Hall of Fame

Milne School Hall of Fame

The following Milne alumni and supporters
have been included in the Milne School Hall of Fame.

PLEASE NOTE: Unfortunately, many of the links in the following listings no longer work.

Tara VanDerveer, '71
Dr. Robert S. Langer, '66
Dr. Theodore H. Fossieck, Principal
John Fulenwider, '46
Robert V. Meghreblian, '40
Judy (Koblintz) Madnick, '61
Geoffrey Williams, UAlbany Archivist
Dr. Jonathan Milton Soffer, '74

April 2008

Our first Hall of Fame honoree (recommended by Jack Freele, '71) is Tara VanDerveer, a member of the Milne Class of '71.  According to Jack, "Tara . . . has been the Head Coach of the Women's Basketball program for the Stanford Cardinal since 1985. Setting aside her many substantial accomplishments, including Olympic Gold in 1996 in Atlanta, her current Stanford team is in the NCAA Women's Final Four.
According to the April 8th Albany Times Union, Tara was the Milne boys' basketball team mascot in seventh grade . . . but preferred to watch the game.

Tara is described as one of basketball’s most accomplished coaches at
www.womenssportsfoundation.com and one of the United States’ finest coaching talents at washingtonpost.com. In addition, http://gostanford.com states that she is regarded in the profession as one of the most well-respected and dynamic coaches in the country. (Note: Each of these links contains further information about Tara's professional background.) Tara has been inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame, Indiana University Hall of Fame, the Women's Sports Foundation Hall of Fame, and the Greater Buffalo Hall of Fame.

Congratulations, Tara, for earning such high recognition.

Coincidentally, on April 8th I received an email from Doug Sherman, WRGB Sports Director, asking for information about Milne to include in an 11 o'clock sports segment about Tara that related to the national championship game (which, unfortunately, Stanford lost to Tennessee). Since I was in Albany at that time (awaiting the birth of our grandson), I was able to view the sports report. It was wonderful to hear Milne mentioned on TV!

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June 2008

Credit: Ryan K. Morris
National Science and Technology Medals Foundation

Mary Welch, Class of 1971, has nominated Dr. Robert S. Langer, Class of 1966, as our newest Hall of Fame member. Bob is a chemical engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an international leader in cancer-treatment research. He was recently interviewed on the CBS Evening News regarding his accomplishments, and there will be a three-network (ABC, CBS, and NBC) special hour-long program on September 5th focusing on raising money for this important area of medicine.

The links included in the information below include a great deal of information regarding Bob's achievements.

President George W. Bush awarded the 2006 National Medal of Science to Bob for his revolutionary discoveries in the areas of polymeric controlled release systems and tissue engineering and synthesis of new materials that have led to new medical treatments that have profoundly affected the well being of mankind, according to the
National Science Foundation website.

Bob has received over 130 major awards, including the Charles Stark Draper Prize from the National Academy of Engineering in 2002. This award is considered to be the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for engineers and the world's most prestigious engineering prize ( http://nano.cancer.gov/programs/mit/investigators.asp?invesId= 0).

According to
http://web.mit.edu/langerlab/langer.html, Dr. Langer has written over 950 articles. He also has more than 600 issued or pending patents worldwide, one of which was cited as the outstanding patent in Massachusetts in 1988 and one of 20 outstanding patents in the United States. See the above link for further information regarding Bob's outstanding accomplishments.

Bob Langer is described on the
Forbes.com website as an architect in plastic whose remarkable work may one day let you grow a new heart or replace a bone and on the Millennium Technology Prize website as one of history's most prolific inventors in medicine.

Time Magazine and CNN (2001)
named Langer as one of the 100 most important people in America and one of the 18 top people in science or medicine in America. Parade Magazine (2004) selected Langer as one of six Heroes whose research may save your life.

A hearty "Thank you!" to Bob for his important contributions to medical research and technology and congratulations to him for his impressive honors!

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January 2009

Coach Bob Lewis nominated
Dr. Theodore H. Fossieck to the Milne School Hall of Fame. Judy Jenkins Young, '56, suggested that I look for Dr. Fossieck's obituary to find biographical information. As a result, I am able to provide the following comprehensive background information regarding Dr. Fossieck's very full life.

