The Alumni Association of the University of Nevada, Reno will honor Annette Whittemore as Alumna of the Year at the annual Homecoming Gala, sponsored by Hometown Health, on Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Joe Crowley Student Union ballroom. The association will also honor 14 other alumni who excel in their professions and communities.
The University’s Homecoming celebration runs Oct. 13-18.
Whittemore, who graduated with a major in elementary and special education in 1974, is a wife and a mother of five, a teacher and a philanthropist. She is founding director of the Whittemore-Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease, a new facility on campus for research, patient care and education partnering with the Nevada School of Medicine. The institute will open in 2010 within the Center for Molecular Medicine.
“The Nevada Alumni Association is proud to honor Annette Whittemore as our 2008 Alumna of the Year,” said Amy Carothers, director of Alumni Relations. “From teaching children with special needs to developing the Whittemore-Peterson Institute, Annette takes on each career challenge with enthusiasm and dedication.”
The passion that Whittemore shows is contagious to other Nevada alumni.
“She is an example of a vibrant and committed leader who represents the best of giving back to the University of Nevada, Reno,” said Melanie Robbins, an alumna who graduated in 2006 with a master’s degree in English, in the Fall 2008 issue of Nevada Silver & Blue.
The Alumni Association will also recognize winners of four other awards. The Professional Achievement Award recipients are: David LaPlante, 1993 finance and economics graduate; Bernard Kwok, 1981 electrical engineering graduate and MBA graduate of 1984; Felicia O’Carroll, 1976 accounting graduate; Dr. Michael Patmas, biology graduate in 1975, master’s in biology graduate of 1977 and 1981 School of Medicine graduate; and Gerald “Jerry” Wyness, 1952 physical education graduate.
This year’s Outstanding Young Alumnus award recipients are: Seema Donahoe and Scott Walquist, both 2002 journalism graduates; and Caesar Ibarra, 2000 accounting graduate.
The University Service Award recipients are: Julie Ardito, journalism graduate of 1989; Jan Brady, nursing graduate in 1963 and MBA graduate in 1986; and Ted Nigro, a friend of the University who has served on the Foundation Board of Trustees and the School of Medicine’s Advisory Board, and has given generously to the School of Medicine.
The Alumni Association Service Award recipients are: Bill Chaffin, 1966 political science graduate; Dr. James Conkey, 1983 biology graduate; and Kiara Wolf, a 1992 music graduate who completed a master’s degree in education in 1997.
Additionally, the Alumni Association’s Fallon chapter will be recognized as Outstanding Chapter of the Year.
Famed Nevada quarterback and 1995 graduate Chris Vargas will emcee the gala. Vargas also works as an analyst on Wolf Pack football broadcasts.
In addition to the gala, the Alumni Association is co-sponsoring two Homecoming events for the first time with the Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN). On Oct. 17, a Blue Flu barbeque will be held in the plaza in front of the student union from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to “catch the blue flu” to leave work and wear the school colors to the barbecue.
The annual bonfire will kick off that day at 6 p.m. in the North Parking Lot. There will be many activities for the community, including performances by Nevada’s Pride of the Sierra Marching Band.
“We will have bounce houses, fire throwers and a lot of really good food,” Carothers said.
The pair of events gives members of the community and alumni the opportunity to interact with students and faculty, she said.
“It’s the perfect opportunity to get everyone together and really celebrate Homecoming.”
Homecoming events wrap up with Nevada’s football game against the Utah State Aggies. Kickoff is at 1:05 p.m. Oct. 18 at Mackay Stadium.