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Pittsburg State University’s Meritorious Achievement Award recipients for 2013 couldn’t be a more diverse group.
One is a Las Vegas performer who has been a favorite pianist of presidents from Carter to Obama. Another is a retired executive who was responsible for tens of billions of dollars of business for one of the nation’s largest insurance companies. The third is a woman who began her career as a speech and English teacher and today is the warden of a federal detention center housing everything from persons facing minor federal charges to accused terrorists awaiting trial.
PSU will honor Catherine Stareck Linaweaver, David Osborne and Gary Grant with its Meritorious Achievement Award on Friday, April 19. The three will speak about their experiences during an open panel at 3:30 in the lower level of the Wilkinson Alumni Center before moving upstairs for a reception in their honor at 4:30 p.m.
“This year’s Meritorious Achievement Award recipients are a fascinating group of people,” said Johnna Schremmer, director of alumni and constituent relations. “The diversity and level of accomplishment among PSU’s 55,000 alumni continues to amaze us and this year’s group of honorees is a good example of that.”
Catherine Stareck Linaweaver
Warden of the Metropolitan Correction Center in New York
Catherine Stareck Linaweaver earned her BSED, majoring in communication, from PSU in 1981. She taught at Lansing High School in 1982-83 and continued her career as a teacher at the U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kan., from 1990-96.
Linaweaver was named supervisor of education at the Federal Correctional Institution in Greenville, Ill., in 1996, and then education administrator in the North Central Regional Office in Kansas City, Kan., in 1999. She was named associate warden of the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Mo., in 2004, where she served until she was selected as associate warden of the U.S. Penitentiary at Big Sandy, Ky.
In 2011, Linaweaver was chosen to become the warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, Ill. At that facility, she was responsible for about 640 inmates awaiting trial and about 110 low-security inmates.
Linaweaver held that post until this spring, when she was named warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York. Located in lower Manhattan, this 12-story facility is one of the most complicated operations in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The MCC houses approximately 840 persons ranging in security level from inmates facing minimal federal charges to accused international terrorists awaiting trial. The MCC has a team of forensic psychologists who perform about 105 comprehensive studies every year. The institution provides the bureau's only Methadone Treatment Program and houses the largest number of inmates under the protection of the Treaty Transfer Program.
Linaweaver is a recipient of the 2003 Distinguished Law Enforcement Award from the Federal Executive Board in Kansas City, and was named 2012 Warden of the Year by the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents.
Linaweaver served on the PSU Alumni Association Board of Directors in 2006-07 and as alumni adviser for her sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma, in 2002-2004.
“I received many opportunities to assume leadership roles while a student in Pitt State,” Linaweaver said. “Some examples are my roles in Student Senate, as a cheerleader, and as member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. Through these experiences, I not only realized my interest in leadership, but I began to learn what to do and what not to do if you want to be a good leader.”
A native of Radley, Kan., Linaweaver is the daughter of Eldon and Mary Stareck. She has two married children, Adam and Dawn Queen, and Kyle and Rashell Linaweaver.
Retired executive with State Farm Insurance Co.
Gary Grant earned a bachelor’s of science degree in mathematics from PSU in 1971. He earned a master’s degree in mathematics in 1973, completing the degree while working at State Farm Insurance Co., where he began work in 1972 in the Auto Actuarial Department.
Although he couldn’t have know it at the time, Grant’s association with State Farm would continue for 37 years. Over his career, Grant’s responsibilities with the company grew.
In 1988, he was named vice president and actuary of state Farm Fire & Casualty Co. and State Farm General Insurance Co., where he was responsible for all property insurance products and pricing. In 1996, he was named vice president and actuary of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.
In 2002, State Farm selected Grant to be actuarial vice president, where he was responsible for all property and casualty products and pricing, with sales of roughly $40 billion. In 2004, he assumed the title of operations vice president and actuary, shouldering the responsibility for developing and implementing strategies to protect the State Farm companies from large catastrophic losses.
And in 2006, Grant was elected to the Board of Directors of State Farm Indemnity Company and State Farm Guaranty Insurance Company.
Looking back on his career, Grant recalls some of the people who helped point him in the right direction.
“Although I'm sure she won't remember this, Dr. Helen Kriegsman, chairperson of the Math Department at that time, cared enough to take me aside to advise me regarding the need for time management and reminding me that my education should come first,” said Grant, who had come to school on a track scholarship and was working to balance life as a math major and an athlete with a year-round training schedule.
“Her advice to a young man coming from a Frontenac High School class of 28 was needed and well received.”
Grant said his Pittsburg State experience and particularly his relationship with faculty has informed both his professional and personal life.
“The caring attitude, which would be called mentoring today, of not only Dr. Kriegsman, but of many of the professors, demonstrated to me that service ought to be a component of my life,” Grant said. “That’s true not just of service to the community, but also mentoring colleagues as they and others have mentored me.”
Grant and his wife, Donna (Riley) Grant, also a Frontenac native, have been married 41 years. They have two grown daughters. Donna attended PSU for two years and completed her degree in dental hygiene at the UMKC Dental School.
David G. Osborne
Pianist and Recording Artist
A native of Miami, Okla., David Osborne earned a master’s degree in music from PSU in 1983. Previously, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa and began his graduate studies at Indiana University-Bloomington.
Osborne returned to PSU to complete his master’s degree when his mother was diagnosed with cancer in 1982. Because he had taken classes at PSU when he was still in high school, Osborne knew the campus well and had close ties to faculty who had already begun to shape his career.
“The teachers were really great,” Osborne said. “They let me reach the level I wanted to.”
Following graduation, Osborne performed for 10 years in Florida for Hyatt and Mariott Hotels and for Disney. He then performed with the St. Louis Symphony. On the advice of pianist Roger Williams, Osborne took a shot at Las Vegas in 1999, where he quickly made a name for himself and has become fixture in the Las Vegas entertainment scene.
Osborne performed at Caesar’s Palace for 12 years before moving to his current home at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
In the mid ‘90s, Osborne began recording a series of CDs for the North Star label that have been immensely successful. His 27 CDs, featuring his extensive repertoire of romantic, classical, jazz, pop, inspirational, patriotic and Broadway show tunes, have sold nearly 5 million copies.
Over the years, Osborne has earned the unofficial title of “Pianist to the Presidents” because of his popularity with no fewer than four presidents. He has performed numerous times for Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter in Plains, Ga., and he organized the president’s 75th birthday tribute in 1999. Osborne has performed at the White House for Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and in 2012, Barack Obama.
In 2010, the Los Angeles Music Awards and Hollywood Fame Awards Committee chose Osborne to receive a lifetime piano achievement award and he received a star at the historic Paramount Theater in Hollywood, Calif. In 2012, L.A. Music Awards named him Concert Pianist of the Year. He is a member of the international roster of Steinway Artists.
Osborne is married to Jeanine Carter Osborne, and has four children: Katie, Joshua, Christopher and Hannah.
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