About the Alumni Association Awardees
Alumnus of the Year
The highest honor given by the Alumni Association. This award is presented to a graduate who is of good character and is held in high esteem by his/her associates and has brought credit upon him/herself and the College.
Commitment to service, professional achievement, and a well-tuned life as a singer and musician distinguish Alumnus of the Year Steve Ports ’83.
Ports has dedicated his career to shaping public policy for the common good, and has served in high-impact roles within the state of Maryland. A Political Science major, he got his start working in the political arena through an internship Professor Herb Smith helped him land during his junior year with U.S. Senator Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts. He also got an insider’s view of state politics during field trips to Annapolis during the legislative session. Early on, Ports decided he wanted to focus on the policy side, rather than the partisan side, of politics. “The greatest thing I took away from my undergraduate education was how to apply critical-thinking methods to attempt to address complicated policy issues. I was challenged to be a good decision-maker and to think critically about what solutions may be in the best interest of the public,” he says.
Ports earned a master’s in Public Administration from the University of Baltimore in 1985. From 1986 to 1997, he was a committee staffer and budget/fiscal analyst with the Maryland General Assembly’s Department of Legislative Services, where he tackled complex issues like health care delivery and financing, as well as income and property tax reform. He served as chief of staff and legislative assistant to President of the Maryland Senate Mike Miller from 1997-2000. From 2001 through earlier this year, he was the principal deputy director at the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission, where he led innovative efforts to improve care for patients and reduce costs. Ports lives with wife Elaine in Severna Park, Md., and is currently an independent health care policy consultant.
For more than three decades, Ports has also played bass in The Klassix, a band that specializes in high-energy rock, jazz, and pop music, and headlines at gigs around the state — including on the Hill. Alumni who see him perform are reminded of the student the Scrimshaw newspaper described in 1981 as the “Pub singer par excellence.” Over the decades, Ports has returned to campus frequently; his leadership skills elevated his work during 15 years on the Alumni Council, and his love for the College has encouraged many other alumni to stay connected. In 2008, he was awarded the McDaniel College Alumni Service Award. He says, “I really believe the College gave me a great kick-start in life. Not just in my profession, but in my ability to have a career, achieve enduring and life-changing friendships, and continue to make music.”
Alumni Community Service Award
Presented to a graduate who has performed outstanding voluntary service to their community beyond normal business or professional obligations.
Bernard Franklin has served as National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) executive vice president of education and community engagement and chief inclusion officer since 2003. In this role, he is responsible for working with the NCAA president, executive vice presidents and members of the President’s Cabinet to ensure the development of programs, policies and services that address the educational and community engagement aspects of intercollegiate athletics. Additionally, he oversees diversity and inclusion initiatives for both the NCAA membership and national office staff.
Before joining the NCAA, Franklin served as president of Virginia Union University, Livingstone College, Hood Theological Seminary and Saint Augustine’s College, which is now Saint Augustine’s University. During that time, he served the Association as a member of the NCAA Division II Presidents Council and the NCAA Executive Committee.
Franklin is engaged in numerous community projects throughout the Indianapolis area. He is a board member for Visit Indy, the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce and the Indianapolis Urban League. A native of Montclair, New Jersey, he holds a Ph.D. in education from Teachers College, Columbia University, where he specialized in higher education administration with an emphasis on student personnel administration. He earned his Master of Education degree from Western Maryland College, now McDaniel College, where he specialized in educational administration, and his bachelor’s degree from Simpson College.
Edward J. Kasemeyer has been a member of the Maryland General Assembly for 32 years and currently serves as State Senator for District 12 representing portions of Howard and Montgomery counties. As Chairman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, he plays a key role in the fiscal management and policy of the state. Previously, he served as Deputy Majority Leader, Senate Chair of the Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Pensions, and Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families.
A lifelong Maryland resident, Kasemeyer has long been involved in his community as a board member of Howard County ARC, the Howard County Housing Alliance and is former Board President of the Greater Howard County Chamber of Commerce. He has been a strong supporter of quality education while working to keep it affordable, and numerous other efforts that support the middle class and those most in need. He is proud to be the Senate sponsor of the legislation that established the Prepaid Tuition Trust program in Maryland. Kasemeyer’s background as a small business owner informs his focus on the needs of the small business community.
Kasemeyer has been recognized for his good works with numerous awards, including the 2015 First Citizens Award, Senate of Maryland; 2014 Public Supporter of the Year, Maryland Food Bank; 2013 Champion for Real Lives, Developmental Disabilities Coalition; and 2012 Legislator of the Year, Mental Health Coalition. Kasemeyer has five children and lives in Columbia with his wife Pam.
Beth Heckert Tevis has been serving her community of Westminster and Carroll County since her graduation from the College in 1977 with a degree in English. She continued her studies in Education at the College, earning in 1984 her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. She taught first grade at Westminster Elementary School and also taught courses in the McDaniel/Western Maryland College education department for 17 years.
Throughout her teaching career and now that she is retired, Beth has volunteered her wisdom and expertise to many organizations. She is a board member and former board chair of the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster and past board member of Carroll Arts Council. She teaches Sunday School at the Westminster Church of the Brethren and is active in the College Alumni Association.
Beth, with husband Jack Tevis and the Tevis family, has been recognized for service with several awards. In 2013, the Boy Scouts of Carroll County named Beth and Jack Tevis “Good Scout of the Year” and the Tevis family was honored in 2006 with the Philanthropist of the Year award by the Carroll Community Foundation.
