The Nevada Alumni Association held its annual Homecoming Gala Oct. 23, celebrating University of Nevada, Reno Alumnus of the Year Maj. Gen. Mark W. Yenter along with 25 other outstanding award honorees.
Yenter, '81 (civil engineering), is a fourth-generation Nevadan and fourth-generation graduate of the University and has since gone on to become a decorated commander and engineering officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Along the way, he has taken on many command and staff challenges, from overseeing engineering design, construction and real estate management of countless military projects to engaging in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As much as Yenter has done for his country, he has been equally impactful on his alma mater. Whether it is inspiring a group of newly minted lieutenants, spending time with members of the Wolf Pack Battalion (the University's ROTC program), or extolling the virtues of the University's engineering program to prospective students during one of his many recruiting efforts on the University's behalf, he has been a lifelong supporter of the University.
2013 Alumnus of the Year Maj. Gen. Mark Yenter
Rita Laden, Maj. Gen. Mark Yenter and Marc Johnson
Yenter's involvement in the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, where he served as president, and in the ROTC department, where he served as battalion commander, developed leadership skills and lifelong friendships.
Claire Vaye Watkins was also recognized at the gala, honored as the Association's Outstanding Young Alumnus for 2013. Her collection of short stories, "Battleborn," was named a Best Book of 2012 by the San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Time Out New York and Flavorwire, and a Best Short Story Collection by NPR.org. In 2012, the National Book Foundation named her one of the Five Best Writers Under 35. "Battleborn" won a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame last fall.
Currently a visiting assistant professor at Princeton University, Watkins is also the co-founder, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a non-profit creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada. She has also found success in the journalism world as an opinion editorial columnist for The New York Times. In addition to her recent awards, Watkins has received fellowships from the Writers' Conferences at Sewanee and Bread Loaf.
Brita Muller and Matthew Wolden were also awarded the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, and the Football Alumni Chapter was recognized as the chapter of the year.
The Nevada Alumni Association honored the following Professional Achievement award recipients:
- Kris P. Hackbusch '98 (history), '00M.Ed. (educational leadership)
- Lauralyn L. McCarthy '92 (journalism)
- James E. Murphy '87 (premedical) '91M.D.
- George S. Ross '46 (journalism)
- Marena Works '95 (nursing), '07M.S.N., M.P.H. (nursing and public health)
The Nevada Alumni Association honored the following University Service award recipients:
- Marvin "Dick" Gilbert '49 (economics)
- Warren L. Lerude '61 (journalism)
- Ron R. Zideck '59 (accounting)
The Nevada Alumni Association honored the following Outstanding Young Alumnus award recipients:
- Brita Muller '09 (journalism)
- Claire Vaye Watkins '07 (English)
- Matthew R. Wolden '03 (health ecology), '05M.P.H. (public health)
The Nevada Alumni Association honored the following Alumni Association Service award recipients:
- Tracey L. Delaplain '83 (premedical), '87M.D.
- Julie K. Rowe '94 (journalism)
- Derek S. Zielinski '05 (mechanical engineering)
The Nevada Alumni Association honored the following college-specific award recipients:
- Eren F. Ozmen '85MBA, College of Business
- Mary Ann Lambert '71 (nursing), '82M.S. (nursing), Division of Health Sciences
- Jaculine Chiatovich Jones '64 (education), '70M.Ed. (counseling and guidance), College of Education
- Joyce Holtzclaw '87 (mechanical engineering), '90MBA, College of Engineering
- Lois M. Mikawa '80M.Ed. (education), '87Ed.D. (counseling and guidance), College of Liberal Arts
- Robert B. Morrill, '59 (mining engineering), Libraries
- Sam S. Arentz '68 (mining engineering), Mackay School of Mines
- Ryan C. Dotson '02 (mathematics), '05M.S. (mathematics), Outstanding Graduate Student Alumnus
- Paul B. Roth '74 A.A.M.D. (medicine), University of Nevada School of Medicine
- Gary R. Clemons '81 (earth science), College of Science
- Karole R. Morgan-Prager '84 (journalism), The Reynolds School
Additionally, the Nevada Alumni Association's council officially welcomed four new board members who were approved at an Oct. 25 Homecoming meeting: Derek Beenfeldt '93 (civil engineering), College of Engineering and University of Nevada School of Medicine, family and community medicine resident, School of Medicine; Delores Clewe '69 (English), College of Education, retired educator; Michael Hix '89 (finance), College of Business, senior vice president and regional banding manager for First Independent Bank; and Joe Nannini '00 (human development and family studies), '10Ed.S. (educational leadership), College of Health and Human Sciences and College of Education, assistant principal for Bishop Manogue High School.