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Hall of Fame

William Penn University appreciates the dedication and service of our many alumni and community supporters. It is representative of the values we aim to instill in all of our students. Each year at Homecoming, individuals or groups of people are selected to be recipients of the awards listed below. They are honored at the Recognition Banquet with the awards and inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Distinguished Career Award

The Distinguished Career Award is given to an individual based on esteemed and meritorious achievement in career and life. Candidates for this award are alumni of William Penn University or Nebraska Central College.

Alfio Tognocchi

Alfio Tognocchi–2018 Distinguished Career Award Recipient

The Distinguished Career Award is given to an individual based on their esteemed and meritorious achievement in their career and life.  Candidates for this award are alumni of William Penn University or Nebraska Central College.  This year’s recipient, Alfio Tognocchi is well deserving of this honor.

The Tognocchi family emigrated to the United States from Italy in 1956 when Alfio was nine years old.  At the time, he did not speak English, however he learned quickly.  His early childhood, work, and education experiences were instrumental in establishing focused lifetime working and learning habits.

Tognocchi joined Arthur Andersen in their Chicago office in 1986 and stayed with them until 1999.  His specialty included significant international tax services to Fortune 100 and 500 companies, including Abbott Laboratories, Leo Burnett, Northern Trust Bank, Lenox International, Texaco, Chevron, and other large multinationals.  He joined KPMG in 1999 as a Tax Partner, serving their Dallas and Houston offices for four years.

In 2003, the accounting firm of Blockowicz & Tognocchi LLP was formed with a former Arthur Andersen partner, Dave Blockowicz.  Today, their firm has six employees and over 1,000 clients with offices in Oak Brook and Evanston, IL.  During his extensive career, Tognocchi has specialized in rendering tax compliance, financial planning, and consulting services to various levels of individuals, executives, and companies

While at William Penn, Tognocchi was a member of the men’s tennis team and a founding father of Delta Beta Phi, celebrating their 50-year reunion during Homecoming this year.  He continues to stay active with hobbies of playing tennis, golf, marathon running, and good wine.  In addition, Tognocchi has qualified multiple times for the Boston Marathon.

Alfio lives in Glen Ellyn, IL with his wife of 34 years, Elise.  They have one daughter and two beautiful grandchildren.  He loves spending time with his grandkids and family at their condo in Ft Myers, FL.  His charitable involvements include fundraising for Giant Steps which is a school for children of autism in the Chicagoland area, The Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation along with other local foundations.

Tognocchi mentions that major influences in his professional and personal life have been: Arthur Andersen, KPMG, his spouse, Delta Beta Phi, William Penn University, and his entire family!  William Penn is honored to present the Distinguished Career Award to Alfio Tognocchi, Class of 1972.

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Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award is bestowed upon an individual whose life of service has been exemplary. This honor extends beyond the circle of Penn alumni to those who embody the William Penn commitment to community and humanitarian service.

DeWayne Hogan headshot

Dewayne Hogan –2018 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

The Distinguished Service Award is bestowed upon an individual whose life of service has been exemplary. This honor extends beyond the circle of Penn alumni to those who embody the William Penn commitment to community and humanitarian service. This year’s recipient has become a familiar face around William Penn University.

Currently serving as a National Advisory Council member, Dewayne Hogan Sr. has an outstanding amount of leadership experience in and outside of William Penn. Upon moving to Oskaloosa to pursue his college career from Gary, Indiana, Dewayne participated in football beginning in the fall of 1968. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in 1972 and was the only graduate from his family at the time. Dwayne later received his MBA from the University of Phoenix in Bakersfield, California in 1999.

After his time as a student at William Penn College from 1968–1972, Dewayne played football in the minor leagues and landed a job with Bechtel Corporation, who was building a 550-Megawatt nuclear Energy plant in Palo, Iowa.  Dewayne served as a Quality Control Inspector, then later promoted to Assistant Field Systems Engineer. He then transferred to Bechtel’s corporate location in San Francisco, California.

While building a life with his wife, Audrey, Dewayne worked with Fluor Corporation and traveled to execute projects in the United States and abroad. He spent time in Saudi Arabia, the Andes Mountains in Chile, and Puerto Rico. Dewayne worked on his last field assignment with Fluor at the FEMA Headquarters in Louisiana, during the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005. He was tasked with identifying new sites throughout the parishes to build temporary structures to house displaced families.

