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Mitchell '67 among honorees at President's Homecoming Gala

Jeff Rankin
Monmouth College Hall of Achievement inductee Jerry Mitchell ’67 (right) was among the honored guests at the President’s Homecoming Gala on Oct. 21. President Mauri Ditzler was also able to congratulate the recipients of the college’s awards for Distinguished Alumnus, Young Alumnus, Distinguished Service and Family of the Year, as well as the Hatch Award for Distinguished Teaching, which was received by sociology and anthropology professor Steve Buban.
Monmouth College announced six award winners at its annual President’s Homecoming Gala on Oct. 21. Held in the college’s Huff Athletic Center, the event was attended by approximately 250 alumni, friends, faculty and staff, and featured an address by President Mauri Ditzler and entertainment by the Fighting Scots Marching Band.

Award winners included Jerry Mitchell ’67, who was inducted into the college’s Hall of Achievement, the highest honor MC bestows upon its graduates, and professor of sociology and anthropology Steve Buban, who received the Hatch Award for Distinguished Teaching.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award was presented to Jackie Zachmeyer ’89; the Distinguished Service Award went to the Hon. Daniel Weber ’74; and the Young Alumnus Award was presented to Alex Melvin ’05. The Geiger family was honored as the college’s Family of the Year.

Mitchell spent nearly 30 years with the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service, helping U.S. business overseas, most recently as senior commercial officer in Mexico from 2002 to 2004. Prior to that, he served two years in Washington, D.C., as a deputy director general, the top career position in the service. He was also posted in Korea, Belgium, Greece, Canada and Africa. In 2005-06 he served as executive director of the International Center of Austin (Texas), developing an active business outreach program that focused on educating small businesses about the skills and knowledge needed for successfully conducting international business. Currently, he is an adjunct professor in international business at Austin Community College.

A member of the faculty since 1977, Buban is a 1971 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Iowa, where he also earned his master’s and Ph.D. in sociology. Prior to Monmouth, he taught at the University of Manitoba and the University of Northern Iowa. Buban has held several leadership roles at Monmouth, including chairing Faculty Senate, and has also been active with the Warren County United Way and Warren Achievement Center. He has represented the college in several capacities with the Associated Colleges of the Midwest and, in 2009, was the winner of the Hatch Academic Excellence Award for Distinguished Service.

Zachmeyer is director of finance for the construction and forestry division of Deere & Co. in Moline. Following her graduation with a degree in accounting, she joined the audit staff of KPMG in Davenport, Iowa. Four years later, she went to work for Deere & Co. as an internal auditor. That led to a series of managerial positions with the company, culminating with a move to Canada in 2003, where she became the controller at the Welland (Ontario) Works. In 2006, she moved to Mannheim, Germany, when she was named director of finance for Deere’s agriculture and turf division – Europe, Africa & Middle East. In 2010 she returned to corporate headquarters in the U.S. Among her volunteer activities is work with special needs individuals through a therapeutic horseback riding organization.

Weber ’74 has had a long and active relationship with Monmouth College as a student, alumnus and parent. As a student, he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, Blue Key and the golf team and served as vice president of the Student Association. Weber was a member of the Alumni Board of Directors from 1999 until 2008, serving as both its president and representative to MC’s board of trustees. A loyal supporter of the admission program, he regularly attends recruiting events and meets with admission counselors, prospective students and their parents in the Chicagoland area. Along with his wife, Geralyn Pope Weber ’76, he also organizes and hosts alumni functions. A graduate of John Marshall Law School, Weber was the recipient of its district alumni award and is a member of the Board of Governors of the Illinois Judges Association. Since retiring as a judge, he remains active as a litigator, works with handicapped children through the Sunshine Golf program and plays Santa Claus for hospitals and non-profit organizations.

Melvin is president of Rural King, a farm-and-home store with 52 locations in seven states and 2,500 employees. A business administration major as a college student, he worked part-time on a rural Monmouth farm owned by MC professor Ken McMillan. After graduation, he initially worked as a project manager for Colcon Industries, a contractor based in his hometown of Sullivan, which specializes in building stores for Walmart, Home Depot and Lowes. In 2008 he joined Rural King as vice president of distributing, and he was named president in 2011.

The Geiger family began its association with Monmouth College when Joseph Geiger ’50 enrolled after returning from serving four years in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was soon followed by his brother, Ken Geiger ’53, and eventually a long string of family members would enroll at Monmouth. The family has remained active in the life of the college, annually attending homecomings, reunions and special events, and continuing to recruit students to Monmouth, many of whom are enrolled today.