Six Recipients Chosen for 2020 Alumni Council Awards

Friday, January 17, 2020

Mercersburg Academy’s Alumni Council announces the 2020 recipients of six awards presented to alumni for their service and leadership. This year’s honorees are Rick Witmer ’70 (Alumni Council Medal for Distinguished Achievement), Jim McClelland ’55 and Ivon Rohrer ’60 (Alumni Council Medal for Distinguished Service), Gill Tatman-Tyree ’95 (Alumni Council Prize for Achievement), Andrew Miller ’00 (Alumni Council Prize for Service), and Alexis Imler Gray ’05 (Young Alumni Leadership Award).

Top row (L-R): Rick Witmer ’70, Jim McClelland ’55, Ivon Rohrer ’60. Bottom row: Gill Tatman-Tyree ’95, Andrew Miller ’00, Alexis Imler Gray ’05.


Alumni Council Medal for Distinguished Achievement: Rick Witmer ’70

Rick Witmer is a partner at Brown Brothers Harriman & Company, which serves individuals, families, businesses, and institutions in private banking, investment management, and investor services. He has helped focus, strengthen, and grow BBH’s private banking and investment management businesses and served as a portfolio manager for equity strategies. Rick and his wife, Jeannie, established Mercersburg’s Witmer Family Scholar Endowed Fund, which covers full tuition at the Academy for a deserving student applicant; he has also contributed to the Barry M. Bergh Fund for Teaching Excellence and co-chaired the New York region for the school’s Mightily Onward campaign.

Rick graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University (studying abroad at the London School of Economics as an undergraduate) and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. As a Mercersburg student, he played soccer, squash, and lacrosse, was a member of Class Council and the Honor Committee, served as a Chapel Usher, and was an editor on the staff of the Mercersburg News. He was awarded the Headmaster’s Prize and Yale University Aurelian Prize at Commencement. 

Rick and Jeannie are members of the school’s McDowell Society, William Mann Irvine Society, and Via Lucis Society, and are Torchbearers with 46 consecutive years of giving. The Witmers live in Greenwich, Connecticut, and are the parents of three children.

The Alumni Council Medal for Distinguished Achievement was established in 1997 to recognize alumni who have distinguished themselves in their professional or personal lives and, in doing so, have brought honor to Mercersburg.

Alumni Council Medal for Distinguished Service: Jim McClelland ’55 and Ivon Rohrer ’60

Jim McClelland retired as director and secretary of the Greater Huntington [West Virginia] Park & Recreation District, a post he held from 1979 to 2011. He is a past recipient of the National Park and Recreation Association Southeast Region Conference’s Harold E. Meyer Professional Award, which is the highest acclamation presented to a professional in the field of parks and recreation and is considered one of the most prestigious in the nation. Jim served as an adjunct professor at Marshall University and previously worked for the Wilkes-Barre Recreation Board and the Allegheny County Park and Recreation Department.

Jim earned a bachelor's degree from Indiana University and a graduate degree from the College of Wooster. He served on Mercersburg’s Alumni Council from 2010 to 2018. As a student, Jim was a member of the football, baseball, and wrestling teams and the Marshall Society. He has served as a member of his 60th reunion committee, as an event volunteer for the Alumni Military reunion in 2012, as an Annual Fund caller, and he is currently serving on his 65th reunion committee. Jim is also a Torchbearer with 23 consecutive years of giving. Jim and his wife, Sue, have two children and live in Huntington.

Ivon Rohrer is the founder and president of Development-Management Incorporated, which has developed more than 40 community shopping centers (comprising almost 5 million square feet) in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. He handles the development, management, and leasing of commercial properties, and is responsible for land acquisitions, site evaluations, demographic studies, and major tenant negotiations. Before founding DMI in 1976, Ivon was vice president of real estate and expansion for Eckerd Drugs.

Ivon earned a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and served as a forward air control pilot in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. At Mercersburg, he has served as a regional event host for gatherings in North Carolina, he’s served as a North Carolina Host Committee member during the school’s Daring to Lead Campaign, and he is currently serving as a member of his 60th reunion committee. Ivon has served on a number of boards, including for the Southern Highland Appalachian Conservancy, the Charlotte Citizens Veterans Committee, and for the Boy Scouts of America’s Charlotte-Mecklenburg area. 

Ivon and his wife, Blair, are members of the William Mann Irvine Society, the Via Lucis Society, and are Torchbearers with 11 consecutive years of giving. The Rohrers live in Charlotte, North Carolina, and they have three children.

The Alumni Council Medal for Distinguished Service was established in 1957 to recognize alumni who have made outstanding contributions toward Mercersburg’s mission and continued excellence at the school, as reflected in its faculty, student body, facilities, and financial strength.

