Ten Idaho State University alumni will be honored with ISU Professional Achievement Awards at ISU Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 10, in Holt Arena.
Professional Achievement Award recipients are alumni who have made important contributions to their careers or profession, to the social, political or economic well-being of the world around them and have shown continued community and civic involvement in addition to their association with and contributions to Idaho State University. Individuals selected for these prestigious awards have been out of school at least 10 years and have excelled in their chosen field, attaining significant success and accomplishments.
Professional Achievement Award recipients for 2014 are: Verne A. Duncan, from Milwaukie, Ore., College of Arts and Letters–Social and Behavioral Sciences; Billie Johnson McSeveney, Alexandria, Va., College of Arts and Letters–Fine Arts and Humanities; Kent Oram, Pocatello, Idaho, College of Business; Marilyn E. Davis, Vancouver, Wash., College of Education; Sunil Wadhwani, Spokane, Wash., College of Pharmacy; Kelly L. Lively, Idaho Falls, College of Science and Engineering-Engineering; Archie Chue Shum, Oxnard, Calif., College of Science and Engineering–Natural and Physical Sciences; Meg Long Woodhouse, Pocatello, Division of Health Sciences; Sandra Evans, Boise, School of Nursing; and Robert C. Bacon, Salt Lake City, College of Technology.
Biographies of the winners follow.
Verne A. Duncan – Professional Achievement Award, College of Arts and Letters, Social and Behavioral Sciences – Originally from McMinnville, Ore., Duncan obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1960 in political science from ISU. Advanced degrees, including a Master of Education from the University of Idaho, Master of Business Administration from the University of Portland and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon followed. Duncan did other graduate work at Columbia University and Stanford University.
His professional career began as a teacher, then principal, then superintendent of schools in Arco, Idaho. He served as head resident at ISU’s East Hall, adjunct professor at Ricks College, Brigham Young University, ISU and University of Oregon. The State of Oregon benefitted from his leadership as superintendent for the Clackamas County Education Service District and for 15 years as the state superintendent of public instruction.
Duncan joined the faculty of the University of Portland in 1990 as dean and professor of education and adjunct professor of political science. Presently, he is dean and professor emeritus for the School of Education at the University of Portland.
Duncan served as state representative in the Idaho House of Representatives from 1962-65 and as a state senator in the Oregon State Senate from 1997-2003, also serving as assistant majority leader. He had a stellar military career in the U.S. Army (Active and Reserve) from 1956-1989 and retired with the rank of colonel.
Verne and his wife Donna presently reside in Milwaukie, Ore.
Billie Johnson McSeveney – Professional Achievement Award, College of Arts and Letters, Fine Arts and Humanities – Following graduation from ISU in 1967, Billie Johnson McSeveney left Idaho and began a highly successful professional career that took her across the United States and overseas. She also obtained her master’s degree in English from Colorado State University.
McSeveney taught English at CSU and the University of Maryland, Overseas Division. She held volunteer positions ranging from PTA president and president of Gamma Phi Beta North Virginia alumnae chapter to North Virginia Alumnae Panhellenic Association. For 10 years, Billie worked in the education department of Historic Mount Vernon.
For the past 20 years, she has worked in independent schools in communications. In September 2013 after 14 years of service, she retired as director of communications for Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School in Washington D.C. During her time at Visitation, she created the school’s first official website, alumni directory, broadcast email templates, photo and news galleries and other interactive programs. McSeveney also oversaw the creation of dynamic new admissions materials, designed and produced the school’s fundraising appeals, wrote case statements and produced promotional materials for two successful capital campaigns.
Though retired, she is consulting with Visitiation for yet another capital campaign and sits on the Campaign Steering Committee. She is also the vice president of the board of trustees of Bright Beginnings, an early childhood center founded 25 years ago by the Junior League of Washington DC.
McSeveney has two grown daughters and a 4-year-old granddaughter.
Kent Oram – Professional Achievement Award, College of Business – Blackfoot native Oram graduated in 1983 from the ISU College of Business Computer Information Systems program. He began his career with Idaho Central Credit Union almost 30 years ago and moved to Boise to manage its information systems, which were relocated to Pocatello at the end of 1984.
Oram became chief executive officer of Idaho Central in 2007 and is only the third CEO of the organization, succeeding Chris Hyer and Ned Freckleton. The directors of ICCU discussed moving the company headquarters to Boise but they opted to stay in the Pocatello citing that Pocatello was the right place for their headquarters and praised the character work ethic and resilience of eastern Idaho residents. He places emphasis on making ICCU an employer of choice, as well as improving the workplace culture and environment.
