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Manchester magazine
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Profiles of ability
and conviction

 


Jerry
Brand '63


Charles
Chaffee '64


Ding-Jo Hsia '75 Currie


Kacine Peters '06 Pfeiffer

An Africa journey to algae, productively, compassionately

Dr. Jerry Brand '63SOME PEOPLE LOOK at algae and see pond scum. Dr. Jerry Brand ’63 sees renewable energy.

Brand is professor of molecular cell and developmental biology at the University of Texas, where he is in charge of the world’s largest and most diverse culture collection
of algae. The collection may hold a key to our energy future. Simply: Some algae convert solar energy into an oily material that can be processed into biofuel. Brand is seeking algae that produce oil fast in hopes that large-scale production of this biofuel will benefit the environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

He remembers fondly the Manchester science faculty – especially Emerson Niswander, Bill Eberly ’48 and Phil Orpurt ’48. “My academic preparation was excellent,” he says. Equally important was the perspective he learned at Manchester: “Service is important and rewarding.”

Brand recalls mandatory attendance at chapel three times a week, where inspirational speakers opened up a new world of helping others. He enlisted in Teachers for West Africa, funded by the Hershey Corp. When he arrived in a small town in Nigeria, “I had to survive on my own,” he says. “I told myself, you either do it or you die.”

He soon thrived on his African experience, resolving to use his intellect for good. Next, Brand earned his Ph.D. at Purdue University, where he met his wife, Mary Lee, in a laboratory. He did post-doctoral work in botany at Indiana University.

Last spring, Dr. Jerry Brand received the 2012 Alumni Honor Award for using his education to lead a principled, productive and compassionate life that improves the human condition.

BY MELINDA LANTZ '81

 


 

Leadership through hard work, integrity and respect

Charles "Chuck" Chaffee '64IN A WORLD WHERE TITANS of industry and commerce may flaunt their success, Charles “Chuck” Chaffee ’64 is an anomaly, modest about his accomplishments, deflecting praise onto his employees.

Chaffee is chief executive officer of BRC Rubber & Plastics Inc., headquartered in Churubusco, Ind. The company designs, develops and manufactures rubber and plastic parts for Ford, General Motors,
Chrysler, Caterpillar and other companies.

Chuck and his brother Cliff founded BRC in 1973, frugally keeping their “day jobs,” plowing their profits back into the business. Today, the company owned by Chuck, Cliff and Chuck’s wife, Karen, has hundreds of employees at production plants in Churubusco, Bluffton, Ligonier, Montpelier and Hartford City, and a sales and engineering office in suburban Detroit. Chuck was 2010 Rubber Industry Executive of the Year.

“One man doesn’t do everything,” Chuck told The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne. “It takes a team of dedicated people.” At BRC, that team is “family.” Many have worked there for 20 or 30 years. “That’s success – when you have a workplace where people want to work,” Chuck told an industry publication. “It’s not about how big we are. BRC is the people. We all share together.”

Rather than consolidate, Chuck prefers retaining plants in multiple communities. He says it’s easier to find workers that way and it gives employees a greater sense of ownership.

Chuck Chaffee received Manchester’s 2012 Alumni Honor Award for recognizing the infinite worth of his employees, and for leading them with hard work, integrity and respect.

BY MELINDA LANTZ '81

 


Visionary higher education leader looks back to Manchester

Ding-Jo Hsia '75 CurrieDING-JO HSIA was born in Taiwan. When she was 15, her parents sent Ding-Jo and her sister to attend high school in Dayton, Ohio, home of a family friend. A teacher helped the teen learn English and adjust to American culture. When she asked
how she could repay her teacher, he told her something she never forgot: “Pay it forward. Choose to help others.”

Ding-Jo Hsia ’75 Currie is internationally recognized as a visionary leader and unity builder in education:

  • As the first Asian-American woman CEO in higher education, as president of Coastline Community College

  • As founder of China’s Higher Education Foundation, promoting collaborations between East and West

  • As former chair of the 1,200-member Association of American Community Colleges, when, motivated by her generous Manchester scholarships, she advocated passionately for increased Pell Grant funding

  • As former chancellor of Coast Community College District in California, the seventh-largest community college district in the United States

She recalls her days at Manchester, where personable yet persistent faculty and staff helped her develop leadership skills with
rigorous coursework and opportunities. She also found a global
perspective and an inspiring spiritual foundation.

Her Manchester degree in mathematics and psychology well-prepared her for a master’s degree in counseling at Wright State University and a Ph.D. in international/intercultural education at the University of Southern California. Today, Dr. Currie is a member of the research faculty team of California State University-Fullerton’s doctoral educational leadership program. She also serves on the MU Alumni Board.

For her leadership in higher education and for paying it forward to help others, Manchester presented Dr. Currie with a 2012 Alumni Honor Award.

BY MELINDA LANTZ '81


“Mrs. Pfeiffer is the type of teacher people write textbooks about”

Kacina Peters '06 PfeifferKACINA PETERS ’06 PFEIFFER of Theodore Potter Elementary School 74 in Indianapolis Public Schools is the 2012 Warren K. and Helen J. Garner Alumni Teacher of the Year.

“Mrs. Pfeiffer is the type of teacher people write textbooks about,” says Principal Timothy Clevenger, who nominated the sixth-grade teacher.

In just her second year at the Spanish immersion magnet school, Pfeiffer’s colleagues voted her Teacher of the Year. Some even suggested that she write a book about the teaching strategy of her Writer’s Workshop. The award-winning Theodore Potter School provides a total language experience for students to become proficient in English and Spanish by the time they complete sixth grade.

Even at Manchester, faculty and colleagues knew Pfeiffer was well-suited to the teaching profession. She served as president of the Student Education Association and was active with ARC of Wabash, Partners in Learning and a local day care while serving on the Manchester Activities Council.

“Teaching children has always been my passion,” says Pfeiffer. “I wholeheartedly believe that Manchester provides the best foundation for sending teachers into the world. To be recognized by the very institution that gave me that foundation is surreal.”

Kacina and Jason Pfeiffer ’05 of Noblesville, Ind., are parents of two young daughters – both attend Theodore Potter School.

A fund created by Warren ’50 and Helen Yeager ’50 Garner (pictured with her), both long-time educators, enables the Education Department to annually recognize an Alumni Teacher of the Year.

BY KATHRYN MILLER ’13

In this issue
Some of our finance lessons really touch where we live
from the president

BCA Abroad
A 50-year learning journey around the globe

We are U
Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same

Pharmacy
Classes are under way for Manchester's newest class and faculty

Lessons in Finance
How Manchester helps students curb debt

Friends for 50
Every year like clockwork, they've reunited

Philanthropy 101
Dr. Philip '48 and Mary '50x Orput invest in Manchester

Profiles of ability and conviction

A headless skeleton, old pictures and a theory
 

Alumni Office
    888-257-2586    alumnioffice@manchester.edu