Alumni Council Prize for Achievement: Maj. Gill Tatman-Tyree ’95

Gill Tatman-Tyree is a U.S. Army foreign area officer who is serving as Army attaché in the Defense Attaché Office at the U.S. Embassy in Rabat, Morocco. He has previously served as an officer at U.S. embassies in Budapest, Hungary, and Vilnius, Lithuania. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he was commissioned a second lieutenant. Gill served three deployments to Iraq (as a pilot, flight platoon leader, and operations officer in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn) and was also stationed in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Germany.

Among his many awards and decorations are the Meritorious Service Medal; Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Army Achievement Medal (all with one Oak Leaf Cluster); the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and Iraq Campaign Medal (with three Service Stars); and the NATO Medal. Gill presented Mercersburg Academy with an American flag flown by a U.S. Army RC-12N aircraft during a 2007 combat reconnaissance mission over Iraq.

While a student at Mercersburg, Gill played varsity soccer and was a member of the Jazz Band, Class Council, and the African-American Student Union. Gill and Ann are Torchbearers with 13 consecutive years of giving. They have three children.

The Alumni Council Prize for Achievement was established in 2016 to recognize alumni within 25 years after graduation who have distinguished themselves in their professional or personal lives and, in doing so, have brought honor to Mercersburg.

Alumni Council Prize for Service: Andrew Miller ’00

Andrew Miller is the director of strategy at Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility Division, where his team works to implement Hyundai’s vision for human-centered cities of the future (which mostly involves thinking about how, when, and where air taxis should operate). He previously worked at McKinsey & Company advising aerospace and defense clients, and at ARES Corporation as a manager of business development, supporting the company's NASA, Department of Defense, and Department of Energy portfolios.

Andrew is a graduate of Harvard University and Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. He is also an Eagle Scout and received the Silver Antelope Award for distinguished service from the Boy Scouts of America’s Northeast Region. At Mercersburg, he earned the Head of School’s Prize and was the Schaff Orator at Commencement, served as editor-in-chief of the Mercersburg News, was president of (and first-place declaimer for) the Irving Society, was chosen for the Fifteen and the Cum Laude Society, served as a dorm prefect, and was active in Stony Batter Players, the Jazz Band, and Chorale. 

Andrew served on Mercersburg’s Alumni Council for six years, served as a class agent for fifteen years, served as an Annual Fund caller, a regional event host for the Boston area, served on his 15th reunion committee, and he is currently serving as the chair of his 20th reunion committee. He is a member of the William Mann Irvine Society and is a Torchbearer with 20 consecutive years of giving (a perfect record). Andrew lives in Boulder, Colorado.

The Alumni Council Prize for Service was established in 2016 to recognize alumni within 25 years after graduation who have made outstanding contributions toward Mercersburg’s mission and continued excellence at the school, as reflected in its faculty, student body, facilities, and financial strength.

Young Alumni Leadership Award: Alexis Imler Gray ’05

Alexis Imler Gray works as a senior analyst at eviCore Healthcare, where she is responsible for building and delivering insightful analytics in support of operations relating to sales, marketing, program management, and finance. Her work includes manipulating and leveraging large volumes of internal and external data to deliver analytics to executive leadership and external clients. Prior to her current position, Alexis worked in the energy sector for both MarkWest Energy Partners and Consol Energy.

Alexis earned a bachelor’s degree from Duquesne University and holds a master’s in applied statistics and economics from Clemson University. She chaired her 5th and 10th reunion committee at Mercersburg, and is currently serving on the committee for her 15th reunion, as well as the Alumni Council. Alexis has served as a class agent since graduation and is a longtime Annual Fund caller. As a student at Mercersburg, Alexis was a prefect, captain of the cross country team, and president of Model UN. 

Alexis is a member of the William Mann Irvine Society and a Torchbearer with 15 consecutive years of giving. She lives in Bluffton, South Carolina, with her two children.

The Young Alumni Leadership Award was established in 2016 to recognize alumni within 15 years after graduation whose achievements have demonstrated excellence in their profession and service to their community, the public, humanity, or Mercersburg, embodying the values, spirit, and pride of the school.

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All six award recipients will be honored along with Class of ’32 Distinguished Alumnus Award recipients Paul Mellott ’70 and Deborah Simon ’74 at a dinner Thursday, June 4, which serves as the official kickoff of Reunion Weekend 2020.

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Class of ’32 Award Recipients
The Class of ’32 Distinguished Alumnus Award is Mercersburg’s highest honor, presented annually to an alum who has most distinguished himself or herself through character, service, and achievement. This year the school recognizes Deborah J. Simon ’74 and Paul C. Mellott Jr. ’70.

Deborah Simon is chair of the Simon Youth Foundation, whose mission is to foster alternative educational and mentoring opportunities, and serves on the boards of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Youth Renewal Fund, the Indianapolis Zoo, the Indiana Museum of Art, the Herron School of Art at Indiana University, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Foundation, and The Juilliard School. She is past chair of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and former senior vice president of Simon Property Group, one of the largest real-estate companies in the world.

