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Published: Tuesday, 9/14/2010

Monroe High names distinguished alumni

MONROE - One is a physician and noted breast and lung cancer specialist in the Chicago area.

The other is an architect and college professor who has been a pioneer in the study of sustainable building design.

Dr. Kathy Albain and Brian Dunbar were each selected to receive a distinguished alumnus award from the Monroe High School Alumni Association.

Gary Griffin, president of the alumni association, said Dr. Albain, a 1970 graduate, and Mr. Dunbar, a 1975 graduate, continue the award's mission of honoring graduates who serve as good role models for high school students.

"They are outstanding individuals in their accomplishments," Mr. Griffin said.

Mr. Dunbar earned two degrees in architecture from the University of Michigan, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, who were architects in the city.

After college, he moved in 1981 to Colorado, where he was an architect in a private firm for about 18 months and then began a 29-year career in education at the University of Colorado at Fort Collins.

He has been an instructor, assistant professor, and professor in interiors, art, design, and construction, and construction management.

He is director of the college's Institute for Built Environment.

Mr. Dunbar has conducted in-depth research and taught classes in green building, environmental technologies, and sustainable design and construction. The research has been applied to projects in the construction of schools, university buildings, and businesses throughout Colorado and other western states.

"I am so honored to receive the award," he said. "It really means a lot to me because I often think about my upbringing and the place where I grew up. I am proud to be from Monroe. To have an honor that comes from my high school is really wonderful and inspiring."

As a teacher and architect, Mr. Dunbar said he employs the team approach in the design of buildings. He said working as a team was instilled in him at an early age while attending Monroe schools.

"There were many Monroe High School teachers and coaches who believed in the team approach and set high goals for their students and players to achieve," he said.

Dr. Albain obtained a bachelor's degree in chemistry at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., after graduating from Monroe High School. She earned her medical degree from the University of Michigan in 1978 and did postgraduate training in internal medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago and hematology/onocology at the University of Chicago Hospitals.

She is a breast cancer specialist at Loyola University Health System, where she is a clinical researcher and practicing doctor. She has contributed to more than 120 publications, journals, and textbooks.

She said the classes she took in chemistry in high school as well as her musical studies there prepared her for college.

"It is a huge honor to receive the award. I am very humbled to be selected. There are many very deserving alumni who went on to do many things," Dr. Albain said. "The education I received at Monroe High School was outstanding preparation for what I do now."



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