1991 DISTINGUISHED GRADUATES
April 28, 1991
Wyandotte Distinguished Graduate
Allan, Virginia R. - 1935
Frostic, Gwen - 1924
Gouth, George - 1950
Griggs, William R. - 1960
Kreger, William E. - 1933
McWhirter, Nickie (Glenna Sotier) - 1947
Mehlhose, Emerson - 1931
Murray, Elizabeth A. - 1935
Stieler, Stephen O. - 1958
Tipton, Thomas (Pointkowski) - 1945
Virginia R. Allan - Class of 1935
Virginia R. Allan - Class of 1935 [Allen]
Virginia R. Allan has had a distinguished career as an educator, businesswoman, civic leader, and stateswoman. As an educator, she pioneered with Detroit's Job Upgrading Program to help drop-outs return to school or find meaningful employment. After establishing four job centers, she was named an Assistant Principal of Redford High School. For 15 years, she was also the Co-owner and Executive Vice President of Cahalan Drug Stores, Inc., in Wyandotte.
In 1964, she was appointed Regent of Eastern Michigan University by the Governor of Michigan, a position she held for ten years. In 1969, she was named to chair President Nixon's Task Force on Women's Rights and Responsibilities and in 1972, she was named Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. Virginia became a much traveled proponent of human rights, placing emphasis on equity for women in this country and its policy implications internationally. She was the U.S. Representative at the 1974 Conference to NATO Information Officers; accompanied leaders of non-government organizations to Brussels at the invitation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; headed U.S. delegations to the United Nations seminars on "Participation of Women in the Economic Life of Their Countries" in Moscow, U.S.S.R., and Libreville, Gabon, Africa; was invited to speak by the Institute of Personnel Management of London, England at the 1973 Conference on Equal Pay and Opportunity; co-chaired the Economic Cooperation and Development Meeting on the Role of Women in the Economy. In 1971, she was a member of the delegation to Paris, France, to plead for the release of American Prisoners of War and was a guest of the Federal Republic of Germany on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the American Foreign Assistance (The Marshall Plan). She was a member of the U.S. delegation to the World Conference for International Women's Year in Mexico City in 1975, and the World Conference in Copenhagen in 1980, and in Nairobi in 1985; she is the only person to serve as a U.S. delegate to all three conferences.
Virginia is a Past President of the Michigan and National Federations of Business and Professional Women. From 1977 to 1983, she headed the Graduate School Women's Studies Program at George Washington University. She is the immediate Past President for the U.S. Committee for the UN Fund for Women, Inc., (UIFEM). Also, she is a trustee for the National Foundation for Business and Professional Women.
Virginia graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Michigan and received the University's Outstanding Achievement Award in 1964. She counts among her several distinctions, Honorary Doctor of Laws, Letters, and Public Administration degrees from Olivet College, Central Michigan University and Eastern Michigan respectively (Printable PDF Version).
Gwen Frostic - Class of 1924
Gwen Frostic is most noted for her Presscraft Papers, which she founded in Benzonia, Michigan. Her poetry and artwork are distributed nationally and internationally.
Ms. Frostic's art career began after she received her Michigan State Normal (E.M.U.) degree and completed graduate studies at Western Michigan. She returned to Wyandotte to teach art, both at Roosevelt and privately, and to work on her own artistic creations in copper, brass and silver.
Combining her artistic talent and her entrepreneurship, she founded Presscraft Papers. Her works convey a philosophy of serenity and unity of nature. This philosophy is also the theme of her many volumes of original poetry.
Ms. Frostic embarked on her writing career in 1956 when, as a board member of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women, she wrote her first book, My Michigan, as a gift from the Federation Board to the National officers. She has authored and published 16 books.
Ms. Frostic, a naturalist, is a much sought-after speaker and is involved in community activities. She has received many honorary doctorate degrees from Michigan Universities (Printable PDF Version).
George Gouth - Class of 1950
George Gouth, a premier educator, graduated from Roosevelt High School and returned his talents to the students of the City of Wyandotte. Over the years, George has served as a teacher, band director, and long-time principal. He created the All City Band and Orchestra, as well as the All City Vocal Chorus.
George is extremely well-known as an author and lecturer on Downriver, Wyandotte and Roosevelt High School history. He has authored over fifteen booklets on Wyandotte History.
Community service is George's forte. He has been associated with the City of Wyandotte Recreation Department and the Mayor's Office of Community Development. He was instrumental in organizing the Sister-City Program with Komaki, Japan. George is president of the Wyandotte Historical Society and chairman of the Salvation Army Board (Printable PDF Version).
William R. Griggs - Class of 1960
A paraplegic since 1959, William R. Griggs has worked relentlessly in support of leisure recreation and competitive wheelchair sports for the Disabled. On local, state, and national levels, he has served on numerous committees, to advance the cause of adaptive recreation and wheelchair sports, including membership on the Board of Directors of the National Wheelchair Athletic Commission.
An avid athlete, William R. Griggs has represented the United States in numerous international wheelchair competitions. He is the recipient of the 1971 Jack Gerhardt Outstanding Athlete of the Year Award, the 1980 John Hussey Award, and the coveted 1984 Lord Baden-Powell Award by the Boys Scouts of America.
William R. Griggs has served as City Clerk for the City of Wyandotte since first elected in 1973. He has been recognized as an outstanding citizen by local service clubs and organizations (Printable PDF Version).
