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UT alumni to be honored at annual Homecoming Gala Oct. 24

Twenty outstanding alumni from around the world will be recognized Friday, Oct. 24, at The University of Toledo Alumni Association’s Homecoming Gala.

The event, which annually draws capacity crowds to the Student Union Auditorium, will begin at 6 p.m.

The program features outstanding graduates from each of the University’s colleges, as well as the recipients of the Alumni Association’s highest honors: the Gold T, the Blue T and the Edward H. Schmidt Outstanding Young Alum.

Benjamin Tran of Dayton, Ohio, is the 2014 recipient of the Schmidt Award, which is presented to a graduate who is 35 years of age or younger in recognition of outstanding achievement in his or her field of endeavor.

A 2005 graduate of the College of Engineering, Tran is an electronics engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. He was honored earlier this year with the National Security and International Affairs Medal for creating and deploying a new aerial sensor system to help Army and Special Forces units detect and destroy deadly improvised explosive devices.

His invention has been placed on unmanned aerial vehicles and is the first to include radio frequency sensors in combination with electro-optical and infrared sensors, which has greatly expanded situational and operational awareness. Prior to his breakthrough, IEDs had accounted for two-thirds of the casualties to U.S. coalition forces in Afghanistan. For his efforts, Tran was recognized at the White House last month as a recipient of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, which is the United States’ most prestigious award dedicated to honoring this country’s civil servants.

Dr. Nina McClelland of Ann Arbor, Mich., is this year’s recipient of the Gold T, which is presented to a graduate in recognition of outstanding career accomplishment.

McClelland, who completed a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1951 and a master’s in chemistry in 1963, is recognized globally as one of the most influential people in environmental science. For 15 years, she served as president, chief executive officer and chair of the board of trustees of the National Sanitation Foundation, which now has offices and laboratories in 40 countries.

Former chair of the American Chemical Society, it was McClelland who developed a Water Quality Index to report water quality in lakes, rivers and streams. In time, states and water authorities were required to annually report water quality to Congress using the index. After the Safe Drinking Water Act was passed, she developed a standard adopted by the government regarding chemicals used to treat drinking water as well as one covering all products that come in contact with drinking water via its treatment, storage and distribution.

Upon her retirement from the National Sanitation Foundation, she formed a consulting firm whose clients included the World Bank. From 2008 to 2011, she served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. McClelland was awarded an honorary PhD by the University in 2003.

The Blue T recipients are Jim and Nancy Lapp of Toledo. This award is presented to an Alumni Association member who has made outstanding contributions to the progress and development of the Alumni Association and the University.

The Lapps — husband and wife — are proud graduates. Jim earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1973 and a master of business administration degree in 1974 from the College of Business and Innovation, while Nancy completed her bachelor’s in 1974 and was awarded a master’s in 1977. Combined, the pair spent some 65 years as employees at UT, with Jim serving a variety of administrative positions in undergraduate admissions and in what is now the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning, while Nancy served as coordinator of undergraduate advising in the College of Business and Innovation.

The Lapps have given freely to the University of their time, talent and treasure. Nancy is a charter member of Women & Philanthropy, an organization devoted to providing lasting assistance to the University, and she became that organization’s first lifetime member. Jim served for two years as president of the UT Retirees Association, during which time UTRA was recognized as the Alumni Association’s Affiliate of the Year. The couple has a pillar in the William and Carol Koester Alumni Pavilion, have supported a variety of departments, including athletics, and they have endowed a scholarship in the College of Business and Innovation. Last year, they were recognized at the community-wide National Philanthropy Day as UT’s choice for the Outstanding Community Volunteer Award.

A very limited number of seats remain for the Homecoming Gala. Tickets are $30 and $11 for children.

Call the UT Office of Alumni Relations at 419.530.2585 (ALUM) for more information or to make reservations.

Media Coverage
13 ABC (Oct. 24, 2014)
The Blade (Oct. 30, 2014)


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