Lake Erie College will honor four alumni at the Painesville college’s homecoming weekend Oct. 4 to Oct. 6, according to a news release from the college.
• Paige Nemec has been named a young alumni. She graduated from LEC in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and a minor in biology. She is an associate scientist at Precision BioSciences, Inc. in Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Nemec’s early athletic career began at age 5 when she became one of the first female wrestlers on her team. At 17 she made history by being the first woman in Ohio history to win 100 varsity wrestling matches and state championships, all of which were against boys. She joined the Lake Erie Storm community, playing soccer during her collegiate years, with 65 career goals, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. While attending LEC, Nemec found her passion for science, inspired by Deborah Schulman’s class on the immune system. As a result, Nemec became an undergraduate research assistant at LEC, and landed a research internship at Lubrizol Corporation. After graduating, she spent two years at the Comparative Medicine Institute as an associate member where she garnered grants to identify biomarkers in canine cancers that promote metastasis and analyzed the use of viruses to fight cancer. She spent four years teaching medical microbiology and general microbiology labs to undergraduate students at North Carolina State University as a teaching assistant while she pursued her graduate and doctoral degrees.
Distinguished alumni include the following:
• Judy Wicks graduated in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Judy is an author, activist and entrepreneur. She founded Philadelphia’s White Dog Café in 1983, a first in the farm to table movement and a model in sustainable business practices. She is the founder of Fair Food Philly and the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia and the nationwide Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. In her retail career, Wicks founded Black Cat, which featured local made and fair-trade gifts for 20 years. In 1970, Wicks co-founded the original Free People’s Store, now well known as Urban Outfitters (no longer affiliated). She earned local and national awards, including the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award, the International Association of Culinary Professionals Humanitarian Award, and the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Lifetime Achievement Award. Wicks was inducted into the University Science Center’s Innovators Walk of Fame in 2016. “Good Morning, Beautiful Business,” Wicks’ acclaimed memoir, won a national gold medal for business leadership and has been translated into Chinese and Korean. Wicks continues her work to build a new economy of businesses and mentors for the next generation of entrepreneurs in Philadelphia.
• Deborah Royce earned her degree from Lake Erie College in 1980, graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in modern foreign languages (French and Italian) and a minor in dance. She began her career as an actress in film and television. Her big break came with the leading role of Silver Kane, sister of the legendary Erica Kane, on the long running ABC soap opera, “All My Children.” Royce went on to star in many feature films such as “The Deliberate Stranger” with Mark Harmon and “Liberace.” Television appearances include “Beverly Hills 90210” and “21 Jump Street.” Deborah stepped behind the screen after her move to Paris in 1992 with her daughters and husband, Chuck Royce, as a reader for Le Studio Canal Plus. Returning to the United States, Deborah transitioned to Miramax Films as a story editor for films like “Emma,” “Walking and Talking” by Nicole Holofcener, and early versions of “Chicago” and “A Wrinkle in Time.” Deborah wrote her first novel, “Finding Mrs. Ford” in 2019. Other contributions include restoration projects including, the Avon Theatre Film Center in 2004 (avontheatre.org), the Ocean House, the Weekapaug Inn, and the Deer Mountain Inn; a bookstore (The Savoy in Westerly, R.I.), and Main Street revitalization projects in Tannersville, N.Y. and Westerly, R.I. The next renovation will be the United Theatre arts complex in Westerly.
• Richard Stark graduated with a Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, in 1992 and with a Master of Business Administration in 1993. He completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program through Cuyahoga Community College and Babson College, and is a member of Mensa International and Who’s Who in America. Stark is a project engineer at Avery Dennison Performance Tapes. For over 23 years, he was president of South Shore Controls, Inc, which has been honored by the Lake-Geauga Fast Track 50 12 times, mentioned on the Weatherhead 100 and received the Governor’s Excellence in Workers Compensation award as one of the safest workplaces in Ohio, as well as recognized as the fastest growing integrator in the world by Rockwell Automation.
For the last 10 years, South Shore Controls, Inc. has been in the Lakeland Community College Business Hall of Fame. Stark’s dedication to Lake Erie College continued when he joined Lake Erie College’s Board of Directors to help drive the commitment to provide an excellent, inclusive and highly personalized education grounded in the liberal arts tradition for students today and in the future, according to the release.
Alumni nominate young alumni (10 years post-graduation) and distinguished alumni. Nominees’ names are then sent to the National Alumni Board, which selects the final awardees based on organizational memberships, achievements and contributions to the community, education, arts and science, and awards and honors. Candidates must exemplify Lake Erie College’s mission to lead lives of personal significance and professional success as global citizens.