Pictured are Alumni Wall of Fame inductees (from left, seated) Liz Ann Sonders, Kathleen Kline Mangione, Beth Casey Halley and Wayne Hanby and (standing) Barry Bentley, Keith Bentley, Ed Kee, David Plouffe, Timothy Shanahan and Jim Sears.

Alumni honored

10 distinguished UD graduates inducted into Alumni Wall of Fame


5:21 p.m., June 3, 2013--Ten University of Delaware alumni were honored for their accomplishments by being inducted into the Alumni Wall of Fame in a ceremony Saturday afternoon, June 1, in the Gore Recital Hall of the Roselle Center for the Arts.

Established in 1984, the Alumni Wall of Fame recognizes outstanding professional and public service achievements by UD graduates. The induction ceremony was part of Alumni Weekend festivities on campus.

Campus Stories

From graduates, faculty

As it neared time for the processional to open the University of Delaware Commencement ceremonies, graduating students and faculty members shared their feelings about what the event means to them.

Doctoral hooding

It was a day of triumph, cheers and collective relief as more than 160 students from 21 nations participated in the University of Delaware's Doctoral Hooding Convocation held Friday morning on The Green.

Joining 246 previous honorees, the new members are Barry J. Bentley, a 1978 graduate of the College of Engineering; Keith A. Bentley, a 1980 graduate of the College of Engineering; Elizabeth Casey Halley, a 1981 graduate of the College of Health Sciences; Wayne R. Hanby, a 1976 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences; W. Edwin Kee Jr., a 1973 graduate of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources who also received master’s degrees in 1975 and 1996; Kathleen Kline Mangione, a 1985 graduate of the College of Health Sciences; David A. Plouffe, a 2010 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences; James A. Sears, a 1970 graduate of the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics; Timothy E. Shanahan, a 1980 doctoral graduate of the College of Education and Human Development; and Liz Ann Sonders, a 1986 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Speaking at the ceremony, UD President Patrick Harker called the Wall of Fame an honor reserved for "our most esteemed alumni." The 10 new members, he said, have been trailblazers in their fields whose "lives and success and service are a source of inspiration." 

He also thanked them for their continuing involvement with their alma mater — providing financial support to programs, advising deans, speaking at campus events and interacting with today's students.

The ceremony opened with a welcome by outgoing UD Alumni Association President Darelle Riabov and remarks by Melanie Allen and Max Logan Kramer, the 2013 recipients of the UDAA's Emalea Pusey Warner Award and Alexander J. Taylor Sr. Award, as the outstanding senior woman and man, respectively.

The Class of 2013

Barry J. Bentley attended UD as a National Merit Scholar and earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, with distinction and highest honors, in 1978. He continued his studies with a National Science Foundation Fellowship in chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, receiving a master’s degree in 1980 and a doctorate in 1984, both in chemical engineering. Shortly after graduation, Bentley co-founded Bentley Systems and has served as a director and an executive officer since the company’s inception.

Based in Exton, Pa., Bentley Systems is a software company that produces solutions for the design, construction and operation of infrastructure and that has development, sales and other departments in 45 countries around the world. It has grown to become one of the world’s largest privately held software companies, with more than 3,000 employees worldwide and revenues of $550 million in 2012. 

“I look back at my time as a chemical engineering major at the University of Delaware as one of the most challenging and enjoyable periods of my life,” Bentley said. “There was lots of work, but the chance to meet and interact with the other students and with my professors was priceless.”

Keith A. Bentley earned his bachelor's degree from UD in 1980 and his master's degree from the University of Florida in 1981, both in electrical engineering. He is a member of the Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu national honor societies. After graduation he joined the DuPont Co., where he created software for the engineering department. In 1984, he negotiated with DuPont for the ownership of his software and co-founded Bentley Systems to commercialize it.

Bentley was president and CEO of Bentley Systems until 2000, when he became chief technology officer. He is a member of the company’s board of directors and its Executive Committee, remains active as the firm’s principal software architect and is the author of numerous software patents. He is a sponsor of UD’s Engineers Without Borders program.

