At the annual reunion luncheon in June, the National Alumni Association honored seven alumni, one posthumously. The 2010 NAA alumni awards recognized a renowned doctor, an Army nurse, a long-serving pastor, and even a former undercover government agent.
Dr. Norman E. Schaefer ’49 was named the John “Bunny” Barbes ’39 and Lila T. Barbes ’40 Wagner Alumni Laureate for his very long and distinguished service to the College, as a founder and longtime member of the National Alumni Association. He also pursued two very long and distinguished careers: as a head and neck surgeon, specializing in surgeries that restored hearing to those suffering from otosclerosis; and as a soldier and officer in the Army Air Force and Air Force Reserve. After an amazing total of 49 years of military service, he retired as a colonel and senior flight surgeon in 1992.
The Distinguished Graduate of Wagner award went to Sharon Ivey Richie-Melvan ’71, who has been one of Wagner College’s finest leaders, beginning with her election in 1969 as Wagner’s first African-American homecoming queen. Richie-Melvan served for 25 years in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, rising to the rank of full colonel. The first military nurse to become a White House Fellow, Richie-Melvan served a stint as the Army’s chief nursing recruiter. One of the nation’s top retired officers, she serves on the board of the Military Officers Association of America. She earned a Ph.D. in organizational behavior from George Washington University and now works as a consultant.
The Reverend Lyle Guttu Award posthumously recognized Rev. David Gaise ’35, who passed away last year, for his spiritual contributions to his community. Pastor of Redeemer Lutheran in Kingston, New York, for 30 years, pastor emeritus for 32 years more, Gaise also served his community through leadership in churches, schools, and health care. He served his alma mater, too, both as a trustee from 1956 through 1970 and as synod archivist from 1977 to 1987. Although he retired from full-time church ministry, he never stopped being a pastor, caring for those around him and enriching their lives with his good humor and understanding.
The Kevin Sheehy ’67 M’70 M’92 Alumni Leadership Medal was awarded to Bruce Liozzi ’64, past president of the National Alumni Association, DaVinci Society program chair, Delta Nu activity committee co-chair, member of Wagner’s Hall of Fame Committee, and founding member and officer of the Hardwood Club.
Lisa De Respino Bennett ’85 was honored with the Wagner Alumni Key for her service to the College. Now a vice president for communications at J. P. Morgan Chase, she has worked in admissions and alumni relations for Wagner, and has served as president of the National Alumni Association board and co-chair of Friends of the Theatre.
Sally Reibel Maertens ’60, Wagner Alumni Fellow in Education, has been a lifelong leader in education, especially in environmental education, both in Putnam County, New York, and in her current home of Woodland Park, Colorado. Last year, the National Park Service named her the top individual volunteer of the year for spearheading the organization of the “No Child Left Inside” weekend in the Pikes Peak Region in 2008, providing opportunities for youth and families to learn about the region’s natural heritage.
Wagner finance major Robert Mazur ’72, Wagner Alumni Fellow in Business, had a remarkable career in the federal government. His self-sacrificing undercover work was instrumental in the arrest and conviction of major international drug dealers and the unscrupulous bankers who supported this criminal activity. Read much more about his extraordinary work in the cover story of this issue of Wagner Magazine.