Bethany College Announces 2017 Alumni Award Recipients 

BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College will present a series of awards recognizing outstanding alumni at the Alumni Awards Dinner on Saturday, May 6, at 5:30 p.m. in Commencement Hall. Lee Smedley and Dean Sparks will be recognized with the Community Service Award, and Dr. Dean Haubrich and Thomas Miller will receive the Alumni Achievement Award as part of Alumni Weekend activities on campus.

“The Bethany College Alumni Weekend is our way of celebrating the success and accomplishments of our graduates,” said Dr. Tamara Nichols Rodenberg, President of the College. “It is my honor to welcome these four individuals back to their Alma Mater to highlight their distinctive achievements.”

smedley_web.jpgLee Smedley, a 1972 graduate of Bethany and President and Owner of Smedley Consulting Services, will receive the Community Service Award, which is given in recognition to alumni who demonstrate significant leadership and service to their region and community.

As President, Smedley is responsible for coaching internal facilitators of cultural change programs, convening the Senior Training and Development Manager Forum in Reading, Pennsylvania. Prior to his current role, he served as the Director of Organizational Development at GPU where he led the transition from functional combination of three GPU operating companies to a unified process-based organization, GPU Energy.

Smedley has also given back to the community. For the last seven years, Smedley has worked with the program “Support Connections of Lebanon County.” This creative program was developed by Smedley to foster mentor relationships with individuals and families to help overcome the cycle of poverty. Richard Hull, class of 1970, nominated Smedley for this award.

“Lee initiated the program in his community. He has been the spark plug that has kept it going locally and has provided national leadership,” said Hull. “The various components impacts hundreds of lives in understanding and overcoming poverty.”

After graduating from Bethany with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Smedley went on to receive his Master of Arts in Chemistry from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and his Doctor of Education in Tech Ed from West Virginia University.

sparks_web.jpgDean Sparks, a 1975 Bethany graduate, will also receive the Community Service Award. Sparks has exhibited a life-long passion of helping others through his work in counseling. Prior to his retirement in 2015, Sparks served as the Executive Director of Lucas County Children Services in Toledo, Ohio. In that role, he met with members of the House and the Senate to educate them on sexual exploitation and human trafficking of children.

Sparks also served as a Senior Supervisor and Manager at Montgomery County Children Services. He has taught a number of classes in social work at Wright State University and at the University of Dayton.

Through the American Red Cross, Sparks has volunteered as a counselor after disasters strike the nation including the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina, among others.

“Dean’s volunteer work as a support counselor with people following disasters for the American Red Cross throughout our nation is yet another significant reason for such recognition,” said Dennis Sparks, Dean’s nominator for the award.

In addition to his degree at Bethany, sparks holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Kentucky.

haubrich_web.jpgDr. Dean Haubrich, a 1964 Bethany graduate, will be presented with the Alumni Achievement Award, which recognizes Bethany alumni for achievements and contributions to their professions or field. Haubrich has spent nearly 50 years discovering and developing new medicines. His primary accomplishments have been in the area of psychiatric disorders, where he led teams that brought new drugs to physicians for the treatment of anxiety, depression and schizophrenia.

Haubrich received his doctoral degree in Molecular Pharmacology from Purdue University, and began his professional career at the National Institute of Health, after which he joined the pharmaceutical industry as a research scientist. Early in his career, he established his reputation as a researcher in neurochemistry and pharmacology through more than 80 publications and abstracts.

Currently, he chairs the Boards of the United States and European subsidiaries of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Company, a global health care company with headquarters in Japan. He previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of these companies.

Haubrich is married to the former Margaret Kovac, a 1964 Bethany graduate. Together, they have two children and four grandchildren.

miller_web.jpgThomas Miller, a 1977 Bethany graduate and President of Regency Global Transportation Group in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will also receive the Alumni Achievement Award. Miller founded the company in 1991 after an illustrious career at PNC Bank.

The company began as a two-person team with a 20” x 20” office operating two vehicles. In nine years, the company grew to $1 million in sales and by the mid 2000’s, topped $4 million in sales. Today, Regency Global Transportation Group has a network that allows them to handle transportation needs for customers that travel the world. Miller’s Pittsburgh office has more than 40 vehicles, 15 office staff and 60 chauffeurs located in a 20,000 square foot building. They have handled transportation services for the USGA, NFL, NHL, and MLB, among others. Annually, they handle more than 30,000 client transportation trips.

In addition to his entrepreneurial career, Miller is a leader who gives back to the community. For more than 25 years, he has served as Founder and Chairman of the Lupus Challenge, an annual charity event in memory of his late wife, Kate Rooney Miller. This annual event has raised more than $2 million for research, education and awareness of lupus.

He has also served on the Dinner Committee of the annual American Ireland Fund Gala, which is a global philanthropic network to promote and support peace, culture, education and community development throughout the island of Ireland and Irish-related causes around the world.

At Bethany, Miller was a four-year letterman on the Bison Football Team, and he received honorable mention with the All-Conference 1975 Championship Team. After graduation, he earned his Master of Business Administration in 1978 at the University of Pittsburgh. Today, Miller serves on Bethany’s Alumni Council Board of Directors.

The Alumni Awards Dinner will take place in Commencement Hall at 5:30 p.m. on May 6. To view the full schedule of Alumni Weekend events, visit www.bethanywv.edu/alumniweekend.

Bethany College is located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.