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AQUINAS COLLEGE TO HOLD ANNUAL HALL OF FAME GALA

September 9, 2008 - Grand Rapids, Michigan (September 10, 2008) - Aquinas College will present various awards in recognition of individual achievement at the College’s annual Hall of Fame Gala. The event, which kicks off the weekend celebration for Homecoming, will take place on October 3, 2008 in the Wege Center Ballroom on campus. Tickets for the evening, which begins with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m., are $65/person.

This year marks the inaugural presentation of the newly created President’s Award, which is given in recognition of an individual who has made significant contributions to the Aquinas College community. Anthony J. Foster, M.D. ’73, a general surgeon with Michigan Medical PC and former College Trustee, will be honored for the work that he and his wife, Linda Nemec Foster ’72, have done in establishing the nationally recognized Contemporary Writers Series and the Foster Planet Walk on campus.

Other recipients to be honored during the Gala include three individuals who will receive Alumni Association Awards. Jose Narezo ’75, a prominent area-artist who has contributed to charities and helped cultivate the local Hispanic community, is to receive the Distinguished Service Award. Narezo’s creations are on display throughout the city and include three large mosaic pieces in the Rapid Central Station in downtown Grand Rapids and a permanent exhibit at the Van Andel Public Museum. The Outstanding Alumnus Award will be presented to Ed Wagner ’61, who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to the Catholic Community through his many years as teacher and principal at West Catholic High School and through his continuing involvement in community organizations. Damon Bouwkamp ’00, who is the assistant director of the Aquinas Admissions office and is strongly involved with a number of the college’s events and programs, will be recognized as Board Member of the Year.

Six alumni will be inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame. Robin Bessette ’95 became the College’s all-time leading scorer for women’s soccer and was Aquinas’ first NAIA All American. Shannon Bessette ’95 was both the captain and MVP of the first two Aquinas women’s soccer teams.

Basketball player Laray Hardy ’86 graduated from Aquinas College with the distinction of being the most prolific scorer in collegiate history; Hardy shot over 85 percent from the free throw line during his career and still holds nine Aquinas records. Ernie Mousseau served as coach of the Aquinas track and cross-country teams for almost two decades and sent numerous athletes from both teams to NAIA national meets. During his years at Aquinas, Ed Kelbel ’59 led the Aquinas golf team as both its number one golfer and captain. Ed went on to work in the Harbor Springs Public School system where he taught for 27 years. During that time he also continued his involvement with golf, serving as head golf professional at Walloon Lake Country Club and Harbor Point Golf Club and was also a teaching professional at Pine Hill Golf Club in Petoskey. A Golf Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to John O’Donovan ’60. O’Donovan was a leading golfer and team captain for two seasons at Aquinas and went on to place well in prestigious amateur tournaments as well as assume leadership positions for various golf associations and committees.

The College Hall of Fame will induct three new members. Sr. Jean Milhaupt, O.P. ’45 will be honored for her many years of teaching in the Aquinas College English department as well as her work as College archivist since her retirement from teaching in 1995. The late George LaMountain is being recognized for efforts that established the psychology department at Aquinas College. He also was a leading academian at Aquinas College for 28 years. In addition to being a generous supporter of Aquinas College, Trustee Emeritus Lyle Morrison ’52 has given his time and talent to numerous community organizations and institutions such as the United Way and the Kent County Cancer Society.

Honorees, their friends and family will have time to reminisce during an afterglow party in the Wege Center Ballroom immediately following the Hall of Fame Gala.

On Saturday, October 4, and Sunday, October 5, Aquinas College will provide numerous activities for alumni and their families as part of Homecoming Weekend. >>More About Homecoming Weekend