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Distinguished Service Awards granted to four alumni at 2015 Alumni Weekend

2015 DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARDSA highlight of Muskingum University’s 2015 Alumni Weekend, held June 19 - 21 on the campus, was the presentation on June 19 of the Distinguished Service Award (DSA) to four alumni in recognition of their personal and professional achievements. The award is the university’s highest alumni honor.

Sponsored by the Muskingum University Alumni Council, the DSA recognizes and honors alumni who have distinguished themselves through their professional endeavors and exemplary services to society. Any living Muskingum graduate or former student is eligible to receive this award.

Awards were granted to Gordon F. Litt ’80, Barbara Young Morris ’67, Kim Ronald Smith ’77 and Maurice E. Wilber ’68. 

Gordon F. Litt ’80

Gordon F. Litt’s committed service to others encompasses his roles as an attorney and business advisor and a volunteer leader for higher education and Ohio economic development.

Mr. Litt is a partner with BakerHostetler in Columbus, Ohio, where he counsels privately-held businesses, business owners and families in business succession, tax and estate planning. He is recognized by his peers as a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Council and since 2003 has been annually ranked as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” in the areas of tax law and trusts and estates. He previously served as a partner of Bricker & Eckler LLP.

He earned his bachelor of arts degree from Muskingum in accounting and his Juris Doctor degree from The Ohio State University College of Law, where he was a member of the national legal honorary society, Order of the Coif. 

Mr. Litt has served on the Muskingum University Board of Trustees since 1997.  As president of the university’s Alumni Council from 1997 through 2012, his leadership strengthened alumni connections in the Muskingum community.  He partnered with the Office of Admissions for the “Rent-A-Muskie” program to recruit potential students to campus, helped create the Reunion Weekend Alumni Convocation – which marks its 9th anniversary this year, and hosted countless “MooseEye” luncheons for faculty, students and alumni.

He is also a trustee of The Wilds – the International Center for the Preservation of Wild Animals –  and a trustee of the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth.

A native of New Concord, Mr. Litt and his wife, Susan, reside in Lancaster, Ohio.  They are the parents of Guy, Wade ‘11, Conner and Hallie.  He is the son of the late Wendell Litt and his wife, Bernice Finley Litt ’55

Barbara Young Morris ’67

Barbara Young Morris has changed the lives of others throughout her career as a Fortune-100 corporate leader, small business advisor and executive advisor.

During 17 years with the global health-care company Baxter International, Ms. Morris’ roles included senior vice president of corporate communications, senior vice president of human resources and vice president and corporate treasurer responsible for capital markets, insurance, financial planning and pension management. She was the first woman to become a member of Baxter International’s senior management team, and she also served on the Board of Directors of the Baxter Foundation, helping lead the company’s philanthropic initiatives.

She then served for 10 years as a consultant for Winston Partners Incorporated, assisting small and mid-sized privately-held firms transition into public ownership by advising their leaders on strategic investor and financial market communications. Ms. Morris is currently an advisor for My Next Season, assisting retiring corporate executives in their transition processes.

Ms. Morris graduated from Muskingum with a bachelor of arts degree in history and sociology and was honored in 2008 with a Muskingum Doctor of Humane Letters degree.  She earned her master of business administration degree from the Harvard Business School.

She has served on the Muskingum University Board of Trustees since 2005. She has been chairman of the Board of Directors of Canine-Therapy Corps, a Chicago-based animal assisted therapy organization, and a board member of the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and of Interfaith House, which aids Chicago’s homeless population. She is active in The Chicago Network, an organization of women leaders in business, the arts and government, who join together to increase their community impact.

Kim Ronald Smith ’77

Kim Ronald Smith has dedicated her career to serving others as an expert attorney in school and employment law and a committed volunteer leader for higher education, healthcare and community development.

Ms. Smith is managing partner of Harman, Underhill & Brubaker LLC, specializing in labor relations and employment, school governance and leadership, and student services and special education law.  She is past president of the Lancaster Bar Association and of the Labor and Employment Relations Association of Central Pennsylvania.

She earned her Muskingum bachelor of music degree magna cum laude in music education, her master of arts degree in higher education administration and counseling from The Ohio State University, and her Juris Doctor degree magna cum laude from Temple University School of Law.   Before beginning her legal career, Ms. Smith served as dean of students for Malone University and as associate dean of students for Muskingum.

Ms. Smith is a trustee of Messiah College and of the Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences.  She serves as a board member of the Lancaster County Community Foundation, the Lancaster General Health system and the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce.  She recently chaired the communications committee for the Lancaster General Health Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute campaign, a nationally-recognized grassroots fundraising effort which raised $25 million in one year.

Ms. Smith has received many honors for her accomplishments, including the Legal Intelligencer Woman of The Year Award, the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal Woman of Influence Award and the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce Athena Award.

She is a native of Dennison, Ohio and resides in Lititz, Pennsylvania with her husband, B. David Smith.

Maurice E. Wilber ’68

Maurice “Maury” Wilber has served our nation through his distinguished 45-year career in applying management science to decisions of national significance for our country’s aviation and aerospace capabilities.

Mr. Wilber retired as the founding owner and president of Applied Management Solutions, Inc., where he created business research teams for federal agencies and private sector clients to explore the economics of major initiatives such as the Federal Aviation Administration’s Next Generation Air Traffic Control modernization concepts and Government Performance Results Act compliance. The firm also provided policy and practice compliance studies and training under the Information Technology Management Reform Act for federal clients including the U.S. Navy. Previously, Mr. Wilber served as an aerospace program analyst for General Electric Company, Honeywell, General Dynamics and the Martin Marietta Corporation.

A leader in his profession, he served as president of the Washington Metro Area Chapter of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science and as a founding member, board member and chapter president of the International Society of Parametric Analysts. He has authored numerous economic studies and reports and his many recognitions and awards include national honors from the American Council of Engineering Companies.

Mr. Wilber earned his Muskingum bachelor of arts degree in economics. He completed additional studies at the Graduate Naval Aviation Schools Command (Pensacola, Florida), the GE Financial Management Program (Syracuse, NY) and the joint Colorado State University-Martin Marietta business administration program (Denver, Colorado). 

He and his wife, Carolyn, reside in Vashon, Washington.  They are the parents of Arlon Wilber and Laura Cherry, and the grandparents of Everett, Nathaniel and Elizabeth Wilber and Quentin Cherry.

IN THE PHOTO: Pictured from left to right are: Maurice E. Wilber ’68, Alumni Council President Jim Gray ’74, Barbara Young Morris ’67, President Anne C. Steele, Kim Ronald Smith ’77 and Gordon F. Litt ’80.