Honoring the Best and the Brightest

Each spring, the George Mason University Alumni Association recognizes and honors outstanding alumni, students, and faculty members for their achievements and contributions to the university.

This year’s Alumna of the Year is D. Jean Wu, MS Information Systems ’87. Actively involved with Mason since 1998, she serves as secretary on the Board of Trustees of the George Mason University Foundation and is a member of the university’s Diversity Advisory Board. She has been a member of the university’s Board of Visitors since 2005. She is the principal of the Tilden Group, a management consulting firm. She is also the founder of Integrated Management Services, Inc., an information technology company, which was acquired by Anteon in 2004. She had previously served as a manager with Irving Burton Associates, a management consulting firm, and a staff assistant to the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Wu has been a long-standing supporter of charitable and educational organizations in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, including the Close Up Foundation, the Virginia Hospital Center, Heads Up, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington, and the Best Friends Foundation. Her past honors include the Immigrant Achievement Award from the American Immigration Law Foundation and the Virginia Small Business Person of the Year Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

James Laychak, BS Accounting ’83 and BS Decision Sciences ’83, received this year’s Alumni Service Award. Laychak is an associate partner with Accenture and has been with the company for more than 20 years. He is currently based in the company’s Washington, D.C., Metro Office, working as a program manager and change architect for business transformation programs and serving as deputy program manager for the Customer Relationship Management Program. In 1995, he helped establish the Andersen Consulting Scholarship in Mason’s School of Management. His extensive list of volunteer activities at Mason includes serving as chair of the 1995–96 Annual Fund Committee, cochair of the 1996–97 Annual Fund Committee, and chair of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution Partnership Team from 1997 until 2000. He also served on the Century Club (now the Business Alliance of George Mason University) Board of Directors. The Alumni Association greatly benefited from his leadership while he served as vice president of service from 1997 to 2000, president from 2000 to 2002, and past president from 2002 to 2004. He also served on the Alumni Campaign Steering Committee from 2002 through 2005. Laychak’s volunteerism extends beyond Mason’s campuses. His work as president and chair of the board of directors of the Pentagon Memorial Fund honors his brother, David, an army civilian who worked in the Pentagon and was killed in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

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Faculty Member of the Year Rick Davis

Theater professor Rick Davis, DFA, is the Faculty Member of the Year. Davis is associate dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts and artistic director of the Center for the Arts. In 1997, he received the university’s Teaching Excellence Award. A member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Davis has directed professional theater and opera across the country and is an active translator and essayist. His translations of Ibsen (with Brian Johnston) have been performed in leading regional theaters, such as Berkeley Rep, Center Stage, Alliance Theatre, and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and his translations of Calderón de la Barca have resulted in both publication and production. He received his BA in theater and dramatics summa cum laude from Lawrence University in 1980 and his MFA in 1983 and DFA in 2003 in dramaturgy, dramatic literature, and criticism from Yale School of Drama.

The Senior of the Year is Ryan Lowry, a native of Bedford, Virginia, who will graduate this spring with a BS in psychology and a minor in business. He plans to earn a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology. He is the operations manager of the University Game Room, for which he was honored as the 2003–04 Student Employee of the Year and with the 2004–05 Exemplary Management Skills Award. In addition, Lowry’s numerous volunteer activities touch many areas of life at Mason. He serves as president of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, a governor of the Student Funding Board, and program director for the Eastern Region Leadership Development Institute. He also holds active membership in the Caribbean Student Association and the NAACP. Listed in the 2004 Who’s Who Among American College Students, Lowry is a member of the Order of Omega Honor Society and an Overall Mason Vision Awards recipient.

Emmaline Gayk, a dual major in government and international politics and French from Yorktown, Virginia, was awarded the John C. Wood Scholarship. A resident advisor for the Office of Housing and Residence Life and a temporary administrative assistant at the British Council, her service work includes membership vice president and service vice president of Alpha Phi Omega, a national community service fraternity; secretary of the university Chess Club; and senator of the Student Government. She has won a number of scholarships: 2004–05 and 2005–06 George Mason University Foundation Scholarships, the Center for Global Education Study Abroad Scholarship, and the Modern and Classical Language Study Abroad Scholarship. Her honors include the 2004–05 Student Government Academic Achievement Award and fall 2003 to fall 2005 Dean’s Lists. A member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Alpha Lambda Delta, she also holds a certificate in advanced French from the Institut Catholique in Paris.

