5 Springfield graduates selected to receive alumni distinction award

Five Springfield City School District graduates were selected to receive the Alumni of Distinction Award for their professional success and community service.

This year’s alumni to be honored include Gary W. Blevins, of Xenia, graduate of North High Class of 1970; Andrew Cutler, of Chicago, graduate of North High Class of 1984; Lisa L. Havens, of Dallas, graduate of North High Class of 1981; Anthony C. Scruse, of East Lyme, Conn., graduate of Springfield High Class of 2010; and Sue Seaman Smedley, of Springfield, graduate of North High Class of 1963.

Blevins is an artist known for stunning wildlife, landscapes, sports action and historical figure portraits. He studied at the Dayton Art Institute and The Ohio State University, and has a studio in Xenia.

He has shown his paintings at museums across the country, such as Terry Redlin Art Center, the Brandywine Museum and the Norman Rockwell Museum, where he was also only the second artist to be invited to paint in the original studio in Arlington, Vermont.

During his career, Blevins was a professional photographer and worked in the printing industry. He speaks to students in schools and organizations about the importance of leveraging their talents, passion and perfecting it through practice, and also donates his work to charitable foundations and public causes.

Cutler is the director of international finance for the airplane manufacturer Boeing, and volunteers as the assistant treasurer with Sail Chicago and as controller for a minority-owned physical therapy practice in Chicago.

At Boeing, he is responsible for the foreign currency and commodity risks, and navigates financial markets such as the 2008 financial crisis, Greek sovereign debt crisis, Brexit and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

He received his B.A. from Valparaiso University, MBA from the University of Illinois, spent a semester at Sorbonne University in Paris, and received Merger & Acquisition training from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Havens, an experienced healthcare lawyer, is chief legal officer at Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest not-for-profit health system in Texas. She is also an adjunt professor for the Texas A&M University System Health Science Center.

She has served as deputy general counsel, chief risk officer and interim chief legal officer, and was previously a partner with Bowmer, Courtney, et al. practicing civil litigation defense.

She received her Juris Doctor from Baylor University School of Law, Master of Science in Nursing, focused on clinical nurse specialist/education from the University of Texas Arlington, and a Bachelor or Science in Nursing from Texas Christian University.

Scruse is a chemist and musician. He works at Pfizer as a synthetic/medicinal chemist in the inflammation & immunology/anti-infectives group in Connecticut.

He graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in chemistry from Morehouse College, received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Yale University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in medicinal chemistry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

During college, Scruse played trumpet in several ensembles and was in the brass choir that performed an original fanfare during President Barack Obama’s commencement address to Morehouse College.

Seaman Smedley has been an active member of the community for decades and paved the way for women in the field of real estate.

She joined the United Appeals (now known as United Way) after graduation and was the first women president of the United Way in Ohio, serving two terms. She was also the first female member of the Clark County Chamber of Commerce to serve as a board of director, trustee and the ambassador club.

She got her real estate license at the age of 21 and opened her own real estate company 13 years later as the president and principal broker, which went on to become one of the largest and most successful firms in the area.

The 18th annual Springfield City School District Alumni of Distinction Award program will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 28, at the Courtyard by Marriott — Downtown Springfield, 100 S. Fountain Ave.

The event is open to the public. The cost is $32 per person, and prepaid reservations are due by April 20.

For reservations, call Sherry Casto at 937-505-2806. They can also be mailed to the Alumni of Distinction Award Committee, 1500 W. Jefferson St., Springfield, OH 45506. Checks should be made out to Springfield City School District, marked in the memo: Alumni Award Dinner and postmarked by April 20 in order to guarantee seating.

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