The University of Findlay will honor Distinguished Alumni Luke Bartolomeo ’67, Ph.D., Jay Hong ’77, Luke Levers ’51, Debra Layport Newman ’74, Judge Vernon Preston ’72 and Michael Smythe ’65 during Homecoming weekend on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the annual Alumni Association Breakfast.
To make a reservation for the breakfast, call 419-434-4516, or click here.
Distinguished Alumni are members of the Alumni Association who have exhibited the highest standards of individual achievement in their professions and/or personal endeavors and have contributed to the advancement of humanity.
Other honorees include Mayor Lydia Mihalik ’02 – Old Main Award for young alumni under the age of 36; Elaine Markon – Arch Award for faculty or staff members who are not alumni but have served the institution with distinction for more than 25 years; and the late Ann Brossia ’96 – Gold Medallion Award for alumni who deserve recognition but are now deceased.
Luke Bartolomeo ’67, Ph.D.
Luke Bartolomeo ’67, Ph.D. (Distinguished Alumnus) is honored in recognition of his 36-year career as a chemistry professor and faculty administrator at Findlay College/The University of Findlay. Bartolomeo helped initiate several programs at Findlay, including those in pre-veterinary medicine, nuclear medicine technology, hazardous waste management, occupational and physical therapy and the preliminary phase of the pharmacy program. Bartolommeo also has remained active in the Findlay community.
In addition to receiving a bachelor’s degree from Findlay, Bartolomeo received a master’s degree and a doctoral degree from Bowling Green State University. He and his wife, Jeanne, reside in Findlay.
Jay Hong ’77
Jay Hong ’77 (Distinguished Alumnus) is honored in recognition of his business career and leadership role in the Korean-American business community of Atlanta, Ga. During his career, Hong operated retail stores in shopping malls across the metropolitan Atlanta area and was a real estate broker. As founder and president of the Korea Town business district in Atlanta and active community member, Hong has seen the area grow to 6,000 Korean businesses and 100,000 Koreans.
Hong received a degree in business at Chung Ang University in South Korea, and a bachelor of science in marketing from then-Findlay College. He resides with his wife, Susie, in Dunwoody, Ga.
Luke Levers ’51
Luke Levers ’51 (Distinguished Alumnus) is honored in recognition of his outstanding service in education and ministry. Levers taught in several school districts in Ohio and California, coached football and wrestling, was involved in a number of related activities and retired after 45 years of teaching. He held pastorates in Upper Sandusky, Green and Akron.
Levers received an A.B. degree in theology and Greek from then-Findlay College and attended Kent State and Akron University to earn a teacher certification. He resides in San Jose, Calif., with his wife, Pat.
Debra Layport Newman ’74
Debra Layport Newman ’74 (Distinguished Alumna) is honored in recognition of her more than two decades of leadership of the business community in Laguna Niguel, Calif. Since 1990, she has served as president and CEO of the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce and has been actively involved in various aspects of her community, including activities that relate to her interests in dance, ballet, musical theatre and strength, core and endurance training.
Newman received a bachelor of arts degree in speech/drama and education. She resides in Laguna Niguel with her husband, Michael.
Judge Vernon Preston ’72
Judge Vernon Preston ’72 (Distinguished Alumnus) is honored in recognition of his military service to his country and of his service to state and community through a career in law and volunteerism. Preston served in the United States Navy for six years and was on duty with the Navy Reserve for 25 years, retiring in 2003 with the rank of captain. He began his law career in private practice and now is on the Ohio Third District Court of Appeals. Preston has been active within the Findlay community in a variety of organizations, including St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church where he has served in several positions.
Preston received a law degree from the University of Toledo. He and his wife, Debby, reside in Findlay.
Michael Smythe ’65
Michael Smythe ’65 (Distinguished Alumnus) is honored in recognition of his award-winning career in broadcast journalism. Smythe won the 2010 Emmy Award for Best Editorial on-camera talent from the Mid-America chapter of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences. For his “ViewPoint” segments, he won Best Editorial for an unprecedented 10 years by the Missouri Broadcasters Association, including for 2012, and he was awarded Best Editorial for six years by the Illinois Broadcasters Association. Smythe is the general manager for KBSI Fox 23 and MY 49 WDKA in Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Smythe received bachelor’s degrees in speech and business. He also received a master’s degree in broadcasting and business from Bowling Green State University.
Mayor Lydia Mihalik ’02
Mayor Lydia Mihalik ’02 (Old Main Award) is the 55th mayor of the city of Findlay and the first woman to hold the office. She is involved in several community groups, including the Hancock County Red Cross and the Hancock County Agency on Aging.
She received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University and was a 2010 graduate of both the JoAnn Davidson Leadership Institute and the Government Leadership Academy. Mihalik resides in Findlay with her husband, Drew, and their two children.
The Old Main Award is presented to UF alumni who have demonstrated distinctive achievements in a chosen career, civic involvement and/or service to The University of Findlay, and have not reached the age of 36.
Elaine Markon (Arch Award) served as program director and assistant director of the Nuclear Medicine Institute (NMI) at the University from 1984 until 2012 when she retired with 28 years of service. Markon was active within her profession. She also received several awards during her career. The Findlay•Hancock County Chamber of Commerce named her The University of Findlay 1996 Educator of the Year.
Markon has a bachelor of science degree in physics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master of science degree in physics from Ohio University in Athens. She also holds several professional certifications. Markon and her husband, George, reside in Findlay.
The Arch Award was established in 2004 to recognize outstanding service by faculty or staff members of The University of Findlay who are not graduates of the institution.
Barbara Ann Brossia ’96
The late Barbara Ann Brossia ’96 (Gold Medallion Award) is recognized for her devotion to her profession of fund raising and community service. At the time of her death in Jnuary 2011, Brossia was the development officer for the Findlay-Hancock County Community Foundation. She previously was the development and planned giving officer for the University from 1998-2010. Brossia was a member of many professional organizations and volunteered with a variety of community groups, such as the Hancock Leadership Alumni Association and Camp Fire USA Northwest Ohio Council.
Brossia was married to Steve Brossia of Findlay. The Gold Medallion Award was established in 1993 and is presented in memory of alumni in recognition of outstanding service and accomplishments during their lifetimes.