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Alumni, Students Recognized at Annual Celebration

Joseph Heastie, Teresa Klaassen, and Stuart Malawer.

On April 12, 2000, the George Mason University Alumni Association hosted its annual Celebration of Distinction awards dinner to recognize and honor several alumni, students, faculty, and staff for their outstanding achievements.

The Alumnus of the Year Award was presented to Teresa M. Klaassen, B.S. Business Administration '77, for exceptional success that brings honor to George Mason University. Executive vice president and a director of Sunrise Assisted Living Communities, a company she founded with her husband in 1981, Klaassen has dedicated her career to reforming the institution of assisted living. Klaassen also serves as a trustee on the George Mason University Foundation Board.

Juan Pacheco (second from right) and his family greet John P. Wood after the awards ceremony.

Joseph A. Heastie, M.P.A. '84, received the Alumni Service Award in recognition of his outstanding service to the university. Heastie has served as Rector of the Board of Visitors (1993-94), founding chairman of the Minority Advisory Board (1994-97), and president of the Alumni Association (1997-98). Heastie's dedicated record of service has set a standard of particular distinction and brought honor to the Alumni Association.

The Faculty Member of the Year Award recognizes extraordinary contributions by a faculty member in the areas of academic activities, university participation, and service to the university and the community. This year's recipient, Stuart S. Malawer, is the Distinguished Service Professor of Law and International Trade at The Institute of Public Policy and director of the Oxford Summer Trade Program. Malawer's help was indispensable in creating and implementing the Master of Arts in International Commerce and Policy.

The Senior of the Year Award was presented to Maria Sonia Montero for her contributions to academic excellence, student life, service to the university, and leadership. A Mason Scholar and recipient of the Michael W. McCarthy Scholarship, Montero graduates in May with an honors degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology.
Maria Sonia Montero enjoys dinner with her parents.

The Peter C. Forame Student Leader Scholarship was awarded to Christopher Roberts, a second-year Medical Technology and Specialization in Biotechnology double major, and the only freshman accepted to help conduct laboratory research on the topic of "drug progression and neurological substrates" under Psychology Department chair Dr. Robert Smith. He is president of the Federation for Off Campus Students and the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.

The John C. Wood Scholarship was awarded to Juan Francisco Pacheco, a nursing student and community outreach counselor. Working with Barrios Unidos/United Neighborhoods of Northern Virginia, Mr. Pacheco coordinates camp programs to help keep disadvantaged children off the streets. Pacheco has also pioneered a technology program where the children learn computer skills that will help them advance their education. Pacheco recently received a grant from the Virginia Department of Health to complete a support program that he hopes will inspire Hispanic parents to become more involved in the lives of their children.

Tammy McBride, Lee Thomas, David Jett, Angel Miller, Linda Atwell, Kathryn, and Craig Zelizer.

Jennifer Luhrs, a graduate student in School Psychology, was awarded the John C. and Louise P. Wood Graduate Scholarship for her unusual motivation in pursuit of her education and her contribution to the university. A single mother of a two-year-old daughter, Luhrs works part time in addition to attending school full time. Since her transfer to George Mason, she has secured a space on the Dean's List, earned her B.S. in Psychology, and begun graduate study. Over the past academic year, she has volunteered as a vacation Bible school teacher, substitute Sunday school teacher, and nursery attendant for the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

The Department of History and Art History presented its Outstanding Graduate Award to David N. Jett, B.A. History, '78. Jett is currently the president of Jett Mechanical, Inc., and a steadfast friend of George Mason University.

Kevin C. Greenlief, M.P.A. '82, received the Wayne F. Anderson Award for Distinguished Public Service, given annually for outstanding accomplishments in public service. Greenlief is director of the Department of Tax Administration, where he manages approximately 400 employees in the annual assessment and collection of more than $1 billion in revenue.

Danielle Culp, B.A. Communication '96, received this year's Broadside Alumni Association's Outstanding Service Award. Culp currently is the design coordinator and publications editor at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. She has served as the Broadside Alumni Association's vice president for two years.
Students Christopher Roberts, Jennifer Luhrs, Juan F. Pacheco, and Maria Sonia Montero pose with their plaques.

The Distinguished Nursing Alumni Award was given to Tammy McBride, who completed her B.S.N. in 1999 against all odds. During her clinical work in her junior year, after several close calls, McBride realized she had a life-threatening allergy to latex.

The Department of Communication Outstanding Alumni Award, established to recognize alumni who have demonstrated the value of their education and who have supported the university, was awarded to Lee Thomas, B.A. Speech Communication '91. He is currently the news feature reporter and co-anchor of FOX 2 News Weekends at WJBK in Detroit.

The Telecommunications Master of Arts Program Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated the practical application of their telecommunications education and who have supported George Mason University. Linda Atwell, B.A. Speech Communication '92, M.A. Telecommunications '96, has stayed at the university, where she is committed to the educational mission of the telecommunications program.

The following awards and scholarships were also presented to students: the Mary Lynn Boland Outstanding Student Achievement Award, the School of Law Alumni Scholarship, the Dean Engle Memorial Award, and the New Century College Graduating Senior Internship Award.


President Alan Merten chats with Dr. and Mrs. Malawer.

After spending three successful seasons in the minor leagues, Widger made his major league debut in 1995 and has not looked back since. He played a total of 35 games with the Mariners before being traded to Montreal in November 1996. Widger enjoyed his best season in the pros last year, hitting .264 with 14 homeruns and 56 RBI in 124 games. This season, as of July 7, 2000, he is batting .226 with 10 home runs, which is on pace to top his season high of 15 in 1998.

One highlight of Widger's major league career so far is catching the game against the San Diego Padres when allŠstar Tony Gwynn hit his career milestone of 3,000 hits, a feat only 24 players in the history of the game have achieved. On August 6, 1999, with two outs in the first inning of the game in Montreal, Gwynn hit a line drive single off Dan Smith to reach the milestone. "It was a curve ball, down and in," Widger says. "It couldn't have been more than 8 to 10 inches off the ground. Nine out of ten players would have been out."

In between seasons, Widger lives in New Jersey with his wife and baby. He volunteers as a high school basketball coach and doesn't pick up a baseball until January. "It's important to take a couple of months off from baseball," he says, "and spend quality time with my family."


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