Under Oram’s leadership the credit union has experienced tremendous growth. It now has 25 locations throughout southern Idaho. ICCU’s annual loan, membership, and deposit growth rates have averaged more than 20 percent, compared to much lower national growth rates.
In 2013, Oram was recognized by the Credit Union Executive Society as “Outstanding Chief Executive.” Idaho Central has been named as a Best Place to Work in Idaho for the past three years taking the top spot for both 2013 and 2014. The credit union has also been ranked as a top performer financially by SNL Financial for the past three years taking the top spot for 2012 and 2013.
Marilyn E. Davis – Professional Achievement Award, College of Education – Originally from Pocatello, and currently residing in Vancouver, Wash., Davis obtained her bachelor’s degree from ISU in home economics education in 1969 and has been in the education field her entire career. She obtained a Master of Education and doctoral degree, both from Oregon State University.
Davis’ career began in the classroom as a teacher in Wood River High School in Idaho and then Redmond High School and Albany Public schools in Oregon. She did an internship with Umpqua Community College, was a program development consultant for Oregon Community Colleges; staff development specialist and adjunct faculty member for Oregon State University; regional coordinator for Multnomah County Education Service District; director of vocational program operations for the Oregon Department of Education; dean of Professional Technical Programs at Central Oregon Community College; served Portland Community College as dean of instruction and chief academic officer (Rock Creek Campus), dean of academic services and director of industrial occupations.
She served as a member of the Office of the Idaho State Board of Education management team. From 2006-2011, Davis was the dean of the College of Technology at Idaho State University and retired from that position. In 2013, she was asked to serve as the Interim Dean of Instruction for the Southeast Center in Portland, Oregon, a position she still holds.
Davis has been recognized for her contributions to education from the American Association of Community Colleges, National Council of Instructional Administrators, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Oregon Community College leadership program and Oregon Vocational Leadership Development program.
Kelly L. Lively – Professional Achievement Award, College of Science and Engineering, Engineering – Lively graduated from Idaho State University in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering/measurement and control sequence. She specializes in electrical engineering. She is a long-time employee of the first Argonne National Laboratory-West and for the past nine years of Idaho National Laboratory.
Since 2003, Lively has been associated with the radioisotope power systems (RPS) program at the Materials and Fuels Complex. This is the host site for the RPS program and provided the fueled RPS for the January 2006 launch of the Pluto New Horizons NASA mission. Lively was the lead engineer to install several pieces of equipment in the RPS program. She was reassigned from installing equipment to full- time duty as lead ground support engineer for the Pluto New Horizons Mission at Kennedy Space Center. Her efforts as lead ground support engineer led directly to the successful launch of the mission.
Lively has been recognized for her accomplishments and efforts with the NASA Achievement award. However, by the time the award was presented, she was the project manager for the Lab’s next effort in preparing a newly designed multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator for the Mars Science Laboratory mission. She is also manager for the radioisotope power systems department with a staff of 25 engineers and technicians. The Mars Science Laboratory mission was successfully fueled, tested and launched in 2011. At the time of the launch, Lively had moved on to the next challenge of leading the INL’s efforts on the potential space-bound RPS, the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator.
Lively has been recognized with the 2012 DOE Secretary Achievement Award, the NASA 2013 Achievement Award and the Energy Advocate Award.
Archie Chue Shum – Professional Achievement Award, College of Science and Engineering, Natural and Physical Sciences – Raised in Hong Kong, Shum came to the Idaho via Hawaii to attend college. He obtained both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in microbiology from Idaho State University. He completed his doctorate in microbiology at the University of Iowa. Archie met his wife Wilma, at ISU. She is also an ISU graduate with her degree in pharmacy. Shum became a U.S. citizen in 1988.
Shum began his career as an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Public Health at California State University, Los Angeles California. He obtained additional clinical training at UCLA. He served 11 years as a clinical microbiologist at St. John’s Regional Medical Center, directing the operations of the microbiology department and provided consultation to the medical and nursing staff. From 1988 until his retirement in 2006, Shum was a clinical microbiologist and immunologist at UCLA Medical Center. He participated in the NIH multi-center study of “History of Aids,” taught pathology and infections disease residents and participated in clinical research and diagnosis of cellular immunology, microbiology and mycobacteriology.
Meg Long Woodhouse – Professional Achievement Award, Division of Health Sciences – Long Woodhouse received her bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene from Idaho State University in 1978. She is a licensed dental hygienist in both Idaho and Oregon and holds a current certificate in CPR and basic life support. Her career began as a dental hygienist in the office of the late Dr. J. Brent Berrey. She spent two years practicing in Seattle and returned to Idaho in 1980, working with Dr. H. Gene Hoge, Dr. Don Pape (Boise), Mr. Michael McHugh, Dr. Stephen Friedrichsen and Dr. John T. (Jack) Mooney. Since 2007 she has been affiliated with the Pocatello Family Dental Residency.
