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Lor Vang ’14

Lor is one of some 550 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who received a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) from the U.S. Department of State. CLS participants spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes in one of 13 countries. Lor spent the summer in China focusing on the study of Chinese language. CLS Program participants are among the more than 40,000 academic and professional exchange program participants supported annually by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

Julie Mehretu ’92

The United States Department of State named Julie as a recipient of its 2015 Medal of Arts. The honor recognizes her internationally acclaimed abstract paintings and prints and her impact in promoting cultural diplomacy. She is one of seven artists so honored. Julie lives and works in New York City. She was the featured guest speaker at the 2014 American Artist Lecture Series in London this past September. Julie is considered to be one of the leading contemporary artists in the United States, and she has received numerous international recognition for her work, including the American Art Award from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the prestigious MacArthur Fellow award.

Daniell Mattern ’70

Daniell received the Margaret McLean Coulter Professorship at the University of Mississippi. Daniell, who joined the “Ole Miss” faculty in 1980, was chosen for this endowed chair “as a result of his outstanding achievements in research about organic electronic materials and his unparalleled success in teaching a difficult branch of chemistry to a myriad of UM students,” said a UM news release. An organic synthetic chemist who teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in organic chemistry, Daniell has a long record of instructional excellence, having received the university’s Elsie M. Hood Outstanding Teacher of the Year in 1992 and the College of Liberal Arts Teacher of the Year in 1998. He also is an accomplished cellist (playing with the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra) and has written a few “Ten-Minutes Plays” that have been produced by Theatre Oxford. Daniell earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from Stanford University.

Judy Bell ’71

Last October Judy was the featured artist at the 37th annual Quilt Show, sponsored by Washington State Quilters. Judy worked for two decades as a family practice physician in California. Her family’s roots trace back to the hills of West Virginia, where one of her grandmothers was a quilter. That fact and occasional visits to quilt museums in New England and Europe during a 40-year span kept her interested in quilting. When she retired in 2006 she started making quilts herself. She uses a long-arm quilting machine, “basically a sewing machine mounted on a big frame.” Judy has taken classes and taught herself the craft by watching videos and reading books. Since her retirement she’s made about 50 quilts. Asked in an interview about her thought process during the making of a quilt, Judy replied, “I think about classical music or Billy Joel or Elton John, because I like to have music on while I’m quilting. But I think about quilting and various patterns and what I’m going to do half the day, because it’s so fascinating to me. I spent my whole professional life being very technical, very scientific, very linear. And there’s a lot of that in quilting. You have to sew a seam and make one point come to another point. But what’s fun is that I can also ask myself, ’Can I try this? What if I do that?’ I couldn’t do that very much when I was in medicine.” Judy’s extensive post-retirement travel has influenced her work. She’s learned about fabric arts in countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania and Nepal. “Quilting has given me a way to connect to the women in those countries,” Judy said. “They may not quilt, but you can still immerse yourself in color and fabric.” Interestingly, Japan is a country where quilting is taking off. Explained Judy: “Japan already had a long tradition of handmade fabrics, but not patchwork quilts. Then the TV series “Little House on the Prairie” was syndicated in Japan about 15 years ago and became wildly popular. Because there were a lot of quilts in the show, reproducing this primitive American art form took over in Japan. Now, the Tokyo International Quilt Festival in January is the biggest quilt show in the world, with a whole section devoted to “Little House on the Prairie”-style quilts made by Japanese women.” Judy matriculated to K from Hillsdale, Michigan. At K, she majored in psychology and studied abroad in Erlangen, Germany.

Siu-Lan Tan, Professor of Psychology

NYU/Steinhardt is celebrating its 125th anniversary by inviting speakers from around the world to participate in year-round events. One of those speakers will be Siu-Lan. In March she will give a short talk titled “Why Movies Move Us: The Psychology and Neuroscience of Film Music.” She also will be one of a four-member panel that will discuss the topic with the audience. In addition to Siu-Lan (a psychologist), the panel includes a film composer, a neuroscientist and a music theorist.