Alumni Professional Achievement Awards
Presented to a graduate who has gained distinction in his/her chosen field or profession and whose accomplishments reflect admirably on McDaniel College
Thomas Hart Armbruster was sworn in as Ambassador to the Republic of the Marshall Islands on August 16, 2012, and served as Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Majuro until May 2016.The Marshall Islands receives over $100 million a year in Compact of Free Association development assistance and is home of the Reagan Space and Missile Defense facility on Kwajalein.AmbassadorArmbruster’s Foreign Service career began in 1988 and included overseas postings to Vladivostok, Russia; Dushanbe, Tajikistan; Nuevo Laredo, Mexico; Moscow, Russia; Havana, Cuba and Helsinki, Finland.Domestic assignments included Diplomat in Residence at City College in New York City and Polar Affairs Officer in Washington, DC. Armbrusterwas the Chief U.S. Negotiator for an emergency response treaty with Russia and he led trade and counternarcotics missions to Afghanistan.
Since leaving the Foreign Service, Ambassador Armbruster has worked as an international consultant and is currently Lead Inspector for an Office of the Inspector General report on the South Central Asia bureau of the State Department. Ambassador Armbruster is a private pilot and scuba diver.He is the recipient of Career Achievement, Meritorious and Superior Honor awards from the State Department and a Presidential Award of Honor from President Hilda Heine of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.Publications include a chapter in the book “Inside a U.S. Embassy” and articles intheForeign Service Journal, Ambassadors ReviewandState Magazine, among others.
Hehas master’s degrees from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and the Naval War College in Newport.He is fluent in Spanish and Russian.Born in El Paso, Texas, he lives in San Antonio with wife Kathy Chandler Armbruster ’78 and dog “Skipjack.”Their two children, Bryan and Kalia, grew up in the Foreign Service.
Barbara Hetrick is past senior vice president and now senior advisor to the Council of Independent Colleges, an association of nearly 700 colleges and universities. She has been responsible for the cultivation and solicitation of corporate and foundation support and overseen communications and selected CIC programs, especially those in the areas of faculty and curricular programs, annual programs and leadership development programs. A member of Phi Alpha Mu and a double major in Sociology and French, Hetrick served as vice president for academic affairs and professor of Sociology at Catawba College and as vice president for academic affairs and professor of Sociology/Anthropology at The College of Wooster. She also served as vice president of the Maryland Independent College and University Association (MICUA) and vice president and dean of academic affairs and Andrew G. Truxal Professor of Sociology at Hood College.
With members of the National Institute of Education Study Group on the Conditions of Excellence in American Higher Education, she wrote the highly influential report “Involvement in Learning: Realizing the Potential of American Higher Education.” Within higher education, Hetrick writes and speaks most frequently about quality in undergraduate education, the importance of liberal learning, the assessment of student learning and institutional effectiveness. She has written books and numerous articles in sociology.
Hetrick earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland College Park and, during her time at McDaniel College, then Western Maryland College, was active in student government, yearbook, Student Opportunity Services (SOS), Phi Alpha Delta honor society and field hockey. She was an American Council on Education Fellow and chair of the Council of Fellows. She is a founder of the Associated New American Colleges, served as chair of the American Conference of Academic Deans, was on the Annapolis Group Council of Deans and sat on the Board of Directors of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.
Dr. Sandra Geiman Ruby is a neurologist with the Carroll Health Group in Westminster, Md., and is the Stroke Medical Director at Carroll Hospital Center, where she provides both inpatient and outpatient consultations and acute stroke care and performs EMGs and interprets EEGs. She earned her medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and completed her residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. She is board certified in Neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology and fellowship trained in Clinical Neurophysiology at University of Maryland Medical Center, with a special interest in neuromuscular disorders.
Dr. Ruby is a member of the American Academy of Neurology and has been an American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry Diplomate since 2010. As an undergraduate, she played basketball and soccer while majoring in Biochemistry and earning top grades. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 1998 and was recognized with both the Gordon B. Shelton Award for Excellence in the Life Sciences and the Harry C. Jones Award for Chemistry upon graduation. In 2006, she was awarded the William Alexander Hammond Award for Excellence in Neurology by the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Dr. Ruby lives in Westminster with her husband, Mark Ruby ’99, and their four children.
Alumni College Service Award
Presented to graduates who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, devotion and service for the betterment of the College Alumni Association.
Erin Giles’ service to the College began long before her May 2015 graduation. While a Communication student on the Hill, Erin served as secretary, vice-president and president of the Student Alumni Council and was a student lobbyist for McDaniel at the Maryland Independent Colleges and Universities Association (MICUA) days at the state capital in Annapolis.
Currently associate director of community engagement for McDaniel’s Center for Experience and Opportunity (CEO), Erin was coordinator of First Year Programs in the College’s First Stop Office for the past year. She has served as lead narrator of the “Choose McDaniel” video shared with accepted students and recorded voiceovers for a variety of videos promoting McDaniel graduate programs and environmental efforts. Erin continues her volunteer work with the Alumni Association as a member of the GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade) Committee, helping with fundraising, social gatherings and service events to engage young alumni.
A summa cum laude graduate with a Communication major and an Art History minor, Erin received an M.A. in Communication with concentrations in Public and Media Relations and Health Communications from Johns Hopkins University. Her volunteer service was recognized during her student years with the Ralph Candler & Dorothy Prince John Award for Academic Excellence and Service to the College Community and a “Phenomenal Woman” award. She lives in Westminster, Md.