June 1, 2011
WOOSTER, Ohio — An Air Force Colonel, a nationally known artist, and a pair of Peace Corps pioneers comprise this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award winners at The College of Wooster. Clarence “Reggie” Williams ‘63, a retired full colonel with the U.S. Air Force; David Dunlop ‘73, whose PBS series “Landscapes Through Time” received an Emmy; and Angene and Jack Wilson ‘61s, who were among the nation’s first Peace Corps volunteers; will be honored during Alumni Weekend (June 9-12). The ceremony will take place on Saturday, June 11, from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Gault Recital Hall of Scheide Music Center (525 E. University St.). Admission is free and open to the public.
Williams, a native of nearby Orrville and the son of a single mother, was a standout football player in high school. His mother worked several jobs, including one as a housekeeper at the College where she befriended then head football coach Phil Shipe, who suggested that her son consider furthering his education and continuing his football career at Wooster.
Williams enrolled in the fall of 1959, and chose to major in biology. Sadly, his mother never had an opportunity to see her son graduate. She died when he was a junior, but, he says, she instilled in him a strong work ethic.
“Wooster has meant a great deal to me,” says Williams. “I am only what I am because of the great friends, administrators, professors, and, of course, Coach Shipe who taught me what was important in life, and Professor (Ted) Williams, who taught me to work toward success with no excuses.”
After graduation, Williams enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and spent the next 27 years as an officer in communication electronics and information technology. Following retirement, he became vice president of United Services Automobile Association, where he also served as chair of the company’s volunteer corps. Nine years later he retired again, only to become president and CEO of the San Antonio Area Foundation, where his leadership nurtured a growth in assets from $100 million to $212 million. Under his direction, individual centers — hubs of service to the community — have been created. Funds for women and girls and for the Hispanic and African American communities have also been developed. The Foundation was a significant player in the creation of Haven for Hope, a 37–acre campus that provides shelter, job training, counseling, and education for the homeless. In addition, the Foundation was a major contributor and organizer of services for 25,000 evacuees to San Antonio following Hurricane Katrina.
A dedicated volunteer, Williams currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Christus Santa Rosa Hospital System, as well as a member of the Board of Trustees for The College of Wooster and the Board of Directors for the Bexar County Performing Arts Center and Tobin Performing Arts Center. He also served as District Governor for Rotary International.
Williams’s philosophy has always been to encourage others to do everything they can for children, adults, education, art, biomedical science, animal welfare, and housing. “When you’re all in the trenches, and everyone is doing the best they can, you feel a partnership,” he says. “We’re all responsible for each other. Understanding our responsibility is what makes us a civil nation.”
Dunlop majored in religion at Wooster, but distinguished himself as both a painter and a writer. In fact, he received an Emmy Award for writing the PBS series “Landscapes Through Time with David Dunlop.” The program was filmed on location in Europe and the United States at sites that inspired such famous paintings as Monet’s water-lily pond in Giverny and van Gogh’s asylum in St. Remy in Provence. Setting his easel where the artists had set theirs, Dunlop illustrated techniques and discussed historic, philosophic, and scientific developments that influenced the artists and their masterpieces.
“I don’t perceive any borders between art, science, and history,” he says. “They have tremendous territories of overlap. Artists know, for example, that humans track other humans first by looking at their eyes; that humans’ pupils will expand and their cheeks will flush when they’re interested and excited; that yellow is the color of royalty in China; that the way cones in the eyes perform affects color perception; and that our eyes send information about in-focus images and in-motion images to different parts of the brain."
Dunlop’s art is affected by his evolving understanding of the biology of vision and memory. “I use layers and layers of pictures that give me a big field that’s both furry and blurry, and still emotive of some condition, like architecture or a landscape,” he says. “The blurriness is like the blades of a fan or spokes of a wheel — you know what the object is and you know it’s in motion, but you project details from your own experience.“
Currently, Dunlop serves on the Silvermine Art Center's Board of Trustees; is a volunteer trail steward for the Aspectuck Land Trust in his community; and is a faculty member at the Silvermine School of Art. He is also working on a series of historical and instructional DVD's. In addition, he has an exhibition of his paintings on view at the White Gallery in Great Barrington, Mass., and will open an exhibition at the Susan Powell Gallery in Madison, Conn., later this month, followed by another exhibition opening in Santa Fe at the Arroyo Gallery in September. He also blogs weekly on such subjects as the psychology of perception, optics, perspective, art historical issues, and studio techniques. His PBS series with Connie Simmons is currently on the Create (CRT) Network across the country and in selected locations around the world.
Angene Hopkins and Jack Wilson graduated in 1961, just a few months after President Kennedy signed legislation to establish the Peace Corps. They were intrigued by the opportunity to spend two years abroad and serve their country while learning about others, and to engage in independent action, not just independent thinking. So a few months before they graduated, the pair stapled together their applications to join the Peace Corps.
While they were on their honeymoon, a telegram arrived, announcing their acceptance. In 1962, the Wilsons began their two-year assignment in Liberia. At the Suehn Industrial Academy, Angene taught social studies, and Jack taught English and coached the school’s first basketball team to the national championship.
The two years they spent in Liberia changed the course of the Wilsons’ lives both personally and professionally. When they returned to the States, they protested housing discrimination, lived in an integrated neighborhood, and sent their daughter to an integrated preschool.
Angene’s higher education calling included heading the University of Kentucky’s secondary social studies program for 29 years and being associate director of International Affairs for six years. She was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Winneba in Ghana and was named Professor of the Year for Kentucky by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). She is the author of The Meaning of International Experience for Schools and co-author of Social Studies and the World: Teaching Global Perspectives.
Jack’s work included stints as associate director for the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone and director in Fiji. He continued his passion for public service in environmental protection, and served as a state administrator in Ohio and Kentucky, retiring in 2002 as director of the Kentucky Division of Water. He is on the Kentucky Natural Lands Trust Board and has been president of the Kentucky Nature Conservancy and of Kentucky Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Both Angene and Jack are members of the Directors Circle of the National Peace Corps Association.
In celebration of the Peace Corps 50th anniversary this past March, University Press of Kentucky published the Wilson’s book, Voices from the Peace Corps: Fifty Years of Kentucky Volunteers. It is based on 100 oral history interviews, and chronicles five decades of volunteers who worked in more than 50 countries.
“The Peace Corps influenced much more than our professional lives,” says Angene. “We discovered self-confidence; we discovered how to be dependent on and to trust others. We became more tolerant and understanding of ambiguity and complexity. We learned more than we taught, and gained more than we gave. And most importantly we made life-long friends who became family.”
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