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Mt. Lebanon High School
2010 GREAT ALUMNI AWARDS

The Great Alumni Award is a project of the Mt. Lebanon High School Student Council.  Administrators, faculty, students, and alumni serve on the selection committee. The recipients of the Great Alumni Award are selected based on exceptional work in at least one of the following areas: improvement in the lives of others, involvement in community service or achievement in a professional field.

The awardees will be honored at a luncheon in the High School on September 24, 2010 and at the football game that evening.

      David C. Farrell    Class of 1951
       
David Farrell graduated in Mt. Lebanon's class of 1951, where he was Student Council President and active in theater. After graduating from Antioch College, he embarked upon a more-than-four-decade career with the May Company (beginning at Kaufmann's in Pittsburgh). One of the nation’s most successful retail executives, Farrell  retired in 1998 after serving as chairman and CEO of the May Company for twenty years. Under his leadership the May Company became one of the nation's largest and most profitable department stores in the country.

Farrell has served as a member of Washington University’s Board of Trustees for 30  years.  In April 2009,  Farrell received the "Search" Award - the William Greenleaf  Eliot Society's highest honor . This award is presented each year to a person who has made enduring contributions to Washington University in St. Louis.   In 2003, Farrell and his wife, Betty, made a leadership gift to build the Farrell Teaching and Learning Center on the Medical Campus.   

Nominators and fellow classmates John and JoAnn Smith note Farrell’s extensive community service.  Farrell has  served on the boards of Emerson Electric Company, Ralston-Purina, Company, the Boy Scouts of America, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the St. Louis Art Museum.  His contributions for enriching the qualify of life for St. Louisans were acknowledged in 1988 when he was the recipient of the  “St. Louis” award, an honor given to area leaders who have brought distinction to St. Louis.


    Dr. Jeffrey Fisher    Class of 1967
     
                                                                                    
Professor Jeffrey Fisher is one of the foremost health psychologists active in health promotion and disease prevention worldwide today. Professor Fisher is the Founder and Director of the Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention at the University of Connecticut and Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor at the University of Connecticut.  With  his brother, William A. Fisher (Mt. Lebanon High School Class of 1970 and 2008 Great Alumni Recipient),  he is the co-developer of the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills approach to HIV/AIDS prevention, a preeminent prevention approach endorsed by the U.S. and Canadian governments and implemented in the US, Canada, Africa, and worldwide.

The recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Fisher has published eight textbooks and over 100 papers in peer reviewed academic journals. Professor Fisher's contributions in the four decades since his graduation from Mt. Lebanon High School have positioned him as an international leader in the science of HIV/AIDS prevention, as a sought after health promotion intervention developer in countries worldwide, and as a first-ranked scholar and humanitarian.

The Business Editor of the Lebanon Lantern his senior year, Dr. Fisher has remained very active in the Mt. Lebanon High School Alumni Internet Listserve and has attended all of his Mt. Lebanon class reunions.   His brother and nominator William A. Fisher notes, “My brother’s 1965 Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible was clearly the best decorated car for Seniors Day, 1967; he had the best flat top haircut, and he took the Argentinean Exchange Student to the Prom to the envy of many.”


     M.A. (Betzler) Jackson    Class of 1985
     

Associate editor of Mt. Lebanon Magazine and Historical Society of Mount Lebanon president Margaret Jackson has made indispensable contributions to the historic preservation of Mt. Lebanon.  Through her active engagement with Mt. Lebanon Magazine and the Historical Society, Margaret has developed programs and initiatives that educate students and citizens about the history of Mt. Lebanon.   

Margaret has made significant contributions to the Historical Society of Mount Lebanon and has    worked relentlessly to ensure its continued success. Stating “the entire reason for having a historical society is to educate the public,” Margaret spearheaded efforts to establish a Mt. Lebanon History Center, which she spent three years developing. The center opened in June 2009 at 200 Lebanon Avenue with an exhibit entitled “What We Wore.” Margaret updates the Historical Society’s website, writes copy for the Society’s quarterly newsletter, and oversees the staff of History Center volunteers.  She also created a 56 page booklet and website about the history of St. Clair Cemetery, the community’s oldest graveyard. Margaret has won several awards for her writing for the Mt. Lebanon Magazine.  She also has demonstrated a strong commitment to the Mt. Lebanon Public Library, as a regular volunteer at the library’s used bookstore, a former board member of the Friends of the Library, and as publicity chair for the library’s 75th gala.   Margaret is currently heading a committee compiling an Arcadia “Images of America” photobook about Mt. Lebanon.  The book will debut in 2012, which is the community’s 100th anniversary.  Nominated by Carol Fryday and Monique Fontaine.


