Connect with Berea

 Berea on facebook

 Alumni on facebook


 Berea videos on


Four Receive Alumni Awards at Homecoming

An internationally known chemist, a teacher, a psychologist and a long-time College staff member were the four alumni honored at the Alumni Awards Reception on Friday, November 4.

Research chemist George R. Lester, a 1954 graduate, received the 2005 Distinguished Alumnus Award. 1989 graduates Jeanette Humphrey Byrd and Paul White each received Outstanding Young Alumni Awards and Susan Curtis Vaughn received the Rodney C. Bussey Award of Special Merit. All four alumni were honored at the Homecoming Awards Reception in Baird Lounge of the Alumni Building.

Lester is known internationally for his contributions to the development of the original automotive exhaust catalysts used in exhaust emissions control and for extensions of that technology to create new business opportunities in environmental, air purification and energy-conservation application. He was a pioneer in the development of catalysts designed to destroy all three of the noxious auto exhaust pollutants and has developed catalysts related to fuel-lean engines, protection against chemical warfare attack, and is one of the inventors of a lightweight catalytic converter being used in airliners for removal of ozone.

Lester holds 46 U.S. patents and has authored over 50 technical publications. In 1996, he retired after almost 38 years with AlliedSignal, Signal Companies, UOP and Universal Oil Products Company. He is currently President of George Lester, Inc., a consultant on catalysts in environmental and energy conservation applications, and Adjunct Professor in the Center for Catalysis and Surface Science of Northwestern University. In addition to a B.A. in chemistry from Berea, Lester earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Physical Chemistry from the University of Kentucky.

Jeanette Humphrey Byrd is a language arts specialist for Cummings Elementary School in Houston, Texas. Over the past 15 years she has been a kindergarten and elementary school teacher in North Carolina, London, England and Trenton, N.J. Humphrey has won numerous recognitions and awards for her teaching, including four Teacher of the Year awards from four different schools. In addition to a B.A. in elementary education from Berea, Byrd received an M.A. in Education with an emphasis on intercultural education from the University of London, England.

Paul White is associate professor of psychology and Ethnic Studies at the University of Utah. He has published numerous articles dealing with race and diversity in higher education, is a guest lecturer and speaker on diversity, prejudice and stereotyping and is involved in a statewide task force exploring ways to reduce prejudice and discrimination in Utah. After graduating with a degree in psychology from Berea, White earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Experimental Social Psychology from Northeastern University.

Since graduating 24 years ago, Susan Curtis Vaughn has served Berea College in various capacities in the Offices of Admissions, Institutional Research and Planning, President’s Office, Academic Vice President/Dean of the Faculty’s Office and is currently senior administrative assistant in the Office of the Dean and Associate Dean of the Faculty. She also provides administrative support to several important College committees. Vaughn holds a B.A. in elementary education from Berea and has completed additional coursework at Wright State University and Berea.

The Alumni Awards Reception was just one of the many activities scheduled for Homecoming the weekend of Nov. 4-6. Check back with BC-Now to read about a host of other activities that also took place Homecoming weekend, which this year celebrates “150 Years of Learning, Labor and Service.” For more information, contact the Berea College Alumni Association at (859) 985-3104 or visit the link below.

Related Links

© 2004 Berea College. All rights reserved.
Site design and development by Berea College Web Team.