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2012 Distinguished Alumni Award Winners
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Richard E. Appleman is a 1964 Altoona High School graduate who currently resides in Boston, MA. He has a long tenure at Berklee College of Music where he is the Chairman of the Bass Department.

Mr. Appleman attended the Navy School of Music from 1964 – 1968 where he played tuba and acoustic bass before graduating summa cum laude from Berklee College with a degree in music education in 1972.

He has performed with Lionel Hampton, Gregory Hines, the Fringe, the Boston Pops Orchestra, Slide Hampton with the Ryles Jazz Orchestra, Bernadette Peters at Symphony Hall and the Boston Musical Theater in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Paris and Brussels. His performances in theater productions include The Secret Garden, Ain’t Misbehavin’, A Chorus Line the Musical, and West Side Story.

He is the author of Contemporary Rhythm for Electric Bass and Chord Studies for Electric Bass with Joseph Viola and has numerous recordings including radio and television jingles.


James Calvin Folk, MD of Iowa City, IA, is a 1972 graduate of Altoona Area High School. Dr. Folk joined the University of Iowa faculty in 1982 and is a professor of ophthalmology having trained more than 180 residents and 50 retinal fellows.

After having earned a B.S. in science with highest distinction from Penn State University in 1972, Dr. Folk continued his education at Thomas Jefferson Medical College where he earned a M.D. degree graduating cum laude. He later completed his Vitreoretinal Fellowship at the University of Iowa.

Dr. Folk is one of the world’s leading clinicians, ophthalmologists and retinal specialists who have committed themselves to eradicating blindness and visual loss. He has written more than 150 peer review papers, published numerous scientific papers and authored three books and 23 book chapters.

He has been selected as one of the top 100 Health Care Professional in the world and has been included as one of the Best Doctors in America®.


George E. Ioup graduated from Altoona High School in 1957 and is a professor of physics and research professor at the University of New Orleans (UNO).

He developed an interdisciplinary, integrative Ph.D. Program in engineering and applied science at the University of New Orleans which has graduated more than 113 doctoral students; he was instrumental to the development of the UNO Research and Technology Park; and he was a leader in the formation of the Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center where shallow water acoustic experiments are performed which have been critical to the U.S. Navy’s submarine forces.

Dr. Ioup received a S.B. in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1962 and a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Florida in 1968. He has continued to devote his time and efforts to the UNO Physics Department following the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina.


John Kazmaier is a 1960 Altoona High School graduate and a resident of Hollidaysburg, PA. Mr. Kazmaier attended Valley Forge Military Jr. College and upon graduation served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam before returning to his hometown of Altoona, PA.

Mr. Kazmaier retired from M & T Bank as an executive officer and has been recognized for his many professional contributions. His love and commitment to his hometown of Altoona has been exemplified by his tireless efforts to promote and develop the community.

Mr. Kazmaier spearheaded the Altoona Mountain Lion Project with Heinz Warneke, sculptor, served as the first AASD Foundation Board President, and was a force behind the development of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art and the Gospel Hill Flag in Altoona.

In addition to his local community efforts, Mr. Kazmaier received a presidential citation for his economic development efforts working with the Moshannon Valley Chamber of Commerce.


Robert E. Laws, a 1940 Altoona High School graduate who passed away January 1, 1990, is the deceased alumnus who will be recognized. Mr. Laws served as a Staff Sergeant with the U.S. Army where he was awarded the Medal of Honor, the United States military’s highest decoration, for his actions in World War II.

Mr. Laws was serving as a Staff Sergeant in Company G, 169th Infantry Regiment, 43rd Infantry Division when on January 12, 1945 he single handedly destroyed a Japanese pillbox. Despite being wounded he then led an attack on enemy rifle positions and engaged a Japanese soldier in hand to hand combat.

Only 3,475 individuals have been bestowed with the Medal for “risk of life above and beyond the call of duty”, since it was instituted in 1861.


Dr. Ronald L. Mallett graduated from Altoona High School in 1962 and is now a resident of Coventry, CT where he is a professor of physics at the University of Connecticut.

Dr. Mallett began his career as a research scientist at United Technologies Research Laboratory before joining the faculty at the University of Connecticut. His primary research interests are in general relativity and gravitation, black holes, relativistic astrophysics, and quantum cosmology.

His field of specialization is Theoretical General Relativity & Relativistic Quantum Mechanics. He has become most recognized for his book “Time Traveler, A Scientist’s Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality.” He has become regarded as an authority on time travel.

He has earned a B.S, M.S. and Ph. D. from Penn State University’s Eberly College of Science/Physics. Film rights to his book have been acquired by Spike Lee’s production company, Forty Acres & A Mule Filmworks, Inc.

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