In addition to giving students, alumni, faculty and staff a chance to celebrate the university’s storied history, Case Western Reserve’s Homecoming and Reunion Weekend provides an opportunity to commend alumni whose contributions have made a significant impact within the university community and beyond.
This year, the Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University will recognize five such graduates at the Homecoming Luncheon Friday, Oct. 7, at 11:30 a.m. in the Tinkham Veale University Center Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Ballroom (virtual program begins at noon).
The highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Association, the Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes someone who, in embodying the spirit of Case Western Reserve, has made outstanding contributions to their field and community.
As chair and CEO of Applied Industrial Technologies, Jack Dannemiller brought innovative practices to the Cleveland-based distributor that led to tripling the company’s product types and expanding its global reach. Now retired, Dannemiller is active at the university and, along with his late wife, established the Jack and Jean Dannemiller Scholarship Fund, knowing, as he recently said, that “a good education unlocks the door to opportunity.”
Timothy J. Miller, PhD, (GRS ’08, pharmacology)
Professional Achievement Award
The Professional Achievement Award recognizes an alum whose exceptional career accomplishments have brought distinction to themselves and Case Western Reserve.
As the co-founder, CEO and president of Forge Biologics, Timothy Miller aims to provide more manufacturing capacity and patient access for lifesaving gene therapies targeting rare childhood diseases.
“Gene therapies can help us change the way we treat patients with genetic diseases and bring hope to millions of families,” said Miller, who also has partnered with the university’s National Center for Regenerative Medicine to attract students to gene therapy manufacturing and teach them best practices.
Cheryl McRae-Bergeron, DNP, (NUR ’94)
Newton D. Baker Distinguished Service Award
This award honors the legacy and community endeavors of Cleveland’s 37th mayor, Newton D. Baker, by recognizing a member of the CWRU community who has generously shared with the university their time, expertise or leadership.
A decorated Air Force officer, Cheryl E. McRae-Bergeron has spent decades advancing the critical role of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists in healthcare, and earlier this year made a $5.5 million scholarship commitment for doctoral students in the nurse anesthetist program at the university’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.
“I felt it was about time that I began a legacy of giving for those who are the future of nursing,” she said, “and to the institution that is on the cutting edge of healthcare delivery.”
Oliver L. Poppenberg Sr., (CIT ’59)
Daniel T. Clancy Alumni Service Award
The Daniel T. Clancy Alumni Service Award recognizes an outstanding graduate who, like the award’s namesake, has made significant contributions to the Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University.
For more than 60 years, Oliver Poppenberg has spent countless hours fostering engagement among fellow alumni by serving on committees, spearheading a variety of initiatives and connecting alumni with prospective students.
Though he has given generously of his time and resources over the years, his “most precious gift to Case Western Reserve University,” Poppenberg said, “is my granddaughter, Sophia Poppenberg, who graduated last year with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.” Read The Daily’s profile on Poppenberg and his granddaughter.
Felipe Gómez del Campo, (CWR ’16)
Young Alumni Award
The Young Alumni Award recognizes a CWRU alum (age 35 or younger) who has demonstrated excellence in their field or in service to their community.
Before turning 30, Felipe Gómez del Campo established a multi-million dollar technology company with applications in energy, aerospace and national security; was honored as an emerging global entrepreneur by Former President Barack Obama at the White House; established research partnerships with Argonne National Laboratory; and was named “30 under 30” by Forbes in the Energy category.
Today, the young graduate meets regularly with prospective students, particularly aspiring engineers and members of the Latinx community. “I’m a proud alumnus,” he said. “Case [Western Reserve] is a place where ideas can come to life.”