April 29, 2008

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Bucknell University Alumni Association has announced its 2008 Alumni Award winners, who will be honored on May 31 at the Reunion Rally ceremony as part of Reunion Weekend in the Weis Center.

"It is instructional and exhilarating to recognize these Bucknell Alumni who have utilized their distinctive undergraduate educations as a trampoline to catapult into worlds of unique excellence," said Richard Humphrey ’74, president of the Alumni Association. 

This year's recipients have a combined resume of worldwide influence and service, business and healthcare recognition, and years of giving back to Bucknell, according to Laura Denbow, executive director of Alumni Relations and Career Services at Bucknell.

Walt McConnell, who graduated in 1953 with a degree in biology, has received the Loyalty to Bucknell Award. He has served as chair of his class Reunion Gift Committee, as a member of the Alumni Board's communications committee and as liaison to the Black Alumni Association.

He also played a major role in the creation of a special Reunion edition of The Bucknellian.

In September 2007, at the age of 75, McConnell and four fellow alumni participated in a cross country bicycle trip from Santa Monica to Atlantic City in 19 days, raising more than $1 million for the Bucknell Scholarship Fund.

A graduate of Jefferson Medical College and a physician for nearly 40 years, McConnell is the author of Malignant Decisions, a description of the decline in national health care that is being made into a documentary.

Marilee Shepler Cole, who graduated from Bucknell in 1968 with a degree in chemistry and biology, has received the Service to Humanity Award.

An expert in tropical medicine and international health, Cole has worked extensively in Cameroon, West Africa, providing medical treatment to patients suffering with HIV/AIDS and educational support to her Cameroonian physician colleagues. Her efforts have grown into a program engaging Georgetown University internal medicine residents to join her each year.

She also provides year-round e-consultations on tropical medicine, HIV/AIDS, and international health topics. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, she is professor of medicine at Georgetown University Hospital and an internist at Georgetown University Hospital.

Takeo Shiina, who graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1953, has been recognized for Outstanding Achievement in a Chosen Profession.

Shiina served in various capacities with IBM for 22 years, rising to president in 1975, chairman in 1993, and executive advisor in 2007. He led IBM's largest and most successful business outside the United States for 18 years. Under his leadership, IBM Japan was ranked among the "most admired" companies in Japan and had the highest customer satisfaction of all its competitors.

The first chairman of the government's deregulation committee reporting directly to the Prime Minister, Shiina was presented The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Japan's highest decoration, by the Emperor in 2000. The Kwanzan cherry trees that line Bucknell's Academic Quadrangle are a gift from IBM.

Shari Aser, who graduated in 1998 with a degree in civil engineering, has received the Young Alumni Award. The award honors a graduate whose professional accomplishments, service to alma mater, and/or selfless and caring work to benefit society are distinctive.

A software sales manager for financial markets with IBM, Aser has served on the board of the Bucknell Engineering Alumni Association for more than seven years.

She is chair of the board's admissions committee and is the leader of the Women in Engineering Initiative.

She has served as Reunion gift chair and co-chair, alumni interviewing coordinator and college fair representative, president of the Fairfield County alumni chapter, and an active leader in volunteer development and training with the Junior League.

Select recipients

The Association's Alumni Awards committee selected the recipients from a large nomination pool, based on each award's criteria. This year's group joins a robust history of recipients, which can be found at http://www.bucknell.edu/alumniawards.

Contact: Division of Communications

Posted April 29, 2008