During the time employed with Fluor, Dewayne served as a Cub Scout Master for two years to 35 young boys. In addition, he coached the Bakersfield Co-Ed Basketball team of 12-14 year olds, to a city championship victory.

From Fluor, Dewayne joined Technip from 2007–2016, where he would later retire from. Dewayne traveled to Brunei Darussalam, Japan, and the Philippines with Technip. During his near decade time with the company, Dewayne was majorly involved with his community, including currently being a Co-Chairman of the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church (NHMBC) Deacon Board. He also is a member of the Benevolence Committee which aids in the needs of the church, homeless, and community through financial and spiritual support.

Other service leadership positions Dewayne has held include: Chairman and Coordinator of the NHMBC ‘Boys and Men Retreat’ as a participant and active supporter; serving on the Board of Directors for Y-Empowerment, a non-profit that serves youth and their families affected by domestic violence; and serves currently on William Penn’s National Advisory Council (NAC) to provide expert advice and consultation.

Dewayne and Audrey currently reside in Rancho, California. Together, they spend time with their five children, Theodore, Shadrach, Dewayne Jr., Demetria, and Nila. Three of their children have graduated from college and begun their successful career paths. In addition, Dewayne and Audrey bolster nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

For his dedicated lifestyle of leadership and positive roles throughout his community, in his profession, with various youth programs, and at William Penn University, William Penn is proud to present class of 1972 graduate, Dewayne Hogan Sr. with the 2018 Distinguished Service Award.

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Torch Award

The Torch Award was initiated during the 1972 Parents’ Weekend as a way of acknowledging and honoring alumni and non-alumni parents who have shown exceptional commitment to William Penn University. Each year the Torch Award is given to an alumni family of at least two generations; or to non-alumni parents, all of whose children have attended William Penn University. Consideration is also given to the interest and loyalty shown by the recipient family in the programs and ideals of the University.

Elwood and Ila Jones Johnson Family

Elwood and Ila Jones Johnson Family –2018 Torch Award Recipient

William Penn is pleased to recognize the Elwood and Ila Jones Johnson family as the 2018 Torch Award recipients.  A commitment to education is an understatement when you look at the history of this Quaker family.  Pullman and Margaret Morgan Johnson had six children, of the six children, five of them either attended or graduated from William Penn.  Omer graduated from Penn in 1921, Elwood graduated from Penn in 1922, Flossie (Robinson) attended Penn from 1920-22, Fern did not attend Penn, Retha (Gripp) attended Penn from 1926-27 and Lylbern graduated from Penn in 1937.  In addition, Lylbern was also known to have played quarterback every year he was at Penn.

The Johnson family believed strongly in education and family connections.  Pullman and Margaret moved their family to Oskaloosa for two years while Omer and Elwood attended Penn so the entire family would be living nearby.

Elwood married Ila Jones, a Latin teacher who graduated from Parsons College in 1924.  To their union, three daughters were born, Ruth, Lael and Lois Kay.  Skipping a generation at Penn, the next generation of Elwood and Ila’s family came to take their place on campus.  Ruth Johnson Jaeckel’s youngest son, Eric graduated from William Penn in 1984 while Lael Johnson Wellington’s son, Greg graduated in 1982.

Adding to the family connections, Elwood’s mother, Margaret had three brothers and a sister.  Margaret’s sister, Amy Morgan married Ott Schmitter and they had four children which later added a handful of cousins to the campus community.  Lyle Schmitter graduated in 1927, Letha (Ludin) attended Penn from 1926-28, Doyle attended Penn from 1930-31 and Dean attended from 1934-36.  The most recent family graduate was Nancy Schmitter Swope, Doyle’s daughter, who graduated in 1990.

Throughout the family generations there are numerous teachers.  We believe the family has demonstrated their commitment to education.  Elwood had a deep and abiding love for his Alma Mater.  A scholarship was established in his honor in 1989 to help future William Penn education students receive their degree.  For the family dedication to William Penn, we are pleased to recognize the Elwood Johnson family.

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Emerging Young Leader Award

This award was designed to recognize established and future leaders among recent William Penn University alumni. Standards for recognition include one or more of the following: demonstrated leadership capability, substantial indication of a commitment to the service of others, demonstration of potential for leadership/distinction in the long term, and a substantial commitment to William Penn University and its mission. The award is open to all alumni who are within their first 10 years of graduating from William Penn University.

