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Levitt Community Service Award Recipient Information

1995 Madelyn M. Levitt Community Service Award:
R. Dean Wright, Professor of Sociology

Wright came to Drake in 1971 as assistant professor of sociology. One of his most significant contributions to Drake came when he served as grand marshal of the university, and many alumni remember Wright's work as master of ceremonies at commencement. Wright has been active in public service, working extensively in issues of homelessness, racial disparity and juvenile justice. He has served on a number of local and statewide committees, councils and boards of directors, and is an active participant in local initiatives dealing with key social issues. He has been inducted into the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame, the Midwest Sociological Society Award for Distinguished Service and President's Special Award, and the Iowa Corrections Association Public Service Award.

1996 Madelyn M. Levitt Community Service Award:

Strentz came to Drake in 1975 as dean of the School of Journalism. Strentz's commitment to the First Amendment transcends the classroom, to local, state and national respect in freedom of information circles for his legal knowledge and vigilance. Strentz was executive secretary of the Iowa Freedom of Information for 24 years. He regularly contributes essays and opinion pieces to newspapers and magazines and writes a column on First Amendment issues for the Iowa Newspaper Association. Strentz also is the author of News Reporters and News Sources, published by the Iowa State University Press, and served on the committee that wrote Iowa's Expanded Media Coverage ("Camera in the Court") guidelines. He has received the Distinguished Service Award from the Iowa Newspaper Association and Hall of Fame recognition from the Iowa Broadcasters Association.

1997 Madelyn M. Levitt Community Service Award:
Neil D. Hamilton , Professor of Law

Hamilton came to Drake University in 1983 as director of the Law School’s new Agricultural Law Center. As director, he was active in such programs as the Legal Services Farm Project, the Iowa Mediation Service and the AG Connect Program. He also served on the boards of the Food Bank of Iowa, the National Gardening Association and the Seed Savers Exchange. "He also has a remarkable record of community service," said President Ferrari at the award presentation. "The organizations he is involved with work to serve our community and state by improving the quality of our water and food, by making sure our resources are preserved for the benefit of future generations, and by helping farmers deal with the numerous challenges – both legal and otherwise – that face them in the new world of agriculture."

1998 Madelyn M. Levitt Community Service Award:
Russell E. Lovell, II, Professor of Law

Professor Lovell joined the Drake law faculty in 1976. Lovell's public service commitment includes 30 years of civil rights work for the NAACP, including serving as lead counsel in both the 13-year litigation that desegregated the Des Moines Fire Department and the court-awarded attorneys' fees portion of the Kansas City school desegregation litigation. The latter case was won in the U.S. Supreme Court. His book, "Court-Awarded Attorneys' Fees," is a primer on the principal way in which the American justice system funds public interest litigation.

1999 Madelyn M. Levitt Community Service Award:
Aimee Beckmann-Collier, Associate Professor of Conducting, Director of Choral Studies

Beckmann-Collier came to Drake University in 1989. In presenting the award to Beckmann-Collier, President David Maxwell said, "Dr. ABC, as she is known to her students and those many people who know and appreciate her work, is a person who has given of herself to the community in so many ways that it's not possible to fully articulate her services." He noted that she has been a choir director not only of Drake groups but of various churches, universities and numerous professional ensembles. She frequently serves as a clinician, adjudicator and festival conductor, having most recently conducted the Colorado and Utah All-State Choruses, the Iowa Collegiate Honor Choir and the New England Music Festival. 

2000 Madelyn M. Levitt Community Service Award:
Larry Molenburg, Drake University Real Estate Manager

Molenburg came to Drake in 1969, where he became manager of Drake Universities real estate holdings. In presenting the award, President David Maxwell said Molenburg exemplifies community service "from the cell phone on his belt to the paint on his hands to the miles of shoe leather he has invested in the Drake neighborhood." Dr. Maxwell noted that as manager of Drake's hundreds of residential and commercial properties, Molenburg was a neighborhood activist long before it was politically correct. In his more than 32 years of service to Drake and the surrounding community, Molenburg has never taken a sick day. He's come to work each day equipped with "a supercharged work ethic and unsurpassed levels of integrity, honesty and openness" in counseling and working with neighborhood residents, small business owners, city officials and landlords.

2001 Madelyn M. Levitt Community Service Award:
Dolph Pulliam, Director of Community Outreach and Development

Pulliam is a 1969 Drake University graduate who led the Drake Bulldogs to the NCAA Final Four for the first and only time in the school's history. In presenting the award, President David Maxwell said Pulliam "has given generously of time, talent and heart to Drake, to the Des Moines community, and to students and young people in a manner that is truly inspirational." President Maxwell then quoted some of the words nominators used to describe Pulliam: "A person whose Drake education challenged him to make a difference in the lives of others....whose involvement in Des Moines' inner city spans three decades and whose work with inner city youth has helped them raise their aspirations and the opportunity to realize their dreams." 

2002 Madelyn M. Levitt Community Service Award:
Douglas H. Hillman, Aliber Distinguished Professor of Accountin

Doug Hillman joined the Drake University teaching staff in 1970. President David Maxwell said Hillman was given the honor for his "willingness to give of himself without regard for personal recognition, for touching the lives of countless students, faculty and staff for more than 30 years, and for his enthusiasm and leadership as well as commitment to community service." Hillman serves on the Holt International Children's Services board and is active in the program as a parent of four children with special needs from Korea. He also helps the Boy Scouts of Troop 202, serves on the Iowa Prison Industries board and is a member of Rotary International. He plans to use the monetary portion of the award to help renovate an orphanage.

2003 Madelyn M. Levitt Community Service Award:
Marie Fisher, Administrative Assistant, Chemistry and Physics

Marie L. Fisher, administrative assistant in the chemistry and physics departments, received the Madelyn M. Levitt Award for Distinguished Community Service for her contributions to the Isiserettes Drill & Drum Corps. The Des Moines Isiserettes, a United Way Agency, is a non-profit group organized in 1980 to give Des Moines youth something positive to do. The group features percussionists and dancers between the ages of seven and 18. Performers must be enrolled in school and maintain a "C" average. The objectives of the team include character building and improving social skills. The Isiserettes perform in parades and other events all year, and have performed across Iowa and around the country. 

2004 Madelyn M. Levitt Community Service Award:
Donald V. Adams, Special Counsel for Institutional Advancement

Adams has been a driving force in developing strong relationships among the University, the Drake Neighborhood and the city of Des Moines. Des Moines Police Chief Bill McCarthy says Adams makes sure that research, information and cultural events are made available to residents of the city. "He has become the face of Drake University and is recognized as one of the leaders of this community," McCarthy adds.

Adams has contributed to the success of the Neighborhood Based Service Delivery program, served on Drake Neighborhood Association's board of directors, chaired the Drake Neighborhood Improvement Task Force and accepted the Neighborhood Leadership Award from the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute in June.

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