The recipient of this year’s John C. and Louise P. Wood Graduate Scholarship is Mery Rodriguez, a second-year doctoral student in conflict analysis and resolution. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, she holds a master’s degree in conflict analysis and resolution from Mason, and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. While an undergraduate, Rodriguez was an intern for the United Nations Information Center in Colombia. Upon graduation, she taught classes at Catholic University of Colombia. Prompted by a desire to learn about conflict and possibilities for its resolution, Rodriguez moved to the United States, where she has found opportunities to explore this interest in projects related to the integration and empowerment of immigrants. She is the student representative for the faculty for Graduate Students on Conflict Studies at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and a member of Mason’s international chapter of Phi Beta Delta. Her honors include the 2003 Women’s Studies Award and Dean’s List at Tompkins Cortland Community College and Catholic University of Colombia’s Scholarship for Excellence in Teaching.

This year’s Peter C. Forame Student Leadership Scholarship went to Mario Lorello, a dual major in government and international politics and communication. From Midlothian, Virginia, Lorello is a resident advisor for the Office of Housing and Residence Life and a peer advisor and Project Peak assistant trip leader for the Freshman Center. His extensive volunteer positions include representative to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, member of the President/Provost’s Student Advisory Council, president and past treasurer of Phi Alpha Delta International Pre-Law Fraternity, and the Student Government’s secretary of community relations. Lorello has also participated in alternative spring break activities. He is a member of the Alpha Chi Honor Society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and has been named to the Dean’s List.

The recipient of this year’s Wayne F. Anderson Award for Public Service is Paul Maltagliati, BS Public Administration ’84 and MPA ’90. Maltagliati is the chief deputy sheriff for operations for the Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office and holds the rank of lieutenant colonel. During his 21-year tenure in the Sheriff’s Office, Maltagliati has provided leadership and management at all levels of the agency through the invaluable community programs he has initiated. One such project was the redesign and redeployment of the former Inmate Work Force, now known as the Community Labor Force (CLF). Maltagliati identified areas where nonviolent Adult Detention Center inmates could be used to augment and in some cases replace existing Fairfax County contracts for services. The first Mason wrestler to qualify for the NCAA Division I championships, Maltagliati is still an athlete, competing in judo on the national level.

Donna McIntosh, BA Speech Communication ’84 and JD ’89, was awarded the Department of Communication Outstanding Alumni Award. She practices family law for the law firm of Smith Hudson, Carluzzo & McIntosh in Manassas, Virginia. McIntosh was a judicial law clerk for the 31st Judicial Circuit of Virginia from 1990 to 1993. She is past president of the Prince William County Bar Association, a founding director of the Prince William Bar Foundation, a conference representative to the Virginia State Bar, and a member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. She continues to be active on campus through her participation in the WGMU Alumni Chapter and as a judge in the School of Law’s mock court competitions.

 University Career Services awards its Career Connection Alumni Award to Marvin Watkins, BA Economics ’78 and MA Economics ’80. Watkins has been an economist with the federal government for 25 years, spending half his career at the Securities and Exchange Commission and the other half at the International Trade Administration. Watkins has been recognized with numerous awards. Now helping students, he regularly presents workshops on employment with the federal government for University Career Services. Last fall, he conducted mock interviews with students as part of the Interview Prep and Practice event.

The recipient of the School of Public Policy Alumni Service Award is Francesca Holzheimer, MA International Commerce and Policy ’05, an economist at Global Insight (USA) Inc. In 2004, Holzheimer was a tutor coach for an Institute of Peace and George Mason University program, S.E.N.S.E. Training for Decision Making and Development. The program helped officials associated with the new government in Iraq with the socioeconomic demands of post-war reconstruction through the use of advanced simulation software. She is a member of Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts Young Associates Committee; a U.S. Figure Skating Association member and International Skating member and silver-level judge; and chair of the Kappa Delta Sorority Girl Scouts Philanthropy Project. Holzheimer received her BA in economics with a minor in coaching science cum laude from the University of Delaware in 2003.

