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Ricardo Bressani

Learning, leading, serving

2:10 PM  Oct 2nd, 2012
by Shannon Shelton Miller

With pride and as a reflection of the excellence of a University of Dayton education, the National Alumni Association recognizes alumni and their accomplishments through an annual awards program. The 2012 recipients are:

DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS AWARD

Ricardo Bressani ’48 | Bachelor of Science Chemistry

As a researcher in nutrition and food sciences, Ricardo Bressani’s life has been devoted to improving health outcomes for children in his native Guatemala. In turn, his discoveries have nourished children around the world.

Born in Guatemala in 1926 to Italian parents, Bressani earned a scholarship in 1944 from a Catholic organization to study in the United States, a gift that brought him to UD.

“I am looking forward to visiting the University of Dayton, where I spent my first four years of study and which I enjoyed very much,” Bressani said from his home in Guatemala.

Bressani received a doctorate from Purdue, taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and published more than 500 professional articles. His early work explored the genetic nutritional differences in corn, and he developed a variation with a protein quality similar to that found in cow’s milk. He later worked with other vegetable-based proteins that decreased incidences of protein-energy malnutrition, examined how cooking methods affected nutrition and studied ways to get the best level of nutrition from bean and legume-based diets.

Bressani earned numerous honors for his work, including the Danone International Prize for Nutrition in 2003. He has seven children and 23 grandchildren.

 

CHRISTIAN SERVICE AWARD

Rick Pfleger ’77 and Claire Tierney Pfleger ’78 | Bachelor of Science Marketing and Bachelor of Science Elementary Education

When Rick and Claire Pfleger recognized the growing needs of the Catholic schools serving an inner-city population in Indianapolis, they were ready to offer their assistance.

Rick Pfleger, a retired vice president for North American sales at Juniper Networks, funded a project to place computers in 15 of those schools. Today, 30 Catholic schools in the area are computer equipped and wired, with students taking full advantage of the technology. In addition, Rick and Claire just sponsored a project at Cathedral High School, Rick’s alma mater, called “One to One”,  where all students have access to their own tablet computers in order to complete course work, with the ultimate goal of eliminating text books.

“With his background in technology, these projects have been a perfect fit,” Claire Pfleger said. “It has been a very rewarding experience.”

The computer equipment and labs are just a portion of the family’s philanthropy. They also sponsor three students attending Cathedral High School and have contributed generously to major renovations at the school. In addition, Rick recently co-chaired a $110 million campaign for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to support the needy in central and southern Indiana.

When their daughter, Lindsey, attended the University of Dayton, the Pflegers began including UD in their philanthropic efforts as well. They funded the renovation of The Hangar in Kennedy Union and created the Richard J. and Claire T. Pfleger Endowed Scholarship Fund to help deserving students with financial need.

Rick summed up their efforts by stating, “I’m a big believer in breaking the cycle of poverty through education, and feel very fortunate that we are in position to give back.”

 

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Kenneth Oaks ’87 | Bachelor of Science Finance

When Kenneth Oaks co-founded Total Quality Logistics in 1997, he aimed to shape his freight brokerage firm around the values of ethics and integrity.

That’s why he developed his Five Winning Principles: pledge integrity; exceed expectations; recognize the value of teamwork; be forthright about conflict; and maintain balance in life and business.

“We treat others the way we’d want to be treated,” Oaks said. “It’s one of the most basic, but important principles in life.”

His annual reports have proven that profit, ethics and a commitment to community could certainly co-exist. The firm, based outside Cincinnati, has logged more than $1 billion in total sales and experienced growth averaging 50 percent each year since its founding. Total Quality Logistics employs about 1,500 workers to move more than 500,000 truckload shipments each year for more than 7,000 customers. In addition to the Cincinnati headquarters, Total Quality Logistics has 12 offices throughout the nation.

Oaks and Total Quality Logistics have won numerous honors, including Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award; inclusion on the Greater Cincinnati Best Places to Work list; multiple mentions in the Inc. 5000; the Better Business Bureau Torch Award, and the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year award.

 

JOE BELLE MEMORIAL AWARD

Michael Lofton ’05, ’07 | Bachelor of Arts Communications; Master of Public Administration

In the future, Michael Lofton hopes to award scholarships for students to attend UD and receive the transformative education he credits for his commitment to serving others.

What he can’t give in financial assistance now, he contributes in service. Lofton served two terms as St. Louis alumni chapter president and is currently vice chair of the Chapter Council for the National Alumni Association and a member of the board of directors.

“I’ll never be able to repay UD for what it’s given me in terms of a top-notch education, as well as providing me with relationships and experiences that I can never replace,” he said.

As a student, Lofton was vice president of the Student Government Association, co-chair of Red Scare, president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, chair of the United Way student campaign and co-founder of the campus chapter of the NAACP. He also served as an assistant coach for the boys’ basketball teams at Oakwood High School.

Lofton currently works as the director of university accounts and partnerships at Welcometocollege.com, a company founded by Justin Bayer ’01, and is an assistant boys basketball coach at Clayton High School in St. Louis. He also serves on the steering committee of the United Way’s GenNext program for young professionals.

Rick Pfleger and Claire Tierney PflegerKenneth OaksMichael Lofton

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