Top of the Classes

Alumni Society - Top of the Classes

Every year during Reunion Weekend, the college honors exceptional graduates by bestowing upon them the Alumni Citation—the highest award given by Denison to its alumni. The citation honors those who have achieved the highest levels of leadership in their fields through contributions to the professional, civic, or religious life of the nation or to the advancement of Denison itself. Here’s a look at this year’s recipients. (For more information on each honoree, visit

The Alumni Citation recipients pose with University President Dale Knobel. They are (from left, back row): Knobel, Jay Baird, Robert Caldwell, and Doug Mabie; (from left, middle row): Ron Beard, Dyrol Joyner, Sam Armacost, Bill Esrey, and Jim Bodman; (from left, front row): Stephanie Twickler Meegan, Mary Jane LeVan Armacost, Cheryl Norton, Ted Tight, and Joseph McMahon.


Dexter C. “Ted” Tight ’48

President, Dexter C. Tight & Associates

Tight has served on the Denison Board of Trustees since 1978, volunteered with DART and Career Services, and served on several presidential search committees. He established the Tight Family Chair in the Physical Sciences in 1981 during Denison’s 150th anniversary campaign and headed The Campaign for Denison, which ran from 1988 to 1994 and raised $77.7 million for the college. As general counsel for several successful corporations, Tight has also offered pro bono services for the betterment of San Francisco and its Peninsula.


Jay W. Baird ’58

Professor Emeritus of History, Miami University

In 1967 Baird began his 40-year career as a professor of modern history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, after stints at Stanford University and Pomona College in California. His Ohio colleagues and students treasured his knowledge and interpretations of Nazi and totalitarian propaganda during World War II, and awarded him Miami’s prestigious Harrison Medallion for outstanding national contributions to education in 1998 and the Outstanding Teaching Award in 2003. He was president of the German Studies Association, an international professional group with 1,400 members worldwide, and maintains his loyalty to Denison, having served as a reunion volunteer for the past 36 years.


Samuel H. Armacost ’61

Chairman Emeritus, SRI International

Armacost’s career path is a classic example of the value of a liberal arts education, blended with an M.B.A. Initially, his life was about banking and finance and becoming CEO of BankAmerica Corporation. Later, he was engaged in venture capital, buyouts, and investment advisory services. In 1998, he became chairman of SRI International, an independent technology research and development organization, from which he retired last year. He still serves as a director and chairman emeritus. He also is a director of Chevron and Exponent, Inc., and serves on the boards of Del Monte Foods, Callaway Golf Company, and Franklin Resources, Inc.


Ronald S. Beard ’61

Chair of the Board, Callaway Golf

Beard spent his entire law career, 1964 to 2001, with Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, in the firm’s Los Angeles, Century City, Paris, and Irvine offices—first as partner, then managing partner, and finally, chair- man. Now, along with being chair of the board at Callaway Golf, he is a member of the audit, nominating and corporate governance, compensation, and management succession committees. The company stock went public in 1992, and has international divisions around the world. A dedicated Denison volunteer, Beard served a 35-year tenure on the Board of Trustees from 1975 to 2010, having chaired the board for five years.


William T. Esrey ’61

Chairman of the Board, Spectra Energy

Esrey is an expert in the energy and telecommunication fields. He joined Sprint (formerly United Telecommunications) in 1980, becoming president and CEO in 1985. He served as CEO for 18 years, repositioning Sprint from a rural telephone company to an international telecommunications giant by entering the long distance market and building the nation’s first all-digital fiber-optic network. In 1994, Sprint partnered with several cable companies to build the first nationwide wireless personal communications network. In 1997, Business Week named him one of the Top 25 Business Executives in America. Since 2009, Esrey has chaired the board of Houston-based Spectra Energy, a natural gas infrastructure company.


Mary Jane LeVan

Armacost ’62,  Volunteer Extraordinaire

Armacost’s dedication to volunteer service has brought her personal satisfaction and public recognition across this country and the U.K. She is one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most avid volunteers, offering her time and talents in the fields of health care, politics, arts, women’s education, and the zoo. In 1994, she was named Outstanding Volunteer of the Year in San Mateo. She has served on the boards of Sutter Health (Northern California’s largest healthcare system) and Mills-Peninsula Hospital. She is a founding member of the London Service League and has served on Denison’s Board of Trustees since 1981, becoming a Life Trustee in 2001.