William E. Kreger - Class of 1933
William E. Kreger's accomplishments are many and varied. He is a statesman and civic leader, a business professional and a sportsman.
As a business professional, he name and Coca-Cola are linked not only in Wyandotte, but in the State of Michigan and the nation, as owner, director and officer. He has served as a Director and Chairman of the Board of Heritage Federal Savings Bank of Taylor. He was a publisher of the Wyandotte News Herald and a director of Panax Corporation.
Mayor William E. Kreger served Wyandotte for three terms from 1950-1957. He sat on the Wayne County's Road, Public Works, and Metro Airport Commissions from 1955-1970.
As a coach, he was instrumental in bringing rowing to Roosevelt High School in 1940. He was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen and the American Schoolboy Rowing Association, as well as a member of the United States Olympic Rowing Committee.
He is a member of the Michigan Amateur Sports Hall of Fame, and is a recipient of the Frank N. Palamara Memorial Award for contributions to the youth of Wyandotte (Printable PDF Version).
Nickie (Glenna Sotier) McWhirter - Class of 1947
As a charter member of the WAAC class and Roosevelt High School newspaper cartoonist and writer, Nickie McWhirter has distinguished herself as a journalist, author and lecturer.
Nickie McWhirter is a columnist for the Detroit News and is syndicated by Gannett Corporation. Her columns are featured in 82 newspapers throughout the United States. She has been honored as a first place award winner by the Associated Press, the United Press International, and the Detroit Press Club Foundation.
Named a "Headliner" by Women in Communication, Inc., Nicki McWhirter, the author of "Pea Soup" is a respected lecturer at high schools and universities (Printable PDF Version).
Emerson Mehlhose - Class of 1931
Emerson Mehlhose was an important member of the Aviation Club that was organized at Roosevelt High School in 1925. He helped build the first full-sized glider ever constructed in a high school. He went on to build other gliders and airplanes, and became a pilot instructor. He has a commercial pilot license and flies single engine and multi-engine planes.
Emerson Mehlhose is recognized and honored as an Aviation Pioneer of America. He distinguished himself as a record holder of three United States soaring titles for distance and altitude. During World War II, he served as a consultant for the United States Government on aviation projects. He was elected to the National Soaring Hall of Fame in 1974, and is a member of the Quiet Birdmen of America.
Emerson Mehlhose has operated the family business since 1936, and his ice creams are considered the finest in Michigan. The Mehlhose Company has been honored as a Centennial Business in Wyandotte by the State of Michigan.
Emerson Mehlhose has served Wyandotte as a Past Master of the Masonic Lodge 170, and active member of the Congregational Church, and as an officer in the Wyandotte Historical Society (Printable PDF Version).
Elizabeth A. Murray - Class of 1935
Elizabeth Murray has been involved in the field of education for many years. As a teacher for 41 years and a Board of Education member for 25 years, she was in the forefront of policy changes and modernization of facilities.
As a member of the Wyandotte Education Association, she helped lead the challenges which resulted in equal pay for women and the right of married women to teach.
As a member of the Board of Education, she was actively involved in the modernization plans for Roosevelt to meet student needs in the twenty-first century.
Additionally, Ms. Murray has contributed to the community of Wyandotte through participation in civic committees. She was on the planning committees for both the Wyandotte Centennial and the review and revision of the City Charter.
Ms. Murray was instrumental in the formation of the Wyandotte Historical Study Committee, the Wyandotte Human Relations Committee and the Downriver Guidance Clinic.
Because of her experience and expertise, Ms. Murray is frequently asked to serve on panels at the state and local levels to discuss various educational issues. (Printable PDF Version).
Stephen O. Stieler - Class of 1958
A local businessman and civic leader, Stephen O. Stieler joined the Wyandotte Savings Bank as a Management Trainee after graduation from the University of Michigan.
In his distinguished career with Wyandotte Savings Bank, he has served as the Director of Personnel, Assistant Vice President, Vice President, Senior Vice President, Director of Bank, Executive Vice President, and President/CEO. Presently he is First Vice President and Downriver Regional Director, National Bank of Detroit.
Civic activist, Mr. Stieler is Chairman and Director of the Downriver Metroplex Alliance and a member of the Merchants Association of Wyandotte, the Southern Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, the Wyandotte Downtown Development Authority, the Board of Management of the YMCA and the Wyandotte Lions Club. Additionally, he co-chaired the Downriver Business Expo.
A strong supporter of the arts and of education, Mr. Stieler is Director of the Downriver Council for the Arts and a member of its Corporate Fund Drive Committee. He is also Vice President of the Wyandotte Public Schools Foundation (Printable PDF Version).
Thomas (Pointkowski) Tipton - Class of 1945
Teachers at Roosevelt High School recognized Thomas (Pointkowski) Tipton's rich baritone voice, and guided him towards a musical career. In 1950, Thomas Tipton won the Grinnell Foundation Scholarship that provided a contract with the New York Opera Company. Soon he was performing in major opera productions throughout the United States.
In 1957, Thomas Tipton traveled to Munich Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship. He studied opera and was discovered by Conductor Karl Fischer. Acclaimed throughout Europe, his operatic career spanned 33 years.
Thomas Tipton performed in every major festival and opera haus in Europe. He enjoyed the privilege of working under 90 different world class conductors and 50 directors. In 1977, Thomas Tipton received the highest honor in opera, the title of "Kammersanger" by the Bavarian Government (Printable PDF Version).