The 2012 Alumni Achievement Awards
Each year, alumni are honored for public service, service to the university and for professional achievement. The late Roger Kozak '70, '72, '79, Craig Lawrence '69 and Dr. Jerry Popham '85 were honored in 2012.
To nominate alumni for an award, click here.
Watch a video of the ceremony:
Roger Kozak ’70, ’72, ’79 provided the University and community of Vermillion with professional and volunteer leadership on many key initiatives for the past three decades. His friendly, engaged demeanor and tireless nature set him apart from his peers. A Lake Andes, S.D., native, he began as a student in the USD School of Business but was called to service in the U.S. Army. After completing a bachelor’s degree at USD Springfield, he completed a master’s and two doctoral degrees at USD. He worked as director of research for the South Dakota Board of Regents prior to beginning a 22-year career at USD in 1979. While at USD, he first served as a special assistant to the University president, then as an Associate Vice President. He concluded his University career as a Vice President before retiring in 2002, when he was bestowed the distinction of both professor and vice president emeritus. His influence impacted facilities, athletics, university relations, computer services, the USD Alumni Association and Foundation. Kozak was also known for his intensely active role in the Vermillion community. He served on the Vermillion City Council for seven years and as mayor for three, as well as on numerous other boards and commissions associated with the chamber of commerce, development corporation, Junior Achievement, along with the Vermillion Library and Dakota Hospital Foundations. He also served as the District Governor of Rotary International. Kozak passed away on Aug. 1, 2012, but his positive impact on this institution will continue.
Craig Lawrence '69, a native of Doon, Iowa, began his work in journalism at USD’s The Volante in the mid 1960s, serving as news editor before earning his bachelor of arts in journalism in 1969. He began his career as news editor at the Brookings Register, then as news director for KSOO Television in Sioux Falls. He was promoted to the station’s general manager in 1974, and worked in that position until he co-founded the Lawrence & Schiller, Inc. advertising agency and market research entity in Sioux Falls with fellow USD and Volante alumnus Paul Schiller ’70 served as creative leader on many campaigns, including one that led to South Dakota adopting “Great Faces, Great Places” as its state slogan and “A Good Thing Going” for Sioux Falls which ultimately resulted in national recognition of the city as the nation’s best place to live and to start a business. He diversified in 1985, co-founding Lawrence & Schiller Teleservices, giving the company a telephone center and research component. In 2008, Lawrence co-founded Lands Health, an internet health insurance marketing firm. While busy with business ventures, Lawrence maintained a robust service career, founding the Among (America-Mongolia) Foundation, a Christian humanitarian assistance group, in 1992 and later the Eagle Television in Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia which was the first independent news station in Ulaan Bataar following the country’s democratic revolution in 1992.
Sioux Falls, S.D. native Dr. Jerry Popham received his medical degree at USD in 1985 before attending a fellowship program and advanced training in oculoplastic surgery at Harvard Medical School and residency in microsurgical techniques of ophthalmic and intraocular surgery at Texas A&M University Medical School. An accomplished physician and clinical professor at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Dr. Popham founded the non-profit organization, About Face Foundation (also known as the About Grace Foundation). For the past two decades, Dr. Popham has annually led teams of physicians and nurses to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam where American surgeons collaborate with Vietnamese surgeons to perform facial reconstructive surgeries for indigent Vietnamese children, provide training for local medical staff, and medicine and surgical supplies to hospitals. In 2004 he was recognized by the Health Minister of Vietnam for his service to the Vietnamese people. In addition to his philanthropic and humanitarian dedication, Dr. Popham is widely published and was five times voted as his adopted state’s best plastic surgeon. His work pioneering minimally invasive, small-incision surgical techniques are widely regarded as cutting-edge and at the forefront of the science in which he works.