Whittier College News Release
Oct. 1, 2003
Outstanding Alumni Honored at Whittier Weekend
Four Whittier College graduates will join the ranks of Alumni Award-winners, and two faculty and staff members will become Honorary Alumni at the Poet Awards Gala held Friday, Oct. 3, on the college campus as part of Whittier Weekend, a weekend that includes Homecoming, class reunions, and special events for families of current students.
Ray Dezember ’53 will receive the Alumni Service Award, an award given for extensive service to the college since graduation. Dezember, who lives in Bakersfield, Calif., is currently secretary of the Whittier College Board of Trustees, and a member of the advancement committee and the committee on trustees. He was first elected to the board of trustees in 1970, served as board chair from 1987-1994, and was chairman of the college’s $70 million capital campaign during its silent phase. In 1994, he received the first Dezember Award, created to honor his service and commitment to Whittier College. Dezember was re-elected to the board of trustees in 2000 and recently chaired the successful campaign for the college’s newly renovated library and information resources center. He and his wife, Joan (Erreca) ’56, established the Dezember Family Endowment used in support of faculty enhancements, and also have made major gifts to the C. Milo Connick Chair in Religion and the W. Roy and Alice Newsom Chair in Chemistry.
David Fukushima ’39, a resident of La Habra, will receive the Alumni Achievement Award, an award marking outstanding career achievement. When he graduated from Whittier, Fukushima intended to go straight on to graduate school to study organic chemistry. He was in a graduate program at UCLA when the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred, and he was relocated to an internment camp. Eventually, Fukushima graduated from the University of Rochester with a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. He then received a fellowship at the Sloan Kettering Institute for cancer research. He continued his studies on the biochemistry of steroid hormones in cancer patients at the Institute for Steroid Research at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. When he retired in 1981, Fukushima was director of the Steroid Institute and a professor of biochemistry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the University Hospital and Academic Medical Center of Montefiore. During his career Fukushima authored and co-authored many papers on steroids, served on the editorial boards of Steroids and the Journal of Biochemistry, and was a member of a steroid study section for the National Institutes of Health, During his retirement, Fukushima joined Norac’s research staff in Azusa.
Barbara June “BJ” (Fauskin) Hill ’50 will receive the Alumni Community/Public Service Award, an award given to alumni who have made important contributions to their home communities. Hill, a Julian, Calif., resident, has served for six years as president of the Julian Educational Foundation, Inc. During her tenure, she coordinated efforts to raise $3.8 million for the Julian Joint Venture Public Library, as well as $118,000 earmarked for the library’s collection. Groundbreaking for the library was May 22, 2003, and construction should be compete in July 2004. The library service district serves seven communities, three school districts and four Native American tribes in a 1,500 square-mile area in a mountainous area in eastern San Diego County. In addition, Hill serves as a member of the Whittier College Alumni Association Board.
John Murdy ’89 will receive the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, an award given to alumni who have graduated within the past 15 years and who have demonstrated significant achievement. John Murdy, a resident of Orlando, Fla., is the creative director for Universal Creative, where he overseas the creation and development of shows, rides and attractions for Universal Studios. In 2002, he received the THEA Award for Classic Attraction for his work on the Universal Studio Tour. Murdy also serves as the Universal spokesman for programs on the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, and the BBC, in addition to his motivational speaking engagements and invitations to lecture. Murdy is also the author of several plays, including the award-winning comedy The Second Coming, and he is the lead singer for The Huge, a musical collaboration with three other Whittier alumni.
Mike McBride, professor of political science at Whittier College and a longtime Whittier resident, will be named an honorary member of the alumni association, recognition given to individuals regarded by alumni as a true part of the Whittier College experience. McBride joined Whittier’s faculty in 1969. His research interests include Soviet, Russian and Eastern European politics, as well as the politics of transition. McBride recently has focused his time and energy on human rights and the United Nations, serving as a consultant for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In that capacity, he spends several weeks each year at United Nations offices in New York or Geneva. He also heads up one of the oldest Model United Nations programs in the countr, and is a coach for the women’s softball team. McBride earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. at Purdue University.
Dorothy Dettor, Whittier resident and retired switchboard operator at Whittier College, will also be named an honorary member of the alumni association. Dettor was the “voice of Whittier College” for 22 years. When Dettor joined Whittier’s staff in 1981, she became the “first impression” for new students, parents, alumni and others when they called the college. As an example of her dedication, when the Whittier Narrows earthquake hit in 1987, Dettor came in to work and spoke with many parents who called, easing their worries about their students.
Located 18 miles east of Los Angeles, Whittier College is an independent, four-year college offering traditional liberal arts majors and strong pre-professional programs taught in the context of the liberal arts. Whittier Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, is located on a separate campus in Costa Mesa.
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