Relive Homecoming Weekend with highlight video; alumni award winners named

It began with a blastoff.

And included a Broadway star.

People went Beyond the Fence.

And cheered a big win over the Bears.

Case Western Reserve’s Homecoming Weekend welcomed graduates and parents alike with educational programs and social gatherings, a tradition-rich parade and alumni honors. Mixed in with the expected events, however, were some truly special surprises.

Since 2012, Homecoming Weekend has kicked off on Thursday with the Blue Block Party at the university’s Toby’s Plaza on the western end of the Uptown development on Euclid Avenue. This year’s event included an ingenious “launch” of the Case School of Engineering’s think[ box ] project, an innovation hub to be located in a former storage building on the southwest corner of campus. The first phase of renovation of the seven-story, 55,000-square-foot space starts this fall, with completion scheduled for the start of classes in the 2015-2016 academic year. To date, President Barbara R. Snyder told the crowd, the project has raised more than $25 million, while the pilot version of the project has drawn 3,000 visits a month during the school year.

“And that space,” President Snyder said, “is less than one-tenth of what the actual think[ box ] will include.”

think[ box ] 1.0, as the pilot version is called, has catalyzed several student startups, among them Carbon Origins. The company plans to make reusable rockets that take science and engineering projects to the earth’s upper atmosphere. In that spirit, university leaders and major donors traded shovels for switches that, once flipped, sent videotaped rockets soaring—complete with actual white smoke emerging from their tails.

The following day featured the traditional homecoming luncheon, drawing more than 300 people and featuring an array of honorees ranging from former School of Dental Medicine Dean Jerry Goldberg (DEN ’70, ’74) to Tony Award nominee Elizabeth A. Davis (GRS ’06, theater). (The full list of honorees follows at the end of this article).

“Being an actor in New York City is more rewarding, and wonderful, than I ever imagined,” said Davis, whose nomination came for her performance in the musical Once. Case Western Reserve University’s program with The Cleveland Playhouse, she added, “is the reason I found myself able to pursue this dream.”

The luncheon followed a sold-out reading and discussion of Beyond the Fence: A Social History of Case Western Reserve University, authored by Richard “Dick” Baznik, a vice president emeritus who joined the institution in 1968—the year after leaders of Western Reserve University and the Case Institute of Technology committed to a federation of the two institutions. That night, meanwhile, the women’s varsity soccer team marked Senior Night with a double-overtime victory over the Washington University in St. Louis Bears—then ranked second in the country. The win catapulted the Spartans into the national standings for the first time since 2012.

“I find the whole weekend inspiring, exhilarating, and a terrific reminder of why it is such a privilege to be part of Case Western Reserve,” President Snyder said.

2014 CWRU Alumni Award winners
From left: Dan Clancy, interim executive director for alumni relations, with award winners Laura Nosek, Linda Wilson, Jerold Goldberg, Elizabeth Davis and Scott Bruder.

Below are the winners of 2014 alumni awards:

  • Linda Wilson (FSM ’71) received the Newton D. Baker Distinguished Service Award for her work with Greater Cleveland-area students in the Saturday Tutoring Program. Wilson served as director of the Church of the Covenant program for more than 24 years. Her efforts helped thousands of students and inspired more than 400 individuals to volunteer their time.
  • Laura J. Nosek, PhD, (NUR ‘61, ’81; GRS ’86, nursing) received the Daniel T. Clancy Alumni Service Award for her more than 50 years of service to the alumni of the university and the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. She is a former president of the Case Western Reserve University Undergraduate Alumni Association and was integral in establishing The Alumni Association of CWRU.
  • Elizabeth A. Davis (GRS ’06, theater) received the Young Alumni Award for demonstrated excellence in her field. She has guest-starred in numerous television shows and played Reza, a Czech immigrant and roommate of the lead character in the Broadway musical Once, where she sang, danced and acted while playing a violin. The Once role lead Davis to her first Tony Award nomination and made her the first Tony Award nominee from the CWRU/Cleveland Playhouse MFA acting program.
  • Scott P. Bruder, MD, PhD, (GRS ’90, MED ’92) received the Professional Achievement Award for his career in the industrial sector. He is vice president, chief medical and scientific officer for Stryker Corp., one of the world’s leading medical technology companies. Bruder is an accomplished researcher and innovator with more than 20 issued and pending patents. He has published more than 150 articles, book chapters and abstracts in peer-reviewed journals. He serves as an adjunct professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Case School of Engineering.
  • Jerold Goldberg, DDS, (DEN ’70, ’74) received the Distinguished Alumni Award for his career distinctions rooted at Case Western Reserve University. Goldberg is an oral surgeon, scholar, author, educator and academic leader. He is highly respected by faculty, staff and students, and is the distinguished embodiment of talent at the university. Throughout his career he inspired others, conducted research and maintained a private practice. He developed innovative, efficient and effective educational programs including the new curriculum implemented by the School of Dental Medicine. Additionally, he serves on local and national dental association boards.