“When I learned the electrical engineering department had their own computer in Evans Hall that I could actually touch and take apart, I was hooked," Bentley said of his undergraduate experience. "Computers and software have been my life’s work ever since. They say in business the only sustainable competitive advantage is the ability to learn faster than your competition. I credit my time at UD as the catalyst to my becoming a lifelong learner.”

Elizabeth Halley received a bachelor's degree in nursing from UD in 1981 and an MBA from George Mason University in 1993. Halley is a principal in the Center for Transforming Health of the MITRE Corp., a federally funded research and development center. She is a leading clinical informaticist with over 25 years of experience in health information technology (IT) and health IT standards and has been engaged in numerous national health information technology efforts. 

As a member-elect of the Health Information Management Systems Society board of directors and outgoing chair of the society's Nursing Informatics Committee, member of the Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform Initiative Foundation board and member of the INOVA Loudoun Healthcare board of directors, she impacts various health IT related matters facing the community and the nation. She periodically provides consultation to the director of UD’s School of Nursing regarding health care informatics in the nursing curriculum. 

“I am grateful for not only the body of knowledge, skills and confidence acquired at the University of Delaware and School of Nursing, but for the friends and great experiences,” she said. “I will always cherish the exciting time being a Blue Hen football cheerleader, visits from my parents (especially when it included a Sunday brunch at the Hotel du Pont), and meeting my husband Marc (’78M ’81M) at the Carpenter Sports Building. I’m honored to receive this distinguished recognition and very proud to be a Blue Hen.”

Wayne R. Hanby earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from UD in 1976. Before attending the University, he served with the Marine Corps and was deployed to Vietnam in 1968. Cpl. Hanby earned the Purple Heart Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and other commendations after being wounded in battle in 1969. After completing his degree at UD, he was employed at Bellefonte Emergency Children's Shelter and then at the Delaware Criminal Justice Planning Commission, before being appointed justice of the peace by the state of Delaware in 1980.

Hanby took a leave of absence in 1981 to serve as the executive director of the Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program, an organization he helped establish.

After serving in the Marines and being severely wounded, Hanby said he “traded my rifle for books and pens, and matriculated at the University of Delaware beginning in 1972. While pursuing my degree in criminal justice I received a diverse curriculum, which would later serve me well with my career in public service. I learned that failure was not an option.”

W. Edwin Kee Jr. earned his bachelor's degree in agriculture in 1973, his master’s degree in plant science in 1975 and a master of arts in liberal studies in 1996, all from UD. Kee was the farm manager for Nassau Orchards near Lewes, Del., from 1975-78, when he joined the University of Delaware Cooperative Extension Service as the Kent County agricultural agent. He later was the state vegetable crop specialist for UD and then agricultural program leader.

During his career at the University, Kee became a recognized national and international expert in vegetable science and taught classes in his specialty. He was appointed Delaware’s Secretary of Agriculture in 2009, and in 2010 served as president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. He has authored numerous scholarly articles and three books and has lectured or consulted across the U.S. and in 12 other countries. He also established the Ed Kee Endowed Scholarship Fund for graduates of Delaware high schools to study agriculture at UD.

“I found wonderful teachers in the College of Agriculture, people who taught the science, the business and the art of agriculture," Kee said.  "Lifelong friendships were also created at UD. Finally, my wife, children, brother, sister, in-laws, cousins and niece are Blue Hens. I hope our grandchildren will be as well.” 

Kathleen Kline Mangione received her bachelor's degree in physical therapy from UD in 1985 and both a master's degree in gerontology and a Ph.D. from New York University. A professor of physical therapy at Arcadia University, she was among the first 14 specialists to earn board certification in geriatric physical therapy. Her clinical career has focused on working with older adults; she has practiced in acute care, adult inpatient rehabilitation, sub-acute and nursing home settings and home health care.

Mangione’s research also is focused on older adults. She is the site principal investigator on a multicenter trial, funded by the National Institute on Aging, with a team of researchers from the University of Maryland at Baltimore, Dartmouth and the University of Connecticut. She has given numerous invited and scientific presentations on topics of exercise and the older adult, hip fracture and frailty and has published in premier journals for physical therapy and geriatrics.

