Published October 01, 2018

Alumni and Friends who Have Made an Impact

Six individuals, one family to be recognized at Homecoming’s Alumni Impact Awards.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Monmouth College hosted its annual Alumni Impact Awards ceremony Oct. 5 as part of Homecoming weekend festivities.

KK3_9961hero The ceremony included the induction of two alumni – David Bowers ’60 and Won Yang Everett ’68 – into the Hall of Achievement, the highest honor the College bestows upon its graduates.

Other award recipients included: former Virginia legislator Robert Brink ’68, Distinguished Alumnus; retired Dean of Students Jacquelyn Condon, Distinguished Service; chief science officer for Hogan Assessment Systems Ryne Sherman ’06, Young Alumnus; and the Pepper family, Family of the Year. English professor Mark Willhardt, the College’s interim dean of the faculty, was presented with the Hatch Academic Excellence Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Bowers, of Greenville, S.C., retired in 2018 as president and CEO of CompX International Inc., a leading U.S. manufacturer of security products and recreational marine components. An employee of CompX and its predecessors since 1960 in various sales, marketing and executive positions, Bowers was named president of the company in 1998. His leadership role with Monmouth College began in 1974, when he was elected to the Alumni Board, later serving as its president. He joined the Board of Trustees in 1980 and in 1995 became its chair, serving in that position for 13 years. Since providing the naming gift for Bowers Hall in 2001, he has maintained a strong interest in its maintenance, funding updates in décor and furnishings for the residence hall, and recently the construction of a dedicated parking lot for its residents.

A native of Korea and a current resident of Bethesda, Md., Everett followed in the footsteps of her father, Distinguished Alumni Award recipient Key Yang ’50, in enrolling at Monmouth College. A math major with a minor in economics, her first position was with the Naval Research Laboratory. As the only woman mathematician in its Electronic Warfare Division, she performed math modeling for a radio frequency direction finding system to assess for enemy locations. After taking time off to raise her three sons, she worked as a systems engineer and program manager for private military contractors, including BAE Systems, Schafer and General Dynamics, and obtained her master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. Prior to her retirement, she was a senior lead engineer selected to the Missile Defense National Team established by the Department of Defense.

Brink, of Arlington, Va., served in senior government positions at the state and federal level for four decades. After experience on the professional staffs of two Congressional committees in the 1970s and 1980s, he was appointed deputy assistant attorney general for legislative affairs for the Department of Justice in 1993. Following that position, he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, holding that office for 17 years. He then joined the administration of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, heading the state’s Division on Aging Services and serving as the governor’s senior legislative adviser. Brink retired earlier this year.

Condon, who lives in Monmouth, holds the record for the longest-serving senior administrative officer in Monmouth College history, having retired in 2017 after 37 years in the office of student life. Promoted to associate dean in 1986 and dean of students in 1990, she was named vice president in 1994. Under her leadership, the department expanded from three staff members to more than two dozen, in order to address emerging student needs in areas such as career services, student success, counseling, intercultural life, campus safety, spiritual life, athletics and Title IX compliance.

Sherman, of Tulsa, Okla., recently joined Hogan Assessment Systems, a personality assessments company in Tulsa. He earned his Ph.D. in personality/social psychology from the University of California, Riverside. He joined the psychology faculty at Florida Atlantic University in 2011, was recognized as its College of Science Distinguished Teacher of the Year in 2013 and was promoted to associate professor in 2016. His research on the psychological properties of situations and their interaction with personality has been awarded federal support from the National Science Foundation, and in 2016 he was named a “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science. Prior to his current position, he served as associate professor of psychological sciences at Texas Tech University.

Monmouth College’s connection with the Pepper family began nearly five decades ago when two of the children of Richard and Roxie Pepper – Stan Pepper ’76 and Lynda Pepper Bollman ’76 – enrolled. Their daughter Lisa Pepper graduated in 1987, and a second generation of graduates began in 2004 when Cassandra Pepper Gibson, daughter of Stan and his wife, Chris, received her degree. Through the years, the Pepper family has generously supported the College, including providing the naming gift for the Huff Athletic Center natatorium. The expertise of the family company, Chicago-based Pepper Construction, has also benefited the College, serving as general contractor for the construction of the $42 million Center for Science and Business. Meanwhile, Stan Pepper, the company’s CEO, has provided valuable guidance as a College trustee since 1999, chairing the building and grounds committee and serving on the academic affairs committee.

Although his graduate training was in modernist Scottish literature, Willhardt enjoys teaching “History of the English Language” and Chaucer, exploring language as a living and changing medium of communication. He also delights in teaching poetry, the genre that brought him to English as a discipline. Willhardt holds a bachelor’s degree from Macalester (Minn.) College, and a master’s degree and a doctorate from Rutgers University. His research interests include 20th-century Scottish literature, modernism and modern British literature, contemporary poetry, popular music and cultural studies.

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