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Plymouth Alumni Association names finalists for Distinguished Alumni honor

March 27, 2012
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   03/28/12  Preparation has begun for this year’s Plymouth Alumni Banquet hosted by the Plymouth Alumni Association.

This year’s banquet is slated for Friday June 15 at the Plymouth High School cafeteria and will feature a concert by 1995 graduate Denver Bierman in the PHS Auditorium. Tickets for the banquet are $35 and include VIP seating for the show. You can purchase tickets online at http://plymouthalumni.blogspot.com/ by email at plymouthschoolsalumni@gmail.com or phone 574-952-4444.

The highlight of the banquet is always the annual induction of the year’s members to the Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. The initial screening of hundreds of candidates has narrowed the field down to 10 finalists for the honor, that the selection committee will make a final vote on.

The following are short bio’s of five of this year’s 10 finalists. The remaining five will be featured in an upcoming news story:

Dr. Arthur Becknell Jr.

Class of 1945

  After graduation from Plymouth Dr. Becknell was given a one year language course in Japanese at Yale University in conjunction with his duties in the United States Army. He attended Oberlin College and received his Bachelor of Music Education degree. He earned his Masters degree at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and attained a PhD. in Music Education from the University of Michigan.

He was a Professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison, and led the men’s Glee Club at the University with national recognition. He was National Chairman of the Dalcroze Society of America and in great demand as a eurythmics clinician throughout the United States. Dr. Becknell was a pioneer and world leader in the field of eurythmics…teaching music and rhythm through physical body movement.

He was a member of the Bethany United Methodist Church, Associate Conductor of the Madison Symphony Chorus, Rotary Club, Madison Opera Board, pianist with the Opera Showcase Ensemble, American Choral Director’s Association, Music Educators National Conference, Dalcroze Society of America

Dr. Becknell died in 1993. He was known as an outstanding music educator who did groundbreaking  work in eurythmics – teaching music and rhythm through physical body movement.

Dr. Phillip A. Milner

Class of 1960

     Dr. Milner received his BA from Vanderbilt University, and his PhD. at the University of Notre Dame.

He teaches in the Department of English at St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, and held similar positions throughout his career at Dickinson State College, Mount Allison University, and the University of Notre Dame. He was named St. Francis Xavier University Teacher of the Year 1996

Dr. Milner was President of the Board of Directors of L’Arce Antigonish an organization for the mentally challenged, and also the Nova Scotia Writers Federation

His most popular book published in 1993 is The Yankee Professors Guide to Life in Nova Scotia, with it’s sequel The Yankee Professors Guide to Everywhere Else. He has had numerous short stories published in magazines such as Notre Dame Magazine, Pottersfield Portfolio, Reader’s Choice; Canada’s Short Story Magazine. In addition has also written a play produced in Nova Scotia, edited books and written numerous reviews of other work.

Dr. Robert Vore

Class of 1949

     Dr. Vore has given his time and talents to many community service projects and boards in Plymouth and surrounding Marshall County. Just some of his activities include being a member of both the Plymouth City Council, and the Marshall County Council, Secretary and President of North Central Optometric Society, Director of Indiana Optometric Association Continuing Education Department, Plymouth Day Care Center Board of Directors, Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Board of Aviation Commissioners, PTA President Webster School, District Chairman Boy Scouts of America, Secretary-President and Regional Vice President of Jaycees, Board of Directors Price Memorial Park, Secretary and President of North Central Optometric Society

He won the IOA Meritorious Service Award, Key Man Award Plymouth Jaycees and the Boy Scouts Order of the Arrow.

He was a member of the Manchester College varsity tennis team and was a member of the 1951 squad that won a conference championship. He is an accomplished racquetball player and continues to teach the game today.

To those around him Dr. Vore has been an incredible role model demonstrating enormous energy and positive attitude in a lifetime of service to the Plymouth community. He has devoted many hours to providing free vision screenings to the students of Plymouth Community Schools. He has also been instrumental in helping and encouraging numerous PHS grads to enter the field of optometry.