Dr. Fossieck was born in Granite City, IL, where he attended the Community High School. He received a bachelor of philosophy degree from Shurtleff College in Alton, IL, in 1936. He was granted a master of arts degree in education from Washington University, St. Louis, MO, in 1941; a second master of arts degree in 1947; and a doctorate in education in 1949 from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Dr. Fossieck joined the faculty of the New York State College for Teachers at Albany in 1947 as Director of Guidance for the campus school and Assistant Professor of Education in guidance. The following year he became Principal of the Milne School and remained in that position until retiring as Professor of Education (Emeritus) from the State University of New York at Albany in 1972.

Professional activities included membership in the New York State Association of Secondary School Principals, for which he was Chairman of District #16 and also Chairman of the Association's College-High School Relations Committee in the 1950s. A member of the National Association of Laboratory School Principals for 20 years, he served on its Board of Directors and as Chairman of its Constitution Committee. He was a member of the National Society for the Study of Education, the National Education Association, and the New York State Teachers Association. Since its inception in 1949, he was a member of the Jenkins Memorial Scholarship Committee of the New York State Congress of Parents and Teachers.

After his retirement, Dr. Fossieck continued an active association with the University. He served as Coordinator of the School of Education Retirees at [what is now called] the University at Albany. In 1994 the Alumni Association named him its Citizen of the University, and prior to that he became a member of the University's Heritage Circle and President's Club. In 1994, the University further honored him by naming the former library of the Milne School as the Theodore H. Fossieck Milne Alumni Room. Dr. Fossieck established an annual scholarship to the University at Albany for a student who is a descendent of a Milne School graduate or faculty member.

Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in Military Intelligence in the U.S. Army Reserve in 1938, he retired as a full Colonel in 1968 and remained active in the Reserve Officers Association and the Retired Officers Association. His active duty in W.W. II included service as Post Public Relations and Intelligence Officer at Fort Custer, MI, from 1941 to 1943 and as Assistant A.C. of S., G-2 and Counter Intelligence Corps Detachment Commander for the XV Corps in the United States and Europe from 1943 to 1945, during which time he received the Bronze Star and four battle stars. Returning to the Reserves in 1945 as a Lt. Colonel, Dr. Fossieck was active in the Reserves in Albany until 1968, when he received the Army Commendation Medal on his transfer to the Inactive Reserve. His assignments included staff positions with the U.S.A.R. School in Schenectady and the 1189th Logistical Command in Albany, which he commanded at the time of his retirement, as well as staff and faculty positions in the 1st United States Army Area Intelligence School. His military education included the Counter Intelligence Corps Schools in Chicago, IL, and Fort Holabird, MD; 1st Military Government School at Fort Gordon, GA; and the command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS.

Dr. Fossieck's interest in Colonial America led him to the New York State Archives, where he had been indexing its Revolutionary War Manuscripts collection. In addition to being a member of several local historical associations, he served on the Boards of the Friends of Schuyler Mansion and the Albany County Historical Association; was a member of the Albany Institute of History and Art, the New York State Historical Association, and the National Society for Historic Preservation; was a founding member of the Mohawk-Hudson Community Foundation; and was associated with the Capital City Rescue Mission, the Torch Club of Albany, and the Second Milers Club of Delmar. Dr. Fossieck established the Janice Dorr Fossieck and Theodore H. Fossieck endowment to provide annual lecture and library materials in the field of American Colonial History.

A member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Dr. Fossieck served two terms on its Vestry.

Dr. Fossieck was the husband of the late Janice Dorr Fossieck, who died in 1985.

June 2010

Our newest Hall of Fame member is John Fulenwider, Milne Class of 1946. The following is just a summary of John's many accomplishments.

John Fulenwider was a pioneer in the development and application of fiber optics to CATV, telephones, FM, and data communications. His original ground-breaking paper presented in 1972 gave directions for the growth of fiber-optic technology from its infancy in that era. His publications combined the large system applications of CATV, telephony, and data with foresight as to how fiber optics, then in the laboratory, could be applied to these beneficial uses. Later publications pointed the way, from a techno-economic point of view, for applying optic fibers in interoffice telephone trunks. He wrote on using optic fiber for linking CATV, FM, telephone, and data service from the serving center to the home.

