Founders Day dinner: Dole to speak; eminent alums to be honored

The University will celebrate its 150th anniversary at the Founders Day Dinner and Awards Presentation, an annual event sponsored by the Alumni Board of Governors, at 7:15 p.m. Sept. 20 at America’s Center.

Robert J. Dole will deliver the keynote address, and the Washington University Alumni Association will present Distinguished Alumni Awards to Geoffrey E.H. Ballard, Norman Foster, Caryn Mandabach, Melvin L. Oliver, Harry J. Seigle and Bennett A. Shaywitz.

In addition, distinguished faculty will receive awards, and the Board of Trustees will bestow its Robert S. Brookings Awards.

The event is scheduled earlier than usual this year so that it is included in Founders Week, the official kickoff of the Sesquicentennial celebration. A small number of tickets are still available; call 935-6503 for information.

Dole, the widely respected senior statesman, veteran Republican senator from Kansas and 1996 presidential candidate, will give a talk on “Leadership and Values in the 21st Century.” He will explore the challenges we face as a nation and as a world in the midst of unprecedented political and economic change.

Throughout his 35 years of public service in Congress, Dole sponsored significant legislative initiatives and held key leadership positions, including Senate majority (1985-87; 1995-96) and minority (1987-1995) leader. In addition, he chaired the Committee on Finance and the Special Committee on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

After resigning from the Senate to enter the presidential race, Dole became a news commentator and an advertising spokesman.

His wife, Elizabeth, was elected to the Senate in 2002, representing North Carolina.

Distinguished Alumni Award recipients

Distinguished Alumni Awards are bestowed for demonstrated outstanding professional achievement, public service, exceptional service to the University, or all three.

Ballard made history in 1993 with the creation of the world’s first drivable fuel cell vehicle.

After receiving a doctorate from the University in 1963, he spent 10 years in government service, primarily working in basic physical science research. During the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries energy crisis in 1974, Ballard headed the Office of Energy Conservation, where he worked on projects to reduce the country’s dependence on oil imports.

Frustrated by Congress’ failure to act, he began his own privately funded research on a more compact, high-powered alternative energy source.

In 1979, Ballard co-founded Ultra Energy Inc. — which later became Ballard Research Inc., then Ballard Technologies Corp. and finally Ballard Power Systems Inc. — where he created the first fuel cell-powered bus under the name ZEV, or Zero Emissions Vehicle.

In 1999, Ballard co-founded Vancouver-based General Hydrogen Corp. and now serves as its chairman.

The company is working on converging hydrogen and electricity to create a new composite energy currency called “hydricity.” The goal is to usher in the hydrogen age by making it easily portable, safely storable and affordable.

General Hydrogen recently entered into a partnership with General Motors Corp.

In 2000, Ballard received the Guteborg International Environmental Prize from Sweden, and he was named a “Hero for the Planet” by Time magazine.

A leader in the chemical engineering field, Foster has devoted his career to finding better ways to use waste or dispose of products rather than sending it to landfills. He also holds five patents for a paint overspray process.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1960 and a master’s degree in engineering administration in 1964.

In 1979, Foster founded Nortru Inc., a diversified hazardous waste management and recycling company that was environmentally friendly and offered an alternative to landfill dumping.

A very active member of the School of Engineering & Applied Science’s alumni group, Foster has helped the school establish 20 regional cabinets with more than 400 members across the country.

Foster was the founding chair of the Detroit cabinet and continues in this role. He serves as vice chair of the National Regional Campaign Committee and is on the National Endowed Scholarship Committee. Foster has also served as a reunion volunteer and as vice chair of regional programs for the Alumni Board of Governors.

Furthermore, he served on the school’s National Council and its Capital Resource Committee and has lectured at the school. In 1996, he created an endowed scholarship in memory of his parents and also received the Engineering Alumni Achievement Award. He also sponsors two endowed and four term scholarships.

If you have ever watched The Cosby Show or Roseanne, you have seen Mandabach’s work. She is one of the most successful independent television producers in the nation.

