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Drake to honor five outstanding alumni

Five Drake University alumni will be recognized for their career accomplishments and loyalty to the university at the annual Drake Alumni Awards Dinner on Saturday, May 16. 

The event, which is open to Drake alumni and friends, will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and the program at 7 p.m. in Parents Hall in Olmsted Center, 2875 University Ave. Cost is $25. 

For more information or to make a reservation, contact the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs at 515-271-2500. 

The award winners, who were selected by Drake’s National Alumni Association, are listed below: 

  • Jennifer Jacobs Henderson  — Young Alumni Achievement Award
Henderson, who earned her bachelor’s degree in 1990, is an associate professor of communications at Trinity University in San Antonio. Her teaching and research, which center on First Amendment law and free expression in the United States, have received multiple awards, including Trinity’s Junior Faculty Distinguished Teaching and Research Award. She also is co-founder and chief creative officer of Elastic Collision, a virtual world development and consulting firm.

  • Carrie Blumenfeld  — Young Alumni Loyalty Award
Blumenfeld, who earned her bachelor’s degree in 2000, is the account director for Wunderman, a direct marketing agency in Chicago. She has maintained involvement with the Drake community as a member of Drake’s Chicago Advisory Board, coordinating several young alumni events in the Chicago area. She is a leader and enthusiastic mentor to both current students and alumni, planning structured career networking programs in the metro area. 

  • Bill Bryson — Alumni Achievement Award
Bryson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in 1977, is an author whose books sold some 10 million copies throughout the world and have been translated into more than 20 languages. Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything” won both the Aventis Prize and the European Union’s Descartes Prize. He is the chancellor of the University of Durham in England. Bryson received his award when he was at Drake for the Martin Bucksbaum Distinguished Lecture in April. Read more about his visit online. 
  • Joan Behrendt Middleton — Alumni Loyalty Award
Middleton, who earned a bachelor’s degree in 1963 and a master’s degree in 1977, is a passionate advocate for children, and her late husband and alumnus Lyle, created the endowment for the Joan and Lyle Middleton Center for Children’s Rights at Drake, enabling law students to represent children who need access to the legal system. The couple also endowed the School of Education’s Urban Education Program, in which graduate education students and law students work to provide representation for children and to raise awareness of children’s issues.

  • Richard Hartig — Distinguished Service Award
Hartig, who earned his bachelor’s degree in 1973 and Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 1981, is CEO and owner of Hartig Drug Stores based in Dubuque. He has received the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Lawrence C. and Delores M. Weaver Medal of Honor and its Alumni Achievement Award. Hartig is active in professional organizations, including the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, among others. He and his wife Brenda, established Drake’s Hartig Pharmacy Fund to support faculty development and faculty achievement.