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Alyssa Bish Receives Ron Holt Civic Engagement Award

Published Saturday, May 9th, 2015

2015 Ron Holt Civic Engagement Award
Left to right: Finalists Michaela Dahmer, Jeremy Fricke, and Alyssa Bish attended the luncheon for Dr. Ron Holt's Civic Engagement Award. Bish won the award.

Wayne State College President Curt Frye and Dr. Ron Holt presented Alyssa Bish of Aurora the 2015 Ron Holt Civic Engagement Award on May 8.

Wayne State College President Curt Frye and Dr. Ron Holt presented Alyssa Bish of Aurora the 2015 Ron Holt Civic Engagement Award on May 8. Holt, a 1989 Wayne State alumnus, annually recognizes a WSC senior with a "You Make a Difference'' plaque, medallion and a $500 award upon graduation. Finalists for the award included Jeremy Fricke of Fremont and Michaela Dahmer of Omaha, who were also awarded with plaques and medallions at the May 8 luncheon in honor of the three outstanding graduates.

Bish was honored for serving as an exemplary role model and contributing to service at the college and community at large during her college career, which included service‐learning academics and co‐curricular projects. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication with an emphasis in organizational leadership and public relations and a minor in sociology.

Fricke will be attending the University of Iowa in the fall to go into Religious Studies. He has been co-president of Pi Gamma Mu Social Sciences Honor Society; first president of IAG and has been active in promoting religious tolerance and understanding. He helped plan for Saraswati Puja, with Dr. Meena Dalal, a Hindu ceremony to honor the goddess of knowledge. He helped organize "Education is Not a Crime," a documentary about the plight of Baha'i students in Iran; helped bring to campus "The Citizen," a movie about an Arab man who arrives in the U.S. the day before 9/11 and is accused of involvement in the plot; organized a field trip to Omaha to visit a Hindu temple and to the Islamic Center to observe midday prayers and the Zen Buddhist Center to meditate. He also was instrumental in creating the Middle East panel at Wayne State College with speakers representing Judaism, Islam, Christianity and the Baha'i Faith, all with roots in the Middle East. 

Fricke was named a 2015 Campus Compact Newman Civic Fellow. The award recognizes public involvement and motivation to create lasting change. 

Dahmer will be attending graduate school in Iowa to study history. She served as secretary and historian of Pi Gamma Mu, a group that created their first all-digital scrapbook this year. She also helped form Interfaith Action Group (IAG) last spring and was elected first secretary. She worked to establish the group charter and funding from the Student Activities Board. This fall she organized and hosted Maisha Godari, "Women in Islam"; Doug Dittman, Buddhism in Nebraska; Milton Miller, Native American Church; and has worked to move the IAG group forward.

“Each of us has unique knowledge, skills, and abilities that can be used to help others,’’ Holt said. “We each have the ability to make a difference in our own special way.”

Holt is an attending psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in South San Francisco, Calif. Throughout his educational and professional career, Holt has exhibited outstanding accomplishments as a strong advocate and champion of civic engagement and community service. Holt has received several awards for his community service across the country. He has been awarded the College’s 2004 Alumni Service Award and the 2012 Alumni Achievement Award.

In addition to his valued work as a trustee of the Wayne State Foundation, Holt has created numerous endowed and annual scholarships at Wayne State College. He began his first annual scholarship in 1989 while a WSC senior.