ATHENS, Ohio (Oct. 6, 2006) -- On Friday, Sept. 29, the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio University honored four individuals at the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner and Ceremony. Honorees included Spirit Award winner Eva Gunasekera, Distinguished Alumnus Jeffrey Clark, Distinguished Alumnus J. Michael Lawrie and Distinguished Alumna the late Marie Tharp.
The College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Awards recognize the professional accomplishments, outstanding service to academic departments or to the college, and leadership in community service demonstrated by college alumni.
Distinguished Alumnus and Athens native Jeffrey Clark, AB '72, has worked in international development for more than 29 years. He has directed humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to residents of African and former Soviet nations through organizations such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the international staff of the House Select Committee on Hunger (a Congressional body), the Carter Presidential Center and Global Water (a non-governmental organization). Clark is now an executive associate with Development Associates, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, which provides training, technical assistance and other services to the foreign assistance programs and, to a lesser extent, domestic programs. Clark earned his bachelor's degree in political science with honors from Ohio University.
Distinguished Alumnus J. Michael Lawrie, AB '75, has established himself as a leader in international business. He worked in global management at IBM for 27 years. He has since served as the CEO of Siebel Systems Inc., and presently is a partner in the investor firm ValueAct Capital. In addition to sitting on the boards of directors of Good Technology Inc., Symbol Technologies and SSA Global Technologies Inc., Lawrie serves on the Ohio University Board of Trustees. He earned a bachelor of arts from Ohio University and a master of business administration from Drexel University. He recently established the J. Michael Lawrie Global Education Scholarship at Ohio University, which gives student leaders the opportunity to study abroad.
Distinguished Alumna Marie Tharp, AB '43, passed away on Aug. 23, 2006, in Nyack, N.Y., leaving a legacy of scientific revolution. At Ohio University, Tharp majored in English, yet her subsequent scientific career spanned more than half a century. In the late 1940s, Tharp produced the first map of the North Atlantic sea bottom. In so doing, she discovered the mid-Atlantic ridge, which she correctly interpreted as evidence of the then-subversive theory of seafloor spreading. The Office of Naval Research published the iconic map in 1977. She has been honored by the Library of Congress and received the first annual Lamont-Doherty Heritage Award for "her life's work as a pioneer of oceanography and a pioneering woman in a then very male field."
The College of Arts and Sciences Spirit Award recognizes alumni who have graduated in the last 15 years and whose achievements in one or more of three areas reflect the spirit, vitality and high standards of the college.
Spirit Award recipient Eva Gunasekera, AB '01 and MA '01, studied political science in the Honors Tutorial College and worked as a research assistant at the Institute for Local Government Administration and Rural Development. In 2001, she received both her bachelor's and her master's degrees in political science, graduating summa cum laude. She also received the "Outstanding Tutorial Student in Political Science" award from the Honors Tutorial College. Gunasekera went on to earn a law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 2004. She now practices at Crowell & Moring in Washington, D.C., as a litigation associate. Gunasekera founded the Ohio South Asian Bar Association and currently serves on the board of the North American South Asian Bar Association.
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