James W. Bodman ’62

Chairman and CEO, Vienna Beef

Bodman served in the U.S. Army after earning an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1964. He joined Vienna Beef in 1967 and is now the chairman and chief executive officer. The company is a world-recognized manufacturer of premium beef products, pickles, and soups, available worldwide in grocery stores, restaurants, sports stadiums, club stores, delis, and hot dog stands. Along with serving on several corporate boards, Bodman served on Denison’s Board of Trustees from 1986 to 1992, volunteered for fundraising efforts, and was a member of several reunion committees including his 50th this year.


Joseph E. McMahon ’62

President, McMahon and Associates

McMahon parlayed his longtime interest in civil rights and the politics that impact them into the creation of McMahon and Associates in 1981, a Washington, D.C. consulting and research firm, focusing on public policy/nonprofit and corporate issues. He was appointed by President Gerald Ford as a member of the National Council of Economic Opportunity and served as director of national business for the Reagan-Bush election committee. He served on Denison’s Board of Trustees for 28 years and became a Life Trustee in 2000. McMahon also has been an advocate for student interns through the McMahon Summer Internship Program.


Stephanie Twickler Meegan ’71

Founder, Impact On Youth Educational Services

Meegan’s experience as a former teacher and school board member inspired her in 1985 to create Impact On Youth Educational Services to provide programs to help children in grades K-12 strengthen social skills, prevent substance abuse, build character, manage stress, grieve loss, and constructively move through and beyond conflict. She authored two nationally-recognized curricular pro- grams, “Peer Proofing” and “Kids & Company: Together for Safety.” She is an educational consultant for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and has worked with educators, parents, healthcare providers and law enforcement professionals throughout the United States and Canada.


Cheryl H. Norton ’71

President, Southern Connecticut State University

Along with her B.A. from Denison, Norton holds two master’s degrees and a D.Ed. from Columbia University. She was named Southern Connecticut State’s tenth president in 2004—becoming the first woman to hold the position at the school. She also was selected as a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine for her contributions to the field of exercise physiology. Norton earned a Lilly Award for her contributions to higher education and the Women of Note award from the New Haven Symphony. She is currently on terminal sabbatical, researching K–12 education reform.


Dyrol K. Joyner ’81

Sports Anchor/Reporter, WPIX-TV and Fios Sports

Joyner is an Emmy-winning sports broadcaster who lettered in basketball at Denison for four straight years. He won his first Emmy in Washington, D.C., for hosting “Bullets–Jam Session,” a weekly highlight program featuring the Washington Bullets. He took home another one as host at SportsChannel Chicago. Joyner was also the sideline reporter for three NBA championship games led by Michael Jordan. His talents took him to the sidelines of the NFL for Fox Sports, and he also worked for KENS-5 in San Antonio, Texas. He is currently a freelance sports anchor/reporter in Manhattan.


Robert L.Caldwell Jr. ’82

Director/Senior Fellow, Center for Urban Poverty Solutions

Caldwell is an accomplished consultant, trainer, and public speaker whose expertise is in the areas of social justice, diversity and equity, collaborative leadership, poverty eradication, and community transformation. He has more than 25 years of social service and community development experience in Ohio and is the founder or co-founder of several social and human service initiatives. Among them are Family First, Family to Family, Break Dividing Walls, and Faith- Partnership Initiative. In 1997, he won the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Service in the State of Ohio. In 2000, he and his family pioneered a multi-racial, multi-ethnic community of faith called Mosaic.


Douglas W. Mabie ’86

Partner, William Blair and Company

Mabie discovered his perfect career in 1988 at William Blair and Company in Chicago, a global investment firm offering investment banking, asset management, equity research, institutional and private brokerage, and private capital services. He currently manages customized equity and balanced portfolios for his clients. He also has founded Springboard Foundation to improve the quality of life in Chicago’s economically challenged neighborhoods, promoting constructive out-of-school activities for children. Mabie has served on Denison’s President’s Leadership Council, and created a scholarship fund and built an internship program at William Blair for Denison’s Posse scholars.

Published July 2011