Gerald Rosen ’73

Last month Rosen received the Alvin Foon Humanitarian Award from the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation. Rosen is the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. At Oak Park High School he earned All-State honors in tennis at number-one singles. At K he was an outstanding player for the men’s tennis Hornets. He majored in political science and studied abroad in Stockholm, Sweden. His Senior Individualized Project was a study of Swedish press coverage of the 1972 U.S. presidential election. Rosen earned his J.D. from George Washington University Law School. He is a former legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Robert Griffin of Michigan and was a senior partner with Miller Canfield before his appointment to the U.S. District Court.

Lisa Ludwinski ’06

In mid-February Lisa  was named a 2017 James Beard Awards Restaurant and Chef Semifinalist in the “Outstanding Baker” category–“A chef or baker who prepares breads, pastries or desserts in a retail bakery, and who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence.” Lisa was honored for her work at Sister Pie in Detroit.

Jeff Curry ’83

Jeff was named the 2015 Credit Union Community Volunteer of the Year by the Michigan Credit Union Foundation (MCUF). The award recognizes a credit union employee or member who has a history of exemplary volunteer service outside of the credit union system. Jeff has volunteered with numerous southwest Michigan nonprofit organizations for more than 25 years. Currently, he is the board president of both the Lake Michigan College Foundation and the Fun Financial Literacy Institute. He is the current treasurer and past president of the Niles Community School District Board of Education. Jeff serves on the board of directors of the Michigan Gateway Community Foundation’s Buchanan Area Fund, and is a committee chairman for Michigan’s Great Southwest Strategic Leadership Council and the Kinexus Bridge Academy. He is a former board member and campaign chair for United Way of Southwest Michigan, and past president of the Niles-Buchanan YMCA and the Buchanan Lions Club. Jeff earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and business and studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. He is vice president of operations at United Federal Credit Union (St. Joseph, Mich.) He and his wife Diane live in Niles, Michigan.

Chris Bussert ’78

Earlier this year Chris won the Southern Hard Courts tennis championships. He figured, why not make the jump to the national seniors tennis scene. Why not, indeed. After all, he already had a template (so to speak) to follow. In 1978 he was Division III singles and doubles national champion, playing on the 1978 national championship team under George Acker. This past June, Chris won the National Super Category II singles championship in Austin, Texas, his first national singles title since his senior year as a Hornet. In the finals at Austin he beat the number one seed, a longtime member of the U.S. International Team. As a result of his tournament win, Chris was ranked in the top 20 in the U.S. in his age division. He’s since climbed to number 12.

Ron Klein ’74

Ron and his wife Suzanne live at and manage the first farm in Michigan to be designated Certified Wildlife Friendly by the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network. The 46-acre Windshadow Farm (Bangor, Michigan) ensures the health of its 150-head dairy goat herd in concert with surrounding wetlands and habitat for species that include amphibians, reptiles, ground-nesting birds and raptors. Ron and Suzanne time the grazing of the pasture-fed goats to ensure nutrient-dense forage. The milk produced allows for production of high-quality cheeses, distributed in western Michigan and in Chicago under the Evergreen Lane Artisan Cheese label. The natural areas surrounding Windshadow Farm allow for migration of coyotes and fishers through a marsh extending from the Black River. Two Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs are with the dairy herd at all times, and vulnerable animals are gathered in a secured dry lot at night. The couple enjoy identifying the multiple species of turtles, frogs, toads and snakes found on the property and regularly see egrets, herons and sandhill cranes, along with a host of raptors. Instead of draining seasonally wet areas, the farm has developed a management-intensive grazing system around them. The farm maintains a grassed perimeter around pastures and times hay crop gathering and grazing to protect ground-nesting birds and capture rain water. Ron and Suzanne believe they are seeing an increase in native pollinators due to careful management. The return of pollinators, along with more amphibians and reptiles, are signs of a healthy ecosystem. The farm uses solar power for some of its operations, and it also is certified for its high-welfare animal care by the Animal Welfare Approved program. Ron and Suzanne have served on the board of directors of the Michigan Land Trustees, an organization that promotes local food, small farms and rural revitalization.