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New Alumni Awards of Distinction recognize grads

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences announces inaugural honorees

Contact: ​Jeff Johnston


Central Michigan University's inaugural College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Alumni Awards of Distinction recognize four outstanding alumni who promote the public good, are highly skilled practitioners in their field, make a positive impact with a global reach, and have contributed to our understanding of the human condition through their scholarly or creative endeavor. 

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Marcella Richardson

Eric Bartelink

Eric Bartelink

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Emily Rickert

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Cajetan Iheka

Marcella Richardson is the recipient of the CLASS Alumni Award of Distinction for Public Service. Richardson is the director of operations for U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and a blogger, motivational speaker and mentor. She received a Master of Public Administration degree from CMU in 2011.

Eric Bartelink is the recipient of the CLASS Alumni Award of Distinction for Professional Practice. As co-director of the California State University, Chico, Human Identification Laboratory and the Stable Isotope Preparation Laboratory, Bartelink works at one of the world's most renowned forensic labs. He earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology and history from CMU in 1995.

Emily Rickert is the recipient of the CLASS Alumni Award of Distinction for Global Engagement. In addition to motivational speaking, Rickert is the founder of the Hope for the Neema-Huruma Foundation in Kenya and the co-founder of Lasting Smiles Uganda. The nonprofits support and build facilities for children in Africa. She earned a master's degree in political science from CMU in December 2011 and a bachelor's degree in comparative politics and international relations with a minor in legal studies in 2009.

Cajetan Iheka is the recipient of the CLASS Alumni Award of Distinction for Scholarly Activity. One of the world's prolific scholars in the area of African ecological literature, Iheka received a Master of Applied Arts degree in English language and literature from CMU in 2011.

CLASS faculty nominated more than 50 exceptional alumni from their respective programs, and a committee of CLASS students and staff selected the recipients. CLASS will host an awards ceremony this fall to recognize the winners.


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