U-Md.'s Hall of Fame opens its doors

The University of Maryland held its own version of the Academy Awards last weekend when it honored 21 of the school's most prominent alumni. Included among the honorees are celebrities, politicians, scholars and business giants, who have the distinction of being the first inductees into the University of Maryland Alumni Hall of Fame.

I'm told that VIP guests wined and dined at the home of university President and Mrs. William Kirwan, before joining a huge gathering in the grand ballroom of the university's Stamp Student Union. The university provided the long, but prestigious list to me, and I feel they should all be mentioned.


The honorees are Carmen Balthrop, 1971 graduate who is a world-class American soprano; the late Curley Byrd, a 1908 graduate who began his 43-year career at Maryland by coaching football for two weeks and 18 years as president (Byrd Stadium carries his name); A. James Clark, 1950 grad who is chairman of the board of The Clark Construction Group, which built the Lincoln Center in New York and Oriole Park at Camden Yards; the late William Cole, a 1910 grad who served 15 years in Congress before resigning to become a U.S. Customs judge (the TC William P. Cole Student Activities Building is named for him); Judge Mary Stallings Coleman, first female justice of Michigan Supreme Court as well as the first female chief justice of that court.

Also, the late Geary Eppley, a 1920 graduate who enrolled as a freshman in 1914 and retired in 1964 as dean emeritus, he was president of the Southern Conference and a founder and first president of the Atlantic Coast Conference; Charles Fefferman, 1966 graduate at the age of 17 and was named a full professor at 22, noted as one of the greatest mathematicians of the 20th century; Herbert Hauptman, a 1955 grad and the only non-chemist to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry; the late Jim Henson, a 1960 grad from Hyattsville, who achieved international fame for his lovable creations, the Muppets; Rep. Steny Hoyer, a 1963 grad, whose career includes nine years in the Maryland senate and the last 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives; the late Carlisle Humelsine, 1937 graduate, winner of Bronze Star and Distinguished Service Medal in World War II and the moving force behind the development of Colonial Williamsburg; Samuel LeFrak, 1940 grad, chairman of the LeFrak Organization, who has worked on planning for the 21st century with presidents, governors as well as the United Nations.


Also, the late Munro Leaf, 1927 graduate, famous author and illustrator of children's books (his most famous was "The Story of Ferdinand"); former Rep. Parren Mitchell, 1952 graduate, the first African-American graduate of the University of Maryland and the first black elected from Maryland to congress; Jane Cahill Pfeiffer, a 1954 grad who, in 1978, became chairman of NBC, the first woman in broadcast history to lead a major network; the late Judith Resnik, who received her Ph.D in 1977, was the second American woman astronaut on the space shuttle Discovery (she died in the 1986 Challenger shuttle disaster); Chun-Shan Shen, a 1961 grad who became president of Taiwan's National Tsing-Hua University in 1994; the late William Skinner, an 1895 grad, who became a nationally prominent agricultural chemist and one of the nation's foremost conservationists, who was one of the first researchers to study pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

Also, the late Adele Stamp, a 1924 grad, who was Dean of Women at the school for 38 years, for whom the student union was renamed in 1974; the late Reginald Truitt, a 1914 grad, who was a leading naturalist and marine biologist, who founded the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory at Solomons Island; and the late Millard Tydings, a 1910 grad, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal from World War I, and later became speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates and a U.S. senator for 24 years.

That is certainly quite a beginning for Maryland's first Alumni Hall of Fame.

Belated birthday wishes to Mildred Atkinson, who celebrated her 86th birthday in fine style at the Columbia home of her son and daughter-in-law, John and Marilyn Maitland. Sen. Paul Sarbanes was among those who stopped by with well wishes for this lady, who is well-known for her dedication to social reform in Baltimore. Over the years, she was lauded for her work with the Maryland Council of Churches, League of Women Voters, Citizens Planning and Housing Association, the Baltimore Police, to mention just a few of the organizations with whom she was involved.

Last weekend, friends and family arrived to celebrate her birthday with her. Among those invited were her son and daughter-in-law Dennis and Marja Maitland, Ginny and Robert Ball, Trudi and Edgar Jones, Mary and Jim Bready, Lane Berk, Cecelia and Leon Bass, Anne and Bob Moyer, Sandy and Gerson Eisenberg, Nancy Hammond, Linda and Jack Lapides, Leona Morris, Jeanette Wolman, and Judge and Mrs. Bob Watts.