The 2009 Distinguished Alumni and Distinguished Service Award Recipients:
Jack Catlin, Distinguished Alumnus, Humanities
Catlin, who graduated from OU in 1958, is professor emeritus of classics and letters at OU.He joined the faculty in 1969 as an assistant professor, becoming director of the letters program in 1978.From 1978 to 2006, Catlin also served as chair of the Department of Classics and Letters.In addition to his service in the department, Catlin received many honors, including the Burlington Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence, the OU Regents’ Award for Superior Teaching and the UOSA Award as the Outstanding Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Janet Fender, Distinguished Alumna, Natural Sciences
Fender graduated from OU in 1974 with a bachelor of science degree in physics and astronomy and completed her master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Arizona. She currently is the scientific adviser to the commander and chief scientist of Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia.As command chief scientist, she provides scientific expertise and technical guidance throughout the Air Combat Command.Fender works to identify leading-edge technologies and uses them to create effective, rapid enhancements to warfighting capabilities.
Rodney McKinley, Distinguished Alumnus, Professional Programs
McKinley completed his master’s degree in human relations at OU in 1999. He is chief master sergeant of the U.S. Air Force, and serves as the personal adviser to the chief of staff and the secretary of the Air Force on all issues regarding the welfare, readiness, morale and proper utilization and progress of the enlisted force.He currently is stationed at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. He was appointed chief master sergeant of the Air Force on June 30, 2006.He is the recipient of the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with silver and two bronze oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Force Achievement Medal and Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with “V” device and silver and three bronze oak leaf clusters.
W. DeVier Pierson, Distinguished Alumnus, Social Sciences
Pierson is a 1953 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of OU with a bachelor of arts degree in pre-law.Following his undergraduate degree, Pierson attended the OU College of Law, where he earned his LLB and was named to the Order of the Coif. Currently he serves as special counsel at Hunton and Williams, LLP, in Washington, D.C.Prior to this position, he was a founding member of Pierson, Semmes and Bemis, where he served as the senior litigation partner in federal and state courts.Additionally, Pierson worked with corporate clients on federal affairs, corporate governance policies, compliance with federal and state corporation laws, and many others.
He also served as special counsel to Lyndon B. Johnson and to the joint Committee on the Organization of Congress. Additionally, he served on the Task Force for the Organization of the Department of Transportation, Trade Advisory Group of the Council on International Economic Policy, Carter Energy Task Force, U.S. Delegation to the El Salvador Elections and delegations to the Peoples Republic of China in 2000 and 2005.
Weiping Zha, Distinguished Service
Zha served for five years as the education consul at the Chinese Consulate in Houston.During that time, he donated much time and energy to assisting OU faculty and students and was instrumental in establishing the Confucius Institute.