An Africa journey to algae, productively, compassionately
SOME PEOPLE LOOK at algae
and see pond scum. Dr. Jerry
Brand ’63 sees renewable energy.
Brand is professor of molecular
cell and developmental biology at
the University of Texas, where he
is in charge of the world’s largest
and most diverse culture collection
of algae. The collection may hold a
key to our energy future. Simply:
Some algae convert solar energy
into an oily material that can be
processed into biofuel. Brand is
seeking algae that produce oil fast
in hopes that large-scale
production of this biofuel will benefit the environment and reduce
our dependence on foreign oil.
He remembers fondly the Manchester science faculty –
especially Emerson Niswander, Bill Eberly ’48 and Phil Orpurt ’48.
“My academic preparation was excellent,” he says. Equally
important was the perspective he learned at Manchester: “Service is
important and rewarding.”
Brand recalls mandatory attendance at chapel three times a
week, where inspirational speakers opened up a new world of
helping others. He enlisted in Teachers for West Africa, funded by
the Hershey Corp. When he arrived in a small town in Nigeria, “I
had to survive on my own,” he says. “I told myself, you either do it
or you die.”
He soon thrived on his African experience, resolving to use his
intellect for good. Next, Brand earned his Ph.D. at Purdue
University, where he met his wife, Mary Lee, in a laboratory. He did
post-doctoral work in botany at Indiana University.
Last spring, Dr. Jerry Brand received the 2012 Alumni Honor
Award for using his education to lead a principled, productive and
compassionate life that improves the human condition.
BY MELINDA LANTZ '81
Leadership through hard work,
integrity and respect
IN A WORLD WHERE TITANS of
industry and commerce may flaunt
their success, Charles “Chuck”
Chaffee ’64 is an anomaly, modest
about his accomplishments,
deflecting praise onto his
Chaffee is chief executive officer
of BRC Rubber & Plastics Inc.,
headquartered in Churubusco, Ind.
The company designs, develops and
manufactures rubber and plastic
parts for Ford, General Motors,
Chrysler, Caterpillar and other
Chuck and his brother Cliff founded BRC in 1973, frugally
keeping their “day jobs,” plowing their profits back into the
business. Today, the company owned by Chuck, Cliff and Chuck’s
wife, Karen, has hundreds of employees at production plants in
Churubusco, Bluffton, Ligonier, Montpelier and Hartford City,
and a sales and engineering office in suburban Detroit. Chuck was
2010 Rubber Industry Executive of the Year.
“One man doesn’t do everything,” Chuck told The Journal
Gazette in Fort Wayne. “It takes a team of dedicated people.” At
BRC, that team is “family.” Many have worked there for 20 or 30
years. “That’s success – when you have a workplace where people
want to work,” Chuck told an industry publication. “It’s not
about how big we are. BRC is the people. We all share together.”
Rather than consolidate, Chuck prefers retaining plants in
multiple communities. He says it’s easier to find workers that way
and it gives employees a greater sense of ownership.
Chuck Chaffee received Manchester’s 2012 Alumni Honor
Award for recognizing the infinite worth of his employees, and for
leading them with hard work, integrity and respect.
BY MELINDA LANTZ '81
Visionary higher education
leader looks back to Manchester
DING-JO HSIA was born in Taiwan.
When she was 15, her parents sent
Ding-Jo and her sister to attend
high school in Dayton, Ohio, home
of a family friend. A teacher helped
the teen learn English and adjust to
American culture. When she asked
how she could repay her teacher, he
told her something she never
forgot: “Pay it forward. Choose to
Ding-Jo Hsia ’75 Currie is
internationally recognized as a
visionary leader and unity builder
- As the first Asian-American woman CEO in higher
education, as president of Coastline Community College
- As founder of China’s Higher Education Foundation,
promoting collaborations between East and West
- As former chair of the 1,200-member Association of
American Community Colleges, when, motivated by her
generous Manchester scholarships, she advocated
passionately for increased Pell Grant funding
- As former chancellor of Coast Community College District
in California, the seventh-largest community college district
in the United States
She recalls her days at Manchester, where personable yet
persistent faculty and staff helped her develop leadership skills with
rigorous coursework and opportunities. She also found a global
perspective and an inspiring spiritual foundation.
Her Manchester degree in mathematics and psychology
well-prepared her for a master’s degree in counseling at Wright
State University and a Ph.D. in international/intercultural
education at the University of Southern California. Today, Dr.
Currie is a member of the research faculty team of California State
University-Fullerton’s doctoral educational leadership program.
She also serves on the MU Alumni Board.
For her leadership in higher education and for paying it
forward to help others, Manchester presented Dr. Currie with a 2012 Alumni Honor Award.
BY MELINDA LANTZ '81
“Mrs. Pfeiffer is the type of teacher people write textbooks about”
KACINA PETERS ’06 PFEIFFER of Theodore Potter Elementary School 74 in Indianapolis Public Schools is the 2012 Warren K. and Helen J. Garner Alumni Teacher of the Year.
“Mrs. Pfeiffer is the type of teacher people write textbooks about,” says Principal Timothy Clevenger, who nominated the sixth-grade teacher.
In just her second year at the Spanish immersion magnet school, Pfeiffer’s colleagues voted her Teacher of the Year. Some even suggested that she write a book about the teaching strategy of her Writer’s Workshop. The award-winning Theodore Potter School provides a total language experience for students to become proficient in English and Spanish by the time they complete sixth grade.
Even at Manchester, faculty and colleagues knew Pfeiffer was well-suited to the teaching profession. She served as president of the Student Education Association and was active with ARC of Wabash, Partners in Learning and a local day care while serving on the Manchester Activities Council.
“Teaching children has always been my passion,” says Pfeiffer. “I wholeheartedly believe that Manchester provides the best foundation for sending teachers into the world. To be recognized by the very institution that gave me that foundation is surreal.”
Kacina and Jason Pfeiffer ’05 of Noblesville, Ind., are parents of two young daughters – both attend Theodore Potter School.
A fund created by Warren ’50 and Helen Yeager ’50 Garner (pictured with her), both long-time educators, enables the Education Department to annually recognize an Alumni Teacher of the Year.
BY KATHRYN MILLER ’13