Levitt Mentor Award Recipient Information

1994 Madelyn M. Levitt Mentor of the Year:
Wanda Everage, Assistant to the Provost

A 1972 graduate of Drake University, Everage meets with students every day who seek her guidance and support. She is highly involved in issues concerning new students, as director of the Peer Mentor/Academic Consultant (PMAC) Program, which assists first-year students in their transition to Drake and co-coordinator of summer orientation.Wanda's inspiring speeches at these events are favorites for students and parents alike, who continually remark on her passion and zeal for life. As one nominator noted, "She does not settle for mediocrity but inspires the best in students. Her lively spirit and energy seem never to wane...Wanda's greatest joy in life is helping others succeed."

1995 Madelyn M. Levitt Mentor of the Year:
Margie Davidson, Director of The Center for Student Records and Academic Information

Known for her knowledge of Drake and the College of Arts and Sciences, Margie could be considered a walking General Catalog, Course Guide, and Student Handbook. In fact, she is often called upon to train other faculty and staff when the university implements new advising policies or registration systems. Yet beyond her encyclopedic knowledge, "She has shown an outstanding commitment to student success in the classroom and beyond it, she demonstrates admirable integrity in all her relationships, and in so many respects typifies the ideal student mentor."

1996 Madelyn M. Levitt Mentor of the Year:
Robert Woodward, Ellis and Nelle Levitt Distinguished Professor of Journalism

Known for his uncanny ability to remember the name of every student Bob Woodward meets, this skill becomes even more impressive knowing that he has stored over 33 years of names during his Drake career. Having spent most of his life in the Midwest, except for his position as national editor and world editor at The Washington (D.C.) Star from 1965 to 1972, he is drawn to the beauty of central Iowa, monarch butterflies and the splendor of nature.

1997 Madelyn M. Levitt Mentor of the Year:
Lon Larson, Windsor Professor of Pharmacy Administration

As a Drake graduate, Lon N. Larson, can truly relate to his students. His research interests are in the areas of managed care and economic evaluation. However, it is his managed, professional care for students that impressed his nominators. In the words of one, "There are several reasons that Dr. Larson has had such profound influence on so many young people. Perhaps the most important is the example he sets. He is a tireless worker in his teaching, his scholarship, and in his role as an advisor and mentor."

1998 Madelyn M. Levitt Mentor of the Year:
Nivedita Pandit, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics

Former principal scientist at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, she was involved with the development of new drugs for asthma, COPD, hypertension, AIDS. Despite Nita's expertise, she says, "One of the main joys of teaching is being a continuous learner along with my students; they don't realize that I am learning with them, too! Their enthusiasm, curiosity, and humor stimulate me everyday, and I go to each class with anticipation and excitement."

1999 Madelyn M. Levitt Mentor of the Year:
Mary Edrington, Assistant Professor of Marketing

Now a marketing instructor at Drake, she advised students one-on-one to market themselves for internships and jobs as well as how to manage their schoolwork and their lives as the Assistant Dean for the College of Business and Public Administration. In this and many other ways, she is seen as a role model who strives to, "exemplify integrity, professionalism, and maturity." According to one student, "Her ability to earn the respect from all of those she encounters, whether it be students, faculty, staff, or fellow administrators, while still providing a comfortable and trusting environment is unprecedented."

2000 Madelyn M. Levitt Mentor of the Year:
Julian Archer, Professor of History

Printed in bold caps on the top of each of his class syllabi, Archer types the following phrase: "I am willing to meet with each of you to discuss anything just about anytime." He remains true to his words, often mentoring students that have never had a class with him. As the volunteer faculty representative for the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, he helped numerous Drake students prepare for the rigorous competition for the $30,000 scholarship. Perhaps the reason Archer is able to devote so much time to his students is that he does not own a television and instead keeps current with newspapers.

2001 Madelyn M. Levitt Mentor of the Year:
Alexander Kleiner,Thomas F. Sheehan Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science

This is Kleiner's second Madelyn M. Levitt award- he previously received the Madelyn M. Levitt Teacher of the Year Award in 1996. Whether a student has a math major or a "math phobia," he is able to reach and involve said student in his courses. Kleiner's dedication to mathematics and students extends beyond the college level as coordinator math competitions for high school and middle school students, and as mentor to alumni and colleagues.  In the words of a former student, Kleiner, "embodies the spirit of what a college advisor is supposed to be."

2002 Madelyn M. Levitt Mentor of the Year:
Darrel Bjornson, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Administration

A practicing pharmacist for over 25 years before joining Drake University, he brings more than experience to his students- he also brings a simple and whole-hearted approach to mentoring. In his own words, "It's quite simple – set an example, be available and be caring." According to one of the letters of nomination, "As an advice giver, he is the best; as a mentor he is irreplaceable!" Through these statements, it is clear that a loss will be felt when Professor Bjornson retires May 2004.

2003 Madelyn M. Levitt Mentor of the Year:
Carol Spaulding-Kruse, Associate Professor of English

Specializing in American ethnic literature during her Ph.D. studies at the University of Iowa, she continues to write and publish poems, stories, and articles that draw from her Korean heritage and interests in Asian-American studies. According to one student, "Carol has challenged and inspired me not only in the classroom, but also in personal aspects of my life, as she's shared her kind ear and insightful advice innumerable times over the course of my college career, strengthening me as a student, a writer and a person.”

2004 Madelyn M. Levitt Mentor of the Year:
John J. Rozycki, Associate Professor of Finance

Rozycki joined the faculty in 1990. He received his B.S. from King's College; M.B.A. from University of Scranton; and his Ph.D. from Penn State University. Rozycki carries his commitment to students beyond the ordinary classroom setting. "The professor takes an interest in his students' lives outside of the classroom," the student said. "After finishing a session in his office, one can always expect him to say, 'So, what else is going on?' It his effort to push beyond the realm of academia. When I have discussed difficult decisions with him regarding my career choices, he has always been supportive and frank. He desires success for his students and creates opportunities for them to pursue."

2005 Madelyn M. Levitt Mentor of the Year:
Jean Berger, Associate Athletic Director

Berger is known for her earnest relationships with student-athletes, faculty and staff and others in the local and national community. She takes an interest in all students who cross her path, regardless of athletic involvement, and makes it her mission to help them succeed. "In my four years as an athlete at Drake, she counseled me on everything from applying for government financial aid to enhancing my education through a variety of summer school options," said one former student-athlete." Jean showed a genuine interest in my well-being and success. I've found that I can trust her not only as an adviser, but also as a counselor and a friend."

University News
October 29, 2014
The Drake University Board of Trustees recently approved new degree programs in mathematics, science, education, technology, and health sciences while taking initial steps to further enhance the University’s programming through $65 million in new construction and renovation.
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