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College of Arts and Sciences honors alumni and friends

ATHENS, Ohio (Sept. 27, 2004) -- Ohio University's College of Arts and Sciences awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award and the Wilfred R. and Ann Lee Konneker Award during a ceremony Friday, Sept. 24. Distinguished Alumni Award recipients include Patricia A. Ackerman, Roscoe R. Braham, Jr., and Laura Tabler Wheat. C. Frederick Kittle was presented with the Wilfred R. and Ann Lee Konneker Award, which recognizes those individuals who have demonstrated remarkable achievements in their professional endeavors, community service, and a solid, selfless, unflagging dedication to the college and its students over a period of years.

Patricia A. Ackerman, BA '66

Patricia AckermanAckerman earned a bachelor's degree in English in 1966 and went on to earn a master's degree in administration from Cleveland State University and a doctorate from Kent State University while working her way from classroom teacher to district administrator. When she retired in 2000, she concluded 25 years with the Cleveland Heights-University Heights School District, including seven years as director of curriculum. Ackerman has been active in educational organizations, including the American Association of School Administrators, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, the Ohio Alliance of Black School Educators and the National Alliance of Black School Educators, for whom she was president from 1987 to 1989. She also created and chaired the Ohio African-American Education Roundtable, a coalition of educators and community leaders. In September 1989, as chair of the National Governor's Association, she advised President George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton as they prepared for the nation's first education summit. She was named to the university's Board of Trustees in 1995 by then-Gov. George Voinovich; in 2000, she became the first African-American woman (and first K-12 educator) to chair the board. She served as a university trustee and is a member of the Ohio University Foundation board.

Roscoe R. Braham Jr., BS '42

Roscoe BrahamAfter completing his bachelor's degree in geology in 1942, Braham was trained as a pilot in the U.S. Army Air Corps and served as a weather officer until his discharge in 1946. He received the 1950 Losey Atmospheric Sciences Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Department of Commerce Silver Medal for his work on the Thunderstorm Project, a multi-agency research program ordered by Congress to investigate how airplanes could be made safer in thunderstorms. Braham completed his master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Chicago, joining the university's staff in 1952 as a research meteorologist and retiring in 1991 after 37 years - 26 of them as a full professor.

During his tenure at Chicago, he became the founding director of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the University of Arizona under a joint appointment between the two universities. Braham joined the American Meteorological Society in 1945 and served as its president in 1988. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the British Royal Meteorological Society. In 1957, Braham was one of three members of a National Academy of Sciences commission investigating how to incorporate computers in graduate meteorological training. The panel's report paved the way for the establishment of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, part of the National Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Braham remained deeply involved with both bodies, serving on and chairing many committees. Since his retirement thirteen years ago, he has served pro-bono as scholar-in-residence at North Carolina State University.

Laura Tabler Wheat, AB '79

Laura WheatWheat earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Ohio University in 1979. A breast cancer survivor, she has been an active volunteer with Gilda's Club, an international nonprofit organization that offers emotional and social support to anyone affected by cancer. Wheat currently serves as the President of the group's board of directors, recently elected to the worldwide board of directors. The former executive director of Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, Wheat now serves on its advisory board. She has been a member of the board of directors of Dallas Children's Theater; the Edna Gladney Center for Adoption; and the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center, which provides services to children who have been sexually abused. In addition, Wheat delivers meals to the homeless and elderly through the Meals on Wheels program. In October 2003, President George W. Bush met with Wheat to honor her through the USA Freedom Corps, the president's initiative in service, citizenship, and responsibility. She went on to complete her law degree at the University of Maryland and then to practice law in Dallas.

C. Frederick Kittle, AB '42, LLD '67

C. Frederick KittleThis year's Konneker award recipient, Athens native, Dr. Kittle received a bachelor's degree in zoology from Ohio University in 1942. He went on to earn his medical degree at the University of Chicago and completed his training in thoracic surgery at the University of Kansas. In his 40-year career, Kittle has helped thousands of patients – including an 8-year-old boy who in 1969 became the world's then-youngest recipient of a heart transplant. He has practiced at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies, Veterans Administration hospitals in Missouri and Kansas, the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinic, Cook County Hospital, Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium of Chicago, Rush Medical College, and Rush Medical Center.

In his long career, Kittle has belonged to more than 30 professional organizations and has served as an officer or committee member of 25 of them. He is the author of more than 200 journal articles in cardiology and thoracic surgery, as well as the book "Current Controversies in Thoracic Surgery." In recognition of his accomplishments and services to the University, Kittle has received the Ohio University Alumni Association Medal of Merit in 1966 and the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Alumni Award in 1996.

"In honoring Fred Kittle, we recognize not only his own extraordinary accomplishments but also the guidance and direction he received from his mentor, Rush Elliott," said Leslie A. Flemming, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "The College of Arts and Sciences is deeply grateful for the long-standing and generous devotion to Ohio University of both."

The Konneker award recognizes those individuals who have demonstrated remarkable achievements in their professional endeavors, community service, and a solid, selfless, unflagging dedication to the college and its students over a period of years.

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