John invented a hand-held tool for use by installers for making fiber-optics cable splices. Tools of this design were used in GTE's pioneering interoffice optic-fiber installation in Long Beach, CA, in 1976.

He has patented inventions in the areas of optical transducers, acoustic transducers, and optical switching, which include, but are not limited to, the following:

3,777,292 Linear motor relay
3,871,743 Optical Crosspoint Switching Matrix for an Optical Communications System
3,947,708 Apparatus for, and Method of Converting From a digital signal into an acoustic wave using piezoelectric transducers 
3,958,237 Acoustic to Pulse code Transducer
4,016,556 Optically Encoded Acoustic to Digital Transducer
4,071,753 Transducer for Converting Acoustic Energy Directly Into Optical Energy
4,016,556 Optically Encoded Acoustic to Digital Transducer
4,071,753 Transducer for Converting Acoustic Energy Directly Into Optical Energy

John worked for the firm of Arthur D. Little, Inc., as Senior Consultant from 1978 until he retired in 1990. He was the primary investigator in a series of client cases spanning the gamut from large systems design to component manufacturing. U.S. domestic clients needed answers to "How do these various new technologies impact my business, and how can we get into them?" Client locations were in the USA, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Hong Kong, Venezuela, Colombia, Uruguay, Italy, and Germany. John stated that he found that his most memorable work was performed in Egypt.

As Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering at Northeastern University, Dedham, MA, for several years, John taught the course Fiber Optics Communications Systems. In addition, he taught Fiber Optics Communications Systems Design at University of Boulder, CO, in the 1975 and 1976 Optical Communications Seminars

John received Laser Focus World's "Commendation For Excellence in Technical Communications" in December 1990. He was cited in the book City of Light, The Story of Fiber Optics, by Jeff Hecht, Oxford University Press 1999, pages 181, 218-219, and 229. And he was elected to Eta Kappa Nu, Electrical Engineering Honor Society, in 1960, and to Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Society, in 1960.

As you can see, John's contributions have aimed at filling a need where fiber-optic technology could be used.

John's current interests are in promoting the use of renewable energy technologies, such as wind turbines and solar arrays. As a consultant to the firm of DanWin Associates of Big Rapids, MI, he developed the plan design for the 30-wind turbine farm near Elkton, MI, which was completed in the fall of 2007 and went on-line in January 2008, delivering up to 60 megawatts of peak wind power. For about one year, until the economy forced a cutback, he worked part-time as an engineering consultant at a startup that aids clients in obtaining Federal Grants in the greenhouse gas emission-reduction arena.

For three years ending last fall (2009), John volunteered at the Holland Boys and Girls Club, tutoring students in math and science. John is now consulting pro bono with a company that is attempting to remediate PCB contaminated soils using various naturally occurring microbes and fungi.

We Milne alumni are certainly proud of John's accomplishments.

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October 2012

Preston L. Robinson, Class of 1940, and Gail Robinson Keller (daughter) have nominated Robert V. Meghreblian, Class of 1940, to the Milne School Alumni Hall of Fame. Thank you to Gail for providing the following:

It is with pleasure that we name Robert V. Meghreblian, Milne Class of 1940, as our newest Hall of Fame member. Bob is a pioneer in the development of nuclear reactors, but first a little history:

At a recent Milne Class of 1940 Alumni Reunion, Bob said he was born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1922 and immigrated to the USA in 1923. His family did not speak English. He recalled his beginning education in Albany schools. He remembered his mother "pushing" him into a kindergarten classroom. Reflecting, he said he's amazed at the ability of a young child's mind to learn multiple languages, academic skills, and content and to be able to assimilate into new cultures and society. (Bob now speaks four languages.) Bob also remarked about the talent of teachers along the way who helped him learn. Bob entered Milne in 7th grade. He stated that much of the Milne academics were harder than the education he received at RPI. He remarked that the staff at Milne was open-minded and young enough to be innovative, and many truly helped students develop skills of inquiry rather than rote memory. He loved the sciences, math, and arts. In particular, two Milne teachers were pivotal in setting him on his future path.

