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Alumni recognition awards for 2013

June  05, 2013

From left, Philip McKinley, Dr. James Kopel, Dr. Frederick Hemke, Dr. Zack Bartels and Gen. John Borling

At an alumni appreciation event in May, Augustana College recognized six individuals for their accomplishments. Those honored were Dr. W. Zack Bartels ’98, Philip McKinley ’73, Gen. John Borling ’62, the late John Califf ’62, Dr. Frederick Hemke and Dr. James Kopel.

Dr. W. Zack Bartels, of Moline, Ill., earned the Finest Under Forty Achievement Award.

After graduating from Augustana, Dr. Bartels attended Nova Southeastern University, College of Optometry in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. He completed his residency at the Veterans Affairs hospitals in Chicago, and served an externship at the San Carlos Indian Reservation in Arizona during his final year of optometry school.

Dr. Bartels joined Eye Surgeons Associates in 2004 as a doctor of optometry. He has developed a shadowing program for Augustana’s pre-optometry students. In addition, he coordinates student internships at Eye Surgeons and is a part-time instructor in Augustana’s cadaver lab.

Philip McKinley, a native of Avon, Ill., earned the Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award.

McKinley describes himself as “one who has lived out his dreams” — owning a production business, directing spectacular productions throughout Europe and Asia, directing Hugh Jackman in the Tony Award-winning The Boy From Oz, and being the guy who has directed more editions of Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey circus than any other living person. He is best known for directing Broadway’s Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark.

The path to his success, McKinley says, started with his decision as an Augustana student to declare five majors — education, speech and drama, music, English and art — and still manage to graduate in three years. McKinley left Augustana for Las Vegas, where he performed, and then moved to directing in New York.

Gen. John Borling, a native of Chicago, earned the Alumni Outstanding Service Award.

A graduate of both Augustana and the Air Force Academy, Gen. Borling’s military career spanned 37 years and duty worldwide. He earned the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars with V for Valor, and two Purple Hearts. A fighter pilot, he held numerous command and staff positions.

Gen. Borling is chairman of Ascent Exploration, an oil company, and chairs the board of Synthonics, a specialty pharmaceutical company. He is an advisor to ADKOS, a vehicle storage company, and a published author and poet, having penned Taps on the Walls. Gen. Borling also founded and chairs SOS (Service Over Self) America, a patriotic organization advocating military service for America’s young men.

John Califf

The late John Califf, of Rock Island, was awarded the Richard A. Swanson Humanitarian Award.

After graduating from Augustana, Califf received a master’s degree from the University of Iowa. His career included working for Bethany Home in Moline, Ill.; 17 years with Lutheran Social Services of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico; and serving as a negotiator to the South Vietnamese government on behalf of international adoption agencies. He personally escorted more than 50 children to the United States for adoption into permanent homes. Califf was co-founder of Hand in Hand International Adoption Agency, helping place 13,000 children of all ages from 17 countries into permanent adoption homes.

Califf also was the regional director for Lutheran Social Service for 17 years. He served on the faculty of Roosevelt University, worked for the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), and hosted educational tours to the Holy Land, South America, Germany, Europe and Russia. Califf passed away on May 1, 2013.

Dr. Frederick L. Hemke, of Wilmette, Ill., was given the Honorary Alumni Award.

Dr. Hemke is Louis and Elsie Snydacker Eckstein Professor Emeritus of Music in the Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. He was the first American to win a Premier Prix du Saxophone, from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique, Paris, where he was a student of the saxophonist Marcel Mule.

He has recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet, the Stockholm Philharmonic, the Eastman Wind Ensemble and the Chicago Contemporary Chamber Players. Dr. Hemke has received Fulbright Lectureship Grants to the Royal College of Music in London and the Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo. He is an editor of music for saxophone solo and ensemble contests, and author of many articles and educational materials. Now retired, Dr. Hemke has students who can be found teaching and performing around the world.

Dr. James Kopel, of Moline, Ill., was given the Honorary Alumni Award.

Dr. Kopel retired in 1999 from Black Hawk College, Moline, Ill., after 32 years teaching business, accounting and finance. He is the founding member of the Illowa Buy States Chapter of Better Investing. Currently Dr. Kopel is employed at the Rock Island Arsenal, where he is a cost/price analyst with the Army Contracting Command. He has been deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait.

Dr. Kopel’s late wife was a nursing major at Augustana, and in her honor, he established the Harlene A. (Carlson) Kopel Science Research Laboratory in 2007. An avid Augustana sports enthusiast, Dr. Kopel stepped forward to assist with the construction of Thorson Lucken Field to provide facilities for men’s and women’s lacrosse and soccer, and the field’s press box is named in his honor. He also supported the recent renovation of Old Main.

Keri Rursch
Director of Public Relations
(309) 794-7721
kerirursch@augustana.edu