Five recognized as Ethic of Service winners

The recipients of the 2009 Gerry and Bob Virgil Ethic of Service Award will be recognized during a ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, in the Knight Center.

Founded during WUSTL’s sesquicentennial year, the Gerry and Bob Virgil Ethic of Service Award annually recognizes a select group of University community members which exemplifies a character of service and giving to the St. Louis region.

This year’s winners are Dana R. Abendschein, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine; Jami Ake, lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Project in the Humanities and assistant dean in Arts & Sciences; Gay Lorberbaum, senior lecturer in architecture in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts; Cambrie Nelson, a senior majoring in anthropology in Arts & Sciences; and William Siedhoff, a masters of social work graduate in 1973 and director of the Department of Human Services for the City of St. Louis.

Abendschein started the Clown Docs program at the School of Medicine, and his clown doctor character, “Professor Dude,” is often seen making rounds in the clinics and inpatient units of Children’s Hospital.

As a professor in the medical school, he offers a unique course titled “The Medicine of Laughter,” which may be the first credit course nationally for medical students to learn the benefits of humor for themselves and their patients.

A passionate teacher of Shakespeare and early modern literature, Ake is a tireless educator and advocate for victims of intimate partner violence both at and outside the University.

For Lorberbaum, teaching is a way to serve her community and to learn. During her 34 years at WUSTL, she has taught classes in both architecture and psychology in Arts & Sciences. In 2003, she created the New School — a group workshop that combines psychotherapy with creative process.

Nelson has been the president of the Black Woman/Jewish Women discussion group; associate editor of One World Social Justice magazine; coordinator and founder of the Dialogue Club; co-creator of InterUnity, an interfaith collaboration that brings educational opportunities to campus; and co-founder of Connect4, a group devoted to diversity, dialogue, understanding and change.

Siedhoff currently serves on more than 30 boards and committees and chairs many of them. He is a founding member of the Council on Child Abuse and Neglect, helped establish the Family Support Network and is considered one of the leading proponents of assisting ex-offenders in their efforts to return to society from prison.

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