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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Alumni Awards

Six distinguished members of the Northwest family will be honored during the alumni awards banquet this fall on Oct. 1. The honorees are, from left to right, Dr. Bob Bohlken, Dennis Bunch, Dr. Rafiq Islam, Jealaine Vaccaro Marple, Elenora "Corky" Reaksecker and Mel Tyler.

July 19, 2010

Northwest alumni association to honor six for success, service

MARYVILLE, Mo. - Six distinguished members of the Northwest Missouri State University family will be honored during the alumni awards banquet this fall.

The annual event, sponsored by the Northwest Alumni Association, will begin with a 6 p.m. social Friday, Oct. 1, in the J.W. Jones Student Union Ballroom followed by dinner at 6:45 p.m. and the awards presentation at 8 p.m.

"The Alumni Awards Banquet is an evening of elegance when the Alumni Association shows its appreciation to individuals who have given their time and talents to Northwest," said Steve Sutton, director of alumni relations. "It is with great pride that we host and honor these Bearcats for their exceptional professional and personal achievements, extraordinary distinction in their fields and devotion to Northwest."

For more information about the Alumni Awards Banquet, or to purchase tickets, call the Office of University Advancement at 660.562.1248 or e-mail To register online, go to

Tickets cost $30 per person or $200 for a table of eight. Reservations will be accepted through Friday, Sept. 24, on a first-come, first-served basis.

This year's honorees are:

Dr. Bob Bohlken

Dr. Bob Bohlken, who began his career at Northwest in 1970 and retired in 2000, will receive the 2010 Distinguished Faculty Emeritus Award.

While at Northwest, Bohlken was a professor and chair in the communication and theatre arts department and also served as dean. His research includes topics in listening, regional idioms and folk sayings. The author of many books and articles, he was inducted into the International Listening Association's Hall of Fame in 2006 and continues to serve as a communication consultant.

He lives in Maryville.

Dennis Bunch

Dennis Bunch, a former teacher and coach, is the owner of Bunch Hardware and will receive the 2010 Turret Service Award. He received bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwest in 1969 and 1976, respectively.

A member of Northwest's M-Club Hall of Fame's 1968 wrestling team, Bunch is the past president of the Southern Iowa Alumni and Friends Chapter and is an active member of the Bearcat Booster Club. He also is involved in several community organizations and helped start the Lenox Christmas Lighting Project.

He lives in Lenox, Iowa.

Dr. Rafiq Islam

Dr. Rafiq Islam, a professor in Northwest's chemistry and physics department, has been a Northwest faculty member since 1997 and was named department chair in 2006. He will receive the 2010 Distinguished Faculty Award.

The 2010 recipient of the Commitment to Quality Award, Islam has written 22 peer-reviewed publications and numerous grants. He is the chair of the Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Cell Biology Committee for the Missouri Academy of Science and serves on the journal editorial board for the Asia Journal of Biochemistry.

He lives in Maryville.

Jealaine Vaccaro Marple

Jealaine Vaccaro Marple, a 2000 graduate of Northwest, will receive the 2010 Young Alumni Award.

Marple is pursuing her master's of divinity at Wartburg Theological Seminary. Chosen to serve as Sacristan for the upcoming academic year, she will oversee each week of worship at Wartburg. As a student at Northwest, she was involved in the Writing Center, Residence Hall Association and Student Senate. She also has been involved with four of Northwest's alumni chapters.

She lives in Dubuque, Iowa.

Elenora Reaksecker

Elenora "Corky" Reaksecker, who attended Northwest for two years and has been an avid Northwest supporter, will receive the 2010 Honorary Alumni Award.

She and her late husband, Les, met at Northwest and were married 68 years. They enjoyed attending athletic events, variety shows and other activities on campus. She taught school for two years in a rural school house, was a real estate agent and was manager of the Town and Country Dress Shop, where she retired in 1980.

She lives in Maryville.

Mel Tyler

Mel Tyler, vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, will receive the 2010 Distinguished Alumni Award. He received bachelor's and master's degrees from Northwest in 1980 and 1985, respectively.

Tyler began his career as a high school physical education teacher in 1980 and moved to higher education in 1982. A former student-athlete at Northwest, Tyler serves on the Board of Directors for the Minority Business Alliance of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and is active in several other organizations.

He lives in St. Joseph.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468