Clarion University Alumni Association will honor five Distinguished Award recipients at Extravaganza 2012 April 14 at The Duquesne Club, Pittsburgh.
The black-tie event will benefit the Alumni and Alumni Association athletic endowments,
which provide funding for student scholarships.
The Distinguished Awards, given annually, recognize alumni, faculty, staff and friends of Clarion University for achievements and contributions. This year's recipients are: Dr. G. Richard Bennett ('75), Distinguished Alumni; Dr. Brenda Sanders Dédé, Distinguished Volunteer; Dr. Janet E. Stout ('79), Distinguished Achievement; Cynthia E. Urban ('00, '03), Venango Campus Distinguished Alumni; and Dr. Bernard Vavrek, Distinguished Faculty.
Bennett has researched extensively in area of glaucoma, specifically the epidemiology and pathophysiology of chronic open angle glaucoma. He is the principal investigator of the Ocular Hypertensive Treatment Study, a multi-center clinical glaucoma trial, and is director of the Glaucoma Center of Excellence in the Eye Institute of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, and course director for diagnosis and management of the glaucomas at the college. He is a professor of optometry at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, and an adjunct associate professor of ophthalmology, Department of Ophthalmology at Drexel University School of Medicine. He has lectured nationally and internationally in the area of medical and surgical management of glaucoma. He maintains a private practice in Philadelphia.
Dédé, associate vice president for academic and student affairs at Clarion University, is a member of Clarion County Chamber of Business and Industry, Clarion Borough Planning Commission, Clarion County Ethnic Tolerance Coalition, Clarion Community Relations Committee and Clarion Community Choir. She is board chairman of SAFE (Stop Abuse for Everyone) and a board member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Clarion County. She participates in walk-a-thons for United Way, Alzheimer's Foundation and March of Dimes, and she volunteers for American Cancer Society. Dédé is a member of First Baptist Church, Clarion, where she is Vacation Bible School director and teacher; Sunday School coordinator, superintendent and teacher; choir member; chairman and member of the Christian Education Board; member of the Mission Board; and volunteer for Clarion County Food for Friends.
Stout, a microbiologist, is an internationally recognized authority on Legionnaire's Disease, who discovered the link between the presence of Legionella bacteria in hospital water systems and the occurrence of hospital-acquired Legionnaire's disease. She is the founder and director of the Special Pathogens Laboratory and associate research professor at University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering. She has authored more than 80 peer review papers and book chapters on Legionnaires' disease. She is a member of American Society for Microbiology, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and the Association of Water Technologies.
Urban, president and CEO of Klapec Trucking, Oil City, has led the company to numerous industry recognitions, including: named Pennsylvania's safest trucking company in 2011 by Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association; recognized as a Patriotic Employer in 2010; honored for support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010; and recognized by the Pennsylvania Industry Partnership for Leadership in 2009. Professionally, she is a member of multiple trade organizations. She is a founding member and board member of Venango Area Chamber of Commerce and a board member of Oil City YMCA, and she is an active member of St. Stephen Church. She was the 2009 recipient of Venango Chamber's Woman in Business Award.
Vavrek's name is virtually synonymous with rural librarianship, in which he specialized
during his 35-year library science career. At Clarion University, between 1971 and
2008, he taught reference, research and marketing; developed and taught graduate courses
in rural librarianship; and served as director of the department's Center for the
Study of Rural Librarianship and secured more than $1 million in grants to underwrite
the work of the center. He developed Clarion's online graduate programs, for which
he wrote a $298,000 grant to launch. Vavrek founded the Association of Rural and Small
Libraries, a professional home to rural librarians around the globe; founded and edited
two influential journals in the field, Rural Libraries and Bookmobile and Outreach
Services; and founded the Information Futures Institute, a think-tank of information
specialists around the nation.
Clarion University is the high-achieving, nationally recognized, comprehensive university that delivers a personal and challenging academic experience.