The Maryland Awards Honor Those Doing Good, Spreading Maryland Spirit
The Alumni Association's annual gala, A Celebration of Terps: Featuring the Maryland Awards, will honor six people tonight for their achievements and service.
A beloved sports broadcaster. An architect working to build lasting homes for Native people. A former Peace Corps volunteer who dedicated her career to the betterment of people around the world.
Tonight, these Terps and more will be honored at A Celebration of Terps: Featuring the Maryland Awards, a signature event of UMD’s Alumni Association that annually celebrates the achievements of six remarkable people. The event will be livestreamed tonight at 7.
“I am excited to honor these six Fearless Terps, all of whom serve as role models for our students and alums and who have made significant contributions to the university,” said Amy Eichhorst, Alumni Association executive director and assistant vice president, alumni relations. “I encourage everyone from the Maryland community to join us in celebrating these Terps during our virtual awards ceremony."
Read on to learn more about the recipients of tonight’s awards.
Jody K. Olsen Ph.D. '79
Former Peace Corps Director
Josephine (Jody) Olsen led the global service organization from March 2018 until this past January. She began her career as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tunisia from 1966 to 1968 and has served the agency in multiple leadership positions, most recently making the difficult decision during the COVID-19 pandemic to evacuate all volunteers, and then to plan their safe return to their posts. Olsen over the years has also served as visiting professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and as director of that university’s Center for Global Engagement, developing inter-professional global health projects for students. She also oversaw health research projects in Malawi while teaching courses on international social work, global social policy and global women and children’s health.
Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
Jazz Lewis ’11, MPP ’14
Democratic Caucus Chair, Maryland State Delegate
Del. Jazz Lewis, who represents Maryland’s 24th Legislative District, is a lifelong resident of Prince George’s County. He began his career as a community organizer in Baltimore, where he learned that quality jobs with living wages change communities. Lewis’ core philosophy is that organized and active communities produce better outcomes for their children’s education, their local economies and their public safety. Lewis currently works as a senior policy adviser for Congressman Steny Hoyer ’63, majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, and previously served as executive director of Hoyer’s Maryland political organization.
Do Good Award
L. Seth Statler MBA ’87
Director of Government Affairs, National Fire Protection Association
Seth Statler leads the government affairs team for the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the global nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. Statler manages NFPA's relationships with Congress, the executive branch, and major fire service and safety organizations. From 2009 to 2017, Statler served as NASA's associate administrator for legislative and intergovernmental affairs. Previously, Statler led congressional affairs for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. Statler is a resident of College Park and a member of the College Park Volunteer Fire Department.
Tyser Gottwals Award
Wanda Alexis Alexander ’81
President and CEO, WAA-LLC
Wanda Alexis Alexander is an entrepreneur and native Washingtonian who served as president of the Alumni Association Board of Governors from 2015 to 2017. In 2013, Alexander was awarded the Office of Undergraduate Studies’ Distinguished Alumni Award, and she currently serves as a member of the board of trustees for the University of Maryland College Park Foundation. Alexander owns the government contracting firm Horizon Consulting Inc. She also started Wanda Alexis Alexander LLC to mentor future business leaders. In 2009, Alexander established a University of Maryland endowment in honor of her parents, Samuel and Grace Alexander, to ensure their ongoing legacy of education.
Elaine Johnson Coates Award
Joseph Kunkel M.Arch. ’09
Principal, MASS Design Group
Director, Sustainable Native Communities Design Lab
Joseph Kunkel, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, focuses on the research, design and construction of exemplary Native American Indian housing nationwide. From 2013 to 2016, Kunkel led the construction of a 41-unit low-income housing development supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and ArtPlace America. In 2019, Kunkel was awarded an Obama Foundation Fellowship for his work exploring transformational change that aligns with Indigenous values and worldviews.
Spirit of Maryland Award
Voice of Maryland Basketball and Football
For 42 years, sportscaster Johnny Holliday has been the “voice of the Maryland Terrapins,” broadcasting more than 1,500 Terp football and men’s basketball games, including 16 bowl games, 12 Sweet 16s, two Final Fours and Maryland’s national basketball championship win in 2002. He’s also handled play-by-play duties for the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals and National Gymnastics events. In 2003, Holliday was inducted into the Radio and Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He has been seen onstage in leading roles in “Carnival,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and many other productions. In addition, Holliday has hosted a charity golf tournament for the last 15-plus years that has raised more than $1.5 million to send students to a five-week, character-building summer camp.
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