Four Gettysburg College alumni were presented a Distinguished Alumni Award. This award recognizes alumni who have done outstanding work for humanity or who have distinguished themselves professionally. It is the highest award given by the Alumni Association.
This year's recipients are:
• Patricia M. Bryan '77
• Patricia W. Henry '71
• David M. LeVan '68
• Edward C. Vonderschmidt '74
Patricia M. Bryan '77
Deputy, U.S. Senate Legal Counsel
Patricia Bryan completed her psychology major with cum laude honors and was a member of both the Psi Chi and Phi Beta Kappa honor societies. She entered the Harvard University School of Law and earned her Juris Doctor degree with cum laude honors.
Bryan was admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia and began her legal practice at the prestigious Jones Day firm. An opportunity at the Office of Legal Policy at the United Stated Department of Justice drew her to the public sector. She worked in the White House as associate counsel to the President, providing legal advice to both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. She later returned to the Department of Justice to lead a department of more than 50 attorneys, before suspending her legal career to devote her attention to her family. When she returned to the workforce, she resumed her career at the highest level, as the first woman ever to serve the United States Senate as deputy senate legal counsel.
As a student Bryan was a member of the women's lacrosse team, an Orientation leader, on the staff of the Gettysburgian, and chaired the Student Conduct Review Board. She has served the College as a reunion volunteer and on the public affairs task force for the Commission on the Future; she also advises current students about careers in law.
Patricia W. Henry '71
Senior Associate Director of Athletics, Harvard University
A health and physical education major, Patricia Henry played field hockey and basketball and was chosen as the College's outstanding female athlete in her senior year. After graduating magna cum laude in 1971, Henry returned to her hometown of Lansdale, Pa., as a teacher and coach at North Penn High School. She completed her master of education at West Chester University.
In 1980 Henry joined Harvard University as assistant athletic director. In 1981 she founded the Harvard Radcliffe Foundation for Women's Athletics, which dramatically enhanced and increased support for the women's athletics program. Today, as senior associate director of athletics, she is responsible for the programming at the largest Division I varsity athletics program in the nation and for the development of Harvard's 1,500 athletes and 41 varsity teams. She has advanced the cause of women's athletics and that of intercollegiate and amateur athletics by serving on the Ivy League, NCAA, and United States Olympic Committees.
Henry has participated in almost every type of volunteer position at Gettysburg College, including her service on the Board of Trustees, The Board of Fellows, and the O&B Advisory Council. Her work has been instrumental in the development of the Center for Athletics, Recreation, and Fitness, which will open later this year. She was inducted into the Hall of Athletic Honor in 1987 and received the Women of Distinction award in 1997.
David M. LeVan '68
Managing Partner, Battlefield Harley Davidson
Business administration major David M. LeVan graduated from Gettysburg College in 1968 and left his hometown of Gettysburg for a position at the Big 8 accounting firm of Coopers & Lybrand. In 1978 he joined the Consolidated Rail Corporation - Conrail - and advanced through the ranks to become President and CEO in 1995. A highly publicized hostile takeover of Conrail brought LeVan home to Gettysburg, and he and his life partner and spouse, Jennifer, have been heavily invested in the business, civic, and social life of the community. Together they were a driving force behind the restoration of the Majestic Theater and the Lincoln train station and their generosity is widespread.
LeVan served on the Gettysburg College Board of Trustees from 1994 through 2006. The period during which he presided as Chair of the Board saw great strides: the strengthening of the student body and faculty, the opening of the Science Center, a major fundraising campaign, a new strategic direction, and increased national recognition.
The LeVans' generosity toward Gettysburg College has increased the scholarship support available for a stronger and more diverse student body. An endowed chair, the LeVan Professor of Ethics and Management, ensures scholarship and academic focus on ethical issues in business and helps to instill a concern for ethical issues and behaviors across the curriculum.
Edward C. Vonderschmidt '74
Director, Y.A.L.E. Schools
A Gettysburg College psychology major, Ed Vonderschmidt has devoted his life's work to improving educational opportunities for learners with special needs. Following graduation in 1974, Vonderschmidt became a teacher and supervisor at the Woodhaven Center of Temple University. He earned his master's of education in special education from Temple in 1977.
Since 1978 Vonderschmidt has owned and directed the Y.A.L.E. Schools, state-approved private schools for students with special needs. Under his leadership, these schools have expanded their specialized education programs to serve more than 420 special education students from 12 counties and 93 public school districts in southern New Jersey. Vonderschmidt created the Excalibur Day Camp, a reading camp for students with specific learning disabilities; the Center for Literacy, offering tutoring for children and adults with dyslexia; and Buddy Baseball, pairing high school and special needs baseball players. These programs are distinctive for providing a safe, enhanced learning environment and specialized, individualized instruction. He has served as a consultant to the New Jersey Departments of Human Services and of Education to assess and improve residential programs and private schools.
A three-year veteran of the Gettysburg baseball team, Vonderschmidt has coached baseball, basketball, and soccer in area youth leagues. His interest in creating internships for Gettysburg College students is an indication of his commitment to educating future generations of professionals, and he has also been a loyal reunion committee volunteer.Posted: Wed, 24 Jun 2009
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