WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published September 06, 2013, 11:36 AM

Grand Forks Central selects five for Class of Distinguished Alumni

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Grand Forks Central High School has selected five alumni to its inaugural class of Distinguished Alumni.

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Grand Forks Central High School has selected five alumni to its inaugural class of Distinguished Alumni.

Dr. Tom Amberry, Ronald Davies, Hal Gershman, Jeffrey Holmes and Dr. Kathryn Uhrich will be formally inducted during a school assembly on September 13 at 2 p.m. The inductees will also be honored during halftime of the Grand Forks Central football game on September 13 at 7 p.m.

The distinction of Distinguished Alumni is to honor graduates of Grand Forks Central who have made a significant impact on their communities and professions, as well as provide models of success to current Grand Forks Central students.

“We are excited for the opportunity to honor these accomplished alumni of Grand Forks Central,” said Principal Buck Kasowski. “Our school has such great tradition, and events like this help to keep our students connected to that history. The stories of these alumni show the great possibilities in life for our current students.”

The inductees are the first individuals among 128 graduating classes to be honored in this way.

Portraits and biographies of the five inductees will hang in the hallways of Grand Forks Central to be joined by future inductees.

2013 Grand Forks Central Distinguished Alumni Class

Dr. Tom Amberry, ‘40, graduated from Long Beach City College in 1947 and received a M.D. in Podiatric Medicine from the California School of Podiatric Medicine (San Francisco) in 1951. Amberry was commissioned as a Seaman First Class in the United States Navy, served in World War II and participated in the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France. Amberry received the first podiatry clinic license in California and served on the Board of Trustees of California College of Podiatric Medicine for 20 years. Amberry is a nationally-known lecturer and author of several journal articles on podiatric surgery. Amberry is also a world champion free throw shooter and has earned several accolades. In 1993, at the age of 71, Amberry set the Guinness Book of World Record for most consecutive free throws made in a row (2,750). Amberry has taught free throw shooting technique in all 50 states, 104 countries and five continents.

Ronald Davies, ’22, graduated with a B.A. from the University of North Dakota in 1927 and a J.D. from Georgetown University in 1930. Davies was commissioned First Lieutenant in the United States Army, serving in World War II. Davies was elected Grand Forks Municipal Judge from 1932-1940, had a private legal practice in Grand Forks from 1940-1942, and was a part-time Executive Director of the North Dakota Bar Association and UND law professor from 1946-1955. In 1955, Davies was appointed U.S. District Judge for the District of North Dakota. In 1957, Davies was temporarily assigned to assist Arkansas District Court in handling a backlog of cases. While in that assignment,

Davies ordered a preliminary injunction against the governor of Arkansas to desegregate Little Rock Central High School. Davies was named an Outstanding Georgetown Law School Alumnus in 1958 and he received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of North Dakota in 1961. In 1979, Davies received the University of North Dakota’s highest alumni honor, The Sioux Award. Davies was the recipient of the Theodore Roosevelt Rough Rider Award in 1987. Davies died in 1996.

Hal Gershman, ’61, received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of North Dakota in 1966. As a member of the Peace Corps, Gershman worked for the Ministry of Public Health in Bolivia in 1966. Gershman has had several business endeavors, which includes founding Happy’s Pizza chain in Mexico City in 1968 and becoming the President of Happy Harry’s Bottle Shop and Gershman Enterprises in 1976. In 2006, Gershman was selected Governor’s Choice for Economic Development Ambassador of the Year. That same year, Gershman was also the recipient of The Sioux Award. Gershman is the President of the Grand Forks City Council.

Jeffrey Holmes, ’83, received a B.S. in Architecture from Cornell University and a Master of Science in Architecture Studies (SMArchS) in History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Holmes is employed by Woods Bagot, an architectural firm, as the Lead Architect for the New York studio and is the design leader for Woods Bagot’s Global Studio. Through his work, Holmes has developed and designed projects in New York, China, India and Australia. Holmes received the Presidential Citation for contributions in rebuilding the World Trade Center during the annual convention of The American Institute of Architects. Holmes is a lead designer of One World Trade Center (formerly known as the Freedom Tower) in New York City.

Kathryn Uhrich, ’83, received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of North Dakota in 1986 and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Cornell University in 1992. Uhrich is a professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and the Dean of Mathematical and Physical Sciences department at Rutgers University. Uhrich is also the Executive Director of The Uhrich Group Laboratory, which is dedicated to the synthesis and characterization of biocompatible and biodegradable polymers for dental, medical and cosmetic applications. Uhrich has received several honors and awards, including the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award from the New Jersey Research and Development Council in 2003, the Buck-Whitney Award from the American Chemical Society in 2005, and The Sioux Award in 2012.