Honoring Distinction

IU's 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award honorees. Illustrations by Bonnie Sklarski.

The Distinguished Alumni Service Award is Indiana University’s highest accolade, reserved annually for alumni. These alums are honored for significant contributions that benefit their community, state, nation, or university. The 2018 class offers outstanding examples of the varied pursuits and accomplishments of IU alumni.

Watch their stories to get a view of their paths to success.

Daniel F. Evans, BA’71, JD’76

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Evans’ career spans law, medicine, banking, and political lobbying. From 2002 until his retirement in 2016, Evans served as president and CEO of IU Health, the state’s largest health care system, overseeing its expansion to a statewide network consisting of more than 20 hospitals and a multi-specialty physician group.

Evans has been instrumental in launching the IU Health Law Scholars program, offered jointly through IUPUI’s McKinney School of Law and the Fairbanks School of Public Health, which supports talented health care law and administration leaders of tomorrow.

But, perhaps nothing has had as lasting an influence on the state as the Evans Center, a holistically oriented healing center he founded that supports initiatives offering spiritual integration into health care.

Curtis A. Ferguson, BS’80

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Starting with Coca-Cola in 1983, Ferguson began an international odyssey that would take him to company leadership positions in Egypt, Morocco, China, and Korea. Today, Ferguson oversees Coke’s operations in dozens of countries.

Through it all, he has generously given his time to, among others, the Global Business Institute, an initiative to bring Middle Eastern and North African students to IU to learn business and entrepreneurial skills. Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell awarded Ferguson the Award for Corporate Citizenship in recognition of his work with the GBI.

Rose M. Mays, MS’74

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A pioneer in pediatric nursing, Mays has been recognized as a “living legend” by the Indiana Historical Society for her contributions to the state and its people. A professor emeritus in the IU School of Nursing at IUPUI, she retired in 2009 after a 36-year career with the university, but continued to advance IU interests as a member of the IU Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Mays also received the President’s Medal for Excellence, the highest honor that IU’s president can bestow, in recognition of her dedication to nursing education as well as her work outside IU, which has involved the creation of community health services for vulnerable teenagers.

Todd W. Spaletto, BS’93

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A passion for getting people involved in sports and physical fitness has informed Spaletto’s success. After graduation, he went to work for the Indiana Pacers then found his niche at companies such as High Sierra Sport Co. and Jansport-Eastpak.

He joined outdoor apparel brand The North Face as vice president of sales in 2003, propelling the brand to more than $1 billion in annual sales. In 2011, he became the company’s global president and ballooned annual sales to $2.4 billion. In 2017, he left The North Face to become president of Wolverine Worldwide Co.

Spaletto has made a great impact working with Big City Mountaineers to secure transformative outdoor experiences for under-resourced, inner-city young people.

Pusadee P. Tamthai, MAT’75, PhD’82

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Tamthai has dedicated her life to education, human rights, and public service. A UNESCO scholarship program brought her to IU where she earned two graduate degrees.

After returning home, she founded the New International School of Thailand and became its first headmistress. She transitioned into politics, working to improve the prospects of women, youth, the elderly, and the disabled, and was elected to the House of Representatives in 2004. She became deputy governor of Bangkok in 2013, and was appointed to serve as acting governor of Bangkok in 2016.

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Written By
Brian Hartz
Brian Hartz, MA’01, is a freelance journalist based in St. Petersburg, Fla. He also writes for the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center, The Gabber (Gulfport, Fla.) newspaper, Crain’s Tampa Bay business magazine, The Limestone Post, and the Business Observer (Sarasota, Fla.) newspaper, among others.