Congratulations to year 2014 winners Norman Jolliff (’53) and Charles Blem (’61). Hardin Northern, Dola, and Dunkirk have many outstanding alumni who have used their education and experience to become successful, positive contributors to society.  The Hardin Northern Hall of Distinction has been established to recognize and showcase outstanding graduates while giving current students solid examples of what they can accomplish in life from adults who sat in the same seats and walked the same halls as they do. 

You might be interested in nominating an alumni that has gone on to do something outstanding for his or her profession or community.  If so, you can nominate them at www.hardinnorthern.org/guidance for the Hall of Distinction.

Norman Jolliff, 1953

Norman Jolliff

Norman Jolliff

Norman Jolliff (’53)

Norman Jolliff (’53)

After high school, Norman went to college for 1 year at Indiana Technical College. He then went to work for Toledo Scale Co. in Toledo, Ohio. When Peerless Gear & Machine moved to Dunkirk, he started to work for them in July 1956. At that time they only made speed reducers and custom gears. In 1958 he designed their first transaxle for the lawn and garden industry. He was drafted into the army in Nov. 1958. While in the army he was in the Honor Guard, on the post pistol team, and the company rifle team. After completing 2 years in the army he returned to Peerless Gear, and continued to design transaxles and transmissions until he retired in June 1999. During this time he earned 27 U.S. patents for his inventions. In 1963, Peerless Gear was sold to Tecumseh Products Co. and he was transferred to Clinton, Michigan until 1993 when the plant was closed and he was transferred to Salem, Indiana. From the time he started with Peerless Gear until he retired, the number of employees went from 20 to over 600. While living in Dunkirk he was secretary of the fire department and was elected to city council. He has served on the board of trustees in his church in Tecumseh, Michigan; Pekin, Indiana; and Findlay, Ohio.

Charles Blem, 1961

Charles Blem

Charles Blem

Charles Blem (’61)

Charles Blem (’61)

Charles Blem received his B. S. (Phi Beta Kappa) in the honors program at Ohio University in 1965 and his M.S. (1967) and Ph.D. (1969) as a NSF Fellow at the University of Illinois.  He taught numerous courses over 36 years in the Biology Department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, and retired as Professor Emeritus in 2005.  He was one of the founders of the VCU honors program and taught honors courses for many years.  He was a visiting professor at the University of Montana Biological Station on Flathead Lake, from 1990 to 2005.  VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences presented him with the Outstanding Lecturer Award (1984) and Distinguished Scholar Award (2004), the only faculty member to win both awards.  He published more than 100 scientific papers/book chapters, mostly in the field of conservation of birds, mammals, and reptiles, and his research of Prothonotary Warblers received widespread attention.  For several years he supervised Earthwatch expeditions investigating osprey biology in Montana and, with his wife and fearless field partner (Leann), studied rattlesnakes at the National Bison Range.  He was an elective fellow of the American Association of Science and the American Ornithologists’ Union.  He was president of the Richmond Audubon Society, vice president of the Virginia Ornithological Society, and president of the international Wilson Ornithological Society.   He was editor of three major ornithological science journals, and won the Ernst Edwards prize for best paper in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology in 1984.  With Leann  he received the Klamm award for service to the field of ornithology in 2010.  Upon their retirement, VCU students founded the Blem scholarship in biology.