Alumni Association Awards

Each year, the Alumni Association recognizes the outstanding service and accomplishments of its members. We will recognize our 2022 award winners on Saturday, April 15 2023 at a special award celebration open to the alumni and friends. We are currently accepting nominations for the 2022 Alumni Awards Celebration. Nominations are due by September 1.

Samuel Orr Honorary Alumnus/a Award

The University of Evansville Alumni Association created the Samuel Orr Honorary Alumnus Award to recognize non-alumni for their service and commitment to UE. This award, established in 1971, was renamed in 1997 in honor of Dr. Samuel Orr who served the University as a trustee for 59 years. It is the highest honor the Alumni Association can bestow upon a non-alumnus.

The Distinguished Alumnus/a Award

Recognizes an individual (or couple) for distinction in their profession and service to their community and UE. It is the highest honor the University of Evansville Alumni Association can bestow.

The Young Alumnus/a Award

Presented to a recent graduate each year in recognition of his or her personal and professional achievements and service. This award, established in 1997 by the Alumni Association Board of Directors, was created to recognize personal and professional achievements of alumni early in their careers.

Edie Bates Volunteer Service Award

In 1998, The University of Evansville Alumni Association Board of Directors established the Edie Bates Volunteer Service Award. The award recognized Edie Bates exceptional volunteerism within the University alumni community. This award is given each year to volunteers who show the same selfless dedication that Edie Bates displayed through her service to others and to the University.


2021 Edie Bates Volunteer Service Award Winner - Lana Burton M’79

Lana Burton has a rich history of volunteerism at the University of Evansville and in the Evansville community. She retired as the principal of Harper Elementary after 40 years of educating, empowering, and enhancing young minds and their families. She’s been a member of the UE Alumni Board of Directors and held leadership positions in the University of Evansville African American Alumni Association (UEAAA).She is also the current president of the Evansville African American Museum, a teacher and youth leader at Zion Missionary Baptist Church, and a founding organizer of Read Evansville.

Read Evansville began when Burton and fellow educator Patricia Weinzapfel discovered an unmet need within the city. Their goal is simple… to get books in the hands of EVSC students in the summer to keep them reading and learning. During the summer of 2020, Read Evansville partnered with Feed Evansville and other local organizations to pass out 1,000 books per week.

Burton was awarded the YMCA 100 Women Stepping Up Award in 2011 and was inducted into the EVSC Hall of Fame in 2020.

2021 Distinguished Alumnus Award - Dr. Robert Lodato ’70

Dr. Robert Lodato studied electrical engineering at the University of Evansville and competed at the collegiate level on the Swimming and Diving team. After graduation, he went on to earn his MS from University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in 1971, and his MD and PhD from Johns Hopkins University. After his internship and residency in internal medicine at Indiana University, he returned to Johns Hopkins for his fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine.

Lodato is a professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, Texas. For several years, Best Doctors in America has included him in the list of the country’s most outstanding physicians. His teaching ability has been recognized both locally and abroad. He has received the Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award at the University of Texas and has been invited to give lectures and do bedside teaching rounds at a number of institutions throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. In 2019, he received an award from the Chinese consulate for his work in pulmonary medicine in China.

His primary research interests are sepsis and acute respiratory failure. His lab was the first to show that nitric oxide is a major mediator of the vasorelaxation and hypotension of septic shock. This finding led to a patent for him and his colleagues. His published work on the “waterfall model” of the lung has provided novel insight into the pathophysiology of severe obstructive lung disease. Dr. Lodato’s research has also extended to collaborations with NASA on the effects of space flight on the circulation and included the studies of Astronaut and U.S. Senator John Glenn for his “Return to Space” Mission in 1998.

He was inducted into the UE Athletic Hall of Fame in 1977 for Men’s Swim & Dive.

2021 Distinguished Young Alumna Award - Alissa (Fricke) Paik ’12

Growing up in a small town close to Evansville, Alissa (Fricke) Paik imagined moving away to a bigger city. After graduating from the University of Evansville with a BS in communication; however, she received a unique job opportunity that she could not pass up. Her experiential and hands-on learning allowed her to jump into her role as business development manager at Weaver, Dalton & Associates in Henderson, Kentucky.

While attending UE, Alissa was a member of the Acettes and the International Club. She was an admission ambassador, held a leadership role on the Student Activities Board, and studied abroad at Harlaxton College.

In 2014, at only 25 years old, Paik took another big step and opened her own business, Thrive Marketing Strategies in Downtown Evansville. Thrive provides full-service marketing consulting and advertising for small- to medium-sized businesses and nonprofit organizations. She’s been awarded the Young Business Leader of the Year from UE in 2015 and was in the 2020 class of Evansville Rotary’s 20 under 40 Leaders.

Paik is actively involved with Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Ohio Valley and is the president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association. She’s also an adjunct professor at UE, teaching advertising and promotion strategy. She lives in downtown Evansville with her husband Young Paik, a facial and reconstructive plastic surgeon.

2021 Samuel Orr Honorary Alumni Award Winners - Drs. Charles and Patricia Robertson

Dr. Charles Robertson Sr. was a professor of biology from 1950 to 1972. With so much time on campus as a youth, Robertson decided to move away for a new college experience and earned his BS in physics from Rhodes College in 1965. He later earned his PhD from Florida State University. He was employed by DuPont for 29 years before founding NanoDrop Technologies, a manufacturer of micro-volume ultraviolet visible instrumentation.

Dr. Patricia Robertson graduated from Millersville University in 1966 with a BS in education and earned her master’s in marine biology in 1972 from the University of Delaware. She was also a founder and managing partner in NanoDrop Technologies.

The Robertsons sold NanoDrop Technologies in 2007 to Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Even though they live in Pennsylvania, they have stayed connected to UE and Evansville. In 2009, they gifted a Habitat for Humanity home in Evansville in memory of Charles’s mother. They’ve also supported the UE Biology and Chemistry departments for many years by sponsoring student internships, awarding the Charles and Patricia Robertson Jr. Senior Biology Award each spring, and establishing the Dr. Charles and Lola Robertson Sr. Endowment for Biology Research, which resulted in naming the research center after Charles.

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