Difference makers: Seven alumni recognized during annual awards ceremony
For more than 50 years, thousands of students have arrived at University of Michigan-Dearborn and left as victors. They earned that title by transforming lives and powering the future.
Terry McElroy (’76 B.B.A) returned to his alma mater to accept University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, given to a graduate who demonstrates excellence in their field and commitment to service within their community. As executive vice president of The Auto Club Group, McElroy exudes leadership. He helps oversee the multibillion-dollar enterprise that provides an array of AAA-branded services to its 8.5 million members. “Terry certainly has impacted the business world with his innovative ideas and motivation to succeed,” said Chancellor Daniel Little when presenting the award to McElroy.
McElroy credits the university for continuing to make a lasting impact on its students. “While UM-Dearborn’s curriculum and educational tools have naturally evolved since I was a student, its unique qualities—size, diversity and sense of community—are ever present,” he said. McElroy remains active on campus through involvement on the College of Business Advisory Board and Campaign Steering Committee.
McElroy was among seven UM-Dearborn alumni honored Friday at the annual Alumni Difference Makers Awards. For 35 years, the university has recognized more than 230 alumni for their distinguished achievements. These are outstanding graduates who positively impact their workplaces and communities, while also serving as strong role models for the next generation of victors.
Here’s a look at the 2014 Alumni Difference Makers Award winners:
Distinguished Alumnus of the Year:
Terry McElroy (’76 B.B.A.), executive vice president at The Auto Club Group
Over the past 30 years, Terry McElroy has helped grow the regional AAA Auto Club Group. He directs all financial aspects of the organization and is responsible for managing a variety of strategic operations. McElroy also volunteers and leads fundraising efforts at UM-Dearborn.
Young Alumnus of the Year:
Salma Safiedine (’05 B.A.), attorney at Safiedine Partners Law, LLC
As director of the American Bar Association’s Racial Justice Improvement Project, Salma Safiedine directed seven jurisdictions nationwide in implementing successful criminal justice reform. Her goal was to make the local systems more fair and efficient. Her efforts have sparked policy changes and positively impacted numerous people. She also runs her own law firm in Michigan, which prides itself on helping underprivileged families with legal troubles.
Jeanette Schumacher Alumni Service Award:
Jerry Mollien (’71 B.B.A.), former executive vice president of corporate tax at Masco
Jerry Mollien recently retired from Masco, where he established a strong employment pipeline with UM-Dearborn. Mollien currently serves as chair of the College of Business’ Board of Advisors. He teaches finance, accounting and tax classes twice a week, while also participating in the alumni mentoring program.
College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters Alumnus of the Year:
Marie Lozon (’81 B.S.), director of pediatric medicine; associate professor, pediatric emergency medicine at University of Michigan Health System—C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital
As a leader in pediatric emergency medicine at University of Michigan, Marie Lozon focuses her efforts on providing top-quality care to children in the Great Lakes state and beyond. Lozon has consistently been named a Top Doc by Hour Detroit magazine. She also gives back to adults in dire need of medical treatment. After a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, Lozon traveled there to treat those who had been afflicted by the natural disaster.
College of Business Alumnus of the Year:
Dan Wakeman (’78 B.S.A.), president at St. Luke’s Hospital-ProMedica Health System (Ohio)
Dan Wakeman has led several hospitals throughout the region over the past 15 years. Since joining St. Luke’s, Wakeman has overseen the development of a new vision and strategic plan. Throughout his career, he has focused on collaboration and how it can improve the community. Wakeman also plays a key role on the College of Business’ Board of Advisors, where he has been active since 2009 and has served on several professional panels on campus.
College of Education, Health, and Human Services Alumnus of the Year:
Julee Cowher (’95 B.A.), kindergarten teacher at Spencer Elementary School (Brighton)
Julee Cowher took a job at the university’s nature center and led groups of children through the campus’ natural area so they could experience science firsthand. Those experiences inspired her to pursue a career in teaching. As a kindergarten teacher, Cowher promotes experiential learning among her students. Her leadership in the classroom prompted the Michigan Science Teachers Association to name Cowher the 2013 Elementary Science Teacher of the Year.
College of Engineering and Computer Science Alumnus of the Year:
Juman Doleh-Alomary (’98 B.S., ’01 M.S.E.), information technology audit director at Wayne State University
Juman Doleh-Alomary strikes a good balance between her professional life and her volunteer commitments. She has led risk and security assessment projects for large organizations, among many other important technical duties. She is also an executive board member of the Arab American Women’s Business Council, where she helps Arab American women grow their businesses and advance their careers.