Hla Hla Win

Hla Hla Win – 2018 Emerging Leader Award Recipient

Hla Hla Win, graduate of William Penn University’s class of 2008, is changing the educational landscape in her home country of Myanmar. Win earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education. After Penn, Win went on to Graduate Studies Fellowship at Hawaii University; earned her Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University in 2016; and had Studies of Exponential Technology from Singularity University, a NASA Research Center in 2016.

With all of Win’s education, she is a Global Digital Innovation award winner and now founder of two EdTech companies: 360ed Visioneering Learning (VR/AD EdTech Venture) and Maker 360 (Innovation Lab). 360ed is a social enterprise which leverages virtual reality and augmented reality to have scalable, immediate, and exponential impact in transforming Myanmar’s national education.

Win has worked purposefully the past decade to reshape the future of education in Myanmar and for Burmese women. For roughly 50 years, education was viewed in a negative light within the country. Win sought out a way to reverse that and give Burmese people access to education and technology.

In addition to providing education through technology, Win is an advocate for women in tech companies. She routinely sits on panels or is a keynote speaker at various international conferences. Win has used her position of founder and CEO to be an advocate opposing gender inequality in the workplace. Despite the challenges she faces, she has learned to shut out the negativity and prevail to lead a successful and instrumental company that narrows the gap of quality education access between rural and urban areas. Win continues to develop her award winning technology to help educate teachers. Allowing them to utilize 21st century skills and knowledge so their pupils can now receive a world-class education.

Congratulations, Hla Hla.  Your pioneering leadership qualities and service to your nation make you a deserving recipient of the Emerging Young Leader Award for 2018.

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Ed Thomas Award

Those that are successful in coaching young students in the world of athletics have a special gift of shaping and changing the lives of those they come in contact with. The late and great Ed Thomas, whom this award was named after, had a great impact on his athletes. He passionately believed that his job as a coach was not to prepare kids to be college athletes, but to make their involvement in football or other sports a learning experience.

Faith, family, and excellence is what Thomas believed in and those core values are also present in the recipients of the Ed Thomas Award.

Jan Irby Littlefield

Jan Irby Littlefield – 2018 Ed Thomas Award Recipient

An alumnae’s strong basketball background paved the way to an impressive coaching career. While in High school Jan Irby Littlefield (’76), from Claude, Texas, led the Claude High School basketball team to two consecutive Texas State Championships. She was named First Team All-State during that two-year period.

While at William Penn, Jan played for legendary basketball coach, Robert Spencer, who is a member of the Penn Athletic Hall of Fame. Jan became the first female to be named All-American in any sport for William Penn College when she was named First Team to the Kodak Women’s All-American Basketball Team.

Jan gain valuable experience while competing internationally for Team USA at the World Festival held in Peru. Additionally, she played for Team USA against Russia when they toured in the states.

Many accolades would follow during her impressive career. Jan has been inducted into three different Hall Of Fames: the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame, Texas Sports Hall of Fame, and the William Penn University Athletic Hall of Fame.

Her coaching career spanned an incredible 37 years. Her first assistant basketball coach position was in Eddyville, Iowa. From there she moved back to her home state of Texas. There she began to rebuild fledgling programs and laying the foundation for a positive future in the cities of Bangs and Plains, Texas over four years.

Serving as a coach, educator, athletic director, and athletic coordinator, Jan has given back to her profession and the student athletes that she love.  She is also a member of the member of the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. In addition, she served on the Texas Girls Coaches Association Board of Directors for ten years.

Instilling good character and sportsmanship in her athletes is very important to Jan. Leading by example, she was awarded the ‘Mike Newland Sportsmanship Award’ presented by the Amarillo Basketball Officials. She also earned the respect of her peers, as she was voted the ‘Coach of the Year’ for the state of Texas.

The Ed Thomas Award is much more than winning records. Faith, family, community, and sport influences are the values that are encompassed in this award.  Through years of service, character development, sportsmanship, and giving back to her profession are the true benchmarks for Jan Irby Littlefield’s success.

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Athletic Hall of Fame Recipients: 2018

Katie Burnett

Katie Burnett (’12), Track and Field

Kim Muhl (’81), Basketball

Jim Vescovi

Jim Vescovi (’76), Track and Field

Kelli Crooks

Kelli Crooks (’06), Soccer

Lifetime Statesman Award

This first-time and perhaps one-time award is given to recognize support and service to William Penn University that is transformational in nature and at the same time foundational to Penn’s historical mission. 2016 Recipients–Joe Crookham and Jeanie Bieri