The Alumni Association recognized four remarkable alumni at the 2019 Alumni Awards Banquet during Great Lake State Weekend in October. About 130 people joined us in honoring them. If you were unable to attend, you can still watch the video below.
Summary of speakers on the video:
Presentation of the Mansfield Parent of the Year Award – 2:20
Greeting from President Rodney Hanley – 6:35
Bill Crawford introducing Tony Bosbous – 20:30
Tony Bosbous accepting Lighthouse Award – 23:25
Tiffany Jastorff-Gillies introducing Cory (Gallaway) Andersen – 26:50
Cory Gallaway accepting Ripley Award for Young Alumni – 30:10
Charlie Murray introducing Wendy (Menard) James – 39:06
Wendy James accepting Shouldice Award – 43:00
Madan Saluja introducing David Saunders - 55:10
David Saunders accepting Outstanding Alumnus Award - 1:03:38
Here are a few highlights from the program:
Bill Crawford – Tony is very optimistic, never negative; I’ve never heard him take the low road on anything. He comes to every basketball game, every hockey game. He wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to Lake State.
Tony Bosbous – Words can’t express my gratitude for this honor. Thanks so much, and Go Lakers!
Tiffany Jastorff-Gillies – What do you say about a woman who has accomplished so much in so little time? I always knew she would be alum of the year. Her organizational and motivational skills are amazing and she is a hard worker. Cory and her family are Lakers through and through. Loyal, welcoming and a friend through everything. Cory has a way of making you believe in yourself, and making you reach for your goals and want to get there. Lake State is a better place because of Cory.
Cory Andersen – What did Lake State mean for me and my career? I have vivid memories of business classes at South Hall – either arrive on time or sit behind a pillar. Classes were small and engaging. I had the privilege of working at Alumni House; this work really helped lay the foundation for my future as a professional fund raiser. Phonathon calling, stuffing envelopes, campus tours, hosting banquets. Mark and Tom made it their personal mission to help me get my first job. At Lake State you don’t just leave with the tools to build a career and a meaningful life; you leave with the confidence to make it happen. It’s those thoughtful faculty members and staff who create those experiences to make it happen.
Wendy Menard James
Charlie Murray – Fittingly, Dr. Shouldice was a friend of the family, adding to the honor that this award holds for Wendy. I’ve always called Wendy “Wendell,” after my hockey hero - Wendell Clark. I admire his leadership, talent and great amount of toughness, and Wendy shows these traits in an even greater amount than he did. Her political agendas, work ethic and health issues have shown me a strength I can only imagine for myself. I cannot think of a more deserving recipient.
Wendy James –This is a very personal award for me, both because this is my home, and also because Lake State was truly a family affair for me growing up here. Mom worked in President’s office for Dr. Shouldice, Aunt Barb worked the switchboard, Uncle Harry Pike was dean of students, Aunt Ruth Johnston-Pike taught nursing. I got to know Dr. Shouldice pretty well, and I gained a deep respect for him.
The school provided me with a perfect foundation for everything I’ve achieved. It always helped me to remember that I was just this kid from the Soo. A great job offer from then-governor William Milliken took me away from Lake State before graduation and I finished my senior year at MSU. Wound up serving as press secretary for the state senate minority leader, Bob Davis. I was with him nine years, including five in DC. Volunteered to be an advance for a whistle-stop tour for President Ford, and I wound up on a train talking to Walter Conkrite, who was a hero of mine. All I could think was, I’m just some kid from the Soo, and I’m talking to Walter Conkrite!
Other opportunities working for Bob Davis: going to see the pope on the White House lawn; danced with these amazing aboriginal Chinese dancers in Taiwan and then had dinner with the president of Taiwan. Worked with Johnny Cash, who walked up to me and said, Hi, I’m Johnny Cash. Walking through Red Square, seeing the Kremlin, Lenin’s tomb. Never thought, while growing up in the Soo, that I would be walking Red Square. Stood on top of the Matterhorn. On a trip to Africa, met with teachers about environmental issues and visited the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years. Cape of Good Hope – I never dreamed that one day I’d be walking among the penguins. Sitting with Carol King in her living room, planning an event, with President Bill Clinton. Thinking, I’m just a kid from the Soo!
I led a charmed life. Once my sisters and I were on a trip to England. One day we were in a tube stop in London, and a bobby came up to us and said, Go and stand on that platform. Wouldn’t tell us why, just said, go and stand on that platform. So we did. Who shows up? The Queen, Prince Philip, and Princess Kate. Debbie and I got our pictures in People magazine!
I met my own Prince Charming and fell madly in love 40 years ago; we’ve met people and seen places we had only dreamed of. I have learned that if you have a good foundation – like I got here at Lake State - the support of family and friends, if you dream big, work hard, anything is possible. I will always be very thankful to be just a kid from the Soo.
