Andrew J. Strauss
Class of 1996
Outstanding Professional Achievement
At the age of 12, the 2008 Distinguished Alumnus for Outstanding Professional Achievement had a lawn mowing business with 23 customers -- early-on demonstrating the work ethic, drive, and integrity that have taken him far in life. Although an excellent math and science student, during the eighth grade he was diagnosed with a reading comprehension disability and when our winner went to talk to his eighth grade guidance counselor about attending the early enrollment program at Washington State, he was told a college education was not for him and that he should look forward to a menial job. Determined to succeed in college, he enrolled at Washington State Community College after high school, earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Automotive & Diesel Truck Systems Technology, and graduated in 1996 with a 3.1 grade point average. He began work at Forma Scientific, now Thermo Fisher Scientific, as a fork truck driver and today is a Production Leader responsible for 11 employees and all functions of the finished goods warehouse. He has used his experience and education to improve productivity, increase efficiencies, and enhance morale at this multi-million dollar international corporation. His commitment to his dream of attending college could not be deterred because his inner voice always reminded him, "Yes I can!" And, he points out strongly, "The instructors need to know that they inspired me to reach goals that would not have been possible without their help."
Louise Eagleson Holmes
Class of 1977
Outstanding Community Service
The 2008 Distinguished Alumna for Outstanding Community Service graduated from Washington Technical College in 1977 with an Associate of Applied Business degree in Business Management Technology and a 3.8 grade point average. Her undeniable organizational skills, her ability to focus and act decisively, and her strong work ethic not only served her well as one of three founding partners in the very successful local magnetic company FlexMag but also continues to serve her in her role as an advocate for community service. A conscientious woman who really cares about people, our winner is an active member of Kiwanis where she sits on the board of directors, serves as Program Chair, contributes her skills to fund-raising activities to benefit the community, and will become vice president in October 2008. Her children's book, Miss Sadie and the Good Life, was a hit when she shared it at Storybook Park, a project partnering Kiwanis with the Washington County Library. She also helped raise funds for the West Side Picnic Shelter Project and is currently working on a literacy project which donates books to needy children. She served on the board of the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley for nearly 20 years and was instrumental in working with the community to raise money to move the shelter from Dodd's Run to its present facility on Mt. Tom Road. She volunteers at Broughton's Ice Cream Social, which annually benefits a local worthy cause, and volunteers at the Gilman United Methodist Church soup kitchen and annual clothing distribution. She was instrumental in establishing the Fort Frye High School Auditorium Fund for auditorium expenses like air conditioning, and also established the Fort Frye Academic Opportunity Fund, which provides financial assistance to qualifying students who wish to participate in academic extra-curricular activities. In 2005, she joined the Marietta Community Foundation Board, was appointed to the Grant Allocations Committee, and manages a donor-directed fund. Most recently, she served her alma mater as a member of the Feasibility Study Steering Committee for the Health Sciences building.