2003 Outstanding Alumni and Distinguished Service Awards, Alumni | Earlham College
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2003 Outstanding Alumni and Distinguished Service Awards

Outstanding Alumni Awards

Barbara Ruch '54

Barbara Ruch '54, Professor Emerita of Japanese Literature and Culture at Columbia University, and Director of the Institute for Medieval Japanese Studies there, is recognized as a leading scholar of Japanese culture.

In the l950's there was no Japanese Studies program at Earlham. It was her work as a staff person with the American Friends Service Committee in Osaka, Japan, that sparked her interest in Oriental Studies.

Her early research focused on popular literature and art of the medieval period. She has published widely in this field in both English and Japanese.

Later she pioneered the discovery that in some Buddhist convents nuns had preserved Imperial cultural treasures. In l989, when the Japanese Ministry of Education selected her as Foreign Research Scholar at the National Institute for Japanese Literature in Tokyo, she established the ongoing joint international research project which is devoted to carrying out Japan's first Imperial Buddhist convent survey of materials related to women's religious faith in pre-modern eras. This work has broadened and deepened the discipline of medieval Japanese religious studies which heretofore had focused only on the male spiritual experience.

Barbara has received many honors. Most recently (1999) the Japanese Government awarded her the Imperial decoration, The Order of the Precious Crown with Butterfly Crest. And in 2000 the Osaka Prefecture Government of Civic and Cultural Affairs awarded her the Yamagata Banto Prize. This is given annually to one Japanese specialist nominated worldwide. It honors the outstanding achievement, leadership and creativity of the nominee in contributing to the study of Japanese culture.

Randall B. Wisehart '75

Randall B. Wisehart '75 has proven to be an important leader and change maker for more than twenty-six years in the field of education. After graduating from Earlham College in 1975 and Miami University in 1980, Randy has been an accomplished teacher of both children and educators as well as an accomplished author. He has earned sixty hours beyond his masters including administrative certification from Indiana University. He has facilitated training in improved teaching for countless teachers; working with the Coalition of Essential Schools, Ohio Writing Project, facilitator and trainer for High Schools That Work, implementing Socratic Seminars, Performance Assessment, Collaborative Learning and numerous other workshops for teachers throughout Indiana and the Midwest. He was a charter member of the National Congress for the Coalition of Essential Schools as well as a member of the CES National Faculty. While teaching full time, he also served as peer coach for the Indiana Department of Education Office of School Improvement from 1991-1995. He was co-founder of Indiana Essential Schools Network and co-director from 1998-2001. He is currently the chairman of the board of IESN. He has published research for the Annenberg Institute for School Reform. Randy has also served as a consultant for education classes here at Earlham and has contributed his time and talent to the ELII (Earlham/Lilly Indiana Initiative) program. It is no surprise to learn that he has been the Richmond Community Schools Teacher-of-the-Year.

As an author Randy has extended his Quaker beliefs and Earlham education through the publication of two young adult books, A Winding Road to Freedom and Luke's Summer Secret, both historical novels based on the work of the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. A Winding Road to Freedom is now being considered for a movie. Such interest reveals the power of Randy's writing and how he also seeks to serve children not only in his teaching but also through his writing.

One of the most significant aspects of his work in promoting Earlham and the notion of the nurturing of the "teacher within" is through his unstinting support of the College's Education and M.A.T. (Master of Arts in Teaching) programs. Despite being a full-time employee for Richmond Community Schools, as a teacher and teacher leader, he has mightily contributed to the formation of the M.A.T. program as consultant, teacher and volunteer.

Robert L. Wixom '47

Robert L. Wixom's life shows his Quaker heritage and his liberal arts program approach developed at Earlham College. This is reflected in his later choices of profession (teaching and research in biochemistry at the School of Medicine at both University of Arkansas and University of Missouri), his frequent contact/interaction with many medical, biochemical and other health-related students, his search for scientific approach to truth with graduate and medical students and his open-minded inquiry-based approach to science, religion and the world community.

He has received three teaching awards, one of which was a nomination by MU students for the Conservation Educator of the Year (1996) for the State of Missouri. He served as a Departmental Representative to the Graduate Faculty Senate (1970 to 1993) and the Chair of the Biological Sciences Sector 1989 to 1992; this included a key role in three new major university programs. He was the co-initiator of the UMC Environmental Affairs Council, served as their first Chair for three years (1990 to 1994). He initiated and served as Senior Editor of the 1997 book, "Environmental Challenges for Higher Education: Integration of Sustainability into Academic Programs". Most recently he was Co-Editor of the book "Chromatography - A Century of Discovery 1900-2000, The Bridges to the Sciences and Technology". He officially retired in 1992 as Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry, but continues many similar activities.

Robert Graham '65

After graduating from Earlham College in 1965, Robert received his MD from University of Kansas School of Medicine 1970. He held administrative positions in the service and resources divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services. He has held numerous health related management and policymaking positions during his career, including a brief stint as a teacher at Baylor University Medical School.

From 1985 to 1999 Robert served as Executive VP of American Academy of Family Physicians, a national non-profit medical association of more than 88,000 members. In September 1999, Robert received the first AAFP Executive Award, to be called the Robert Graham Family Physician Executive Award. It is given annually for dedication to improving health care access and fostering the tenets of family practice. Awarded to honor Graham's executive skills contributing to excellence in the provision of high-quality health care and demonstration of how Family Physicians can lead their organizations in ways that improve patient care. The award citation notes Graham's service at AAFP, his contributions as head of the Health Resources and Services Administration, and his work on the staff of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

Later that month, the American Academy of Family Physicians renamed the Academy's Policy Center in honor of Robert Graham. To quote, "We do this in recognition of his many contributions to the profession of family medicine and to the health of all Americans," said Richard Roberts, MD, JD, president of the AAFP. The center's plaque that hangs in the entrance of the building reads "The Robert Graham Center: Policy Studies in Family Practice and Primary Care."

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