A Milne art teacher, Grace Martin, pulled Bob aside after a few weeks of classes. He thought he might be in trouble for "doodling" during class time. Rather, the teacher told him his innate skill surpassed what she could teach him in First Year Art, so she suggested he could learn to paint with oils during regular class time if he'd like. With basic guidance and support from his teacher, and classmates who okayed his individual instruction, he became a "decent" (his word) painter. While it did not become his vocation, it did become his avocation. Artistic thinking helped him in his career. This is his 90th year and he still paints and is a recognized advocate of art in the Santa Barbara, California, area.

Another Milne teacher, in the areas of mechanical drawing/shop (obsolete terms today?) encouraged Bob with his abilities to perceive dimensions, his vision to create structures, his aptitude for machinery, and his preoccupation with aviation. (Aviation was still a relatively new field in the 1930s, and it was a significant part of military engagements.) This seems so basic now, but this teacher helped him design a plane out of balsa wood that would operate with propulsion from a propeller. His project was unique enough that the instructor got him permission to demonstrate it inside the Milne auditorium at a talent show...unheard of! The plane flew well. The applause rose. His interest in aviation soared.

Bob graduated from RPI (Gotshall-Powell full scholarship) with a BS in engineering. He then earned an MS (Guggenheim fellow) from California Institute of Technology and his PhD (Guggenheim fellow), which was magna cum laude CIT, 1953. He has patents, publications, and accolades for decades of contributions to teams working on the sciences of aviation, nuclear propulsion, and rocketry. You know when someone kiddingly says, "Yeah, he's a real rocket scientist"? Well...Robert V. Meghreblian, physicist, is! Some accomplishments are:

* Lecturer (1952-55) - Oak Ridge National Laboratory
* Associate Project Manager (1955-58) chief sect. Physics Jet Propulsion Lab, CIT
* Manager (1958-60) Space Sciences Division CIT
* Deputy Assistant Lab Director (1960-68) CIT
* Associate Professor of Applied Mechanics (1960-61)
* Vice President Research and Engineering (1971-79) Cabot Corporation, Boston
* President (1979-85) Distrigas Corporation
* General Manager ((1985-86) Cabot Crystals-Business Unit
* Director of Corporation Planning and Development (1986-87) Cabot Crystal
* Author: Reactor Analysis (1960) and many published articles, some regarding NASA

Community, government, and artistic accolades:
* US Navy (1941-46) Lt. (j.g.) PTO, ATO.
* Fellow: American Nuclear Society
* Montecito Association (1992- 1998) member, board, Honorary Director (2007-current)
* Montecito, CA Planning Common Counsel (2003-06)
* Montecito Citizen of the Year (2002)
* Art Foundation, City of Santa Barbara, many years as VP, President(2009-10)
* Santa Barbara Club (many years, President 2009-10)
* Tennis Club, Santa Barbara (many years)
* Sigma XI (Scientific Research Society)

Bob's active life includes a family as well as social and civic duties. His hobbies include painting. His education as an engineer and artist also come in handy with his HO model train layout that he's constructed over the past 40 years. Bob is also an avid tennis player and plays several rounds of tennis each week. Bob is nationally ranked 59th in the 80-84 age group. Bob celebrated his 90th birthday in September. (He jokes that he's not ranked in the 85-89 and older age group yet; he suspects there aren't enough participants to hold a tournament.)

Lastly, at the Milne Class of 1940 reunion this past June, those around the table said Bob was the brightest student in their class. They spoke highly of his contributions during the Milne years and his subsequent contributions to society. AND they said personality, compassion, and friendship were his best qualities. We heard him speak kindly and well, appreciative of the longevity of friendships, a quality education and a successful life that were availed to him - a boy who started as an immigrant to America and who entered school speaking no English.

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November 2012

Mary H. Welch, '71, nominated Judy (Koblintz) Madnick, '61, to the Hall of Fame at the Milne School Alumni Reunion held on September 8, 2012. This Hall of Fame nomination is a result of Judy's commitment to initiating and maintaining the Milne School website and enhancing communication among Milne School alumni and faculty.

