The 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards
The following individuals were honored as MCC's 2017 Distinguished Alumni on October 12, 2017 at our Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner and Ceremony.
Curt Carter has served the Lapeer community for many years. Retiring as Chairman of Lapeer County Bank & Trust after 48 years of service in 2014, he has personified the epitome of excellence in business, civic leadership and philanthropy throughout his career. Graduating with an Associate’s degree in Business Administration from MCC, he also attended Ball State University Independent Bankers School; University of Wisconsin Graduate School of Banking; the University of Michigan Graduate School of Banking and Harvard University Institute for Financial Management. Serving at the helm of Lapeer County Bank & Trust (now Lakestone Bank & Trust) as President from 1983 to 2006, and Chairman from 2006 to 2014, he has worked tirelessly to make Lapeer a great place to live, work and conduct business. Starting his career at Lapeer County Bank & Trust as a bank teller, he quickly rose through the ranks. A founding member of the Lapeer Development Corporation, the countywide economic development organization, Carter created a legacy of community service enhancing the quality of life in Lapeer County. He has been honored with numerous accolades for community service and civic involvement throughout his career, including the Banker of the Year from Michigan Association of Bankers; the Lapeer Area Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award and the Lapeer Jaycees Distinguished Service Award. Carter’s community involvement is extensive. He has served as charter board member and chairman of the City of Lapeer’s Downtown Development Authority; Lapeer Economic Development Corp.; Lapeer Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and others. Curt Carter remains actively involved with various organizations in his retirement, including the Lapeer County Community Foundation; Lapeer Optimist Club, The Economic Club of Lapeer County and Lapeer Development Corp.
As Speaker of the Michigan State House of Representatives, Bobby Crim didn’t just concern himself with matters of state. He was constantly in touch with his constituency, which is how he learned about Special Olympics. Bobby was so moved by a 1976 Special Olympics event that he decided to create an event to raise money and awareness for the cause. From that motivation, the idea for the Crim 10-Mile race was born. Bobby Crim attended Flint Junior College following his service in the U.S. Army. His higher education led to a career as a teacher, state representative and Speaker of the House, and as co-founder of the lobbying firm Governmental Consultant Services, Inc., which remains a successful organization today. Through all the ups and downs that Flint has experienced, the Crim has consistently put our community in a positive spotlight. Bobby’s vision sparked a path for the creation of the Crim Fitness Foundation that has grown far beyond the race, fostering the idea that health and wellness should be a priority for everyone in the community, regardless of background or ability. Now, with the Health Alliance Plan (HAP) Crim Festival of Races and the Crim Fitness Foundation, Bobby’s legacy is truly widespread and long-lasting. Today the HAP Crim Festival of Races is a celebration of a lifelong commitment to health and fitness. It inspires people of all abilities, from elite racers to first-time walkers. It has grown to include walkers and wheelers through several events. In August 2017, nearly 10,000 people participated in the Crim’s 41st 10-mile race – fueling Bobby Crim’s vision of a community where health, wellness, and active living are priorities for families and individuals of all ages and abilities.
Sheila Gafney has made a huge impact in the lives of many special needs youth across the community. After earning a degree from MCC in 1976, she went on to Northern Michigan University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Physical Education in 1978, then a Master's Degree in Adaptive Physical Education from Michigan State University in 1984. She has worked as an Adaptive Physical Education Teacher for the Genesee Intermediate School District’s Elmer Knopf Learning Center since 1986. In addition to exemplary work at Elmer Knopf as teacher and coach, Sheila serves as the Director of Michigan Special Olympics for Area 13 (Genesee and Lapeer Counties). Having coached Special Olympics now for 34 years in gymnastics, swimming, athletics, bocce, horseshoes, basketball and volleyball, her teams have received many bronze, silver and gold medals. In 2015, her team won a gold medal in Volleyball at the World Games in Los Angeles, Calif. Her current work with Special Olympics has been documented by ESPN magazine in a feature article, culminating in her volleyball team winning the gold medal at the Special Olympics World Games in 2016. Another awesome moment happened July 2017 when one of her athletes received an honorary ESPY award, sharing the stage with Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver, awarded the ESPY’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Sheila’s humanitarianism extends beyond her work at Elmer Knopf and efforts with Special Olympics. She has taken in players without safe, stable home environments into her home, becoming a legal guardian and made them part of her family. She has received numerous awards, including two Coaches of the Year awards in Special Olympics and the Julian Stein Award (the father of adapted physical education in the U.S.)
Dr. William Kotowicz is Dean Emeritus and Professor of Dentistry at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Earning an Associate of Science Degree from Flint Junior College in 1962, he obtained his Doctorate of Dental Surgery from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 1966 and a Master of Science Degree in Denture Prosthodontics from UM’s Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies in 1968. Dr. Kotowicz joined the University of Michigan School of Dentistry faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1969, was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 1971, and to Professor in 1974. He served as Interim Dean of the School of Dentistry from July 1987 to October 1989. In October 1989, Dr. Kotowicz was appointed Senior Associate Dean of the School of Dentistry, a position he held until his appointment as Acting Dean in the fall of 1995. On January 1, 1997, he became Dean of the School of Dentistry. He has been a visiting professor at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Dentistry and the Zahnarzliches Institut at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Dr. Kotowicz has also served as a guest professor at the Universitat Bern in Switzerland and as a dental consultant. He maintains both a dental license and a specialty license in prosthodontics and provides dental care in the School's intramural Dental Faculty Associates practice. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics, a Fellow in the Academy of Prosthodontics, and a member of Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU) and Phi Kappa Phi honorary societies, serving as President and Secretary of OKU. Memberships in which he remains active are the American Association of Dental Schools, the American and International Associations for Dental Research, the American Dental Associations, Michigan Dental Association, and the Michigan Society of Prosthodontics. Among his greatest achievements was the UM’s School of Dentistry’s major expansion into community outreach programs that provide oral health care services to thousands across Michigan. Under his leadership, the school launched several strategic partnerships with community-based organizations to provide services primarily to the underserved. Those partnerships were also a major step toward the School’s efforts toward expansion of community-based education offered to students in the dental and dental hygiene programs. He remains active in community service.