The University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley Foundation, Inc. is presented its 2010 “Outstanding Alumni Awards” during the annual UWFox commencement ceremony in May.
The two award winners, Dr. Charles Merbs and Mr. Terry Dawson, were presented with their awards by Jerry Iverson, president of the UW-Fox Valley Foundation.
Merbs attended UWFox from 1954-1955. He received his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1958 and his M.S. in Anthropology from UW-Madison in 1963. His doctoral major at UW-Madison was anthropology with a minor in medical genetics. He received his Ph.D. in 1969.
He taught at the University of Chicago from 1964-1973 before moving to Arizona State University as chair of its department of anthropology, a position he held for six years. Retiring in 2004 he currently is Professor Emeritus at ASU.
A preeminent forensics scholar, Merbs specializes in the studies of the human skeleton, especially involving pathology and trauma. While he has worked more with ancient skeletons than modern, he has aided medical examiners in Wisconsin, Illinois, Arizona and Georgia on cases involving personal identification and homicide. He relates that his two most exciting cases came at the very beginning and at the very end of his forensic career: the Edward Gein case in 1957 (subsequent inspiration for the movies Psycho and Silence of the Lambs) and his recent study of the remains of General Casimir Pulaski, Revolutionary War Hero and Father of the American Cavalry.
In 2008 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Council for Polish Culture, the Pulaski Achievement Award from the National Polish Center and the Heritage Award from the Illinois Division of the Polish American Congress for establishing that the remains found in the Pulaski Monument in Savannah, Georgia are, indeed, those of General Pulaski. He also received numerous teaching awards from his department and the College of Liberal Arts at ASU.
Merbs has had numerable academic publications, has been published in TIME magazine and has written articles for The World Book Encyclopedia. Although now retired, he continues to participate in professional meetings, as well as doing research and publishing the results. He also continues to be active in community and professional service organizations.
Terry Dawson attended UWFox from 1966 to 1968. During his time on campus he was active in student government and in the successful effort to bring Dr. Martin Luther King to the campus. He received his B.A. in English from UW-Madison in 1972 and his M.A. in Library Science from UW-Madison in 1975. Since 1996 he has served as Director of the Appleton Public Library. An active and long-time member of the Wisconsin Library Association, he served on and chaired a variety of committees and was elected President of the WLA in 2004.
In addition to his deep devotion to public library services, Dawson has been actively involved in the Fox Cities community. He has served as President of “Toward Community: Unity in Diversity” and President of the Fox Valley Library Council. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Fox Cities Rotary Multicultural Center; Appleton Downtown Inc.; Green Apple Folk Music Society; and IndUS Fox Valley. He serves on the Barlow Planetarium Advisory Committee and the NEW World Cinema Committee. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Appleton and co-chair of the building committee of the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Appleton.
In 1998 Dawson was presented with the MCI Wisconsin “Cybrarian of the Year Award.” At the time of that presentation he was recognized as a leader in the use of computer technology to provide access to information and library services in the Fox Cities. He helped Appleton create the first public library website in Wisconsin and was a part of the initial efforts to form a community network, which ultimately grew into Fox Communities Online (FOCOL), serving as that organization’s Board President in 1995 and as the first webmaster for the City of Appleton.
Dawson met his wife of 40 years, Marsha, while they were students at UWFox. They both continue to regularly support UWFox and can be found serving their culinary specialties as chefs at the Foundation’s annual e.a.t.s. fundraiser, that helps raise scholarships for needy students enrolled at UWFox.
This is the third year that the UW-Fox Valley Foundation has presented its “Outstanding Alumni Awards.” In 2008, awards went to Roger Van Vreede and John Schubert (both of Appleton) and Dr. Anthony Czarnik (Reno, NV). In 2009, Marne Keller-Krikava (Appleton) and T. Scott Plutchak (Birmingham, AL) were recognized.