Four College of Arts and Sciences graduates were
honored with Alumni Achievement Awards at the sixth annual Celebrating
Achievement and Success ceremony, held May 19 in the Roselle Center for the
Arts on the UD campus.
CAS chooses recipients of the award based on their many
accomplishments since graduation and their continued involvement with and support
for their alma mater. This year’s honorees have had successful careers in the
fields of marketing, communications, the military and music education.
“Their dedication to our college helps strengthen our
mission, vision and reach,” said Dean George Watson in presenting the awards.
Denney ’98 ’06M
Emily Young Denney, who received bachelor’s and
master’s degrees in communication from UD, currently serves as head of Global
Communications at West Pharmaceutical Services, leading a team responsible for
designing, implementing and managing the communication strategies for the
She previously was head of External Affairs at
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, where she worked for 17 years, serving multiple
roles within U.S and Global Corporate Affairs. In 2012, she was recognized as a
“Rising Star” by the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association for her noteworthy
achievements in her field.
Denney serves as vice president on the Board of
Directors at the Delaware’s Children’s Museum and director at large for
corporate relations for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Healthcare
During her acceptance speech, Denney called UD “the
college of my dreams” and expressed gratitude to professors of communication
and the impact they made on her. She also mentioned her involvement in Greek
life while a student and said that serving as president of her chapter taught
her leadership qualities that have helped her get where she is today.
“It’s a pleasure to be engaged as an alum and a gift
to come back here and remember when it all began,” said Young, who continues to
support the University as an active alumni volunteer.
Maj. Gen. John R.
Ewers Jr. ’81
John Ewers received his bachelor’s degree
in philosophy and political science from the University in 1981 and went on to
Georgetown University Law Center, where he graduated cum laude with a Juris
Ewers later earned a Master of Laws degree as an
honor graduate of the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General School. He was
commissioned as a Marine second lieutenant in 1984 and certified as a judge
advocate shortly after.
He rose through the ranks of the U.S. Marine Corps and
was deployed to Iraq twice, earning many military decorations including the
Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy-Marine Corps
Commendation Medal and Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal. In 2014, he was promoted
to his current rank of major general and became staff judge advocate to the
commandant of the Marine Corps.
Ewers told the audience at the awards ceremony that
he came to UD to play football but had no idea where he was headed in life
until he met the late James R. Soles, a faculty member in the Department of Political
Science and International Relations for 34 years.
“He gave me a sense of scholarship and a sense of
service,” Ewers said. “I owe a great deal of my success to the University of
Delaware and to Jim Soles.”
In 1992, Johanna Murphy graduated from UD with a bachelor’s
degree in political science. Today, she is an executive in the fashion
industry, where she has worked with brands such as Calvin Klein, Burberry and
Kate Spade. She currently is chief marketing officer at Ivanka Trump, where she
is responsible for the company’s overall brand strategy.
Murphy has been a pioneer in online fashion
marketing, leading the team that nearly doubled digital business at Kate Spade
with a new social media strategy. She has also held several leadership roles at
GSI Commerce (now eBay), leading the fashion and luxury practice, and
Razorfish, one of the largest digital agencies in the world.
In 2013, she was named one of the Top 50 Women In
Brand Marketing by Brand Innovators.
When she first came to UD, Murphy said, she was
planning a career as a doctor. She said it wasn’t until the late Chuck Stone, a
nationally respected journalist who taught at UD from 1984-91, complimented her
writing and told her she had potential as a writer that she decided to explore
other options besides medical school.
“I loved telling stories,” she said, “and I never
would have appreciated that” interest and ability without Prof. Stone’s
encouragement. She called her recognition by her alma mater “absolutely
Frank Wickes came to UD on a basketball scholarship,
and although athletics kept him busy, his love of music was able to blossom
into a full-grown passion during his time as an undergraduate. After earning
his bachelor’s degree in music, he went on to earn two master’s degrees in music
and music education from the University of Michigan.
Wickes taught music in high schools and college and
was a professor and director of bands for 30 years at Louisiana State
University, where he currently is the Carruth Alumni Professor Emeritus.
During his time at LSU, he received numerous awards
and in 2010, he was inducted into the National Band Association Hall of Fame of
Distinguished Band Conductors. The LSU Tiger Marching Band, which he directed,
in 1997 was named the outstanding marching band of the SEC, and in 2002 it
received the Sudler Trophy for a distinguished history of marching and
Although Wickes had grown up with music, he attributed
much of his success to the UD Department of Music and the faculty members who
were his mentors and teachers. Throughout his career, he said, “I never for one
minute doubted that I should be in the field of music education. I loved it.”