Office of the VP for Communications – Keeping alumni and friends connected to U-M

Alumni Notes

  1. Albert Leung

    has received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant to study feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium), an herb with the potential to prevent migraines. Leung is principal investigator for the research project and president of Phyto-Technologies, Inc., of Woodbine, Iowa, and Glen Rock, New Jersey, which received the federal grant for the endeavor. See "Scientific Medicine Examines the Alternatives", Fall 2001 Michigan Today http://www.umich.edu/~newsinfo/MT/01/Fal01/mt12af01.html/) The first year of Phase II research on the scientific properties of the medicinal herb, long used in "alternative medicine," was funded for $501,653 by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Phase I research focused on establishing a multifaceted approach to the identification and characterization of feverfew, related species and varieties, potential adulterants and feverfew materials used in previous clinical trials. "Phase II will expand on this approach," Leung said, "and will proceed to the next level to identify, characterize, standardize and manufacture feverfew preparations with the best potential for effectiveness in the prevention of migraines. These materials will be subjected to clinical trials and will ultimately be incorporated into a commercial anti-migraine product." Leung, trained at U-M in conventional pharmacognosy, is well-known in the herbal products industry as an outspoken advocate for quality and safety in herbal products. According to Dr. Leung, "One of the major reasons that many herbal products don't work is because poor-quality or wrong herbs and their extracts are used. There are presently no meaningful guidelines or standards for the standardization of herbs and their extracts, thus resulting in the current general lack of uniform quality of herbal products. Our research will, for the first time in the history of herbal medicine, provide a meaningful and workable model to control the quality of not only feverfew products, but also herbal products in general. Leung's company is a formulator and manufacturer of extracts and blends of mostly Chinese herbs for private label distribution. "Over the past few years, due to our persistent efforts in defining herb quality, Phyto-Technologies has emerged as a recognized leader in the proper modernization of Chinese medicine," he said.

  2. Susan Zabriskie

    is the newly appointed executive director of Alpha Phi International Fraternity. Zabriskie, formerly a senior manager with Ameritech, joined the fraternity’s Evanston-based executive office in January. She was initiated into the Theta chapter of Alpha Phi at the University of Michigan in 1978 and has since served on numerous international committees for the fraternity and the foundation.Zabriskie spent the latter part of her 20-year career at Ameritech in Chicago as a senior manager responsible for culture change and leadership development. Previous roles included project management, human resources and delivering quality customer service.

  3. Susan Zabriskie

    Susan Zabriskie ’79 is the newly appointed executive director of Alpha Phi International Fraternity. Zabriskie, formerly a senior manager with Ameritech, joined the fraternity’s Evanston (Ill.)-based executive office in January. She was initiated into the Theta chapter of Alpha Phi at the University of Michigan in 1978 and has since served on numerous international committees for the fraternity and the foundation. Zabriskie spent the latter part of her 20-year career at Ameritech in Chicago as a senior manager responsible for culture change and leadership development. Previous roles included project management, human resources and delivering quality customer service.

  4. Nelson Cowan

    Prof. Nelson Cowan of the Dept. of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri, Columbia, has received an an honorary doctorate from the University of Helsinki. Cowan received his BS from Michigan in neurosciences and his PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1980. He writes of the Helsinki ceremony: "The University of Helsinki holds its conferment ceremony only once every four years and carries on a European tradition that has been lost in many countries but has been going on in Finland, with few changes, for the past 360 years. For this occasion, 12 professors were selected from various countries and disciplines to receive honorary doctorates. " The conferment ceremony over three days included a rehearsal dinner, official ceremony in a large hall with several hundred degree recipients, banquet, cathedral service, boat trip to an island for a picnic, and concluding ball. In the official ceremony, honorary doctors were prominently paraded and I received a special hat (representing academic wisdom) and sword (representing the force of reason, I think) that can be worn only by such recipients. "The feeling of emerging from the ceremonial hall on the town square near the front of a narrow procession, to a red carpet that had been laid out, with the cathedral bells ringing and people lining the streets with cameras, was overwhelming. "I was also impressed by the symbolism in the final ball, which involved the following: various traditional dances from 7:30 to 10:00, carrying around various key individuals on a throne (including a representative honorary doctor), "kicking out" the degree-granting professor under a tunnel of swords at midnight so that the real party could begin, marching and singing with several hundred people through the streets of Helsinki at 2:30 am, so that statues of various Finnish poets and other important characters could be lauded and, finally, greeting the sun with more speeches and champagne at 4 A.M. "The university's conferment ceremony in Finland dates back to 1643 in the city of Turku and was moved to the new capital of Helsinki, along with the university, in 1828. The literature I received from the university indicated that 'through most of the 19th century the conferment ceremonies were the only festive events in the country that the general public could enjoy, and graduands and their families were joined by large interested audiences. People journeyed from the countryside to the capital to take part in the festivities, which lasted several days.' The conferment ceremony at some points also served to reinforce national unity and independence when the country was ruled by Sweden and then Russia."

