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Seven ODU Graduates to Be Recognized at Alumni Honors Dinner

Old Dominion University will present awards to seven former students at the annual Alumni Honors Dinner on Thursday, Oct. 21.

Four graduates will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards, two will receive Outstanding Achievement Awards and one an Alumni Service Award at the event, to be held at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott Hotel. ODU will also present two Honorary Alumni Awards as part of the evening program.

The following graduates will be honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards:

• Thomas A. DiCillo '75 - An award-winning independent filmmaker, he received a bachelor's degree in English. DiCillo's films, which include "Box of Moonlight, "The Real Blonde," "Double Whammy" and "Delirious," have all been shown at the Sundance Film Festival. His film "Living in Oblivion," winner of Best Screenplay at Sundance and other best-picture awards, is considered an independent classic. The Emmy-nominated "When You're Strange: A Film About The Doors," DiCillo's most recent work, is a full-length documentary that follows the band from its UCLA days to the stages of sold-out arenas.

• Kenneth G. Stepka '74 - Chair of the board of Clark-Nexsen, a Norfolk-based company providing architecture, engineering, interior design, planning and landscape architecture services, he received a bachelor's degree in engineering. Stepka has extensive experience in project management, subcontract administration and client interface. While holding key leadership positions at Clark-Nexsen, he has helped to grow the company from 43 employees with revenue of $2.3 million to more than 500 employees and revenue over $70 million.

• Richard B. Thurmond '76 - President and owner of William E. Wood & Associates since 1990, he received a bachelor's degree in marketing management. The company, which has thrived under Thurmond's leadership to become the largest of its kind in Hampton Roads, is ranked No. 62 in the 2010 Real Trends' report of the top 50 brokers in the nation. Thurmond, who entered the real estate business in sales with Woodard Realty while enrolled at ODU, joined William E. Wood as an agent four years after graduation.

• Ting Xu '88 (M.S. '89) - The creator and current president of Evergreen Enterprises, she holds bachelor's and master's degrees in computer science. The company, which she started in the garage of her suburban Virginia home in 1993, had broken the $1 million sales mark by 1994. Today, it is not only the nation's largest decorative flag designer and wholesaler, but it also produces more than 12,000 other home and garden products. Xu now manages over 700 people and has annual sales of more than $200 million. She lives in Goochland, Va.

The following alumni will be honored with Outstanding Achievement Awards:

• Nancy I. Lieberman '80 - Widely considered one of the most influential figures in women's basketball history, the three-time Kodak All-American received a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies. At ODU, Lieberman led the Lady Monarchs to two consecutive AIAW national championships (1979, 1980). The first two-time winner of the prestigious Wade Trophy, she was also selected as the Broderick Award winner as the top women's player in America. She went on to shape the landscape and future of women's professional basketball as a player and coach. Today she is an analyst for ESPN/ABC, covering the NBA and WNBA and NCAA women's basketball. Her business book, "Playbook for Success," went on sale in October 2010.

• James L. Taylor Jr. '78 - Recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the chief financial officer for the Department of Labor, Taylor received a bachelor's degree in political science. He has nearly 30 years of federal financial management experience, including his recent successful tenure as deputy inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security, where he reviewed, assessed and tested the effectiveness of controls for financial reporting in the wake of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. He served as deputy chief financial officer and director for financial management at the Department of Commerce from 1999 to 2005.

The following alumnus will be honored with an Alumni Service Award:

• William I. Foster III '78 - President of TowneBank of Norfolk, he received a bachelor's degree in business administration. Foster joined TowneBank in 2004 as president of the Norfolk region and opened the Norfolk branch in 2005. Heavily involved in civic and community affairs, he led the private effort in 2005 to raise matching funds for a Major League Baseball grant for the Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities project in the Barraud Park section of Norfolk. He has also done fundraising on behalf of Hampton Roads for the U.S. Olympic Committee. In 2008, the Hampton Roads Youth Center presented him with the Ray of Hope Award for his leadership in community service.

Two Hampton Roads residents will receive Honorary Alumni Awards:

• George T. Coker - A highly decorated Navy veteran, he spent 6½ years as a prisoner of war after his aircraft was shot down over North Vietnam in 1966, including 2½ years in solitary confinement after he was recaptured following an escape attempt. Following his release from prison in 1973, Coker returned to duty five months later at NAS Oceana. His final tour, which began in 1985 as the director of the Atlantic Fleet Command Center in Norfolk, ended with his retirement on Sept. 30, 1986.

• Dwight W. Schaubach - He started the original Bay Disposal in the late 1970s and drove its first trash truck. Still the owner and president, he is also the owner and operator of Johns Brothers Security; Johns Brothers Heating, Cooling and Oil; Bay Disposal Waste Division; and Suffolk International Truck Sales, all under Schaubach Companies of Virginia. In the mid-1980s, he established a medical waste collection company, offering the first medical waste incinerator in Virginia. Schaubach is also the former owner of Langley Speedway in Hampton. In 2009, he purchased the former Williamsburg Country Club with a partner and reopened the golf course in May of this year.

This article was posted on: October 15, 2010

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