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Three Distinguished Service Awards granted at 2004 Alumni Weekend

Culminating this year's Alumni Weekend was the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award (DSA) to three alumni, in recognition of their personal and professional achievements. The award is the college's highest alumni honor.

Three alumni received the awards: Columbus attorney and community leader Gerald L. Draper '63, Peace Corps veteran Alison White MacConnell '49 and Muskingum County Commissioner Dorothy J. Montgomery '53. In recognizing the recipients, Muskingum College President Anne C. Steele said, "Through your commitment to others, each of you has had a profound impact on your community and the world around you." Presenting the awards was Gordon F. Litt, president of the college's Alumni Council.

Gerald L. Draper '63 graduated with honors from Muskingum College in 1963 and earned his juris doctorate degree from Northwestern University School of Law in 1966. Today, Draper is a partner in the Columbus law firm of Roetzel & Andress.
In 1982, Draper was elected president of the Columbus Bar Association and in 1984 he was elected president of the Columbus Bar Foundation. In 1990, he was selected to lead the Ohio Bar Association as its president. Draper also has been involved with more than 20 other legal organizations and associations.

Draper has been named one of "The Best Lawyers in America" for business litigation and personal injury litigation. In 2003, he was honored as one of Columbus' finest attorneys and, most recently, he was named one of Ohio's "Super Lawyers" — a distinction for the top five percent of attorneys in Ohio.

An active community leader, Draper has served with the Reynoldsburg United Methodist Church and the Wesley Glen Retirement Center in Worthington, Ohio. At Muskingum, he has served as a member of the Board of Trustees, the Alumni Council and as the national chairman of the Annual Fund.

Mrs. Alison White MacConnell graduated from Muskingum College in 1949 with a bachelor's degree in history and as a member of the college's debate team.
From 1983 to 1986, she served in the United States Peace Corps in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

In 1986, the FSM became a self-governing country. At that time, MacConnell was invited to join the Office of Foreign and Federal Relations in the State of Pohmpei in Micronesia. In that office, she helped draft that country's first constitution.
The FSM has a rich history, influenced by the Spanish, German and Japanese settlers and discoverers who gave the region a rich and diverse culture. The FSM came under United States Trusteeship after World War II and, in 1991, became a member of the United Nations.

Today, MacConnell continues to work for the governments of both the State of Pohmpei and the FSM, focusing on socio-economic issues. In addition to her prominent role in government, MacConnell is deeply interested in youth development, demonstrated by her work with Head Start, Camp Fire Girls, Horizon Club groups, the Red Cross, the Cub Scouts, the Blue Birds. She also organized the first scout unit in Micronesia.

Mrs. MacConnell is a charter member of the Rotary Club of Pohmpei and was its first-ever Rotarian of the Year. She also became the club's first Paul Harris Fellow as a tribute to "a person whose life demonstrates a shared purpose with the objectives of the Rotary Club."

Dorothy J. Montgomery graduated from Muskingum College in 1953. She began as a teacher in 1953, serving in the Zanesville City Schools, the Duncan Falls Schools and Taft Elementary School in Orlando, Florida.

She was elected to the office of Muskingum County Commissioner in 1993, where she has contributed her leadership to the Eastern Ohio Development Alliance, the Zanesville-Muskingum County Port Authority, the Downtown Redevelopment Committee, the Federal Emergency Management Board, the Family and Children First Board, the County Commissioners of Ohio Legislative Committee and the Federal Emergency Management Board.

In 1997, Governor George Voinovich named her to the Ohio Bicentennial Commission and Governor Bob Taft named her to the Ohio State Emergency Response Commission in 1999.

Since 1951, Montgomery has been a Muskingum County Junior 4-H advisor and currently is president of the East District 4-H Advisory Committee and is president and secretary of the Muskingum County Advisory Committee. Her contributions were recognized in 1990 when she was inducted into the Ohio State 4-H Hall of Fame. In 1998, she and her husband, John, established the John and Dorothy Montgomery Muskingum County Leadership Development Award.

Montgomery also has lent her expertise to the Cooperative Extension Service at The Ohio State University, from which she received the National Epsilon Sigma Phi Friend of Extension Award in 1998.

A lifetime member of The Ark Spring Baptist Church, Montgomery has served as the Sunday school superintendent since 1961 and as deaconess since 1973.