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NMU Alumni Award Recipients Announced July 14, 2021

The Northern Michigan University Alumni Association has announced the four recipients of 2021 Alumni Awards who will be honored during Homecoming this fall. They are: Mary Jo Mulligan-Kehoe, Ph.D. (’68 BS) of Huntington Beach, Calif., Distinguished Alumni; Susan Meier (’87 BS) of Riverdale, Mich., Alumni Achievement; T.J. Weber, (’11 BS) of San Luis Obispo, Calif., Outstanding Young Alumni; and Lina Blair (’05 BS, ’08 MS) of Grand Rapids, Mich., Alumni Service.

Nominated and selected by fellow alumni, the recipients are honored for significant achievements in their fields, substantial contributions to society and demonstrated exceptional leadership and civic qualities.

Mulligan-Kehoe retired from Dartmouth Medical School in 2014, following a long career focused on vascular biology research funded by the National Institutes of Health. As a professor and member of the Angiogenesis Research Center, her research focused on how the anti-angiogenic activity of a truncated recombinant plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 protein inhibited tumor growth. One of her most significant professional accomplishments is in the discovery and development of single chain antibodies, for which she holds one of four patents in her name. Though retired, Mulligan-Kehoe serves as a scientific review officer for the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, chairing the North American Vascular Biology Organization (NAVBO) Education Committee. She also develops and provides animated coursework for middle and high school students designed to promote careers in the biomedical sciences.

Meier is highly respected for her unyielding commitment to educating and advocating for young children. Her impact reaches far beyond the classroom by involving her students in service projects, not only in her local community, but in the global community as well. Her commitment to education and community involvement is evidenced by numerous honors and awards. Meier is the founder of the Books for Babies Project, which promotes early literacy in children. She and her students raised more than $59,000 and have given new books to more than 14,000 newborns in Gratiot County. After 32 years, she recently retired from teaching kindergarten and is currently working as a literacy coach for Carson City-Crystal Area Schools and is a member of the Gratiot-Isabella RESD Early Literacy Collaborative.

Weber was recently named the Richard & Julie Hood Endowed Professor of Marketing in the Orfalea College of Business at Cal Poly University, and is currently among the youngest chaired professors in the United States. He is well-known in the fields of marketing and public policy for his research examining the role of technology and political polarization in the formation of beliefs related to vaccinations, global warming and consumption. His research has been published by Oxford University Press, the American Marketing Association, and the American Academy of Advertising. It has also received significant media coverage from the New York Times, Washington Post, NPR and others.

Blair is the director of student life and conduct at Grand Rapids Community College where she has implemented and maintained numerous service projects and efforts to address barriers to success. She advocates for student support in mental health, COVID-19 relief, and housing and food insecurity. In 2020, she led her team to establish a wider-reaching campus food pantry, with a new location and enough food to supply students in need. Prior to her role with GRCC, Blair worked at NMU for more than 10 years, where she advised student government, created a new program for NMU’s first-generation college students and provided leadership for the student conduct program.

The honorees will be recognized and celebrated in-person during Homecoming 2021 (Oct. 1-2). Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Alumni Awards recipients will also be recognized and celebrated during Homecoming 2021. The 2020 Alumni Awards recipients were: Steve Mariucci (’77 BS, ’83 MAE) of Monte Sereno, Calif., and Per Utnegaard (’82 BS) of Oberaegen, Switzerland, Distinguished Alumni; Anita Mattson (’02 BS) of Worcester, Mass., Alumni Achievement; Amanda Rosenburg (’02 BS) of Astoria, N.Y., Outstanding Young Alumni; and Greg Toutant (’94 BS) of Negaunee, Alumni Service. More information on the 2020 recipients can be viewed on Northern Today.

More information on Homecoming 2021 events will be released in the coming weeks. Detailed individual feature stories with comments from each recipient will be issued after the awards ceremony.

For more information on the award criteria and to nominate a fellow alumni, visit NMU Alumni Relations can be contacted at

This information was supplied by NMU Alumni Relations. Media contact: Robyn Stille, or 227-2610.

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