Glenbard West Distinguished Alumni Award reception set for Oct. 2

Updated 9/29/2021 10:17 PM

The fourth annual Glenbard West Distinguished Alumni Award reception will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, in the Elliott Library at Glenbard West High School, 670 Crescent Blvd. in Glen Ellyn.

• Emmy Star Brown, Class of 2004


She is being honored for her work as a designer and mural artist. She is not only a well-known mural artist in Chicago but throughout the country. Her murals and designs can be seen in the streets, homes, businesses, restaurants, on products, and in condo buildings. Her style is recognizable, yet incredibly unique. Emmy is one of only a handful of female mural artists in Chicago. Some of her more notable works include designs for Chicago Blackhawks, Lululemon, One Tail at a Time, Chicago Public Schools, Penny's Noodle Shop, Funkenhausen, Mariano's West Loop, Heritage Bicycle, Brooklyn Boulders, Hero Coffee, Passion Coffee, and Dark Matter Coffee.

• Brian Markinson, Class of 1979

He is being honored for his work as a TV and movie actor. A prolific actor, he has hundreds of TV credits to his name including "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "NCIS." He was recently nominated for a Leo Award (Best Male actor) for his role in the motion picture "All Joking Aside." He has been in many movies including "Curse of the Jade Scorpion" and "Charlie Wilson's War." He also played Dr. Rosen in the AMC series, "Mad Men."

• Dick Pond, Class of 1956

He is being honored for his innovation in sportswear entrepreneurship. Dick taught history at Glenbard West and coached cross country and track for many years. It was during this time Dick realized his athletes did not have access to proper footwear. He then founded Dick Pond Athletics in 1969, in his family's garage in Glen Ellyn. As the business grew, he began transporting shoes to schools and races in the back of his car. Dick Pond Athletics has many retail stores and a national internet business, now in their 50th year.

• Ted Wass, Class of 1970 (DA Class of 2020, accepting award in person)

He is being honored for his work and art as an actor and director. After attending Goodman School of Drama, he went on to enjoy a Broadway career, playing the character of Danny Zuko in "Grease" and Vernon in "They're Playing Our Song." He then launched a TV and film career with appearances in "Curse of the Pink Panther," "Oh God You Devil," and "The Longshot." Perhaps his most well-known role was that of Danny in "Soap." He also appeared in the TV show "Blossom." He also has a career in directing -- becoming one of the best multicamera directors in the industry. His directing/producing credits include episodes for "Big Bang Theory," "Less Than Perfect," "Crumbs," "Two and a Half Men," "Everybody Hates Chris," "Brothers," "Melissa & Joey," "2 Broke Girls," "Rules of Engagement," "Last Man Standing," and "Mom."

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• Nancy Reno, Class of 1984

Nancy is being honored for her outstanding contribution to women's beach volleyball. Nancy played professionally from 1990-2000, winning 35 events. She and her teammate Karolyn Kirby won the 1992 and 1997 U.S. Championship. Together, they won the bronze medal at the 1997 World Championships. She was inducted into the California Beach Volleyball Association Hall of Fame in 2006. She has also worked on a doctorate in animal biology at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

• Lt. Gen. Glenn Spears, Class of 1974

He is being honored for his outstanding service to his country. He retired in 2011 as a Lt. Gen.--a three-star general -- in the Air Force. He was the Commander of the 12th Air Force and the Commander at Air Forces Southern at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona. On September 11, 2001, he was in command at Andrews Air Force Base when the pilot of Air Force One told him that President Bush was safely on board, but then asked, "where should I take him?" Lt. Gen. Spears, along with the Secret Service, decided that the safest, best place was Omaha, Nebraska where the President could address the nation.

• Melody Swartz, Class of 1987

She is being honored for her work as a research scientist. She earned her Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has made several important discoveries, mainly focusing on the lymphatic system's contribution to the spread of cancer. In 2012, she was named a MacArthur Fellow (The MacArthur Genius grant.) Her work suggests, for instance, that creating transplantable organs in the lab will require reproducing the currents of intercellular flow. Understanding these currents could also help researchers invent new cancer-fighting drugs, since tumor cells use them to spread to the rest of the body.

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