  5. EvaJon Sperling

    The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Alumni Association bestowed its Citation for Alumnus Achievement on EvaJon Sperling Friday, Aug. 15, at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.

    It is the highest honor presented by the association. A 2000 UNO graduate of the MBA program, Sperling has been Omaha’s Postmaster since 1995.

    Sperling began her career with the US Postal Service in 1972 as a part-time flexible clerk in Flint, Michigan. She earned her BA two years later from U-M. She climbed the postal service’s management ranks in Michigan, Denver and Wausau, Wisconsin, working in a variety of positions in all functional operations. Sperling came to Omaha in

    January 1990 as director of field operations. Her district stretched from the South Dakota to Kansas borders and included 364 post offices. In 1992 she was named manager of post office operations for the Central Plains District. Three years later she took over as postmaster.

    Sperling’s other career experience includes a stint selling encyclopedias door-to-door, managing the Michigan secretary of state’s office and service in the US Marine Corps.

    She is co-chair of the Omaha Postal Customer Council and the Metropolitan Omaha Postal Customer Advisory Council. She also is a board member of the United Way of the Midlands, the Downtown Rotary Club of Omaha and Omaha Network. She also has served on the Local Federal Coordinating Committee for the Combined Federal Campaign and is a member of the Federal Executive Association.

    Sperling is a member of the American Driving Society and Eastern Nebraska Driving Society and has competed in horse driving events in the United States and Canada. She currently has a 3-year-old mare in training for competition.

  6. Meg Waite Clayton

    '81, '84 JD, has published her first novel, "The Language of Light". The book will be published in the USA and Canada in November 2003 by St. Martin’s Fresh Fiction Selection and is a finalist for the Bellwether Prize and also a McNaughton Selection. The Language of Light will also be published in German translation and in a US paperback in 2004. Meg and her husband and two sons live in Palo Alto and Santa Barbara, California. Her Web address is www.megwaiteclayton.com.

  7. Frank C. Fontana

    In 2002, Frank C. Fontana founded and became president of Banyan Asset Management, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor dually based in Harrison Township, Michigan and Fort Myers Beach, Florida. His firm provides professional money management services to individual investors and corporate clients—www.banyan-asset.com.

    In 2003, Frank earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) Designation, administered by the Association for Investment Management and Research® (AIMR®). The CFA charter is the only globally recognized credential for investment analysis and management. Pass rates average about 50 percent on the exams at each of three sequential levels.

  8. Roger Williams

    Stanley Temple Donner would be ashamed. More errors per linear inch in his obit than one can count…

    Stumbled on this item by chance, read with interest, was appalled by the spelling…

    Editor's Note: Corrections have been made and we regret the errors.

  9. Dr. Boris Kozolchyk

    has been selected to receive the “Leonard J. Theberge Award for Private International Law” of the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of International Law and Practice. Kozolchyk is scheduled to receive the award in Atlanta on August 6 during the ABA annual meeting. The award was established to honor those persons who have made "distinguished, long-standing contributions to development of private international law," the ABA said.
    Kozolchyk’s contributions—as DeConcini Professor of Law at the University of Arizona College of Law, as National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade (NLCIFT) president and beyond—have included representing the United States in various organizations, such as the Organization of American States'specialized conferences on private international law, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and the International Chamber of Commerce. Kozolchyk has demonstrated how comparative law aids in selecting those legal institutions that contribute to the economic development of a country or region.