Walsh University honored its 2017 Outstanding Alumni on Friday, October 13, as a part of this year's Homecoming Weekend. The event included a welcome by Director of Alumni Relations Sarah Trescott '09 & '13, an invocation by Br. Charles Desjarlais, remarks by Walsh President Richard Jusseaume '67 and the Presentation of Awards by Alumni Board of Trustees President Cathy Shew '79. Honorees were recognized with the Outstanding Achievement Award, Professional Achievement Award, Distinguished Service Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award.
A new award was established this year to recognize Walsh’s young alumni who have experienced early career success, provided service to their communities, and have been active with their alma mater. Walsh honored two individuals with the inaugural Young Alumni Leadership Award: Dana Wobser ’05 & ’06 and Erin Clark ’12.
This year’s honorees included:
- Eugene Bressi '67 - Outstanding Achievement Award
- Robert “Bob” Shearer '74 - Professional Achievement Award Recipient
- Anthony Orahoske '82 - Distinguished Service Award
- Professor Tom Ling - Lifetime Achievement Award
Young Alumni Leadership Award Recipient
Dana Wobser ’05 & ’06 earned her Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Walsh University in 2005 and her MBA in Management, also from Walsh, in 2006. Upon her graduation with her MBA, Dana joined Deloitte, one of the Big 4 accounting firms, as an Audit Associate and was soon promoted to Audit Senior. In 2009, she joined Myers Industries in Akron, the largest wholesale tire repair supply distributor in the U.S., as an internal auditor. She has been promoted six times the eight years she’s been with the company and is currently the Director of Human Resources for the Distribution Segment. Dana has also found time to give back in significant ways to her community. She has been active with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Torchbearers, United Way of Summit County and Norton City Schools.
Young Alumni Leadership Award Recipient
Erin Clark ’12 earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, with a minor in Spanish, from Walsh University. Upon graduation, Erin went to work for the Cleveland Clinic Hospital in the Medical Intensive Care Unit, providing care to critically ill patients. While she found that work to be important and rewarding, she has since transitioned to becoming a traveling nurse. Her work takes her for several months at a time to areas where there are critical needs for trained nursing professionals. While a student, she took advantage of global learning trips to Uganda and Tanzania, giving her a front row seat to some of the issues affecting people there. Erin’s commitment to service, nursing and to helping those in need led her to establish her own nonprofit shortly after graduation – LINC: Love in Neglected Communities. The organization’s mission is to provide impoverished youth access to five core resources that meet the needs of basic survival and self-fulfillment: clean water, sustainable food sources, health & sanitation, education, and safety & security.
Outstanding Achievement Award Recipient
This year, Eugene Bressi is celebrating the 50th anniversary of his graduation from Walsh College. The 1967 alumnus graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in French.
Upon graduation, Gene joined the faculty of Sandy Valley Local School System where he taught for 35 years and was responsible for his students’ mastery of the 8th grade state standards in mathematics. In addition to his dedicated time in the classroom, he also advised the Junior High School Student Council and coached Freshman and Junior High basketball as well as Varsity, Freshman, and Junior High football. He’s been honored many times over the years, including as Teacher of the Year and as Coach of the Year at Sandy Valley Junior High School. Gene retired from Sandy Valley in 2001.
Gene’s community service includes two years as a Little League baseball coach, two years as Cub Scout Advancement Chairman, five years as a Senior Olympics volunteer, 15 years as an Ohio high school district and regional track timer, membership in the Canton Ex-News Boys Association, and 25 years as a volunteer with the National Football Hall of Fame.
Despite a busy professional and volunteer life, Gene Bressi never forgot about his alma mater. He is a regular at athletic and other events and has served as co-chairman of his 50th class reunion. In addition, he is an outstanding ambassador for Walsh, encouraging young people he meets to continue their schooling on our campus and proudly celebrating wife Joanne of the class of ’70 and son Dan of the class of ’97.
Professional Achievement Award Recipient
Robert “Bob” Shearer ’74 graduated from Walsh with a bachelor’s degree in finance. That same year, his family bought a potato chip distribution business, and he began his career selling and delivering products to customers. The company grew steadily over the years, and 38 years later, in 2012, Bob retired as Chairman and CEO of the award-winning snack-food company, Shearer’s Foods, based in Brewster, Ohio. Under his leadership, Shearer’s grew from a $4 million business with a handful of associates to a $550 million-dollar business with more than 1850 associates.
Bob’s entrepreneurial success has been recognized with numerous awards over the years, including induction into the Northeast Ohio Business Hall of Fame, being named Distinguished Citizen of the Western Reserve, and winning Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2010, he was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Law degree by Lake Erie College for his outstanding acts of volunteerism and philanthropy. And, in 2012, his alma mater, Walsh University, honored him with a Distinguished Service Medal at its Commencement ceremony.
Though he retired from Shearer’s Foods, Bob is still very active in the business world. Currently, he heads Shearer Solutions, a firm that coaches entrepreneurs and business leaders to reach their objectives. In addition, he is actively involved in a number of new companies, using his business experience and expertise to build and expand new ventures in our region.
Distinguished Service Award
Tony Orahoske graduated from Walsh College in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and subsequently earned his CPA credential for the District of Columbia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia.
His career has spanned more than 30 years and covered a wide range of accounting and leadership sectors. Tony has worked for three Fortune 500 companies in the technology, consumer products and manufacturing industries. Currently, he is a partner in KPMG’s internal audit practice and specializes in methodology development, establishing data analytics capabilities and leading operational reviews. Among his many accomplishments, Tony served as KPMG’s national strategic quality performance reviewer for the past three years. His clients include some of the biggest names in the communication, technology, retail, manufacturing, hospitality, and banking industries.
Tony’s commitment to Walsh extends far beyond his time and talent. In 2015, he established the Leadership Academy which will provide students with opportunities to develop their leadership skills through academic and experiential learning experiences. His commitment to those students who have come after him is unwavering, and he continues to support them through his experience and his generosity.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Professor Tom Ling spent his 50-year career educating Walsh students, visiting with and advising Walsh alumni, attending Walsh events, advocating for Walsh in the community, supporting Walsh in every way possible, and being the loudest and most ardent cheerleader for the University.
Yih Tang Ling was born in Taiwan in 1936, and when he was 20 years old he came to the United States to attend Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia. The President of Davis and Elkins dubbed him “Tom” because his given name was difficult to pronounce. The nickname stuck, and five decades of students and colleagues know him as “Tom” to this day.
Tom met his beloved wife of 55 years, Dorothy, while attending Davis and Elkins. The two married in 1962 and raised two sons – Steve, a 1990 graduate of Walsh and an accountant with the Stark County Health Department, and David, a violinist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Orchestra.
Shortly after marrying, the Lings moved to Ohio where Tom continued his graduate studies at Kent State University. While he started his teaching career at Kent, it was Walsh University that would become his home. He joined the faculty in the Math department in 1966, and in 1969 Dorothy came on board to teach music. Tom only recently retired from the classroom. His 50-year career at Walsh means that he witnessed many milestones. He watched Walsh College grow into vibrant Walsh University. He saw the campus blossom from just a few buildings to 27 and a handful of students to 3000. Tom’s memories could fill several volumes, and his pride in what Walsh has become is evident any time you talk to him about the campus and his career.