The honorees come from varied backgrounds.
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. -- Westminster College has recognized five of its alumni for their contributions to their community and/or the college.
Alumni citations were presented to Judge George "Tookie" James, Dr. Timothy W. Schenz, Dr. Paul Musser and Margaret Newcomb Musser, and Robert C. Jackson was presented with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
Judge James graduated cum laude in 1959 with a degree in political science and minors in history and German. He earned four varsity letters as catcher on the baseball team, three varsity letters as a running back on the football team and co-captained the football team his junior and senior years. He continued his studies at Dickinson School of Law and practiced law for 35 years. In 1998, former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge nominated James to fill a vacancy on the bench in Beaver County Common Pleas Court and he became that court's first black judge.
The Mussers, who were college sweethearts, are 1945 graduates. Paul, a psychology, philosophy and Bible major, earned two master's degrees at the Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary and the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He received a doctor of ministry degree from Ashland Theological Seminary. Margaret, who graduated cum laude with a degree in piano and a minor in English and speech, did her graduate work at the Columbia University Teachers College and went on to teach music in public schools and privately. The couple have been involved in the New Wilmington Missionary Conference for 67 years, and served as missionaries in Assuit, Egypt, from 1947 to 1950 where he taught English at Assuit College and she taught piano and directed choruses for women at Pressley Memorial Institute. Their ministry and music continues to benefit churches and nonprofit organizations in their retirement. Paul still plays the carillon in the Westminster Old Main tower, and the couple were co-chairs of the "Friends of the Carillon" campaign to raise funds for an endowed scholarship for a student carillonneur.
Schenz graduated in 1968 with a degree in chemistry, and earned a doctorate in physical chemistry at Kent State University. From 1987 to 2002, he was a research fellow in the Medical Nutritional Business Unit of Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories. In 1996, he was awarded Abbott's Outstanding Research Award for helping to develop the first re-closeable plastic infant formula bottle, donating his grant to the H. Dewey DeWitt Scholarship Fund created in the memory of Westminster College chemistry professor emeritus Percy Warrick. He holds the patent to check the sterility of the bottles by passing them through a MRI to inspect for spoilage.
The Outstanding Young Alumni Award was created to recognize alumni of 15 years or less.Jackson, a 1991 graduate with a degree in business administration and management, earned an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. His career changed from stockbroker to health-care administration when Westminster College professor Dr. Paul Frary directed him to a monthlong internship at Canterbury Place, a long-term care facility. His continued employment there during the summer sealed his fate to working in health care. In 1995, Jackson joined Gateway Health Plan in Pittsburgh as a provider representative, and, in 1997, he moved to the University of Pittsburgh Physicians as a financial analyst and manager of payer relations. He joined United Community Hospital in 1998 and was named chief executive officer in 2004, making him one of the youngest CEOs in the United States.