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Old Dominion will present Distinguished Alumni Awards to seven graduates Friday, Oct. 19 at the annual Founders' Day luncheon in the Ted Constant Convocation Center.

The program will also include the presentation of Town-N-Gown Community Service Awards and the Albert B. "Buck" Gornto Jr. Regional Service Award. The Distinguished Alumni Awards are given to ODU graduates in recognition of outstanding service to the community, state, nation or mankind, or for outstanding accomplishments in the graduate's profession. This year's recipients are:

• Linda L. Davis '70 - Davis holds the Gardiner Distinguished Professorship in Nursing and is a senior fellow in the Center for Study of Aging and Human Development at Duke University. She currently is principal investigator for Project ASSIST, a five-year NIH-funded trial that provides skills training to family members caring for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease patients at home. She is best known for her work with "high-risk" elders and their families, and maintains an active program of community education and service for elder care.

• Elizabeth A. Duke (M.B.A. '83) - Duke, who began her banking career in 1975 as a teller, today is senior executive vice president and chief operating officer of TowneBank. She was named one of the 15 most powerful women in Washington, D.C., in 2005, and in May was nominated by President Bush to fill a vacant seat on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. She has served as president of the Virginia Bankers Association and as a board member of the Federal Reserve Bank in Richmond, and recently completing a term as chairman of the American Bankers Association.

• Rear Adm. Michael D. Hardee '76 - Hardee is the Naval Air Systems Command commander of Fleet Readiness Centers, and assistant commander for logistics and industrial operations. Hardee, who has held a variety of afloat and shore-based assignments, including sea tours aboard an amphibious ship, was responsible, as commander of DCMA Sikorsky aircraft, for the delivery of rotorcraft to the U.S. and allied nations. A former commander of aviation depots, he is an expert in the fields of Lean, Six Sigma and related concepts in aviation maintenance.

• Rear Adm. Donald P. Loren (M.S.Ed. '83) - Loren is the deputy assistant secretary of defense for Homeland Security Integration. He is responsible for planning and policy development, assessment, partnership integration, congressional activities and education issues related to homeland defense. He retired from the Navy following a 31-year career as a surface warfare officer. Assignments included duty as commanding officer of a guided missile frigate and commander of a destroyer squadron. Since his retirement, he has worked in national intelligence as a senior intelligence executive.

• James V. Meath '71 - An attorney for more than 27 years, Meath is currently vice chairman of the board at Williams Mullen law firm. His expertise is labor and employment law and he has represented businesses throughout the United States and Canada in his specialty. He has also established himself as an experienced counselor in guiding corporations in complex legal issues such as regulatory inquiries and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. A Fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation and the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, he is recognized as a leading labor and employment attorney.

• Dr. Clydette Powell '72 - Powell, who is board-certified in pediatrics, child neurology and preventive medicine/public health, serves as the medical officer in the Bureau for Global Health at the U.S. Agency for International Development. She focuses on global public health strategies for fragile states, strategies to combat tuberculosis and manage the TB interface with HIV/AIDS, and the public health implications of sex trafficking. She also serves as the Global Health Bureau liaison to the State Department. She has worked in more than 20 countries as a medical consultant.

• Niel Ransom '70 (M.S. '71) - Ransom was, until 2005, the chief technology officer of Alcatel Inc. He managed technology activities encompassing research, corporate and product strategy, research and development investment, mergers and acquisitions strategy, and intellectual property for the worldwide company from his base in Paris. Currently he is president and CEO of Ransom-shire Associates Inc., a company supporting venture capital and early-stage companies. He holds five patents in telecommunications technology and is co-author of the book, "Broadband Access Technologies."

Town-N-Gown will present its service awards to Helen Bernd and, posthumously, to Rita M. Costello.

Bernd, who holds bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from ODU, was a member of the university's Educational Foundation board for several years, as well as the first advisory board for the College of Health Sciences, which she chaired for four years. As chair, she raised funds for health sciences programs and classrooms, and introduced the Dean's Council for Leadership Giving and the Friends of the Health Sciences Annual Dinner. She has also done volunteer work for Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters.

Costello, who died Sept. 25, was retired from the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. She attended ODU when it was the Norfolk Division of the College of William and Mary. Her life was been defined by community involvement and volunteerism. She served on the boards of the American Heart Association, American Red Cross and Town-N-Gown. She was a master gardener and water steward with the Virginia Extension Program and a member of the River Stars Committee for the Elizabeth River Project. At the time of her death, she was president of the Tidewater District of the Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs.

The Gornto Regional Service Award will go to G. Robert Aston Jr. A professional banker with more than 42 years of leadership in community banks and a super regional bank, including 22 years as president and chief executive officer, Aston has been chairman of the board and CEO of TowneBank in Portsmouth since 1998. He is currently a board member for Portsmouth Partnership, Eastern Virginia Medical School Foundation, Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, ODU Intercollegiate Foundation, TowneBank Foundation, Hampton Roads Partnership, Tidewater Builders Association and Virginia International Terminals Inc.

This article was posted on: October 1, 2007

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