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April 27, 2004
CONTACT: Summer Wilhelm

Eastern Michigan University to honor seven outstanding alumni May 8

YPSILANTI - Seven outstanding alumni will be honored at Eastern Michigan University's 43 rd Annual Alumni Awards Dinner, Saturday, May 8, at the Ypsilanti Marriott. A cocktail reception begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards ceremony at 7 p.m.

"The annual Alumni Awards Dinner is our showcase event," said Vicki Reaume, director of alumni relations. "This wonderful event began more than 42 years ago and this year we continue the special tradition and induct a very distinguished group."

Those being honored are:

Neeta Delaney ('85), a community development consultant for the Enterprise Group of Jackson and an executive with the Office of Governor Jennifer Granholm, will receive the Alumni Achievement Award. This award is given to alumni who have achieved distinction in their chosen field; clearly demonstrated the value of their college education; and maintained a continuing interest in Eastern Michigan University. After graduating in 1985 with her master's degree in arts administration, Delaney made many contributions to EMU. She was founder and director of SUMMERQUEST, a program that offers in-residence, intensive learning adventures for high school students; was director of marketing and program associate for EMU Corporate Services; and was assistant acting dean for continuing education. She is a resident of Grass Lake, Mich.

Daniel Minzey ('97, '98), sheriff of Washtenaw County, will receive the Distinguished Young Alumni Award. This award is presented to alumni who have demonstrated the worth of their education through their post-college achievements. Since he was elected sheriff in 2001, Minzey has brought jail staffing levels to full strength; integrated modern technology, including live scan fingerprinting; and equipped every patrol car with radar and video cameras. Minzey is involved in volunteer and community service work for several agencies, including the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, United Way and Washtenaw Area Council for Children. He is a resident of Chelsea, Mich.

Dennis Cockrum ('77, '84), a professional actor; and John Herron ('41), retired corporate vice president of Aramark and retired captain of the U.S. Navy, also will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards. This award is given to alumni who have achieved extraordinary distinction in their chosen field; demonstrated unusual service to humankind; and maintained a continuing interest in Eastern Michigan University. Cockrum's contributions to the University include coaching the forensics team; coordinating fundraisers for the department of communication and theatre arts; and directing plays for theatre arts. His movie credits include: "Uncle Buck," "The Glimmer Man," "Murder By Numbers" and "Daddy Day Care." He also has appeared on television shows such as "Frasier," "NYPD Blue" and "JAG." He is a resident of Van Nuys, Calif.

After graduating with a bachelor's of business education in 1941, Herron volunteered for navy duty following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He began working in food services but over time was promoted to captain and was responsible for supplies and logistics on navy ships. After retiring from the navy, he climbed the ladder to become president of Aramark's Hospital Food Management Division and later corporate vice president. He is a resident of Dearborn, Mich.

Robert England , director of Eastern Michigan University's recreation/intramural (Rec/IM) complex; Donald Shelton, a Washtenaw County judge and EMU Regent Emeritus; and Barbara Weiss ('50, '69), a retired teacher for Ypsilanti Public Schools, will receive the John W. Porter Distinguished Service Award. This award is presented to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to EMU or its alumni association.

England has been the director of EMU's Rec/IM since 1968. With the opening of the new complex in 1982, he became one of few directors who has had the opportunity to be involved in the process of planning, opening and managing a new facility. At its inception, EMU's Rec/IM was a leader in many aspects, including aerobic studios, walk-in sporting goods store, food operations and business style operations. England is a resident of Ypsilanti, Mich.

Shelton, a circuit judge since 1990, is now the presiding judge of Washtenaw County Trial Court's Civil/Criminal Division. He has a distinguished record of public service, including serving on the EMU Board of Regents; serving as mayor of Saline; and chairing the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments. Shelton and his wife established the Donald E. Shelton Wrestling Endowed Scholarship, and are members of the Silver and Heritage Societies. Members of the societies provide significant lifelong financial support to the University. He is a resident of Saline, Mich.

After the closure of EMU's Pease Auditorium in 1990, Weiss formed "Friends of Pease," a group of alumni dedicated to securing funds for its re-opening. After years of dedicating her life to raising interest and money for the restoration of Pease, her goal was realized in 1995 when the auditorium re-opened. Weiss is on the College of Arts and Sciences Resource Development Board, and was named "Woman of the Year" by the Women of Washtenaw County organization in honor of her many long-standing charitable contributions and community-building activities. She is a resident of Ypsilanti, Mich.

Reservations are $50 per person and those attending should R.S.V.P. by May 4. For more information, call alumni relations at 734.487.0250.


Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.

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