William Jewell College honors distinguished alumni who have made significant contributions in their respective fields at its annual Celebration of Achievement March 3.
Special guest speaker for the 67th annual Achievement Day dinner is Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. Meacham is also a former Newsweek editor and co-anchor of PBS’s “Need to Know.” Meacham will offer the Achievement Day address at a 7:30 p.m. dinner March 3 at Kansas City’s Westin Crown Center Hotel, 1 East Pershing Road.
General admission price for the dinner is $150 per person; ambassador-level admission is $250 per person, with various sponsorship opportunities available. For information about reservations and the event, visit www.achievementday.net or call Susan Tideman at 816-415-7550 or tidemans AT william.jewell DOT edu.
“William Jewell College has a time-honored tradition of preparing leaders for the Kansas City community and the world beyond,” said Dr. David Sallee, president of the College. “Our distinguished alumni bring leadership to a variety of career paths, and this event allows us to celebrate that leadership.” The event also serves as a fundraiser for the Jewell Fund, which provides need-based student scholarships.
Alumni honorees will be saluted at a pre-dinner reception beginning at 6 p.m. Bill and Christy Gautreaux are serving as Honorary Chairmen for the event, and Debbie Smith is Event Chairman for the Celebration of Achievement. The Achievement Day honorees will also be recognized at an on-campus convocation at 10:15 a.m. March 4 in John Gano Memorial Chapel in Liberty. The public is invited to attend the convocation free of charge; tickets or reservations are not required. As part of the event’s 67-year tradition, honorees meet formally and informally with students to discuss their individual paths to achievement.
Achievement Day speaker Jon Meacham is one of America’s most distinguished journalists. Known as a skilled raconteur and an eloquent speaker with a depth of knowledge about history, politics and religion, he understands important issues and events in all of their complexity and how they impact our lives. In May 2010, Meacham began co-anchoring PBS’ “Need to Know,” a weekly primetime news and public affairs program covering the economy, politics, the environment and energy, health, national security and culture. As Executive Vice President and Executive Editor at the Random House Publishing Group, Meacham focuses on acquiring works of history, religion and biography and advising on a broad array of publishing opportunities, including digital initiatives.
After serving as Managing Editor of Newsweek for eight years, Meacham was responsible for all day-to-day editorial operations of the magazine as Editor from October 2006 until September 2010. The New York Times called him “one of the most influential editors in the news magazine business.” The New York Observer described him as “the embodiment of... integrity in a journalism industry looking for heroes.”
His New York Times bestseller, American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2009 and was cited as an “unlikely portrait of a not always admirable democrat, but a pivotal president, written with an agile prose that brings the Jackson saga to life.” His national bestseller, Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship, explored the fascinating relationship between the two leaders who piloted the free world to victory in World War II. TIME declared it “masterful,” and The Washington Post proclaimed it “a memorable achievement.” Meacham's American Gospel: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation was also a New York Times bestseller. USA Today said it “provides an enlightening look at how the founding fathers discovered ways to tame but not extinguish the fires of faith.”
In 2009, Meacham was elected to the Society of American Historians and serves on its executive board. He was awarded the Hubert H. Humphrey First Amendment Freedoms Prize by the Anti-Defamation League. He runs a popular blog about religious life in America with writer Sally Quinn. He has written for The New York Times, BusinessWeek, The Washington Post, Slate and The Los Angeles Times. In 2001, he edited Voices in Our Blood: America’s Best on the Civil Rights Movement. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a “Global Leader for Tomorrow” of the World Economic Forum in Davos, he is a regular guest on "Morning Joe" and has appeared on such programs as Charlie Rose, "Meet The Press," "The O’Reilly Factor" and "The Colbert Report."
The 2011 Achievement Day honorees are:
Stuart Bascomb ’63, Chairman and CEO, Qualsight Inc.
Stuart Bascomb graduated from William Jewell College in 1963 and received a master’s in accounting from the University of Missouri in 1965. In 2004, he organized a start-up company in Chicago to create a nationwide network of ophthalmologists to market a managed care refractive surgery program. Qualsight currently has agreements with more than 750 refractive surgery locations nationwide. He previously served as Executive Vice President and Director of Express Scripts, Inc., a pharmacy benefit manager that he helped found in 1986. He also served as Executive Vice President and Treasurer of the Medicare-Glaser retail drug chain and as Group Controller for Pet Incorporated. He spent three years as a senior accountant at Haskins and Sells.
Robert Gengelbach ’69, President, Oxea Corporation
Robert Gengelbach is part of a legacy family at William Jewell and was a member of the fourth generation from his family to attend the College, where he received his degree in chemistry in 1969. In January, he retired as President of the Oxea Corporation, a global chemical company headquartered in Germany and Luxembourg. The manufacturer of oxo-chemicals and derivatives had sales of over $1.6 billion in 2009. Gengelbach served as one of four people on the company’s global executive management board with global responsibilities for purchasing and supply chain and regional responsibilities for the Americas. He previously held sales, marketing, business management, purchasing and supply chain responsibilities with Celanese, a Dallas-based global chemical company. Additional career experience includes sales and management positions with the Woodward Insurance Agency and sales positions in packaging and industrial coatings with E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co., Inc.
Cynthia L. (Hoover) Martin ’81, Judge, Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District
Cynthia Martin graduated summa cum laude from William Jewell with a double major in psychology and communications in 1981. She was valedictorian of her class at the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Law, where she received her juris doctor in 1984. She was appointed to the Missouri Court of Appeals in October 2009. She previously served as an associate at the Jackson, Dillard, Brouillete, Weisenfels, Phillips and Wood firm and as a partner in Dillard & Weisenfels and Weisenfels & Vaughan. Prior to being named to the Missouri Court of Appeals, she was a shareholder and sole practitioner for Cindy Reams Martin, P.C. She has held various leadership positions with the Missouri Bar, the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association and the Missouri Board of Law Examiners. She has been listed consistently among the “Best of the Bar” by the Kansas City Business Journal.
Diane E.H. Webber ’81, Rear Admiral, United States Navy
Diane Webber graduated summa cum laude from William Jewell with a bachelor’s of science in music education. She also completed master’s degrees in management from the University of Redlands and in military studies from the United States Marine Corp Command and Staff College. In 1983 she began her career in the United States Navy as an Ensign Officer. Promoted to Rear Admiral in June 2009, she currently serves as the Director of Command Control Systems, North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado. NORAD – USNORTHCOM serves as the central collection and coordination facility for a worldwide system of sensors designed to provide the commander and the leadership of Canada and the U.S. with an accurate picture of any aerospace threat. CHIPS, the Navy’s Information Technology magazine, describes Webber and other Information Professional officers as “instrumental in delivering the communications services required to sustain both land and sea-based operations for the thousands of deployed Sailors, Soldiers and Marines.”