Archives

Ryan Plecha ’04

Ryan was named to the Crain’s Detroit Business list of “40 Under 40” for 2015, an annual citation of 40 successful professionals and entrepreneurs under the age of 40 in Southeast Michigan. Ryan is a partner at the Birmingham law firm of Lippitt O’Keefe Gornbein. He played a key role in his firm’s representation of the Retired Detroit Police and Fire Fighters Association and the Detroit Retired City Employees Association during Detroit’s recent bankruptcy proceedings. He also has defended two major class action suits, handled a multi-million-dollar corporate purchase agreement, and represented a major auto maker in a multi-million-dollar supplier dispute. He serves as local counsel for a number of the nation’s top law firms. Ryan has been honored by many groups and publications, and he is the 2015 recipient of the Detroit Metropolitan Bar Association’s Barristers President’s Award. At K, Ryan majored in psychology. He earned his law degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

Dawn Schluter ’86

Dawn was named one of 30 “Women in the Law” for 2016 by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. An editorial panel selected the honorees based on their commitment to excellence in the practice of law, accomplishments as leaders in the profession, service as mentors to other women, and involvement in the community. Dawn was honored at a luncheon on September 15. She works in Troy for the law firm Miller Canfield. At K she majored in political science and studied abroad in Muenster, Germany.

William R. (Rob) Morrison ’06, Ph.D.

The Eastern Branch of the Entomology Society of America has honored Rob with the Excellence in Early Career Award. Rob is a research entomologist at the USDA-ARS Center for Grain and Animal Health Research in Manhattan, Kansas. The award honors a student or early professional working within the field of entomology who has demonstrated excellence in all the major aspects of intellectual life, including research, extension, teaching and outreach.

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.