“The University of Delaware was the perfect school for me," she said. "The Physical Therapy program was led by Barbara Cossoy. She and Dr. Joe Lucca showed us, by example, how to be an engaged professional. We were encouraged to be excellent and to bring out the excellence in each other and our patients.” 

David A. Plouffe received his bachelor's degree in political science from UD in 2010. A political strategist, he is best known as the campaign manager for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and widely referred to as the “architect” of Obama’s two presidential campaign victories.

Plouffe began his political career working for Sen. Tom Harkin’s 1990 re-election campaign. He has managed campaigns at all levels of politics, served as a consultant to leading Fortune 500 companies and has been a ubiquitous presence on national news shows. A long-time Democratic Party campaign consultant, he was a partner at the party-aligned consulting firm AKPD Message and Media, which he joined in 2000. In 2010, Plouffe was No. 4 on Newsweek’s list of “New Thought Leaders,” and The Daily Beast named him one of the “25 Smartest People of the Decade.” GQ named him the third most powerful person in Washington in 2012. Plouffe is the author of the best-seller The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory.  

“In the last few years, I have had the privilege of meeting many of today’s current students," said Plouffe, who has spoken at numerous events on campus. "And I am convinced future Blue Hen alumni will continue to leave their mark on our country and world.” 

James A. Sears earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University in 1970, graduating with honors and as a Dean's Scholar. A certified public accountant, he reached the top tier of senior management at Cigna Corp., where he was vice president and chief accounting officer until his retirement in 2003. Sears started his career at the major accounting firm Peat, Marwick, Mitchell and Co., and then moved to the Insurance Company of North America, which was later sold to Cigna.

He and his wife, Suzanne, a 1978 UD graduate, served as co-presidents of UD’s Parent Board from 2002-04, co-chaired the Blue Hen Club in 2008 and have sponsored the James A. and Suzanne M. Sears Scholarship since 2005.

“The University of Delaware has always been an integral part of my life," Sears said. "My undergraduate years were filled with many friendships and wonderful experiences. During those years, I had several exceptional accounting professors who had a great impact on my career. It has also been my privilege to stay close to UD throughout the years. It has been a truly rewarding experience to give back to the University that has given me so much personal and professional fulfillment." 

Timothy E. Shanahan earned his Ph.D. in reading education at UD in 1980 after earning bachelor's and master's degrees from Oakland University. He is Distinguished Professor of Urban Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he is director of the UIC Center for Literacy. He previously was director of reading for the Chicago Public Schools, serving 437,000 children. He is author or editor of more than 200 publications, including the book Early Childhood Literacy. 

His research emphasizes the connections between learning to read and learning to write, literacy in the disciplines and improvement of reading achievement. Shanahan is past president of the International Reading Association, received a presidential appointment to serve on the Advisory Board of the National Institute for Literacy and serves as content expert or adviser and on various educational boards around the world. 

“I was a doctoral student during the 1970s — the nation’s bicentennial years — in what was the College of Education, where I worked with some of the finest educators in the world," he said. "My plan had been to take my degree back to my school system in Michigan, but while working with such fine scholars I was bitten by the research bug — and have never looked back."

Liz Ann Sonders earned her bachelor's degree in international relations from UD in 1986 and an MBA from Fordham University in 1990. She is senior vice president and chief investment strategist with Charles Schwab and Co., where she chairs the Investment Strategy Council. She has a range of investment strategy responsibilities reaching from market and economic analysis to investor education, all focused on the individual investor.

Sonders is a regular contributor to all of Schwab’s client newsletters and a frequent keynote speaker at both company events and outside conferences. She is a regular guest on many television news programs and is widely quoted in major financial publications. She has been named one of the most influential people on Wall Street by SmartMoney and the best strategist of 2009 by Kiplinger’s. In 2005, she was appointed to the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. 

“I had a wonderful experience at UD, where I learned how to learn and how to manage the new freedom that accompanies leaving the 'nest,'" Sonders said. ”They say opportunity knocks, but that’s not always true. In my experience, opportunity needs to be pursued with passion, actualized by diligence and enjoyed with humility — but also shared with those behind us." 

For an article about Alumni Weekend, click here.

For an article about President Patrick Harker’s State of the University presentation, click here.

Article by Ann Manser

Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson and Lane McLaughlin

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