She began the teaching portion of her career with Idaho State University from 1979 to 1981. In 1996 she was a clinical instructor with the IDEP (Idaho Dental Education Program) at ISU. Since 1990, she has been on the faculty of the Idaho State University Dental Hygiene department serving as clinical instructor, assistant clinical professor and clinical associate professor, her current position.
Long Woodhouse was instrumental in implementing an effective oral health component to the Pocatello Free Clinic. She remains actively involved in the Free Clinic recruiting dental professionals to volunteer their time, developing policies and procedures for the clinic and serving on the Board of Directors. She has been active in the American Business Women’s Association, holding leadership positions as well as being recognized with the group’s merit award. She is described by many of her colleagues as an exemplary health care professional dedicated to her students, her community and her family.
Sandra Evans – Professional Achievement Award, School of Nursing – Evans currently serves as the executive director for the Idaho Board of Nursing, a position she has held since 1996. Prior to that, she was assistant/associate executive director. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in nursing as well as her M.A. Ed. in curriculum/instructional supervision from Idaho State University. Evans has been a licensed professional/registered nurse in Idaho since 1971.
Evans has had significant impact in nursing profession not only in Idaho but nationally. She has served in many capacities with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, holding positions as a member and chair of the finance committee; member of the resolutions committee; chair of the disciplinary resources committee; member of the editorial advisory council, Journal of Nursing Regulation; member of the nurse licensure models committee and treasurer. She currently is the chair and Idaho representative of the Nurse Licensure Compact Administrators and a member of the Idaho Office on Drug Policy, Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force.
Evans has been recognized for her exemplary work in the nursing profession with the Nurse Practitioner Advocate of the Year, 10-year Service Recognition award from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, State Award for Excellence from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, Meritorious Service Award and 15-year Service Recognition from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and the R. Louise McManus Award from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Robert C. Bacon – Professional Achievement Award, College of Technology – Bacon graduated from the ISU College of Technology’s electronics program in 1963. Rather than following well-intentioned advice to accept a position with a large, established company, Bacon followed his instincts and signed on with a new startup video company, Telemation, in Salt Lake City. This proved to be an excellent business and personal decision. Bacon advanced from salesman to Executive Vice President of the young company. Traveling nationally and internationally to procure new business for Telemation, Bacon was instrumental in creating the company’s tremendous growth curve. During his travels, Bacon developed a love of flying and obtained his IFR pilot license.
Seeking a new challenge, Bacon left Telemation in 1974 to start his own company, RIA Corporation (AIR spelled backwards). This company specialized in designing, selling and installing analog and digital video production systems. Bacon’s passion for flying continued, as he piloted the company’s Bonanza single-engine aircraft across the Western United States to meet customers and suppliers. He successfully led RIA Corporation for 32 years, and sold the company in 2006.
Bacon has maintained a lifelong connection with the College of Technology. He has donated video and other electronic equipment and provided technical support to help ISU build the first digital television studio in Idaho. He served as executive-in-residence at the College of Technology, sharing his experiences in a rapidly changing industry. More recently, Bacon established a scholarship program for exceptional College of Technology students.
Sunil Wadhwani – Professional Achievement Award, College of Pharmacy – Sunil Wadhwani is the acting associate director of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Spokane, Washington. He began his professional career with the VA in October 2000 as a clinical pharmacy specialist in primary care. He became Chief of Pharmacy in 2004 and then Director in 2010. In his current position, he serves veterans of the Inland Northwest from Washington, Idaho and part of Montana.
Wadhwani has excelled in leadership at the VA and has many notable accomplishments. He developed a VISN 20 Best Practice in improving patient safety with the use of long-acting pain medication, advancing the role of clinical pharmacists in managing chronic diseases aimed at improving clinical outcomes, reducing wait times for prescriptions, advancing clinical affiliations with Idaho State University and Washington State University.
Wadhwani was recognized with the Spokane VA Clinical Excellence Award in 2002, and VA Secretary’s Hand & Heart Award in 2003. He is a graduate of VISN 20 Executive Leadership Program, a graduate of VISN 20 Core Competency Leadership and has served as an active member ISU’s College of Pharmacy Dean’s Advisory Council since 2001.
He received his master’s degree and Doctor of Pharmacy from ISU. Sunil is married to Tracy Wadhwani, who also received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from ISU. Their daughter, Audrey is currently a pre-pharmacy student at ISU.