Heading for Hollywood after graduating from Arts & Sciences in 1971, she joined VideoTape Enterprises as a production assistant. A chance meeting with television giant Norman Lear led to a job producing the cult favorite Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and then the hit comedy show One Day at a Time.

Later, working as an independent producer, Mandabach met Marcy Carsey and formed a partnership that produced a number of hit shows in the 1980s and 90s, including Third Rock From the Sun, Grace Under Fire, That ’70s Show and Cybill.

With Oprah Winfrey and Geraldine Layborne, Mandabach founded the Oxygen Network in 1998. The multimedia conglomerate provides innovative programming for women.

In 2001, she was named a full partner of Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, which distributes programs to more than 175 countries in 50 different languages.

In addition to an Emmy, she has received a Golden Globe Award, an NAACP Image Award, a Peabody Award and a Humanitas Prize.

In addition, Mandabach was given the American Women in Film and Television’s Genii Award, which recognizes women for their pioneering efforts, dedicated leadership, commitment to quality and contributions to their community.

As a leading scholar and eminent social scientist, Oliver once received funding from the Ford Foundation. Today he is its vice president of asset building and community development.

A first-generation college graduate, Oliver earned a bachelor’s degree in 1972 from William Penn College and a master’s and doctorate in sociology from Washington University.

As a faculty member at the University of California, Los Angeles, Oliver helped build the African-American studies program and co-founded and directed the Center for the Study of Urban Poverty.

His landmark book, Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality, was co-written with fellow alumnus Thomas M. Shapiro. The book has won several major awards, including a Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award, a C. Wright Mills Book Award and a Gustavus Myers Center Award for an Outstanding Book on Human Rights.

Oliver’s position at the Ford Foundation allows him to provide resources to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty, promote international cooperation and advance human achievement. As vice president, he oversees a global program with a $200 million budget biennially.

Arts & Sciences honored him as a distinguished alumnus in 2002. He is a member of the Association of Black Sociologists, the Midwest Sociological Society, the Pacific Sociological Association and the Society for the Study of Social Problems.

For nearly 30 years, Seigle has led the family business, helping make it Chicago’s largest building material supplier to the residential construction industry. With more than 700 employees and 10 locations, Seigle’s is ranked 37th nationally in sales volume.

A strong believer in public service and philanthropy, he has served as a trustee and chairman of Elgin Community College and as chairman of the Illinois State Chamber of Commerce. In 1995, Seigle was appointed by the governor to chair the Illinois Development Finance Authority.

For his tireless support for so many services and organizations, Seigle has received many honors, including the United Way’s Willis A. Reed Humanitarian Award.

Despite all his civic and community engagements, Seigle still devotes considerable time and resources to his alma mater. He has served Arts & Sciences as a member of its National Council, as a member of its Resources Committee, as founding chair of the Chicago Regional Cabinet and as chair of the Chicago Regional Campaign.

A longtime supporter of the Arts & Sciences Scholarship Program, he has provided 30 scholarships since 1989. He created the Seigle Seminar in American Cultural Studies in Arts & Sciences, and his contribution to the Campaign for Washington University led to the creation of the Seigle Commons in The Village.

Shaywitz, professor of pediatrics and neurology and chief of pediatric neurology at the Yale University School of Medicine, is an expert on reading and dyslexia. He is credited with transforming the study of dyslexia from a socio-cultural framework into its current status as a neurological condition.

He and his wife, fellow researcher and doctor Sally Shaywitz, are founders and co-directors of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1960 and a medical degree in 1963, both from Washington University. He completed his pediatric training and conducted a postdoctoral fellowship in child neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

He has authored more than 300 scientific papers and introduced functional magnetic resonance imaging to the study of children with dyslexia.

Shaywitz was chosen as “One of the Best Doctors in America” and “One of America’s Top Doctors” in 2003. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

He is involved in a number of advisory boards and serves as associate editor for the journal Child Development and is on the editorial board of Pediatrics in Review.

Editor’s note: Winners of the Distinguished Faculty Awards and Robert S. Brookings Awards will be featured in the next issue of the Record.

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