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Laramee, Pittillo and Justice will be honored at homecoming

Dr. Bill Laramee, Berea College vice president for alumni and college relations, will become the next best thing to a Berea graduate during the college’s homecoming activities Nov. 13-15. Laramee, who will receive the Honorary Alumnus Award, is one of three receiving awards from the college.

Receiving the Distinguished Alumnus Award, Berea’s highest alumni honor, will be retired botany professor and conservationist Dr. J. Dan Pittillo of Sylva, N.C. Della Mae Justice, assistant attorney general for the state of Kentucky’s Consumer Protection Division is receiving the award of Outstanding Young Alumnus. All awards will be presented at a reception Friday evening in the Boone Tavern Main Dining Room from 5:30 – 7 p.m. All are invited to attend.

Dr. J. Dan Pittillo who grew up in Henderson, N.C., earned a B.A. in biology from Berea in 1961. He also holds a masters degree in botany from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. He taught in the biology department of Western Carolina University for nearly 40 years until his retirement.

Pittillo’s interest in botany began in high school when he began collecting plant specimens which contributed to the publication “Manual of the Carolinas.” Another 500 specimens he collected as a student at Berea are now part of the core collection of Berea’s herbarium. Pitillo helped found the North Carolina Bartram Trail Society, serving on its board for 32 years and also helped with the development of the conservation group Western Carolina Alliance. He has received many awards for both his conservation efforts and his contributions to the field of botany. Pittillo and his wife, Jean, enjoy hiking the mountains with friends and family, which includes twin granddaughters.

Dr. William J. (Bill) Laramee has served as vice president for alumni and college relations at Berea College since 2000. Laramee and his wife, Monica, first joined Berea College in 1972, when Bill held the position of associate dean of men, followed by other student affairs related positions until 1978 when they returned to their home state of Vermont. There Bill served as a senior administrator at Lyndon State College. In 1999, he returned to Berea as a major gift officer. Bill earned his undergraduate degree from Western New England College in Massachusetts, a masters degree from Dartmouth College and M.Ed. and Ed.D. degrees from the University of Massachusetts. He has been honored by the state of Vermont with the Martha H. O’Connor Award for Private Citizen Contribution to Public Education and recognized as a Kentucky Colonel for public service in the state of Kentucky. Monica Laramee is a 1977 Berea graduate who assists in development operations at Berea and, with Bill, has taken a special interest in the lives and development of many Berea students. The Laramees live in Berea and have four grown children and four grandchildren.

Della Mae Justice, recipient of the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, graduated from Berea in 1993. She went on to attend the University of Kentucky College of Law, where she graduated fifth in her class. Before the public service position she currently holds as an assistant attorney general in Kentucky state government, Justice served as a Law Clerk for U.S. District Court Judge, Hon. John G. Heyburn II and later worked as an associate in a Lexington law firm. After relocating to her hometown of Pikeville, Ky., Justice began her own practice. In Pikeville, she helped educate voters on the professional qualifications of judges through the Pike County Women’s Bar Association and also taught business law at Pikeville College. Justice is married to Troy Price, a 1992 Berea graduate, and the couple are parents to three children.

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