The Northern Michigan University Alumni Association will honor four award winners this weekend over Homecoming. The recipients and their awards are: William Stark of Cheboygan, Alumni Achievement; Paul LeVeck of Berkley, Alumni Civic Leadership; Diane Husic of Kunkletown, Pa., Distinguished Alumni; and Daryl Vizina of Cheboygan, Outstanding Young Alumni.
Stark has been an educator for 36 years and continually strives to offer innovative and unique learning opportunities for his students. These include an in-classroom incubator to hatch chicks and participation in the Leader Dog for the Blind Program, which allowed students to teach simple commands to puppies and learn about the organization. In addition to mentoring several student teachers, Stark has received numerous awards, including Anchor Bay School District Elementary Teacher of the Year, Michigan Education Association Distinguished Service Award and Macomb Daily/Oakland Press Media in Education Teacher of the Year.
LeVeck has taught band and orchestra to thousands of Detroit Public Schools students for more than 30 years. An active member of numerous community bands and orchestras, he is also a longtime member and Knights of Columbus officeholder, instituting a program within veterans’ hospitals to ensure “no vet is forgotten” during the holidays. LeVeck was a Boy Scouts of America scout master and Clawson Lions Club member, helping with activities for the blind. One of his favorite projects was finding homes for band uniforms destined to be thrown away by a neighboring school district. Through his efforts, a school in Ludington received its first band uniforms ever.
Husic is chair and professor of the biological sciences department at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa. Working with a group of citizens, she helped convert several hundred acres of a Superfund site into a wildlife refuge, nature center and place for environmental education and passive recreation. The former wasteland is now home to a thriving habitat, enjoyed by wildlife and visitors alike. She has taught courses on climate change, environmental science, biochemistry and sustainability to students of all levels. Her strong interest in providing undergraduate research opportunities grew from her own experience at NMU. She also served on Pennsylvania’s Climate Change Adaptation Working Group on Natural Resources.
After four years practicing law in the private sector, Vizina won a contested election to become prosecuting attorney for Cheboygan County at the age of 31. With a felony caseload of more than 200 cases annually, he also manages four attorneys and office staff members. Vizina initiated community and youth programs on the topics of bullying and drug awareness. He was instrumental in the creation of the Cheboygan County Drug Court and volunteers his time with the Community Action Coalition. He is chairman and founder of the 100 Club of Cheboygan County and a member of the Knights of Columbus and Cheboygan County Gun Board. Vizina was the featured speaker as part of the NMU Alumni Association’s inaugural “WildCATS: Connecting Alumni to Students” initiative.