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The 2017 Alumni Fellows


School of Law

George C. Bruce, jd '80, attorney, Martin, Pringle, Oliver, Wallace & Bauer, LLP/CEO, Aladdin Petroleum Corporation/vice chairman, Aladdin-Middle East Ltd.

Acceptance speech

George BruceGeorge Bruce was born in Wichita, Kansas, and resides there, working as CEO of Aladdin Petroleum Corporation, and he serves as counsel at Martin, Pringle, Oliver, Wallace & Bauer, LLP, focusing on traditional and alternative energy, as well as securities, financial, real estate and international matters. He started working at Aladdin as general counsel in 1980 and became chairman in 1991. He has experience in oil and gas exploration and production in Turkey with Aladdin-Middle East. With Aladdin Petroleum Corporation, he has experience in the United States, Canada, West Africa and the Caribbean. Bruce serves as managing member of a number of energy and natural resource companies. He is a director of CrossFirst BankShares, Inc, a bank holding company, based in Kansas City; former trustee of Trinity Academy of Wichita; and is a founding elder of Heartland Community Church, also in Wichita.

What are your favorite Washburn memories: My best memories are of my classmates, whom I have had the privilege to know and practice with for 40 years.


College of Arts and Sciences

Donna Garland, ba '62, retired research scientist

Acceptance speech

Donna GarlandDonna Garland resides in both Bethesda, Maryland and Boston, Massachusetts. She earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Washington in 1975. Garland conducted research at the National Eye Institute, NIH, from 1983-2007, earned tenure, became chief of the NEI Protein Biochemistry Section and received awards for her research on the human lens and cataracts. After retiring from NEI, Garland switched her research focus to macular degeneration first in the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and from 2011 in the Ocular Genomics Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School. These studies identified potential therapeutic targets for an inherited macular degeneration. She was a founding member of the U.S. Human Proteomics Organization and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. She has published more than 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters and reviews. Dr. Garland was dedicated to mentoring young students in conducting research and worked for the advancement of women in science.

How has Washburn help you in your career: Washburn was the perfect fit for me. The size of the school, the quality of education and the faculty were ideal. When I graduated, I felt I was well prepared to make the next move.


College of Arts and Sciences

Cynthia Heath, ba '71, senior advisor for executive compensation, Emerson Electric Co.

Acceptance speech

Cynthia HeathCynthia Heath was born in Charleston, West Virginia, moved to Topeka when she was 10 and resides in Chesterfield, Missouri. She has worked for Emerson Electric Co. for 28 years. She currently consults for Emerson as senior advisor for executive compensation after retiring as vice president of executive compensation. Heath was responsible for worldwide compensation of Emerson’s top executives including cash pay, bonuses and benefits. Before joining Emerson, she practiced law for six years at a St. Louis private firm. Heath is chair of the Washburn University Foundation Board of Trustees and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. She is an honorary life member of the Washburn University School of Law Alumni Association and was named a distinguished alumni from Washington University School of Law (St. Louis, Missouri). The Washburn University Alumni Association has honored her with the Lila Day Monroe Award. As a national champion gymnast, Heath is a member of the Washburn Athletics Hall of Fame.

How has Washburn helped you in your career: My Washburn education has always been an advantage to me. It provided an excellent liberal arts education, which enhanced my graduate studies, especially law school. I was prepared to compete with my law school class members, many of whom were from elite undergraduate colleges.


School of Business

Lucille L. Hinderliter, bba '65, tax manager, Agler & Gaeddert, Chartered

Acceptance speech

Lucille HinderliterLucille Hinderliter grew up in Mayetta, Kansas, and lives in Ottawa, Kansas, where she works at the Ottawa office of Agler & Gaeddert, Chartered. Hinderliter, a certified public accountant, is a  tax manager and a former shareholder at Agler & Gaeddert. Her professional experience includes business and personal income tax planning, estate planning, and work with trust departments dealing with fiduciary, private foundation and tax exempt entity matters. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and she served on the Kansas Society of Certified Public Accountants Board of Directors. She earned the Gold Key Award from the Kansas Society of CPAs and was named Businesswoman of the Year in 2014 by her local newspaper. Her public service includes Soroptimist International of Ottawa, serving as treasurer and board member of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and serving as board member of the Franklin County Community Foundation. 

How has Washburn help you in your career: Washburn provided a good transition coming from high school into college. It opened my eyes to possibilities I had not considered before and helped me find direction in my life and career.


