5 excellent alumni formally recognized at annual event

Five honorees

This year’s distinguished alumni include (from left) John Waterhouse, Sharonica Hardin-Bartley, Joseph Bergfeld, Patricia Amick and Robbyn Wahby. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis Alumni Association celebrated five distinguished UMSL alumni at the university’s 25th annual Founders Dinner Sept. 22.

Traditionally recognizing alumni whose extraordinary careers and significant roles in community service set them apart from their peers, this year’s high honors went to Patricia J. Amick, Joseph A. Bergfeld, Sharonica L. Hardin-Bartley, Robbyn G. Wahby and John J. Waterhouse.

Jennifer Jezek-Taussig, vice chancellor for alumni engagement, introduced each honoree at the event, presenting the awards before a large crowd gathered at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis in Clayton, Missouri. She described them as “five individuals who have excelled in their fields and make us all proud.”

The recipients of the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award and Outstanding Young Alumni Award include:

Patricia Amick, BS physics 1974, who was the fourth woman engineer when hired at McDonnell Douglas Electronics Company in 1978. She has spent her career advocating for women in STEM fields and mentoring many women and men, including Boeing personnel, United States Air Force customers and many Boeing suppliers. For more than 38 years, she has held multiple leadership positions on engineering teams, including the F-15C Radar program and the F-15E Radar Modernization Program, and donates her time, treasure and talent to many charities. Amick is a published author of a nationally recognized handbook and numerous technical papers on electronics manufacturing, performance-based logistics and lead-free soldering. She has one patent, two patent disclosures and numerous awards from McDonnell Douglas and Boeing. She is currently a technical fellow in electronics manufacturing at Boeing Research and Technology, supporting both military and commercial aircraft, missiles and proprietary programs.

Joe Bergfeld, BA political science 1970, who established Pittsburgh Pipe & Supply Corporation in 1977 with his business partner, Bill Manser. Since that time, Bergfeld has grown the company from one location with three employees to a team of over 70 employees and revenues in excess of $30 million. A past president of the National Association of Steel Pipe Distributors, his industry recognitions include the Award of Excellence from the Association of Steel Pipe Distributors. Bergfeld is also passionately committed to the St. Louis community and his alma mater, with a history of service ranging from membership on the College of Arts and Sciences’ Dean’s Leadership Council to the Forest Park Master Plan Committee.

Sharonica Hardin-Bartley, PhD education 2014, who is a forward-thinking leader in the world of education and a passionate advocate for children. She works tirelessly to ensure that all children have access to quality education. Formerly an assistant superintendent for the Ritenour School District, Hardin-Bartley is known for her excellent guidance and management ­– and for her community service. She has overseen hiring and professional learning, led contract negotiations with unions and played lead roles on the topic of social justice and high school students. Her service to the Ferguson Commission’s Child Well-Being and Education Work Group put her in the national spotlight. In July, Hardin-Bartley became superintendent for the University City School District.

Robbyn Wahby, MPPA 1998, BSBA organizational behavior 1989, who is the founding executive director of the Missouri Charter Public School Commission, a newly established agency with statewide authority to sponsor charter schools. Previously she served as deputy chief of staff to St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay, providing strategic direction and advice on education and children’s policy. Wahby has held a variety of leadership positions in public, private and nonprofit organizations. She also served as the director of alumni relations at UMSL from 1996 to 2001.

John Waterhouse, BS electrical engineering 2006, who received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. At age 31, Waterhouse is part of the Ameren Transmission Project Management Team. He is currently responsible for the construction of 10 substations on the Illinois Rivers Program. The $1.4 billion project will bring electricity from wind turbines in Iowa to homes in Illinois and is the second largest program in Ameren’s history. For Waterhouse it offers the distinct challenge of leading a very complex and diverse group of organizations – all in different locations – both internal and external to Ameren. Active in the St. Louis community, Waterhouse is a member of the board of directors for the Center for Hearing & Speech, where he chairs the strategic-planning committee. He has also served on the UMSL Alumni Association Governing Board of Directors.

In the decades since its founding in 1963, UMSL has been a conduit of education and opportunity for more than 95,000 alumni. For more information about the UMSL Alumni Association, see umslalumni.org.

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