 

Suellen Glaub-Long

Class of 1959

  Suellen is President of Bridgeview Bank in uptown Chicago, and owner of Long Promotional Group in Chicago a PR firm that serves non-profit organizations throughout the city.

Her achievements in service to the city of Chicago are many including Implementing an “incubator style” plan to lease space to non-profits organizations. She is a Board member and past Chair of the Heartland Alliance working to create viable communities for immigrants to seek their fortunes, raise families, nurture and fulfill the dreams that brought them to America.

She won Five consecutive Golden Trumpet Awards from the Publicity Club of Chicago, awarded to Long Promotional Group for outstanding campaigns for nonprofit partnership, the Mercedes Benz Award, the Florence Bezazian Citizenship Award, the W. Clement Stone Business Person of the Year Award, the Athena Award for Professional Women, the People’s Music School Award, Supporting the Spirit Foundation Award, President’s Council Award, Ravenswood Hospital award, and the AIDS Memorial Quilt Hopeful Spirit Award. She was the Chairperson of the Uptown Chamber of Commerce, Uptown United, McCormick Boys & Girls Club Women’s Board, and was a major fundraiser for People’s Music School, Illinois Action for Children, AIDS Memorial Quilt and the 48th Ward Aldermanic Office.

 

Duane M. Davis

Class of 1951

    After graduating Plymouth Duane attended Purdue University earning a BS-AE with highest distinction He then earned his MS-ME at the University of Pittsburgh, and his PhD.-AE at Purdue University.

He was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. in the Air Force, and served at Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Power Division building nuclear reactors for the Navy. During his active duty career with Air Force he was a B47 Pilot at Strategic Air Command and stood nuclear alert at Whiteman Zaragossa Air Base in Spain and Fairford Air Base in England. He served as Associate Professor of aeronautical engineering at the Air Force Academy. He volunteered for service in Vietnam and flew AC-47 gunships supporting ground troops at night. He flew 200 combat missions in Vietnam and after his active duty career became the Chief Engineer on the Laser Guided Bomb project the weapon of choice in Desert Storm, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Duane is a National Pi Kappa Phi Scholar, Sigma Gamma Tau National Honorary Aeronautical Engineering Society, Tau Betta Pi National Engineering Honors Society. He won the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 7 oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with valor and 3 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Air Force Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with silver palm, Vietnam Service Medal with 4 oak leaf clusters.  He was the Air Force program director for development of the Low Level Laser Guided Bomb which achieved outstanding results in Desert Storm.

 

Dr. James E. Keith

Class of 1946

   After graduating from Plymouth Dr. Keith continued his education at Wabash College where he received his BA. He earned his Masters degree at Purdue University and moved on to the University of Chicago for his Doctorate.

Dr. Keith began his career with the Sandea Corp. in Albuquerque NM, and then moved on to NASA in Houston, TX. He is a member of the International Meteoritical Society and has been invited to present several papers in Europe. He served in the US Army.

Dr. Keith is a specialist in meteorites and Chemistry he was one of the first to examine rocks brought back from the moon.

 

Dr. Ronald G. Probst

Class of 1967

   Dr. Probst began his studies at Indiana University with a BS in Astrophysics, achieving a Masters in Astronomy and his PhD. at the University of Virginia. He was a Postdoctoral Research Associate NASA/Ames Research Center

Dr. Probst is a Project Scientist and resident astronomer at Kitt Peak National Observatory, centrally involved in the development and deployment of infrared imaging systems in the United States and Chile. His areas of interest in research are star forming regions, low mass stars and infrared imaging instrumentation. He has published many papers and studies.

 

Don and Evelyn Heim

Class of 1958

    Don has a BS in Physics from Purdue University, UCLA degrees in Russian, Solid State Physics, Gas Lasers, Solid State Lasers, and is also fluent in Spanish and Swedish. Evelyn graduated from Indiana University, Cal State Northridge.