Judy participated in the coordination of Class of 1961 class reunions, including several that she chaired...up to and including their 50th reunion in 2011. In 2005, working with University at Albany personnel, she and Jackie Mann Gavryck, '47, co-chaired an All-Milne Reunion. And as most of you know, Judy recently coordinated the 2012 Milne School Alumni Reunion with the help of Mary Welch, '71, and Mike Ungerman, '59.

As volunteer Milne Alumni Coordinator, Judy manages an alumni database, a project which she and Mary Welch launched in 2005; developed and maintains the Milne Alumni website; administers two alumni Yahoo! Groups and a Milne School Alumni Facebook group; and following in Mary Welch's footsteps, has been writing a monthly Milne School Alumni newsletter. Alumni often ask how Judy answers emails so quickly. Perhaps it's because she sits in front of her computer for long periods of time handling all these alumni-related activities!

Judy graduated from Milne in 1961 and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics education from what is now known as the University at Albany, State University of New York. (She was on the same campus for 11 years!) Her professional background includes court transcription; human resources; middle-school education; and "entrepreneur," as owner/operator of a home-based word-processing and resume-writing business. She has been a member of the National Resume Writers' Association (NRWA); Career Masters Institute (CMI); Society for the Preservation of English Language and Literature (SPELL); PETA; and MENSA.

Judy's volunteer positions have included the University at Albany Alumni Association (life member, board member, chair of Council of Classes, and Class Councilor); Congregation Beth Emeth (member and officer of the Social Action Committee); Daughters of Sarah Nursing Center Auxiliary (life member and officer); Temple Israel (member, board member and officer, and co-chair of the Scholarship Committee); Albany Lions Club (member and officer); American Red Magen David for Israel Rambam Chaper (life member and officer); and Hadassah (life member and officer of a local chapter).

Judy's interests during retirement have included genealogy research, Mah Jongg, and participating on the resident board and various committees within her retirement community. In addition, she has continued in her volunteer capacity with the UAlbany Alumni Association and Daughters of Sarah Nursing Center Auxiliary.

Judy has been married to Stuart Madnick for 46 years (as of 2012). They lived in the Albany area until June 2007, when they moved to Jacksonville, FL, where they are especially enjoying their "non-winters." [Update: In 2013, Judy and Stuart returned to the Albany area to be closer to their family.] They have two children, three grandchildren, and three grandchildren through marriage.

Clearly, Judy likes to be busy...and she especially enjoys the time she spends on Milne School Alumni activities.

February 2013

Mary H. Welch, '71, and Judy Koblintz Madnick, '61, have nominated Geoff Williams as the newest member of the Milne Alumni Hall of Fame. Geoff has provided invaluable support to Milne alumni with respect to our alma mater's history.

Geoff has been University Archivist at the University at Albany, SUNY, since 1987. He earned his B.A. from Colby College in 1966, an M.A. in European History in 1968, and an M.L.S. in 1985, both at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Since 1996 he has served as chair or co-chair of the New York State Historical Records Advisory Board and since 2004 has held leadership positions in the New York State Local Government Records Advisory Council. Both organizations are advisory to the New York State Archives. He has been very active in the New York Archives Conference, chairing that organization five time since the mid-'90s.

Since coming to the University, Geoff has made it his mission to uncover and broadcast the history of the university. He was actively involved in the research for Kendall Birr's 1994 history of the University, and he has taken an active interest in researching and bringing together a record of the Milne School. He has created a PowerPoint presentation of Milne's history and has guided tours of the Milne School for alumni reunions since 2005. For the last five years he has been writing a column, "Ask Geoff," for UAlbany Magazine on the history of the University.

His most recent collaboration with Milne Alumni was to push for the photographing of the Milne 200 murals and friezes, both funded by Milne student contributions in the late 1920s and 1930s. Then the Milne Class of 1961 provided funds to photograph the murals and friezes at high resolution. The murals and friezes can be seen at
http://luna.albany.edu/luna/servlet/s/0b23a3. All of the murals and friezes will be displayed, 25 images, and you can blow up each individual image by clicking on it.

