Women's athletics, surgery, photojournalism, and the study of global warming are the routes taken by four graduates of Sylvania schools that have led to their being chosen for this year's recognition as distinguished alumni by the system's Academic Excellence Foundation.
The four are:
•Leanne Andreas, former director of women's athletics at Indiana University and at California State University at Fullerton.
•Robert Herman, principal investigator for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology.
•Diane Hires, retired photographer for The Blade.
•Michael Stark, a surgeon and clinical researcher.
Ms. Andreas graduated from Sylvania schools in 1959. She received her bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University and a master's degree in physical education at Indiana.
She taught physical education there, coached, and was named the university's first women's athletic director in 1975. At that time, she was the first to hold that position at any of the Big Ten schools.
She took a similar position at California State in 1978. From 1984 to 1990, she was a member of the NCAA executive board.
She and her husband, Andy, have been located in Destin, Fla., since 1991. She is an active volunteer at her church and a local hospital.
She said, "I was always a tomboy," and was interested in athletics, although there were limited opportunities for girls when she was in high school.
The Sylvania system, however, encouraged girls to be active and to take part in intramural sports, leading to the decision by Ms. Andreas to go to college and teach physical education.
As her interest grew, Ms. Andreas added, she decided to become involved in administration in a way that would broaden opportunities for females in athletics.
Robert Herman graduated from Sylvania in 1987 and went on to obtain a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago. He received his master's and doctorate in geochemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1993 and 1998. His studies concentrated on chemical tracers in the stratosphere.
His research has contributed to the understanding of the role of greenhouse gases in global warming.
While at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he has traveled from Alaska to Costa Rica and from Hawaii to Sweden for his studies of atmospheric chemistry, hurricanes, and atmospheric humidity. Much of the research is done for NASA.
The space agency has awarded Mr. Herman six achievement awards. He has also had 54 articles published in peer-reviewed scientific publications.
He said a calculus class at Sylvania "was wonderful preparation" for his studies at Chicago.
Between that and space exploration under way at the time by NASA, his general area of study was decided.
Ms. Hires, a 1964 Sylvania graduate, received a certificate in dental hygiene from Ohio State University and worked in that field until 1981.
She said she had been interested in photography most of her life and had been a member of a camera club in Sylvania schools.
She began working as a stringer for the Associated Press and used the photo lab at The Blade to develop pictures. She was hired by the newspaper in 1992 and retired last year.
Although she already had an interest in photography, the camera club at school gave her a broader basis to continue studies, she said.
Her photos have been in numerous national publications, and she has won several awards, including Ohio Women's News Photographer of the Year.
Ms. Hires has had shows in a number of public venues including theToledo Museum of Art.
She is no longer able to take photographs professionally, but works as a volunteer for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
She lives in Sylvania, where one of her two daughters is a teacher in the system.
After graduating from Sylvania schools in 1970, Dr. Stark graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with honors in chemistry.
He attended the former Medical College of Ohio and graduated in 1977. After completing his surgery residency at Akron City Hospital, he returned to Toledo to practice.
Dr. Stark is on the staff of Toledo, Flower, and St. Anne's Mercy hospitals, as well as at Regency Park and the University of Toledo Medical Center, where he also serves on the faculty.
Dr. Stark's father was a surgeon. Following him into a career in medicine seemed likely, but he said it was aided by the school system.
"Not just academically," but with band and other activities, "it provided a well-rounded experience," Dr. Stark said.
He said he was also proud of his high school education when he was stumped once in a chemistry class at Brandeis.
"I had brought my high school notes to college with me, and when I saw it in my notes, the light went on."
In addition to his practice, he has held leadership positions in the Toledo Surgical Society and local and state academies of medicine. He is on the board of the state and county divisions of the American Cancer Society and the Lucas County Partnership for Cancer Prevention & Control.
The Academic Excellence Foundation also recognized Terry Morris as educator of the year in the Sylvania system.
She began work in the system in 2001 and is its special education coordinator.
In her position she has not only developed and trained staff in special education procedures and curriculum, but has been active in a number of related organizations.
Two high school students received the Kathleen Babiak Memorial.