Home Alumni Drake community to honor 2007 Alumni Award recipients Saturday

Drake community to honor 2007 Alumni Award recipients Saturday

vinaya sharma
Vinaya Sharma, BN’93, celebrates Drake Relays at his Hinsdale, Ill., home with driveway-chalking rather than street-painting.

On any given night in New York City, Charla Lawhon, JO’78, managing editor of InStyle magazine, might have five cocktail parties to attend. Jonathan Azu, BN’99, vice president for strategic music partnerships at CBS Radio, might be meeting with record labels seeking to promote a new musician.

Vinaya Sharma, BN’93, might be cleaning up after a Drake Relays party at his Hinsdale, Ill., home, featuring driveway-chalking rather than street-painting.

These three devoted alumni along with Bill Buchanan, BN’57, and Betty Grandquist, LA’74, will receive awards from the Drake National Alumni Association at the annual Alumni Awards Dinner on Saturday, May 12, in Parents Hall, Olmsted Center. The program, which is open to Drake alumni and friends, will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and the awards program at 7 p.m. Steve Barry, LA’83, LW’86, will emcee the event. Cost is $25 per person and reservations are required.

To attend or for more information, call the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs at 515-271-3147.

The recipients and their awards are as follows:

Betty Grandquist, LA’74

Betty Grandquist, LA’74, will receive the Distinguished Service Award. This award is the top honor bestowed upon alumni of Drake and recognizes outstanding achievement by an individual in a career or profession and exemplary service to the community and University. Grandquist served as division administrator for health, planning and development at the Iowa Department of Public Health. In 1987, she was appointed director of the Iowa Department of Elder Affairs by Gov. Terry Branstad. Though retired, she serves as executive director of the Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging. At Drake, Grandquist is secretary and program chair of the RaySociety, which provides educational opportunities to citizens of retirement age.

Charla Lawhon, JO’78

Charla Lawhon, JO’78, will receive the Alumni Achievement Award. Lawhon started her career as an intern with Meredith Corp.’s Apartment Life magazine and went on to become managing editor of Meredith’s Metropolitan Home magazine. In 1993 she was part of a team that tested a new magazine that eventually became InStyle magazine, of which she was named managing editor in 2002. Lawhon has shared her expertise with Drake students, meeting with magazine majors and speaking as part of the School of Management and Communication’s Executive in Residence speaker series.

William “Bill” Buchanan, BN’57

William “Bill” Buchanan, BN’57, will receive the Alumni Loyalty Award. A member of the Drake College of Business and Public Administration National Advisory Council, Buchanan and his wife, Jean, have hosted alumni receptions at their Kansas City home for prospective students and their families. The couple also has made leadership gifts to Drake to endow a scholarship fund in their name and to support new and continuing programs in the CBPA. Chairman of Unified Life Insurance Co. in Overland Park, Kan., Buchanan also served on a committee to create and support the Adams/Bowers Actuarial Education Center at Drake. As a member and gift chair for the Drake Class of 1957’s 50-year reunion committee this year, he recently issued a generous gift-match “challenge” to his classmates to support the class’s reunion gift.

Jonathan Azu, BN’99

Jonathan Azu, BN’99, will receive the Young Alumni Achievement Award. As president of the Drake Student Activities Board, Azu brought the Dave Matthews Band to campus in 1999. In March 2006, he was promoted to the newly created position of vice president of strategic music partnerships with CBS Radio in New York City. He also has helped organize the annual Bulldog Bash in his area, the Missouri Valley Conference men’s basketball tournament alumni event and Drake’s 125th birthday party in New York City in October 2006.

Vinaya Sharma, BN’93

Vinaya Sharma, BN’93, will receive the Young Alumni Loyalty Award. An ardent Drake fan, Sharma has served on his five-year reunion committee, helped organize local Bulldog Bashes and supported numerous other regional alumni activities. He’s attended the annual Windy City Golf Outing for Drake alumni and friends in the Chicago area and hosts annual Drake Relays parties in his home, which features a Drake “alumni room” fully adorned with Drake memorabilia. As a Drake student, Sharma attended men’s basketball games costumed as a fired-up Darth Vader. He is a credit analyst and actuary with Quantitative Risk Management in Chicago.