Madan Saluja – When David asked me to introduce him I said, “Do you really want an 80-year-old guy, with dementia setting in, to introduce you?” He said, I couldn’t find any better. I said “OK, if that’s what you want.” I have very fond memories of this alum. Not because he received all A’s in my classes. In fact, hardly anybody got A’s in those days! However, outside the classroom, David received all A’s as a person well-liked by all his peers, his professors and everyone who came into contact with him. His pride in LSSU is evident from his involvement with the Foundation Board and his contributions to the business senior dinner. Also Lambda School of Business scholarship. I read an article in a local newspaper headlined “Mad Wrestler to Receive Award from LSSU.” I am confused. David I don’t think had any mean bone in him. I don’t understand how they call him “mad wrestler.” To me, he is the most noble soul, polite, soft-spoken – those qualities are hard to find in anybody. He is a shining example of Lake State and we are proud of him.
David Saunders – It means a lot to be honored by a university that gave me such a solid foundation and has enabled me to accomplish so many things in my life. None of this would have been possible without the support of my family. I chose Lake State for two main reasons – the reputation of the business school and the successful wrestling program. What I did not know when I entered LSSU was the compassion and genuine interest of the professors at this school, in our education and preparing us for the future. This culture continues with the current professors. Yes, it’s true that we enter LSSU to learn, but we go forth to serve. I had many great professors, but like so many business graduates, I owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Madan Saluja. Affectionately known for his expression, “C in my class, damn good grade.” I don’t want to ruin your reputation, Dr. Saluja, but I do think you did not like giving out C’s, but took pride in the motivation it provided in students to obtain grades better than C.
I was fortunate to be able to continue wrestling while attending university. Wrestling taught me commitment, dedication and discipline. Having said this, I do not miss running up the hill on the west side of married student housing, with Coach Jim Fallis standing at the top with his whistle, saying, “Another lap, guys.” Wrestling helped me to stay focused and manage my time. Without it, I’m not sure I would have had the same success in school and my professional career.
Upon graduation, I obtained my CPA along with my tax specialist designation, and I began my attendance at what I refer to as the real Lukenda School of Business. Dr. Lukenda was one of my first clients. He was a successful dentist, and he had a passion and a touch when it came to investing in real estate and nursing homes. Dr. Lukenda also attended LSSC. As Dr. Lukenda’s business activities grew in both Canada and the United States, the education I received at LSSU became more important. It required me to understand both US and Canadian accounting rules along with US and Canadian taxation rules. Dr. Lukenda became a mentor, and made me feel like part of the family.
I’m very proud to be an LSSU alum to the extent that I have a corner in my office which I call my LSSU corner. It has a painting on the wall of the arch of the famous east entrance to the university, along with pictures from my days as a student. I’ve become a lifetime member of the Alumni Association and encourage you all to become lifetime members. I try to give back to the LSSU community by speaking at business classes when asked, attending and sponsoring the senior business dinner, and by being a member of the Foundation Board of Directors. I truly enjoy my involvement with the school and the Foundation, and I particularly enjoy the friendships that this has created.
How did I become involved and why am I a proud alumni? One evening many years ago I received a call at home from Dr. Saluja. He asked how I was doing? I told him I was doing very well, and had obtained my CPA. He said he was calling to request support for the Lambda Sigma Beta business scholarship. I told him I would give him $100. To which he replied, “Is that all your education and school is worth to you?” To which I replied, “I promised $100 American, not $100 Canadian!” In the end, I believe he sent me a pledge for something more than $100, and encouraged me to drop by campus whenever I was in Michigan soon. So remember, when Dr. Saluja calls, don’t answer the telephone.
When Dr. Lukenda retired from the Foundation Board in 2005, I again received a call from Dr. Saluja. “Hello, David; Dr. Saluja.” At which time you hold your breath, and pull the phone away from your ear. “I believe you would be a good candidate for the Foundation Board, as the school needs to renovate South Hall and create a permanent home for the School of Business.” As always, how can you say no to a former professor who has confidence in you? So I said yes. In the days following that conversation I received a call from Dr. Lukenda, saying how glad he was that I was going to join the Foundation Board. I now realized there had been some pre-planning that occurred before Dr. Saluja called me. I think I might have been set up.
Once on the Foundation Board, I assisted Dr. Lukenda in the structuring of the contribution to the Foundation that eventually resulted in the naming of the Lukenda School of Business. As you can tell, naming this school of business has given me great pride, especially being a graduate of a school named after a family for which I have so much respect, and which has contributed so much to my accomplishments.
I look back fondly on my years at LSSU, and leave you with one thought: If you can contribute in any way to the school, please do so, as I feel it is our responsibility as alumni to help preserve and protect the legacy of LSSU.
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