Three Berea College alumni received awards during the College’s recent Summer Reunion. Awardees include Larry Woods, Alumni Loyalty Award; Robert Auerbach, Distinguished Alumnus Award; and Ann Beard Grundy, Distinguished Alumna Award.
Woods, a 1975 alumnus of Berea’s agriculture program, actively serves his Alma Mater in various capacities. He held terms on Berea’s Alumni Executive Council for seven years and is a past president of the Council. Woods was class reunion chair for his 35th and 40th reunions at Berea. He also assists with helping fellow alumni return to campus.
After obtaining his master’s degree in education from the University of Kentucky, Woods was a principal and superintendent of schools in Kentucky. During that time, he influenced many students to attend Berea College. He has been involved in new student orientation and has served on various campus committees, including the personnel, and the planning and vision committees. He also has been involved with Berea’s GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) program in both Garrard and Breathitt counties. GEAR UP is one of the suite of programs administered through Berea College’s Partners for Education focused on improving educational outcomes in Appalachian Kentucky.
Robert Auerbach is Emeritus Professor of Zoology, member of the Institute on Aging, and Associate Member of the Wisconsin Clinical Cancer Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is widely recognized as a pioneer in the area of angiogenesis and endothelial cell differentiation. Auerbach graduated from Berea in 1949, and later earned a master’s degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in Zoology/Genetics from Columbia. He completed a year of postdoctoral studies at Oak Ridge, Tennessee and two years as a fellow of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda before accepting a faculty position in the Department of Zoology at the University of Wisconsin, where he was awarded a distinguished professorship and named the Harold R. Wolf professor of Zoology.
Auerbach’s other honors include a Guggenheim fellowship for research studies at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia, and election as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also received a Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Wisconsin Student Association.
Dr. Auerbach’s research studies resulted in more than 200 publications, included pioneering work on the development and functions of the thymus, having started these studies when the thymus was still an organ of unknown function. He was appointed as a visiting professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, where he collaborated with medical scientist and pioneer in the study of angiogenesis, Judah Folkman. He later held a one-year Rockefeller Foundation fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center. In recognition of his many seminal studies he was asked to serve on numerous research and training panels of the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. He was also elected to many committees at the University of Wisconsin, including the University Committee, which is the prime committee for faculty governance at the University.
Ann Beard Grundy is a 1968 graduate of Berea College’s Music Department. While a student at Berea College, she participated in the historic march from Selma, Alabama to the capital at Montgomery on March 24, 1965, to protest civil rights violations and to champion the right to vote. Along the way, she instinctively used her musical talent to lead other marchers in songs of hope for the struggle ahead.
Grundy grew up in a tradition rich in music, biblical justice, and community awareness in Birmingham, Alabama. Long concerned for the disadvantaged, Grundy’s advocacy for racial justice has evolved from anger to artistry, from confrontation to inspiration, from teacher to story teller. She uses her dramatic voice in narrations of black history and in song as a member of the American Spiritual Ensemble.
Grundy has been a teacher, counselor, youth director, field representative for the Human Rights Commission, Vista Volunteer in three states, and currently serves as program organizer for Lexington’s annual King Holiday Program and the Roots and Heritage Festival. Grundy is the founding director of Nia Day Camp, and was a charter member (now Emeritus) of Open Ground’s Board.
The Distinguished Alumnus Award is presented by the Berea College Alumni Association. The solid hardwood bell-shaped award, designed and produced by Berea College Woodcraft, recalls one of the chimes in the bell tower of Phelps Stokes Chapel.