Geoff is currently working on a project to organize and put online all of the Milne School yearbooks and newspapers. This is the digitization project for which alumni are donating funds. See https://www.albany.edu/~milne/Project.shtml for further information regarding this exciting project.

Without Geoff's assistance, we would not have the master list of Milne Alumni that is available at https://www.albany.edu/~milne/Directories.shtml. He provided graduation lists, old yearbooks, and other documents so that the alphabetical and class-year directories could be developed.

We thank Geoff for all he has done to support Milne School Alumni.

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June 2016

Our second
Milne School Hall of Fame honoree from the 1970s is Dr. Jonathan Milton Soffer, 59, from the Milne Class of 1974. He has been recommended by Mary Welch, '71, who recently read the article in the Milne Alumni April Newsletter announcing Jon's award of a $260K grant for the National Endowment for the Humanities for his project to digitize the NYC historical records, 1973-1998. This grant is just the latest in Jon's work at NYU, where he is Professor of History and Department Chair, Technology, Culture and Society, in the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Jon is the author of many articles that include insightful politics, remarkable inventors, and the urban history of New York City and its people. He also edited and authored two books. For more information on Jon and his published work please check his webpage at: http://engineering.nyu.edu/people/jonathan-m-soffer

Jonathan Soffer's awards, distinctions, affiliations, research interests, and grants include:

* Visiting Fellow, Wolfson College Oxford, August 2016
* Fellow, New York Academy of History, elected 2012
* Gilder Lehrman Foundation Fellow, 2011-12
* Board Member, Urban History Association, 2012
* American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Urban History Association
* Twentieth-century American political and urban history, $1500 Schoff Fund
* Columbia University Seminars, for the publication of Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York, 2009

Jonathan Soffer is the son of Milne graduate Miriam STEINHARDT Soffer, '43, and the late Albany attorney, Sanford Soffer; he is also the nephew of Frank STEINHARDT, '38. Jon graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia College, Columbia University, in 1978; he received his Juris Doctor degree at Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver in 1982; and he earned his Ph.D. degree in History at Columbia University in 1992. He has been a faculty member at NYU since 2008. He has previously been a professor at CUNY; SUNY at Purchase; Bosphorus University in Instanbul, Turkey; Bilkent University, in Ankara, Turkey; and the Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, NY. Jon is married and lives with Pamela Allen Brown in Brooklyn, NY.

Jonathan Soffer's book appearances and media interviews include:

* Panel on Ed Koch, St. Johns University, October 15, 2013
* NPR, The Takeaway, with John Hockenberry, February 18, 2013
* Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, invited to panel with Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed at screening of Koch, February 10, 2013
* 92 2 Y Tribeca February 7, 2012
* Business Talk with Jim Campbell, WYBC Yale College Radio, December 12, 2010
* Gotham Center for New York City History, December 7, 2010
* Columbia University, Oral History Research Office and Friends of Butler Library, November 11, 2010
* New York City Tenement Museum, October 26, 2010, televised on CNN Book TV
* 92nd Street Y, October 18, 2010
* WNYC Radio, The Brian Lehrer Show, October 15, 2010
* NYU, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, October 14, 2010
* NY 1 Television, October 14, 2010
* Unnameable Books, Brooklyn NY October 8, 2010
* Upper West Side Barnes & Noble, October 7, 2010
* Radio interview KOWS-FM Sebastopol, CA, October 7, 2010
* Panel on Post War New York City, Brooklyn Book Fair, September 11, 2010

Jon had an interesting history at Milne during the six years he was there. He was an outstanding panel member of the local NBC television station's program, Little Red Schoolhouse/Answers Please, that pitted different regional schools against each other. Jon led the team to win against all other school panel challengers, and he was noted in the Milne newspaper, Crimson and White, where he also wrote articles and served as news editor, for the presentation of his knowledge and quick responses to the questions by the show's host. We were very proud of him then, and it is not surprising that he went on to prove his abilities in a way that, as a new Milne Hall of Fame member, he shows he is one of Milne's best graduates.

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