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Dr. Gregg Zank, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 1980 with a major in chemistry and now leads innovation efforts for Dow Corning Corp., today received the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award from the UW-Superior Alumni Association.
In addition, the Alumni Association presented its Edward and Betty Kossak Award to alumni John and Jan Murphy, and its James Rainaldo Mentor Award to the late Dr. Charles Kenney. The awards were presented Friday, Sept. 30, during the annual Donor Recognition Reception held by the UW-Superior Foundation and UW-Superior Alumni Association.
"The people we are honoring today have all made important and long-standing contributions to the success of UW-Superior and its students," said Alumni Association Board President Brad Lindahl. "They serve as an inspiration not only to our students but to all alumni and friends of the university."
The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes Zank for serving as an inspiration for current and prospective UW-Superior students.
Zank joined Dow Corning in 1985 and today is a recognized leader in the scientific community and a pioneer in technological development. He holds 30 patents for innovations, including advanced monolithic and composite ceramics, rechargeable batteries and high-temperature thermosetting plastics.
In his current position as senior vice president and chief technology officer, Zank leads Dow Corning's innovation efforts, which include a unified approach to advancing and managing innovation for maximum future growth based on global megatrends. He also oversees the company's resources and mechanisms for the development of new ideas and solutions.
In 2009, Zank received the Earle B. Barnes Award, given by the American Chemical Society, for his accomplishments in scientific leadership, invention, staff development and business impact.
The Alumni Association presented John and Janet Murphy with the Edward and Betty Kossak Service Award to honor their contributions in time, energy, leadership and support to further the goals of UW-Superior.
John Murphy graduated from UW-Superior in 1976, and Janet Murphy graduated in 1972. John Murphy served as chairman of Murphy McGinnis Media, which included the Superior Evening Telegram. Janet Murphy owned the JW Beecroft Bookstore in Superior.
Both are regular attendees of UW-Superior hockey games and strong supporters of the arts. They are long-time financial backers of UW-Superior, supporting scholarships, Jim Dan Hill Library, athletics, distance learning, Wessman Arena and environmental studies.
The Alumni Association established the James Rainaldo Mentor Award to recognize a UW-Superior faculty or staff member who has touched the lives of current and former students in a unique and significant way. This year's recipient is Dr. Charles Kenney, who died in June.
Kenney taught political science for 38 years and was a favorite professor of countless students. Even today, many years after he retired, he is often cited by alumni for inspiring them in their studies.
Kenney was known for his strong commitment to international understanding through his involvement in programs such as the Model United Nations and the Soviet Seminar. Accepting the award on his family's behalf was political science professor Dr. Haji Dokhanchi.
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