Sharon Denise Allison-Ottey
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Congratulations Dr. Sharon Allison-Ottey

Congratulations Dr. Sharon...

East Carolina Alumni Association
PRESS RELEASE: for immediate release – August 31, 2012

 
Alumni Award recipients to be honored in October ceremony
 
The East Carolina Alumni Association is proud to announce the winners of the 2012 Alumni Awards. Eight Pirates and supporters of the University will be honored as Outstanding, Distinguished, or Honorary Alumni at the Alumni Awards Ceremony and Dinner on Friday, October 12 at the Greenville Convention Center as part of Homecoming festivities. A cocktail reception will begin at 6:00 p.m. followed by dinner and presentation of awards at 7:00 p.m.
 
The most prestigious award given by the Alumni Association, the Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes exceptional achievement in the recipient’s profession or civic affairs. This year’s recipients are Dr. Sharon Allison-Ottey ’95, Robert Benzon ’71, and Robert Rankin ’70. 
 
The Distinguished Service Award is given in recognition of dedicated service, volunteerism and leadership in the Alumni Association and University. This year’s recipients are Sabrina Bengel, Kay Chalk ’76, and Robert Rippy ’75, ’96. 
 
The Honorary Alumni Award is given to those who did not graduate from East Carolina but have claimed the University as their own through substantial service and loyalty. This year’s recipients are Dr. Charles Coble and Edgar Loessin (posthumous). 
 
“These individuals represent the high caliber of alumni and friends that East Carolina has become known for,” said Alumni Association President and CEO Paul J. Clifford. “Their accomplishments, commitment, and service to ECU serve as an example to Pirate Nation. We are honored to recognize them with these awards.”
 
The Alumni Awards Ceremony and Dinner is the Alumni Association’s signature event, presented this year by Duplin Winery. Tickets to the Alumni Awards Ceremony and Dinner are available through October 2 at $40 for Alumni Association members and $50 for non-members. More information on each recipient is listed on the following pages. This press release and high-resolution photos of each recipient are available in our online Press Room at PirateAlumni.com/pressroom. Full biographies of each recipient are available at PirateAlumni.com/2012awardrecipients. 
 
CONTACT: Jackie Drake, Assistant Director of Alumni Communications
Jackie.Drake@PirateAlumni.com or 252-328-4902 or 800-ECU-GRAD.
 
Outstanding 
 
Dr. Sharon Allison-Ottey ’95, Bowie, MD
Dr. Sharon Allison-Ottey is a physician, author, motivational speaker and community health advocate. She has dedicated her career to addressing disparities in women’s and minority health. She is a founding member of the national non-profit COSHAR Foundation, which works to  improve world health one community at a time. She is originally from Kannapolis, NC. 
 
Robert Benzon ’71, Fredericksburg, VA
Bob Benzon is a retired airplane crash investigator who spent 30 years in the Office of Aviation Safety with the National Transportation Safety Board. He is a decorated Air Force veteran who flew missions over Vietnam. He has led investigations of several high-profile flight incidents  including the September 11th terrorist attacks and the “Miracle on the Hudson” crash in 2009.  
 
Robert Rankin ’70, Raleigh, NC
Bob Rankin is an artist, owner of Rankin Studios, and retired high school art teacher who worked  at Sanderson High School in Wake County for more than 25 years. His artwork has been exhibited in New York City, Philadelphia, Aspen, and many cities across the U.S. His work hangs in many corporate and private collections around the world. He was honored as the Secondary Art Educator of the Year by the NC Art Education Association. He won the Raleigh Medal of Arts in 1992 is currently a member of the Raleigh Arts Commission.
 
Distinguished Service
 
Sabrina Bengel, New Bern, NC
Sabrina Bengel is an entrepreneur and City Alderwoman of the First Ward in New Bern, N.C.  She is a member of ECU’s Board of Visitors and Joyner Library Advancement Council, is past chair of the East Carolina Alumni Association, and former member of ECU’s Foundation Board of Directors and the Friends of Joyner Library Board.
 
Kay Chalk ’76, Winston-Salem, NC
Kay Chalk is a fixture in The Women’s Roundtable at ECU, having helped develop the philanthropic organization and chairing the board from 2008-2010. She was also chair of the programs committee and coordinated “A Legacy of Leadership: One Hundred Incredible ECU Women” in 2007. 
 
Robert Rippy ’75, ’96, Wilmington, NC
Robert Rippy is owner of Jungle Rapids Family Fun Park in Wilmington, N.C. He is a member of ECU’s Health and Human Performance Advancement Council and former member of the College of Education Advancement Council, the ECU Real Estate Foundation, and Alumni  Association Board of Directors.Honorary
 
Dr. Charles Coble, Chapel Hill, NC
A graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, Dr. Charles Coble served as dean of ECU’s then-named School of Education (now College of Education) from 1983 to 1996. In that time he led in the creation of ECU’s first non-medical doctoral program, the EdD in educational leadership. He remains active with the college as a member of its Professional Advisory Board. Dr. Coble has lobbied for the Teaching Fellows program to remain intact and was instrumental in obtaining the Taft Distinguished Professorship in the Mathematics, Science, and Instructional Technologies Education Department at ECU. He is now a national education consultant with several published  books and articles; he remains a professor emeritus of science education at ECU.
 
Edgar Loessin (posthumously)
Edgar Loessin established the Department of Drama and Speech at East Carolina College in 1962 (now the School of Theatre and Dance at ECU). He also established a semi-professional summer theatre for the public featuring fully produced musicals and plays. He directed both until his retirement in 1990. Loessin received numerous awards in North Carolina for his work in theatre. Originally from Houston, Texas, Loessin earned his bachelor’s degree in dramatic arts  from UNC-Chapel Hill, and a master of fine arts in directing at Yale University’s renowned School of Drama. Later, he worked at the famed Actors Studio in New York before coming to  East Carolina at the invitation of President Leo Jenkins. Loessin died in April 2011.
 
Mission/Background
 
The mission of the East Carolina Alumni Association is to inform, involve and serve members of the East Carolina family throughout their lifelong relationship with the University. With more than 7,500 active members, the association reaches out to over 138,000 alumni nationwide. The East Carolina Alumni Association is located in the Taylor-Slaughter Alumni Center at 901 East Fifth Street at the corner of Fifth and Biltmore streets in Greenville, NC. 
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