School of Applied Studies

Francis Q. Hoang, mcj '00, chief strategy officer, MAG Aerospace/Partner, FH+H

Acceptance speech

Francis HoangFrancis Hoang was born in Saigon, Vietnam, grew up in Tumwater, Washington, and resides in Alexandria, Virginia. He is chief strategy officer at MAG Aerospace. MAG Aerospace, a veteran-led enterprise, operates manned and unmanned aircraft systems on five continents to meet the needs of federal, international and commercial customers. Hoang is also a partner at FH+H, a veteran-owned company that was the fastest growing law firm on the 2013 Inc. 5000 list. Hoang graduated in the academic top 1 percent at West Point, and summa cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center where he received his juris doctor. He has had military deployments in the former Yugoslovia and Afghanistan and was deputy chief of police and SWAT commander at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. He has 20 years of national security experience and has served all three branches of the U.S. government. He clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. President George W. Bush appointed him associate White House counsel and special assistant to the president. He supports a number of veteran reintegration causes and serves on numerous boards.

What is your best memory of Washburn: The faculty. As an early online student, I didn’t have much chance to experience campus firsthand. However, I still developed a wonderful relationship with the faculty. They clearly cared about their students.


School of Nursing

David Overton, R.N., bsn '06, associate clinical director, The Advisory Board Company

Acceptance speech

David OvertonDavid Overton grew up in McPherson, Kansas. He has been associate clinical director at The Advisory Board Company in Dallas, Texas, since 2016. After graduation, Overton served in the U.S. Army at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, as chaplain’s assistant, registered nurse, charge nurse and executive officer. He stayed in Texas after his service, earned a master’s of health administration and held various clinical roles. Now at The Advisory Board Company, he works on large-scale consulting engagements with health systems across the country. Overton’s community service includes disaster response to Hurricane Harvey and as a veteran outreach director. He is an adjunct professor and guest lecturer. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives where he served on the board of directors for the South Texas Chapter and won the Health Administration Educator Award in 2013.

How has Washburn helped you in your career: If you told me when I graduated I would be rubbing elbows with health system CEOs who were paying for the expertise of my team, I would have laughed. Washburn built a strong foundation to launch a successful career. The good my graduating class alone has given the world is probably incalculable.


Washburn Inistitute of Technology

Joseph Pennington, Technical Drafting '88, president, Stevenson Company, Inc.

Acceptance speech

Joseph PenningtonJoseph Pennington was born in Topeka and is president of Stevenson Company, Inc. He has been with the locally-owned sheet metal manufacturing company since 1991. As president, he ensures staffing is at levels to complete all projects. He manages cash flow for supplies, inventory and payroll. He handles drafting, design and project management on large commercial projects and supervises drafters on other projects. Pennington earned his technical drafting certificate when Washburn Tech was Kaw Area Technical School. He also attended Washburn University as he built his career at Stevenson Company. His volunteer work includes co-founding Fast Forward, now Forge, a professional development group for young Topekans in the workforce. He was chair of the Kansas Ballet Company, a trustee with the Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee and a member of the Topeka Police Department Citizens’ Academy.

What are your favorite memories at Kaw Valley Technical School: In the mid-1980s, the school made a significant investment in technology. They understood the future of the industry would utilize computers. They let me go in the computer room by myself. While the rest of the class was working at drafting tables, I was figuring out how to reboot a computer, draw a digital line and memorize commands.


College of Arts and Sciences

John D. Pinegar, ba '82, president, Pinegar, Smith & Associates, Inc.

Acceptance speech

John PinegarJohn Pinegar grew up in Garden City, Kansas, and resides in Topeka where he is president and co-founder of Pinegar, Smith & Associates, Inc.  The firm engages in governmental and public affairs, providing strategic advice and representation to clients. They specialize in legislative affairs, lobbying, business-to-government outreach and issues management. They promote and defend client interests before legislatures and executive branch officials. Pinegar’s previous experience includes serving as chief of staff to the governor of Kansas, deputy director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and assistant to the president of the Kansas Senate. He served as the statewide director of the Reagan-Bush campaign. His public service includes serving on the Washburn University Foundation Board of Trustees and as past-president of the Alumni Association. He is a treasurer and deacon at First Presbyterian Church of Topeka and a member of the Garden City High School Hall of Fame.

What are your favorite Washburn memories: My favorite memories are the friendships I developed. The bonds with fellow classmates, professors, administrators and staff have been time well spent that I will forever cherish. They have withstood the test of time and distance and have been an integral factor in my personal and professional development.

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Topeka, KS 66604 Phone: 785.670.4483