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Alumni Association grants honorary status to triumvirate of faculty and staff

 14 0506 Alumni trium
May 06, 2014

Three members of the college community, Dr. Charles Neal, professor of Political Science and International Studies; Dr. Ethan Seidel, vice president of Administration and Finance; and Joyce Muller, associate vice president for Communications and Marketing were named honorary alumni by the College’s Alumni Association. In addition, the Board of Trustees awarded Muller who retires in May after 35 years, with emeritus status on April 25 in recognition of meritorious service.

Honorary alumni status is awarded to qualifying individuals who do not possess a degree from the College, but who have provided exceptional leadership, devotion and service to our alumni. Sally Stanfield ’78, past president of the Alumni Association, presented the awards and read citations.

Neal, who joined the faculty in 1978, will retire at the semester’s end and plans to move to Jacksonville, Fla. He is the College’s first tenured African-American professor. As an expert in political theory, American political behavior and the judicial process, Neal advises students who annually participate in the Model UN program held at Harvard. Since 1983, Dr. Neal has also served as the pre-law advisor. In addition, he has been an officer on the board of the National Pre-Law Association and worked closely with students helping nearly 600 alumni gain acceptance to the top law schools in the country.

He also founded the Political Science Honors Society, Pi Sigma Alpha, and served as its advisor for 20 years. His counsel to students extends beyond the classroom having served as an advisory to the Greek fraternities and annual organizer of Constitution Day.

Ethan Seidel, who has served as vice president and CFO since 1993, will step down from service in this role and return to teaching Economics and continue as chair of the Economics and Business Administration Department effective July 1, 2014.

As our chief finance officer, Ethan oversees a $59.8-million operating budget, campus construction and renovation, management of the College’s endowment and operations including campus planning, improvements and maintenance, human resources, for-profit rentals and contractual agreements and WMC Development Corporation.

Under his leadership, the College’s endowment grew to $110 million and virtually every academic building was renovated with new construction including Merritt Hall, Merritt Fitness Center, the entire North Village complex and most recently, the Kenneth R. Gill Stadium.

He has been twice selected by his students for the Distinguished Teaching Award and was one of 20 economists nationwide to receive in 1982 the Leavey Award for Excellence in Free Enterprise Education. In 2009, Board Chair Martin K.P. Hill and his wife, Kelly W. Hill, established an endowed chair in Ethan’s honor.

Seidel also travels frequently to meet and talk with former students at alumni events and visit with alumni at Homecoming and reunions.

Joyce Muller has lead all facets of the College’s communications, public relations and marketing since 1979, including serving as editor of The Hill magazine. She has earned over 40 national awards from the Council for Support and Advancement of Education including the international Gold Medal for Institutional Branding in 2003; three Gold Medals for Student Recruitment Marketing, and several Gold Medals for The Hill magazine, now in its 29th year. More importantly, she has generously mentored dozens of colleagues who learned from her example to work hard, stay current, think big and embrace change.

Muller has been the creative and tactical thinker behind all efforts aimed at advancing a positive perception of the College, which have resulted in increasingly larger applicant pools, improved national rankings and successful fundraising campaigns. Since 1993, she has also hosted Great Decisions, a continuing education program of the Foreign Policy Association, bringing speakers of national renown to campus to discuss important issues of the day, as well as identified and coordinated the SmartTALK series that feature notable alumni in conversation with President Roger Casey.

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