    Jay Kopelman    Class of 1978
     

Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Jay Kopelman is the New York Times bestselling author of the books, From Baghdad, With Love, and From Baghdad To America, now serves as the Executive Director of Freedom Is Not Free, a nonprofit dedicated to assisting wounded service members and their families, and the families of the fallen by making financial grants to ease their financial burdens, and by hosting programs that enrich their lives.  Here he developed the Little Warriors Surf Camp for military children.  The camp was featured on The Today Show.

Jay began his military career in 1985; he earned his Naval Aviator wings in September 1987, and later earned his gold naval parachutist wings while assigned to the 1st Air/Naval Gunfire Liaison Company (ANGLICO). Remaining active in the Marine Corps Reserve, Jay was recalled to active duty after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  As the Special Operations Forces Liaison Officer for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, Jay deployed to Iraq to train the Iraqi Special Forces.   He was assigned as the liaison officer to an Iraqi Army battalion and led them into the battle of Fallujah to remove insurgents and take control of the city. There he met Lava, a five week old puppy abandoned days before the invasion.  Jay retired from the Marine Corps on February 1, 2007.

Nominator and classmate Wendy Smiley notes that Jay is a sought-after public speaker and military commentator for network and local news.  Jay is a member of the Armed Forces Interest Group of the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation; the advisory board of the Virtual Reality Medical Center; and the Military Advisory Committee of the G.I. Film Festival.

He and his wife, Pamela Godde, an anthropologist, are avid surfers who live in Southern California with their two boys and their pets, including Lava, the Iraqi stray.


     Alby Oxenreiter    Class of 1978
     
Alby Oxenreiter is one of Pittsburgh’s best-known and most popular sportscasters.  Alby is the sports anchor for Channel 11 News on Fox 53 at 10pm, and an anchor/reporter for Channel 11 Sports.  Alby joined WPXI-TV in January of 2006.  Alby is one of 12 children of Jeanne and Bill Oxenreiter.  Alby's father and all 12 Oxenreiter children attended Mt. Lebanon High School.  Alby received a B.A. degree in Communications from Villanova University, and began his career as a sportscaster in Grand Junction, CO.  Alby then returned to Pennsylvania, working as a sportscaster in Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and in Pittsburgh for WTAE-TV, WPGH-TV and WPXI-TV.  Alby has earned four Golden Quill Awards from the Pittsburgh Press Club, numerous awards from Associated Press, and a Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award.  Alby was recently honored with the Ethos Award by the Villanova Communication Honor Society for character and excellence in the field of communication, and for his commitment to service through multiple projects and organizations.  Alby is also the co-author of “Sports Memories of Western Pennsylvania.” 

Alby is very involved in Pittsburgh-area charities.  The annual Alby Oxenreiter Golf Classic benefits the Multiple Sclerosis Service Society, a division of UCP/CLASS.  Alby sits on the UCP/CLASS Board of Directors, as well as the Funding Committee for the Mt. Lebanon Veterans Memorial.  He’s also been involved in a board or advisory role for the Southwestern PA Chapter of the American Cancer Society, Southwinds, the Arthritis Foundation, and DePaul Institute, and has worked with Saint Anthony's School programs for children with special needs.  Alby serves as the annual emcee for the Golden Apple Awards dinner, which recognizes outstanding teachers in the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese and for the North Side Friends and Neighbors Sports Gala benefiting Cardinal Wright Regional School on Pittsburgh’s North Side.  Alby’s a member of the Champions Committee of the Heinz History Center’s Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum.

Alby was a member of the 1977 Mt. Lebanon HS WPIAL championship soccer team (Mt. Lebanon’s first WPIAL soccer champion).  Alby has shown a remarkable commitment and dedication to Mt. Lebanon, and has always supported his community whenever the opportunity presents itself.  Nominator John Grogan states that "Alby is a community treasure.  My favorite anecdote was when Alby wanted to come to a Lebo Spirit Assembly to present an award, and he managed to move the taping of "The Jerome Bettis Show" so that he could do both.”  Alby lives in Mt. Lebanon with his wife Karen and their three children, Alby III, Abigail, and Oliver.  "I'm very fortunate to have the opportunity to live and work in the same town where I was born and raised," Alby says, "and to report on the sports teams I grew up watching."


