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2013 Eckerd College Alumni Award Winners Announced
Eckerd College is proud to announce the 2013 Eckerd College Alumni Award Recipients. Presented during Alumni Reunion 2013, these graduates have demonstrated a clear commitment to excellence in their careers and service to their communities. Congratulations to Mo Eppley '98, D. Ashley Hill '86, Diana Huestis '03, Ernie Mahaffey '68 and Matthew Staman '92.
Diana Huestis '03 received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, which is awarded to a young alumna/us who has shown great promise and accomplishment in his or her chosen profession and/or community, public or humanitarian service. Diana was accomplished as a Marine Biology student at Eckerd. A Ford Scholar and inductee in the Omicron Delta Kappa and Sigma Xi honor societies, she received a Presidential Scholarship, National Merit/State Farm Scholarship, and Natural Sciences Collegium Scholarship and Service Award.
After graduating with high honors, Diana earned an M.S. in Biology and Ph.D. in Quantitative Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington, where she did her thesis and doctoral research on the evolution and ecology of life-history traits, maternal effects, and genetics of striped ground crickets. She is a postdoctoral research associate at the U.S. National Institutes of Health in the Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, where she conducts research on life-history of malaria mosquitoes in Mali, West Africa. She is the author of 15 peer-reviewed publications (seven as first-author) and over 20 professional research presentations. Diana is a Science Fellow donor and an inaugural member of the Alumni Leadership Council.
Matthew Staman '92 received the Grover C. Wrenn '64 Service Award, which is awarded to an alumna/us who has rendered outstanding volunteer service to Eckerd College in any area. Matthew is Managing Director at Huron Consulting Group in Chicago, where he focuses on higher education consulting. He graduated from Eckerd with high honors in Economics, and went on to earn a master's degree in Public Policy from the University of Chicago.
Matthew serves on Eckerd's National Advisory Council and is past president of the Eckerd College Alumni Association Board. In addition to his volunteer work for Eckerd's advancement and admission activities, Matthew was an early major donor to the Many Experiences, One Spirit Campaign in establishing the David and Beverly Staman Study Abroad scholarship fund. He is also a Senior Science Fellow donor. Matthew's additional volunteer work includes serving as site leader for the Tax Assistance Program, former board chair of The Harbour, a mentor for the Point Foundation, and a member of the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus.
Mo Eppley '98 received the Suzanne Armacost Alumni Medal for Outstanding Community Service, which is awarded to an alumna/us who has demonstrated a clear commitment to serving a larger community through notable volunteerism, an outstanding act of selflessness or a pattern of service to humanitarian efforts and causes. A Biology graduate, Mo is owner of MityMo Design, a creative services agency in St. Petersburg. Mo's agency helps community organizations pro bono and at reduced rates, including developing website and marketing materials for Friends of Strays, CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse), the Children's Dream Fund, Helping Hands for St. Pete's Finest, Progress Florida, and many others.
Mo is also principal of EcoCity Partners, which develops innovative and effective public-private partnerships that create green jobs, facilitate renewable energy and energy efficiency property improvements and strengthen communities. Mo has been a driving force behind the popular Tampa Bay Living Green Expo, which seeks to provide real solutions for people looking to live healthier lives with minimal environmental impact.
In addition to her dedication to making St. Petersburg a greener city, Mo is active in local politics and issues, handling marketing for local candidates such as Darden Rice '00, City Councilman Karl Nurse, and Florida House Representative Darryl Rouson. Her work for her neighborhood association led her to be named Citizen of the Month by the Council of Neighborhood Associations. In addition to her community work, Mo has remained close to her alma mater, hiring student interns for her business and serving this year on the Alumni Leadership Council.
D. Ashley Hill '86 received the William H. Kadel Alumni Medal for Outstanding Career Achievement, which is awarded to an alumna/us who has demonstrated a clear commitment to excellent in his or her career as evidenced by public recognition, achievement or leadership that positively reflects the College's vision. Ashley graduated from Eckerd with a degree in Biology and went on to earn an M.D. from the University of South Florida College of Medicine. Since 1998, he has served as Medical Director of Loch Haven OB/GYN and Associate Director for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Florida Hospital Graduate Medical Education Program. He also serves as the Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Florida Hospital Orlando campus.
Ashley has been awarded Teacher of the Year at several institutions, including the University of Central Florida, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Florida Hospital Family Practice Residency (twice), and Florida State University College of Medicine (Orlando). While at Eckerd, he was selected to deliver the Commencement remarks on behalf of the residential students and was named Department of Natural Sciences Outstanding Senior, in addition to receiving the Ronald W. Wilson Community Service Award and Alfred McKethan Scholar Award.
In a 2011 interview, Ashley estimated that he had delivered more than 5,000 babies. He has been chosen by his peers as one of the "Best Doctors in America" every year since 2003. Along with his wife Susan, Ashley is a Senior Science Fellow donor.
Ernie Mahaffey '68 received the McArthur Alumni Award, established by Eckerd's Board of Trustees to honor alumni who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in career or profession; service to Eckerd; dedication to church; and service to the community. Ernie has had a long and storied relationship with Eckerd even though he is technically not a graduate. After leaving Florida Presbyterian College (now Eckerd), he earned his Bachelor's degree in Asian History from Florida State University and Master's degree in finance from Thunderbird Scholl of Global Management. He was with Chase Manhattan Bank for 16 years before founding Distributors International (D.I. Group), a supplier of high-quality American specialty foods to premier retailers around the world like Harrods, Fauchon, and Oliver's (Hong Kong). He also headed an international brokerage firm for select US foods suppliers, Business Partners International.
Ernie's post-career life has been every bit as active. His community efforts have been extensive, including Sustainable Development in a Diverse World (SUSDIV), a series of workshops and research initiatives associated with the University of Illinois Chicago's College of Urban Policy and Planning; a Mexican American Task Force for the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations; Generations United Program Committee, an initiative to engage active seniors in the community; and the historic Chautauqua Institution.
Ernie has also contributed to his alma mater through his membership in the Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College (ASPEC). The gifts of Ernie and his wife, Sheila Penrose, have been the cornerstone of the ASPEC African American Student Support Program, which not only funds scholarships, but fosters mentor-mentee relationships between ASPEC members and minority students.