Not only were this couple leaders in the field of rocket science, they were also able to raise three daughters who have all gone to have their own successes and families. Evelyn was a ground breaker in her field bringing status to women in a previously male dominated career field.

Don – Don is proficient in all phases of instrumentation engineering applied to rocket engine and high energy laser testing. He worked for Rocketdyne, a division of North American Aviation making rocket engines for Atlas, Thor, Delta and Peacekeeper systems. They were also prime contractor for F-1 and J-2 engines that propelled men to the moon. He won the NASA “Silver Snoopy” Award – the astronauts Personal Achievement Award – presented by L. Blaine Hammond in 1985 for his contributions to the Space Shuttle Program at Rocketdyne. He won the NASA Apollo Achievement Award, Certificate of Appreciation from Rocketdyne Advanced Chemical Laser Programs, Engineering Excellence Award for design for his preparation and checkout of engine test facility for THAAD Missile Defense System engines

Evelyn Raised the couples three daughters and returned to the workplace at Hughes Missile Systems. She became technical supervisor and moved on to become product design engineering authority. She was assigned to Norway to partner with a Norwegian Company to design and develop equipment for mobile ground based missile launchers for use by the Royal Norwegian Air Force. She held a product design position in Space and Communications division famous for satellite construction, and was accepted into the National Science Foundation grant program. She was the second woman to be a member of the Technical Staff at Hughes Missile Systems group in Canoga Park, CA and at the time of her hire she was the only woman in the product design discipline.

Both met in Science Club at Plymouth High School and began dating.

 

Howard Menser

Class of 1948

    Howard attended Ball State University where he received a BS, and did graduate work at IUSB.

He taught at Lincoln High School in Plymouth upon his graduation from college and went on to become the founder and President of Menser Industries, and President of MiPly Equipment Inc.

His invention of the Hydrodynamic Pressure Saturator was voted one of the top 100 most significant new technical products of the year in 1987 by Research and Development Magazine. The invention displayed at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. He was the founding President of the Plymouth Jaycees, Marshall County Republican Chairman, Member and Elder of the First United Church of Christ

Served in the U.S. Army, taught an artillery class at West Point. While there designed a slide rule for control of artillery fire.

 

Merritt W. “Redd” Smith

Class of 1948

   Mr. Smith Attended college at Indiana University after graduating from Plymouth High School

He was the Vice President of Indiana National Bank, Director, President, CEO, Chairman of the Board Baldwin & Lyons Insurance. After “retiring” founded M.W. Smith & Associates Insurance and Mid-American Brokers. He received a Special Award from the National Accounting and Finance Council and the IU Athletic Directors Award for distinguished service.

He was Chairman of Allied Industry Committee, Chairman of Finance Committee Indiana Motor Truck Association, Steering Committee for Industrial Development for the State of Indiana and was very involved in the community with the Boy Scouts of America, Broad Ripple Little League, Director Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, Director Marion County Heart Association, Chairman Joint Red Cross Heart Association Committee, President of I.U. Men’s Club, Executive Council Indiana University Alumni Association, President “I” Men’s Association, Member of the Athletics Committee (IU), Hoosier Hundred Well House Society,

Mr. Smith served in the military attending Advanced Officer Training School U.S. Army Infantry. He was a Rifle Company Commander 31st Division and received the 8th Division Unit Citation Superior Rating in the 5th Army.

While at PHS he was all conference in football, basketball, and lettered in track. He was named All State in football his senior year and ran the 440 and mile relay in the state track meet. He received three letters at Indiana University and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles as well as the United States Army.

This year’s banquet is slated for Friday June 15 at the Plymouth High School cafeteria and will feature a concert by 1995 graduate Denver Bierman in the PHS Auditorium. Tickets for the banquet are $35 and include VIP seating for the show. You can purchase tickets online at http://plymouthalumni.blogspot.com/ by email at plymouthschoolsalumni@gmail.com or phone 574-952-4444.

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