Central Michigan University recognizes outstanding alumni

Annual Alumni Awards ceremony Friday, Sept. 6
CMU wordmark

Central Michigan University will recognize six alumni and one foundation at the annual Alumni Awards on Friday, Sept. 6.

Founder and president of Nuspire Corp. Saylor Frase, ’98, will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award. Frase’s leadership landed his company on Inc. magazine’s “Fastest Growing Companies” list in 2009 and the company was named Frost & Sullivan’s “Entrepreneurial Company of the Year” in 2011. As an information systems alumnus, he helped form several CMU alumni groups.

Mary Lu Yardley, ’90, worked for CMU for more than 30 years and will receive the Community Recognition Award for her commitment to service even after retiring. She is an active member of many community groups and organizations, including the Mount Pleasant Area Community Foundation, the Mount Pleasant Public Schools Education Foundation and Art Reach of Mid Michigan.

Judy French Smith and W. Sidney Smith will receive the Alumni Commitment Award. These 1965 graduates both have a longtime commitment to the university, having supported CMU with a lifetime contribution of more than $1.8 million. Sidney is the president/CEO of Smith Equities and is an emeritus member of both the CMU Development Board and the Board of Trustees. Judy is a member of the CMU Fall Into Jazz Steering Committee and founding member of Opus, the School of Music fundraiser. The couple also has established the W. Sidney and Judith French Smith Medical Scholarship.

Mara Shorr, ’05, received the Distinguished Young Alumni Award. She founded The Leone Co., a marketing, community relations and fundraising consulting company in 2011.

Emily Pontz, ’09, M.A. ’11, founded Hope for Huruma Foundation, a nonprofit helping children in Huruma, Kenya, with basic necessities such as food, medical supplies and schooling costs. She will receive the Outstanding Recent Graduate Award.

The Morey Foundation received the Corporate Partner Award for its support of the university. It has supported CMU through internships, career services activities, athletic events, alumni programs, event sponsorships, scholarships and leadership support. The organization has given more than $2 million to CMU since 1993.