Barry McNamara  |   Published October 05, 2015

Award winners

College to recognize eight alumni, professor, family during Homecoming weekend
During its annual Alumni Impact Awards on Oct. 9, Monmouth College will induct two alumni – Maj. Gen John Huston ’48 and Karen Bush Watts ’65 – into its prestigious Hall of Achievement, the highest honor it bestows upon its graduates.

Three other distinguished alumni – Daniel Cotter ’88, Carl Larson ’02 and Deeks Carroll ’62 – will be honored, as well as professor Ken Cramer and a the Rankin family. The ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Mellinger Commons of the Center for Science and Business.

The following day, the college will host its first Fraternity and Sorority Alumni Hall of Fame induction ceremony, at which three alumni – the late Evelyn Peters Kyle ’32, Gail Simpson Owen ’74 and Bradley Nahrstadt ’89 – will be accepted into the Order of Omega Hall of Fame. The ceremony will be held at noon on the main concourse of the Huff Athletic Center.

Following is a brief biography of each of the recipients:

Maj. Gen. John Huston ’48, Hall of Achievement: A World War II veteran who flew 30 combat missions in B-17 aircraft, Huston served on the faculty of the U.S. Naval Academy from 1956 to 1976, the last five years as chairman of the history department. He served as the chief of the Office of Air Force History from 1976 to 1981 and remained a historian at the United States Naval Academy until 1994. The general’s awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

Karen Bush Watts ’65, Hall of Achievement: During her career in the pharmaceutical industry with three major companies, Watts was a member of teams that identified and/or developed the antibiotics Azactam, Zosyn, Levaquin, Doribax and the anti-MRSA cephalosporin, Zeftera. During her research career, she contributed to the development of eight investigational drugs that entered human clinical trials.

Daniel Cotter ’88, Distinguished Alumnus: Daniel Cotter, immediate past president of the Chicago Bar Association, is known for his exceptional character, which not only shines through in his professional life as a partner at Butler Rubin Saltarelli & Boyd LLP, but in his personal life as a devoted father and husband and in his civic, cultural and charitable involvement. His 500 hours per year of community service has helped raise more than $300,000 for the Lawyers Lend-A-Hand To Youth organization, and he serves on Monmouth’s board of trustees.

Carl Larson ’02, Distinguished Young Alumnus: After earning his J.D. degree in 2004, Larson began a career in public service as assistant state’s attorney for Stephenson County. Shortly after assuming that position, he was appointed to lead collaborative cases with the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney General, contributing to multiple published appellate court opinions, successfully negotiating cases, and prosecuting the most challenging jury trials presented to the court.

Deeks Carroll ’62: Distinguished Service: Carroll has served tirelessly as a secretary, organizer and motivator for fellow alumni in his class, and as a vocal advocate for Monmouth College. He credits professors Harlow Blum and Martha Hamilton for nurturing his interest in art, which led to his own long career as an art teacher. As class secretary since 2002, Carroll writes engaging letters that are eagerly anticipated by his classmates, and he visits campus several times a year to meet with scholarship candidates and recipients.

Ken Cramer, Hatch Award for Distinguished Teaching: In addition to chairing the biology department from 1995-2005, Cramer has served on Faculty Senate and the Personnel Committee, as coordinator of the Integrated Studies Program and as associate dean for academic integrity. His particular research interest is the habits and habitats of the brown recluse spider and, while he has published many scholarly articles, his primary focus has been on undergraduate teaching. He has led student scientific expeditions to several locations, including the Grand Canyon, Panama and the exotic ecosystems of the Galapagos and Hawaii.

The Rankin Family, Family of the Year: The Rankin family has had an ongoing, active association with the college ever since its patriarch, Glen Rankin ’43, enrolled as a student. A Hall of Fame athlete, Glen served as president of the student body during his senior year. In 1957, he began a 29-year career with his alma mater. He and his wife’s twin sons, Doug and Jeff, continue the Monmouth tradition. Doug, who graduated from the college in 1979, is a full professor and director of theatre, and his wife, Tamy, is a 1981 graduate. Jeff has served as Monmouth’s director of college communications since 1992 and his wife, Terri, a 2000 MC graduate, is director of alumni and development records. Their daughter, Amanda Cox, is a 2002 Monmouth graduate. Together, Glen, Doug, Jeff and Terri have worked for Monmouth College a total of 106 years.

Evelyn Peters Kyle ’32, Order of Omega: In 1964, Kyle was elected to Pi Beta Phi’s Grand Council to serve as the very first vice president of philanthropy. Five years later, she was elected to serve as grand vice president alumnae. To recognize the importance of her contributions, each year, at the local, regional and national levels, an alumna is awarded the Evelyn Peters Kyle Angel Award for Club Service. When she died in 2009, the bulk of her estate was gifted to the foundation, which created, in her honor, the Evelyn Peters Kyle Society to recognize special donors to the foundation. She was named Pi Beta Phi’s one and only poet laureate, and many of her poems have become a part of Pi Phi traditions.

Gail Simpson Owen ’74, Order of Omega: Owen has served Kappa Kappa Gamma in various roles from the late 1970s to the present. Her experience in serving numerous key positions in Kappa during her undergraduate years as well as in her adult life prepared her for key roles roles as a Kappa volunteer, while her profession as a regional superintendent of schools made her a natural choice to serve on the Kappa Kappa Gamma National Fraternity Council as director of programs and education.

Bradley Nahrstadt ’89, Order of Omega: Nahrstadt’s commitment to the Greek system and to Monmouth College has not faded since graduation. He serves as district governor and as a member of the board of governors for Sigma Phi Epsilon. He also continues to be a most generous benefactor, which is best illustrated through his endowment of the Bradley C. Nahrstadt Leadership Fund and through his contributions to the University of Chicago Balanced Man Scholarship. Nahrstadt was recognized as a Sigma Phi Epsilon Distinguished Alumnus in 2012 for his service and commitment to the mission of “Building Balanced Men.”
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