2002 Outstanding Alumni and Distinguished Service Awards, Alumni | Earlham College
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2002 Outstanding Alumni and Distinguished Service Awards

Outstanding Alumni Award

George Oberle '52

George H. Oberle is known nationally for his many years of service and participation in all phases of health, physical education and recreation at almost every level of involvement. As a teacher and a university administrator, he built an outstanding career. Students have used his teaching and administrative styles to become leaders in their respective fields.

In 1968, Oberle assisted in the development of the first Special Olympics in Indiana and has continued his support for the games since. From 1993 through 1995 he served as the first director of Special Olympics Unified Sports Program. This unique program combines the skills and abilities of people with mental handicaps and people without disabilities in team play.

The Unified Sports Program has become a major aspect of Special Olympics worldwide, with more than 150,000 participants annually. In 1987 President Reagan appointed Oberle to the National Council on Disability; he was subsequently reappointed by President George Bush. At the National Council Oberle helped write and bring into law the Americans with Disability Act. George Oberle has made a significant and lasting difference to hundreds of people with mental retardation and their families.

Distinguished Service Awards

Ronald McDaniel '61

Ronald McDaniel began his 40-year career in the railway supply industry in the engineering department of Hayes Track Appliance Company in Richmond, Indiana. Since 1957 he has held various positions with Western-Cullen-Hayes, Inc., becoming company president and CEO in 1977. WCH manufactures signal and maintenance of way instruments for the rail industry. He has also been a leader in grade crossing safety through Operation Lifesafer and has served as member of the Federal Railroad Administration's Rail Safety Committee.

McDaniel's philanthropic spirit and his confidence in Earlham's Management Program preparing students well for careers in the profit and nonprofit sectors resulted in his establishing the Ronald L. McDaniel Endowed Chair in Management Studies in 1999.

William '54 and Kathryn Pilgert '53 Solt

William Solt earned a master's degree in economics from Ohio State University in 1956 then worked seven years for Standard Oil Company of Indiana. From 1963 to 1978 he was market research analyst for Pullman-Standard Company. In 1979 he became manager of the Stanray Products division of Abex Corporation, manufacturer of railroad freight car parts. In 1984, Solt became president of Stanrail Corporation in Gary, Indiana. The company specializes in making a variety of railroad equipment. His wife Kathryn Solt worked for Richard D. Irwin Publishing from 1960 to the late 1980s before becoming a book editor. She has been active with Children's Theatre in Chicago, Recording for the Blind in Louisville, and worked in the acquisition section of Ramapo College in New Jersey

William has been a major supporter of the Management Program at Earlham and was instrumental in establishing the program's endowment and for bringing another alumnus, Ron McDaniel, back into active support of the College. William and Kathryn Solt also gave the College its existing signs on the front drive facing National Road West. They have also supported the new Landrum Bolling Center and will name the Management Program Office, the Seminar Room and two faculty offices for the management faculty staff.

David '64 and Elaine Johnson '64 Wynegar

David Wynegar is president and CEO of Neochem Corporation of Houston. The company developed a process for making lead-free gasoline and other chemicals more cheaply than they had been. The catalytic distillation process is licensed throughout the world to companies like Exxon, Amoco and Mobile. Wynegar's idea for a catalytic distillation process was financed by a $1.5 million grant from the Department of Energy in 1979. David gives much credit for Neochem's success to his wife, Elaine Wynegar, who has worked in the business since its beginning in 1976. Elaine is very active in the Houston community as a literacy volunteer.

Both Elaine and David are past Alumni Council members and former trustees. David is also past member of Earlham's Alumni/Parent Task Force. David credits Jerry Bakker, emeritus professor of chemistry, for much of his professional success.

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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

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