    Robert Schilken, M.D.    Class of 1982 
     
Dr. Robert Schilken is an orthopedic surgeon at Allegheny General Hospital, and an Instructor of Orthopedic Surgery at Drexel University College of Medicine. Dr. Schilken is an active member in the sports medicine division. He is presently a team doctor for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He also serves as the team physician for Seton La Salle high school as well as Bethel Park High School. Dr. Schilken has formerly served as the team physician for the Washington Wild Things baseball team, Brentwood and Baldwin high schools.
A three year starter for the 1979-1981 Mt. Lebanon football teams who won two WPIAL Championships, Schilken was a Parade All American, and an All State and All Conference player. Schilken was a highly recruited Division I football player who chose to attend the University of Pittsburgh. A member of the University of Pittsburgh football team from 1982-1985, Schilken played in the Fiesta and Cotton Bowls, and was a three year letterman.  Schilken received the Blue-Gold Award for Academic Achievement his senior year, as well as an NCAA scholarship for post-graduate studies. Robert continued his post graduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, were he combined his love of sports with medicine. Following his completion of medical school Dr. Schilken completed an Orthopaedic residency at AGH. He did a Fellowship in sports medicine at Penn State/ Hershey Medical Center, treating Penn State's varsity athletes.
Nominators Tom Steffora and Russ Jones note that Dr. Schilken “truly defines the phrase ‘scholar athlete’ and always remembers his Mt. Lebanon roots. He continues to be the respectful, cheerful, unassuming and humble person he was when he attended Mt. Lebanon High School.”

Presently Dr. Schilken resides in Mt. Lebanon with his wife Dolores and two daughters Alex and Meghan. Robert continues to stay active in the community he grew up in by serving on local community boards. His favorite activity though, is coaching football at St. Bernard School. "I feel I have something to teach these kids not only in football, but with life as well. I find it very gratifying to see the kids I've coached playing in high school now."


    Clayton A. Sweeney    Class of 1949 
     
Clayton A. Sweeney has enjoyed a successful career as a corporate executive and a lawyer, and has shared his time and talents with  many charitable organizations.   Clayton received his B.S. and J.D. from Duquesne University.  He is a business consultant and Senior Counsel at Schnader, Harrison, Segal and Lewis.

Clayton has been an influential and valuable volunteer, board member, and benefactor of Emmaus Community of Pittsburgh through the years.  He was instrumental in organizing a capital campaign for the Emmaus Community of Pittsburgh.  To date the campaign has raised $1.2 million of its $1.6 million goal. Emmaus serves persons with developmental disabilities by providing residential homes, respite situations and advocacy.  Emmaus was founded by Lorraine (Mt. Lebanon Class of 1955 and 2008 Great Alumni Award Recipient) and Ken Wagner who are parents of special needs children.

Clayton, along with his sister Mary Grace Stafford and Judith Nowe of Mt. Lebanon, founded the Center for Theater Arts which opened in Mt. Lebanon in 1981.  Center classes strive to challenge students while inspiring creative expression, boosting positive self-esteem, enhancing presentation skills and developing a love and respect for the arts.  Since its inception, the Center has also offered classes for individuals with developmental disabilities.    Clayton is a former Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Wesley Institute.  Niece and nominator Margaret Pollock states that “Clayton believes that everyone should contribute to their personal endeavors to the extent which they are able.  For many years Clayton has contributed to more than seventy charities.   However the impact Clayton has had on the charities he supports cannot be measured in dollar amounts.  His commitment to the mission of any organization he has served with always brings that organization to a higher level of excellence.”   


    Robert Ufer (deceased)  Class of 1938
     

Bob Ufer – the Voice of Michigan Football - was the legendary radio broadcaster for the Michigan Wolverines football team for 37 years, starting in 1944.   He is remembered for his exuberant, partisan broadcasting style, openly rooting for the Wolverines.    He had many familiar so-called “Uferisms” such as referring to Michigan and “Meeechigan” and honking loudly on the actual horn from General Patton’s Jeep whenever Michigan scored a touchdown. 

Renowned and beloved for his broadcasting style and skills, Ufer was an outstanding athlete in his own right.   At Mt. Lebanon, Ufer was a great sprinting fullback, scoring over 100 points during the 1937 season.  He set the WPIAL 440 record in 1937 of 50.8 seconds that stood for 18 years.  He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1943, playing football as a freshman but excelling in track, setting eight all-time Michigan track records, including the world’s quarter mile record which stood for five years and was a Michigan record for 32 years.   Many believe he would have been a strong candidate for the Olympic Games of 1940 and 1944 if they had not been cancelled due to World War II.

The last U-M football game Ufer broadcast, his 362nd straight, was against Iowa on October 17, 1981.  The band spelled out “UFER” on the field in his honor.  He lost his battle with cancer nine days later, at the age of 61.  

Nominator Harold Wilson, Jr.  (Class of 1949 and 2009 Great Alumni Award Recipient)  first met Ufer just prior to Wilson’s son enrolling at University of Michigan.  Wilson notes that “Bob was very welcoming and personable.  He spoke very highly of his Mt. Lebanon roots, particularly his athletics involvement at Mt. Lebanon High School.”
 

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