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Drake University Recognizes Excellence, Community Service

CONTACT: Lisa Lacher, 515-271-3119, lisa.lacher@drake.edu

Drake University leaders recently presented top awards for faculty, staff and retirees who have demonstrated exemplary service to both Drake and the community.

At the fall Faculty and Staff Convocation yesterday, Drake President David Maxwell awarded Drake Medals of Service to Don Moon, associate professor emeritus of education, and Robert Woodward, professor emeritus of journalism. The medals are given each year to individuals who have played key roles in the University’s development and enhance the rich heritage of service that symbolizes the true character of Drake.

Moon, a member of the faculty for 34 years, also served as director of educational media and television services from 1964 to 1996. He spearheaded many advancements in television services, including the first TV coverage of Drake Relays produced by students. Following his retirement in 1998, Moon was the University’s interim director of distance learning for two years. In addition, he is a founding member of the popular Billie and Robert D. Ray Lifelong Learning Society, where he has developed courses for the past two years. Moon, a resident of Johnston, is a tireless supporter of Drake Athletics and has had season tickets to Drake men’s basketball for 42 years and he’s a season ticket holder for women’s basketball as well. “Don’s commitment, initiative and enthusiasm for Drake have never wavered,” President Maxwell said.

Woodward, the only Drake faculty member to receive the University’s top awards for teaching and mentoring, added the Drake Medal of Service to his collection of honors.

In presenting the award, President Maxwell noted that Woodward was one of the earliest adopters of the Internet in his classrooms and nearly single-handedly founded the News/Internet major as it is today. In his 32-year career at Drake, Woodward guided the talents and careers of journalists from small-town newspaper editors to Pulitzer Prize winners. President Maxwell quoted Diane Graham, a Drake graduate and former managing editor of the Des Moines Register, who said, “Arriving at Drake at almost the same time that the Watergate scandal began to unfold, Professor Woodward quickly bonded with his students. While the other Bob Woodward was making headlines, our Bob Woodward earned a deserved reputation as a world-class teacher: challenging, demanding, thought-provoking, inspiring.” Woodward, who still teaches honors classes at Drake, lives in Altoona.

President Maxwell next presented the Madelyn M. Levitt Distinguished Community Service Award to Melissa Weresh, associate professor of legal writing. Since 2003 she has been a member of the Resource Utilization Committee under the Board of Directors of The Homestead, a nonprofit organization that provides individual instruction and care for autistic students. A resident of Clive, Weresh also has helped plan the annual fundraiser for the John Stoddard Cancer Center for the past two years. She has many professional accomplishments as well and recently was selected from 1,300 members of the Legal Writing Institute to serve as co-chair of the institute’s 2008 National Conference Committee. “The manner in which she carries out her community service is what most notably makes her selection for this award appropriate,” said her nominator. “She has a generous spirit, unreservedly giving to her colleagues and her community.”

Venessa Macro, Drake director of human resources, presented the Madelyn M. Levitt Employee Excellence Award to Paul Kline, database administrator, and to Tom Tronick, associate dean of students. All three Levitt awards were created by Madelyn M. Levitt, a longtime member of Drake’s governing board and special assistant to President Maxwell for development.

Kline was selected for his exceptional projects and dedication to improving campus technology and communication. His achievements include working on the implementation of the Banner database system, a business continuity plan and upgrading the University’s operating system. Kline, a resident of Norwalk, was nominated for having worked above and beyond his regular duties to get valuable student feedback about his projects. Kline’s tireless efforts demonstrate his unwavering dedication and service to the University.

Tronick received the award for his positive influence on the lives of Drake students. For 31 years, from his role as director of student activities to director of residence life, Tronick has served as a leader and mentor to students. His nominator said former students approach Tronick at national meetings and “convey that Tom was a positive influence in their lives and credit him for their professional success.” Tonic, a resident of Boone, is a strong ambassador for Drake who is noted for his professionalism, inner strength and loyalty to the University.