2010 Distinguished Alumni Awards

Marla Graff Decker
Class of 1980

Commonwealth of Virginia, Secretary of Public Safety

As a student leader Marla Graff Decker foreshadowed her future career in law by serving as parliamentarian of the Student Senate, chairman of the Student Conduct Review Board, and member of both the Academic Policy and Program committee and the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. After graduation as a political science major she earned her Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Richmond and has continued as an adjunct professor in the School of Law.

Her first position in her extraordinary legal career was as Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1991 she was promoted to Deputy Attorney General of the Public Safety and Enforcement Division, holding that position under two administrations until Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell tapped her as Secretary of Public Safety in 2010. The 14 state agencies she oversees as Secretary enforce criminal, highway safety, and alcoholic beverage laws; protect the public through corrections and criminal justice; train first responders, and plan and coordinate the state's emergency
preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts.

In addition to pursuing her life's work in justice and public safety, Decker was an emergency medical services volunteer for many years, during which time she met her husband, Richard "Chip" Decker III, CEO of the Richmond Ambulance Authority. They make their home in Richmond, Virginia, where Decker helps high-achieving high school students learn more about Gettysburg College through the Key Alumni Resource Effort (K.A.R.E.).


Francis "Bud" J. Dougherty
Class of 1960
Retired United States Navy and President and CEO,Transformational Defense Industries, Inc.

The four years Francis "Bud" J. Dougherty attended Gettysburg College appear to be the most time he has ever spent inland. He came to Gettysburg from his hometown of Ocean City, New Jersey in 1956 and majored in English
Literature. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta.

Upon graduation, Dougherty devoted his life's work in service to his nation. He returned to the coast, entering the U.S. Navy through Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. He was commissioned in December 1960, served two combat tours in Vietnam, and commanded two F-14 Fighter Squadrons. In 1975 he reported to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. John F. Kennedy as executive officer. Dougherty later commanded the U.S.S. Concord supply ship as well as a service squadron comprising five ships deployed to Cuba and South America. For his distinguished service and extraordinary valor, he was recognized with the Silver Star medal, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, Meritorious Service medal, 14 air medals, and a Navy Commendation medal. After retiring from the Navy, Dougherty worked in the defense industry and served as President and CEO of Transformational Defense Industries.

"Bud" and his wife Marilyn have three daughters: Allison, Felicia, and Laura. His commitment to community service has been recognized by the State of New Jersey through a citation issued by the General Assembly and a certificate of appreciation. His alma mater benefits from his volunteer participation on his 50th Reunion committee.

James "Biff" Houldin
Class of 1963
International Team Leader, Habitat for Humanity

An economics major and member of Phi Gamma Delta, James "Biff " Houldin graduated from Gettysburg College and worked in the insurance industry and in farming before his passion for education led to teaching high school social studies. He and his wife, Pam, transformed the family farm into a summer camp, Stone Mountain Adventures, which has offered thousands of campers and staff members the opportunities to stretch their personal limits and gain confidence
in themselves as leaders and citizens.

A vision of organized international service learning and adventure travel experiences for teens led the Houldins to develop "Global Works." From the first trip to Puerto Rico to reconstruct homes destroyed by Hurricane Hugo, the network supporting Global Works grew to enable authentic cultural experiences and meaningful service work across the world.

The conviction that learning is a lifelong proposition led to JourneyWays, which planned international community service and adventure trips for adults. Since 2008, Houldin has been international team leader for Habitat for Humanity International, bringing teams of volunteers to Romania, Hungary, and Portugal to build homes for local families.

G. Andrew Mickley Jr.
Class of 1970
Professor of Psychology and Chair of Neuroscience, Baldwin and Wallace College

Psychology major G. Andrew Mickley Jr. graduated from Gettysburg College in 1970 and completed his master's and doctorate degrees in Physiological Psychology from the University of Virginia. He engaged in brain science research during his 21-year career in the United States Air Force, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before retiring in 1993. Mickley and his wife Jacqueline have a daughter, Katherine.

Mickley joined the faculty at Baldwin Wallace College and continued his scientific research, establishing and chairing a program in neuroscience at the liberal arts college. He engages undergraduates in the classroom as professor and in the lab as full collaborators in scientific research. His students conduct research, co-author papers and presentations, and pursue grants. His research and teaching laboratory is regarded as a model for others seeking to engage undergraduates in research.

He is widely recognized for his contributions to teaching and for his scientific research. In 2008 the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education named Mickley the Ohio Professor of the Year.