated a lifetime of service to others.

Named a national role model by Minority Access Inc., Gilbert recently received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony. Gilbert is national president of Brothers of the Academy, a mentoring network for African-American male faculty and graduate students. He also has created a future faculty/research scientist mentoring program for under-represented groups in engineering and science. He mentors approximately one-third of the nation’s African-American doctoral students in computer science.

Charlotte Newman Goldy, named the 2011 Effective Educator last fall, is an associate professor of history and director of Jewish studies. She also is an affiliate faculty member with women’s studies, a longtime coordinator of the medieval studies program, and has chaired her department twice. She was chosen because of her ability to impact students beyond their years on campus.

Peggy Hamman Landes, Miami ’74, received the John E. Dolibois Award, named in honor of Miami’s first full-time alumni professional and presented to alumni who serve in distinctive fashion over many years. A member of Delta Gamma and part of a Miami Merger, she has been a member of her class reunion committee and served five years on the Alumni Association’s board of directors. This retired teacher and former president of the Mariemont City Schools Board of Education serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the School of Education, Health and Society.

Mike Leonakis, Miami ’04, accepted the 2012 H. Kenneth Gambee Award, presented to alumni who have graduated within the past decade and demonstrated extraordinary service to the Alumni Association. As president of the association’s Cleveland chapter, he focuses on fresh, creative events that appeal to a broad range of age groups. He has attended several alumni events, including One Day U and Alumni Weekend, and worked on his class reunion committee, serving as class agent the past six years. He is marketing segmentation manager of the paint stores group for the Sherwin Williams Co.

The newest alumna is Miami general counsel Robin Parker, recipient of the Honorary Alumni Award, granted to those who serve the university and Alumni Association as loyally as alumni. Miami’s first general counsel, Parker is responsible for coordinating and supervising all legal matters for the university, its board of trustees and officers and employees acting on its behalf. With a background in employment law, education law and litigation, Parker has served as a law instructor on campus, attended Alumni Weekend and has diligently supported RedHawks athletics as a season ticket-holder for football and men’s basketball.

University photographer Jeff Sabo accepted the Dave Roberts Award, given to a faculty or staff member who consistently goes beyond the call of duty in service to University Advancement. Sabo takes on just about any type of photographic assignment, from student and faculty portraits to sports. The University Photographers’ Association of America awarded him “Best of Show” in its monthly photo contest in 2006.

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