AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts Amherst Alumni Association will present its annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Tues., April 11 at noon, in the Great Hall of the Massachusetts State House. A luncheon will be followed by remarks from President William Bulger, Speaker of the House Thomas Finneran, and Senate President Thomas Birmingham.
The alumni association bestows the Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of extraordinary professional achievement. This year''s recipients are Evan Dobelle, president of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.; James Kallstrom, former FBI director in New York City; Jeffrey Taylor, CEO of monster.com; and poet Natasha Trethewey. In addition, Professor Esther Terry, head of Afro-American studies, will receive the Distinguished Faculty Award, and retired journalism professor Howard Ziff will be named an honorary alumnus.
"Each year, the Alumni Association selects outstanding graduates who have made significant contributions in their various endeavors," said John Goodrich, president of the Alumni Association. "This year''s list of honorees represents a broad spectrum of interests including the arts, business, community service, public service, and service to the University. These individuals have taken the extra step to give back to society, a goal to which we should all aspire. We are pleased to recognize their accomplishments."
Evan Dobelle, ''83G, ''87 Ph.D. - As president of Trinity College, Dobelle has encouraged the college to forge close and mutually beneficial ties with the troubled urban neighborhood that surrounds it. Dobelle began his career in the public arena, first as mayor of Pittsfield and later rising to serve during the Carter administration as U.S. chief of protocol for the White House and assistant secretary of state. He then returned to academia and earned three degrees in a six-year period. Dobelle was named president of Middlesex (Massachusetts) Community College in 1987, chancellor of San Francisco City College in 1991, and president of Trinity College in 1995.
James Kallstrom, ''66 - Kallstrom is best known for overseeing the FBI investigations into the crash of TWA Flight 800 and the bombing of the World Trade Center. A native of Worcester, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, attaining the rank of captain. He became a special agent with the FBI in 1970, and rose through the ranks to hold the senior investigative position in the FBI in New York City, before retiring in 1997. He is currently senior vice president of MBNA America, host of the "FBI Files" on the Discovery Channel, and a law-enforcement consultant with CBS News.
Jeffrey Taylor - Taylor is the CEO of Monster.com and TMP Interactive, and is responsible for the growth and direction of all TMP Worldwide properties and developments relating to the Internet. Monster.com is the leading global online career site, with more than 14.3 million visits each month. Taylor created the Monster Board in 1994 as part of his recruitment agency, Adion Inc. Taylor joined TMP Worldwide in 1995 at the acquisition of the Monster Board, which then merged with the Online Career Center in January 1999, forming Monster.com. A frequent speaker at technology, advertising, and recruitment conferences, Taylor is on the board of directors for Massachusetts Junior Achievement. He attended UMass in the late 1970s and early ''80s, and received an MBA from Harvard Business School. He was recently in the headlines for setting the world''s record for blimp water-skiing.
Esther Terry, ''74, Ph.D. - Terry, head of the department of Afro-American studies at UMass since 1988, will receive the Distinguished Faculty Award. She has been a member of the department since its inception in 1970, and she coordinated the development of the department''s well-regarded graduate program, which began in 1996. She has held a number of administrative roles at UMass, including associate provost for faculty relations and co-director of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities. Terry currently serves as the University''s associate chancellor for equal opportunity and diversity, a role she has held for the past two years. She has also served on advisory boards for the Everywoman''s Center, New World Theatre, and other organizations.
Natasha Trethewey, ''95 - A graduate of the MFA program in creative writing, Trethewey will receive the Distinguished Young Alumna Award. She is a recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Grolier Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in a slate of prestigious journals. Her first collection of poems, "Domestic Work," was selected by Rita Dove for the 1999 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, and will be published this year by Graywolf Press. She is an assistant professor of English at Auburn University in Alabama.
Howard M. Ziff - Ziff will be named an honorary alumnus of the University. A native of Holyoke, he was educated at Amherst College and Columbia University. He was a reporter and Korea bureau chief for Pacific Stars and Stripes, and worked as a reporter, editor, and editorial writer for the Chicago Daily News. Ziff taught at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and headed the Program for Minority Journalists at Columbia University before joining the UMass faculty in 1971. He served as department chair for more than 10 of his 27 years at the University.