At Mercersburg, Simon participated in Stony Batter Players, the Chorale, and the Mercersburg News. She was a member of the Fifteen, served as a dormitory prefect, and was a declaimer for the Irving Society.

Simon served as a member of the Board of Regents from 1992 to 1994 and was re-elected in 2000. She has served as president of Mercersburg Academy’s Board of Regents since 2017. Simon received the Alumni Council Service Award in 2009 and was co-chair of the Daring to Lead Campaign (which raised more than $300 million).

“Debbie’s genuine love for the school comes through so loudly because of how it genuinely impacted her. She finds so much joy in giving back to the school,” says Board of Regents President Emerita Denise Dupré ’76. “She has, every step of the way in her tenure on the Board, been an advocate for making the school a better place, and she steps up to the plate with her ideas, wisdom, and incredible generosity. Debbie doesn’t just talk the talk, she walks the walk, and it’s often at a prodigious pace—so you’d better be ready to go fast if you’re going to be on her team.”

Her great love for her alma mater was fervently displayed in the fall of 2013 with the announcement of a $100 million lead gift to Mercersburg’s Daring to Lead Campaign. At the time, her gift was the second-largest gift ever made to an independent school in the U.S. The Burgin Center for the Arts’ Simon Theatre, the Simon Student Center, and the Prentiss Center for Alumni and Parents at North Cottage are among the visible results of Simon’s generous support of Mercersburg. Her gift is being used to broaden tuition assistance toward the school’s goal of access and affordability, while also enhancing programming and assisting faculty with advanced education, sabbaticals, and other benefits. She has been a leadership donor with 39 consecutive years of giving to the Annual Fund, and is a member of the McDowell Society and Marshall and Irving Alliance. Simon has also established more than a dozen endowed funds, supporting nearly every facet of the Mercersburg community.

Simon, a graduate of the University of Southern California, lives in Carmel, Indiana. She enjoys traveling and divides her time between philanthropic interests and investment work.

Paul Mellott is chairman of Mellott Company, a three-generation family company supporting customers in aggregate, slag, construction, and environmental industries in Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania. Mellott joined the company in 1974.

Mellott graduated from Mercersburg in 1970 and received a bachelor’s degree in business from Boston University in 1974. During his tenure at Mercersburg, he was a member of the French Club, played basketball and golf, and served as a Blue Key, Chapel Usher, proctor, and president of the Irving Society.

“Paul has been a lifelong supporter of Mercersburg,” says Regent Emerita Gail Reeder and her husband Jeff P ’97, ’00. “Among his classmates and in his community he is a proud advocate for the school, promoting it to anyone who will listen. He is a respected leader in his industry and his community. It is an honor to call Paul a friend.”

Mellott Company turns 100 years old in 2020 and has become a respected industry leader in its core competency, which is crushing stone. The company has expanded into the fields of distribution of new and used crushing and screening equipment, engineering, systems, parts, and service.

Mellott served from 1991 to 2018 on the National Stone Sand and Gravel Association Executive Committee, including a term as chairman of the board. He was chairman for 21 years of ROCKPAC, one of the top 20 political action committees in the U.S. In recognition for building the industry’s influence on Capitol Hill, NSSGA created the annual Paul C. Mellott Award for Political Excellence. The NSSGA named Mellott the 2006 recipient of the Barry K. Wendt Memorial Commitment Award for his dedication to the aggregate industry. In 2011, Mellott was named AggMan of the Year as the executive that has made a profound and lasting impact in the industry.
 
Mellott has served on the boards of many professional and community organizations, including the Community Foundation of Washington County, Penn-Mar Development Company, and the Hagerstown Trust Company.

He has been a leader at Mercersburg, having served as a class agent for 45 years, a William Mann Irvine Society Annual Fund chair, a Mightily Onward Campaign capital gift solicitor, and a Daring to Lead Campaign host committee member. Mellott is a leadership donor with 39 consecutive years of giving to the Annual Fund, and is a member of the Via Lucis Society and the Marshall and Irving Alliance. In 2015, he established the Mellott Brothers Scholarship Fund with his brothers, Herm ’72 and Brian ’75. Mellott is serving as co-chair of the Class of 1970’s 50th Reunion Committee.

Mellott focuses his local philanthropy on education initiatives for youth. In 1993, his company adopted Southern Fulton Junior/Senior High School, and developed a program which included the following: autumn field trip to the Mellott Company campus, a campus tour, teaching the students about the five Mellott Company values, partnering with seniors to pattern their projects on one of the five values, awarding five scholarships to the best project presentations, and conducting spring mock job interviews. In 2015, his company established Mellott University, which is a nine-month program for students who are interested in a career in the aggregate industry.