Hendrix College honored its founders on Thursday by bestowing Odyssey Medals on several distinguished alumni.
Bryce Williams Reveley received the Odyssey Medal for Special Projects (awarded in 2008-2009). A 1966 graduate of Hendrix, Reveley owns and operates Gentle Arts, a New Orleans business that cleans, restores, preserves and appraises old lace. She has restored ceremonial clothing, wedding gowns, christening gowns and clothing worn by a number of historical figures.
After Hurricane Katrina, she was inundated with bags of textiles, she said, and she is now working on restoring items damaged by Hurricane Ike.
Sheri Bylander, a 1985 Hendrix graduate, was awarded the medal for Artistic Creativity.
She is an award-winning, New York-based filmmaker and editor. Bylander said she started out as a producer and moved to New York.
"It was scary, and not just because my first job was on a Stephen King movie," she said.
She worked her way through the ranks and then decided to start over as an editor. When that led to success, she decided she wanted to direct. Next she started over again as a beginning writer, she said.
"Just like I started over when I graduated here, I’ll keep starting over until they call wrap," she concluded.
Doug Blackmon was awarded the Odyssey Medal for Global Awareness. He is a 1986 graduate and the Pulitzer Prize winning author of "Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II." He is also The Wall Street Journal’s bureau chief in Atlanta.
He said he is commonly asked, "Why did a white guy from the Mississippi delta who worked for Rupert Murdoch ... write about how slavery was resurrected after the Civil War?"
Blackmon said at Hendrix he learned to constructively channel the question of why things are the way they are. He said his book is not a history of black Americans or the terrible things white Americans did, nor is it an argument for reparation. It is a story of what Americans did to Americans, he said. He maintained it is a subject that contemporary society must grapple with if America is to have the future it claims to want.
Dr. C. Michael Crowder, a 1982 Hendrix graduate, was awarded the medal for Research.
He serves as the Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo.
His research involves identifying the targets of general anesthetics as well as looking for genes that control survival and adaptation to cellular injury from low oxygen. He is also an attending anesthesiologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and a faculty member at the University’s Hope Center for Neurological Disorders. He is the author of more than 90 publications and has lectured nationally and internationally.
Crowder said he participated in a student research group while at Hendrix, and the experience of discovering something completely novel was addicting and still drives him today. He also noted most applicants to labs today are not from the U.S. He challenged students to do something unique that makes a difference.
Eric Kenefick was presented the medal for Service to the World. He is a 1984 Hendrix graduate.
He lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and works for the World Food Programme’s Regional Bureau for eastern, central and southern Africa. He said an estimated 1 billion people are undernourished.
Kenefick said Hendrix students working on Odyssey programs can get involved in a number of areas. Millions of people in the world do not have safe drinking water. There are noteworthy opportunities with the Heifer Foundation and other such organizations, he said.
Also, there are opportunities to help with disaster mitigation and human rights protection, he said.
Martha Jane Murray, a 1977 graduate of Hendrix, was awarded the Odyssey Medal for Special Projects.
She attended architecture school after Hendrix and became interested in environmental issues. She works for the William J. Clinton Foundation Climate Initiative where she serves as a policy associate to address global warming with large scale and replicable green building projects. She was the first LEED Accredited Professional in Arkansas and founded the U.S. Green Building Council in Arkansas to help curb global warming. She worked on the effort to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, using green strategies.
(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1277. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)