Flora Crater, BA Government and Politics ’81, was awarded the Barbara B. Knight Distinguished Alumni Award. Crater has been involved in politics for more than half her life. At the age of 92, she still publishes a newsletter called The Woman Activist and actively campaigns for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment. Crater was the first president of the Northern Virginia Chapter of the National Organization for Women and the first coordinator of the Virginia Women’s Political Caucus. In 1977, Crater began publishing The Almanac of Virginia Politics, an annual directory that provides a summary of each state legislator’s agenda, key votes for the General Assembly session, and a list of campaign contributions and economic disclosures. Recently, she turned the almanac over to Mason and Toni-Michelle Travis, associate professor of government and politics, who co-edited the 2005 edition with Crater. Throughout her career, Crater has been a champion for school integration, minority rights, and the advancement of women. In 1999, she received a Human Rights Award from the Fairfax County Human Rights Commission.

Museum and nonprofit management executive Paul Reber, MA History ’92, was recognized with the Stephen Karbelk Alumnus of the Year Award. He was director of the White House Endowment Fund and director of development at historic Mount Vernon. Reber worked for the National Trust for Historic Preservation as an associate campaign director for historic sites and served as executive director for the Decatur House Museum in Washington, D.C., from 1996 to 2001. From 2002 to 2005, he was president of Old Salem Inc. in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a restored 18th-century Moravian community. Since 2003, he has been on the faculty of the Public History graduate program at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Reber earned his PhD in American studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Back Row: Alexandra Sims, Uzoma Nkwonta, Samantha Mortlock, James Laychak, Paul Reber, Rick Davis, Marvin Watkins, JoLynn Bailey-Page, Mario Lorello, Sylvanus Bent; Middle Row: Mery Rodriguez, Carolyn Humphrey, Francesca Holzheimer, Donna McIntosh, Jean Wu, Karen Vaughan, Tony Budny, Emmaline Gayk; Sitting: Paul Maltagliati, Flora Crater, Ryan Lowry, John Butler, Brian Cable


The Office of Admissions recognized Karen Vaughan, BS Business Administration ’97, with its Volunteer Network Outstanding Commitment Award. Since graduation, Vaughan has worked in electronic publishing and software application development. She currently is a project manager for Enwisen Inc., a web-based human resources and benefits communications solution provider. Currently living in Atlanta, she represents Mason at four to five admissions fairs a year.

JoLynn Bailey-Page, BM Vocal Performance ’01, coordinator of the Potomac Music Academy, was awarded the College of Visual and Performing Arts Alumni Service Award. Bailey-Page attended Stanford University as a music and psychology major and continued her music studies in clavichord and harpsichord in Oxford, England. Throughout the years, Bailey-Page has maintained a private piano studio. She freelances as a vocal soloist and is working on a lecture–recital titled “Open Me Carefully: A Musical Exploration of Emily Dickinson.” This spring, Bailey-Page began training as a volunteer with the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia.

This year’s Distinguished Nursing Alumni Award went to Carolyn Humphrey, BSN ’76. Vice president and education director for Hopkins Educational Resources, a company she cofounded, Humphrey has been involved in all aspects of home healthcare. From 1995 to 2005, Humphrey was editor in chief of Home Healthcare Nurse. She is also the author of Home Care Nursing Handbook and coauthor of the Manual of Home Care Nursing Orientation, both American Journal of Nursing Books of the Year. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, on the task force of the American Nursing Association Home Care Nursing Standards and Scope of Practice Committee, and a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the national nursing honor society.

John Butler Jr., BAIS ’99, received the New Century College Outstanding Alumni Award. A senior strategist for Witeck-Combs Communications Inc., Butler is an industry expert on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues in the marketing and advertising community. He was recently included in Prentice Hall’s Advertising: Principles and Practices for his award-winning work with Volvo Cars of North America. In addition, he sits on the boards of directors of the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministries and the D.C. Chapter of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

In addition, the following scholarships and awards were presented to students: the Black Alumni Commitment to Diversity Book Award to Alexandra Sims, the Marie Gillman Scholarship to Monique Becker, the Dean Engle Memorial Scholarship to Uzoma Nkwonta, the School of Law Alumni Chapter Scholarship to Samantha Mortlock, the Emerging Business Leader Undergraduate Award to Brian Cable, the Emerging Business Leader Graduate Award to Sylvanus Bent, and the Beth Kauffman Award for Creativity to Tony Budny.

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Alumna of the Year D. Jean Wu with Alumni Association president-elect Peter J. Farrell

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Alumni Association President and Master of Ceremonies Cathy Lemmon

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Alumni Service Award winner James Laychak with Alumni Association president-elect Peter J. Farrell