UA Alumni Association to honor distinguished alumni and friends

04/24/2014

The University of Akron Alumni Association will honor distinguished alumni and friends at the 2014 Alumni and Friends Gala, Thursday, May 15, at 5:30 p.m. at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn Ballroom, 3180 West Market St.

Each year the Alumni Honor Award is presented to alumni who have achieved distinction in their chosen fields or demonstrated loyal and active interest in their alma mater. Friends who have rendered valuable service to the University and/or community are elected to honorary membership.

Recognition for alumni

This year's Alumni Honor Award recipients are Dr. Michele L. Campbell, ’02; Dennis Gartman, ’72; and Russell “Russ” Pry, ’84.

Campbell is the chief operating officer of LRMR Management Company and executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation, which aims to improve the lives of children and young adults through education and co-curricular and educational initiatives. Since her appointment to the executive position in 2006, Campbell has transformed the foundation from a charity to a lifelong commitment whose impacts will be felt for generations to come. She resides in Tallmadge, Ohio, with her husband, Scott.

Gartman is the editor and publisher of The Gartman Letter, L.C., a daily commentary on the global capital markets, subscribed to by leading banks, brokerage firms, hedge funds, mutual funds, and energy and grain trading firms. He regularly appears on CNBC, ROB-TV and Bloomberg television to discuss commodities and the capital markets. He serves as an advisor to The University of Akron Foundation Investment Committee. In 2010 he endowed a scholarship in honor of one of his professors, Dr. Sally Slocum, at UA.

Pry, who obtained his J.D. at UA in 1984, was sworn in as Summit County Executive on July 13, 2007. He has also acted as law director of the Village of Boston Heights, counsel for Mogadore School District, attorney to the City of Green Local Firefighters, board member of the Summit County Board of Elections, and member of the Akron-Summit County Library Board of Trustees.

Recognition for honorary alumni

This year’s Honorary Alumni Award recipients, recognized for their service to the University and/or community, are Salma GibaraDr. H. Reid Wagstaff and Susan Smucker Wagstaff.

Gibara was born in Cairo, Egypt; studied and worked in London, Paris and Morocco; and settled in Akron with her husband in 1992, where she became a member of both the Board of Trustees of the Akron Symphony Orchestra and the Director’s Circle at the Akron Art Museum. She and her husband, generous supporters of the University, established a study abroad scholarship in the Honors College to provide funds for students to use for international study. They also support and attend events at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall and support University arts. Samir Gibara is an Honorary Alumni Award recipient (1999); former member of the Board of Trustees; and currently serves on The University of Akron Foundation Board of Directors’ Executive and Investment committees.

Smucker Wagstaff is the granddaughter of the J.M. Smucker Company founder, Jerome Smucker, and currently serves as a family adviser to the company. Her father, Paul Smucker, was a co-founder of Wayne College. She is a director for The University of Akron Foundation Board and, with her husband, supports student scholarship at The University of Akron Wayne College in Orrville, Ohio.

Her husband, H. Reid Wagstaff, joined The J.M. Smucker Company in 1971 and was named its vice president of government and environmental affairs in 1994. During his time at the company, he also served on the boards or committees of such organizations as the California Strawberry Commission, the International Jelly and Preserve Association, the American Frozen Food Institute, the Frozen Food Foundation and the Grocery Manufacturers of America. In recognition of their generous support of student scholarship at The University of Akron Wayne College, the UA Board of Trustees will name the entrance to the Wayne campus “Wagstaff Way.”

The Alumni Association also will honor the Board of Trustees’ outgoing member Nicholas C. York, CEO of business advisory and advocacy firm Kaser Enterprises and longtime proponent of civic and community involvement in his hometown of Avon Lake, Ohio, and abroad.

The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the dinner and ceremony will commence at 6 p.m. The cost is $60 per person. For more information or to confirm your attendance, contact Chris Franz in the Office of the Alumni Association at 330-972-7271.

 Story by Nicholas Nissan


Media contact: Sarah Lane, 330-972-7429 or slane@uakron.edu.


Michele Campbell

Michele Campbell


Dennis Gartman

Dennis Gartman


Russell Pry

Russell Pry


Salma Gibara

Salma Gibara


Susan Smucker Wagstaff

Susan Smucker Wagstaff


Dr. H. Reid Wagstaff

Dr. H. Reid Wagstaff


The University of Akron

Akron, OH 44325
Phone: 330-972-7111
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