Six to be inducted into BP Alumni Hall

Published Jan 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm (Updated Jan 11, 2013 at 2:50 pm)

The Bethel Park High School Great Alumni Hall of Fame will induct six individuals into its first class on Jan. 18 in the high school gymnasium at the half time of the Bethel Park/Canon-McMillan basketball game.

Members of the Class of 2013 are:

• LTJG Kenneth Beyda, Class of 2003, serves in the United States as a naval fighter pilot in an FA-18 Super-Hornet aircraft. He attended Ohio State University upon graduation from Bethel Park and was accepted into the Navy as a commissioned officer. Shortly after, he was accepted to Officer Candidate School and was approved to fly jets. He completed his training in Pensacola, Fla., and received the “Commodores Distinguished Award” for ranking among the top five percent of his peers. He also trained in Texas, where he flew with the Blue Angels and earned the “Wings of Gold” award. He has flown numerous missions over Afghanistan and was invited to fly with the Top Gun School.

• William Brucker, Class of 2000, has taught several courses in biochemistry at Brown University and is working toward his Ph.D. at Brown. He is the author of two books and numerous journal articles about his continuing research on cellular respiration, cellular organs and sickle cell anemia. Throughout his educational career, he has earned numerous awards and honors, as he focuses his energies to change and improve the teaching of science in today’s educational system. Because of his dedication to improving health and science globally, he has established the Providence Alliance of Clinical Educators (PACE). Through this organization, the approach to teaching science has been revolutionized in several hundred schools throughout the country and in Haiti.

• Dr. Grant Hammond, Class of 1962, is the deputy director of the Air Force Center for Strategy and Technology (CSAT) and a professor of international security at the Air War College. He completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard and received his master’s and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in the School of Advanced International Studies. In 2007, he was named the dean and deputy commandant at NATO’s Defense College in Rome, a position he held until 2010. He is working on his fourth book about crisis decision making in the 21st century.

• Barbara Bowman Pierce, Class of 1962, is the president of the National Federation of the Blind, and as a spokeswoman for the visually impaired in Ohio and throughout the country, she is able to demonstrate how visually impaired people are able to work and be educated. For the past 20 years, she has edited the “Braille Monitor” magazine and has written a book to help bring awareness to visually impaired children. In 2009, she carried the message about the importance of teaching Braille in today’s educational system to a meeting with President Obama.

• Admiral Thomas H. Replogle, Class of 1947, served in the United States Navy as commander, Tactical Wings Atlantic. He trained during World War II on the F6F Hellcat and traveled throughout the United States to secure the best training for the Navy’s Jet Transitional Training. After earning his bachelor of science degree at the Naval Post Graduate School, he toured Korea and Vietnam, and in 1968 he initiated the Navy’s “Top Gun” Program. Throughout his time in the military, he continued to make changes in aircraft designs. He flew more than 90 different missions and received numerous medals for his many accomplishments.

• Thomas R. Watjen, Class of 1972, received his bachelor of science in economics at Virginia Military Institute and his MBA at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He started his own business, Unum, which has grown to be a Fortune 250 company. Under his leadership as president and CEO, the company has earned numerous distinctions, including Newsweek’s “Best Places to Work” and “Greenest Companies in America.” At Virginia, he created a $1 million fellowship in honor of his father, to benefit selected military students attending the Darden School of Business.

• Dr. Roger Zelt, Class of 1972, is a well-known Pittsburgh ophthalmologist, specializing in cataract and lens surgery, retinal eye care and treatment for laser vision correction. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard and earned his M.D. at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Zelt’s community service includes working with Campus Life/Youth for Christ and participating in mission trips to South America and Africa. He is on the board of directors for the Harvard Club of Western Pennsylvania and has served as president for the Pennsylvania Academy of Ophthalmology. He is the recipient of the Academy of Ophthalmology Achievement Award and serves as an assistant professor of Clinical Instruction at the University of Pittsburgh.

The Bethel Park Great Alumni Hall of Fame was created to recognize and honor Bethel Park High School alumni who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments either personally or professionally after graduating from Bethel Park High School.

Honorees were selected because they either significantly improved the lives of others, contributed significant volunteer or community service, or achieved significant advancement in their professional field.

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