Academy of Distinguished Alumni 2023
BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers poses with Academy of Distinguished Alumni inductees Allen W. Schmidthorst '17 (Hon.), Anthony E. Doerr '99, and Rear Adm. June E. Ryan, USCG (Ret.) '84. (BGSU photo/Craig Bell)

3 honorees form the newest class of the BGSU Academy of Distinguished Alumni

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As part of the 2023 Homecoming celebration, alumni Anthony E. Doerr ’99, Rear Adm. June E. Ryan, USCG (Ret.) ’84 and Allen W. Schmidthorst ’17 (Hon.) were inducted into the academy

Three extraordinary inductees were welcomed into the Bowling Green State University Academy of Distinguished Alumni on Sept. 21, with the occasion serving as a powerful reminder to the University community of the boundless potential for achievement and positive impact in the world that comes with a BGSU education as its cornerstone.

The three alumni – Anthony Doerr ’99, Rear Adm. June E. Ryan, USCG (Ret.) ’84 and Allen W. Schmidthorst ’17 (Hon.) – were recognized for their significant contributions to their career fields and remarkable accomplishments. The new academy members were introduced as the 2023 class of distinguished alumni as BGSU celebrated Homecoming. 

“The University is immensely proud to celebrate the induction of three outstanding alumni, Anthony E. Doerr, Rear Adm. June E. Ryan and Allen W. Schmidthorst, into the BGSU Academy of Distinguished Alumni during our 2023 Homecoming celebration. Their remarkable achievements serve as proof of the positive impacts that a BGSU education creates,” said Adrea Spoon, assistant vice president for Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving.

“These distinguished alumni were recognized for their significant contributions to their professions and communities. The University is pleased to recognize Anthony, June and Al as distinguished members of our Falcon family as we celebrate their incredible personal and professional accomplishments.

Anthony E. Doerr - Academy of Distinguished Alumni 2023

Anthony E. Doerr ‘99

Doerr is an internationally acclaimed author who won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his novel “All the Light We Cannot See.” The novel, about two teens in World War II, topped The New York Times bestseller list and remained on the list for more than 200 weeks. Netflix will release a four-part limited series based on the book in November 2023 starring Mark Ruffalo and Hugh Laurie.  

A native of Cleveland who now lives in Boise, Idaho, Doerr was named among the 100 Most Prominent BGSU alumni in recognition of the University's centennial celebration in May 2010. He was a visiting professor in the BGSU English Department from 1999-2002. 

As part of his return to campus for the academy induction, Doerr visited several English classes to discuss his career and give advice to students. What advice does Doerr have for students who aspire to write? “Read, read, read, read, read.” 

From 2007-10, Doerr was the writer-in-residence for the state of Idaho. He is a former board member of the Log Cabin Literary Center and is involved with the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. 

His latest novel, “Cloud Cuckoo Land,” was a finalist for the 2021 National Book Award, a finalist for Novel of the Year in the British Book Awards and winner of the 2022 Grand prix de littérature américaine in France. Doerr’s work has been translated into more than 40 languages and won many awards, including five O. Henry Prizes, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the 2010 Story Prize, considered the most prestigious prize in the U.S. for a collection of short stories. 

He graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1995 with a degree in history and went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing in 1999 from BGSU.

Rear Adm. June E. Ryan, USCG- Academy of Distinguished Alumni 2023

June Ryan ‘84

Ryan is a trailblazer, becoming the first enlisted woman in the U.S. Coast Guard to rise to the rank of rear admiral. Currently, she is an in-demand motivational speaker, seminar leader and corporate trainer. Ryan draws on her 35 years of military service as she leads and develops workforces across the country and around the world. 

During her career, Ryan blazed new trails for women. She was the first woman to serve as the Military Advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security and the third woman in our nation’s history to serve as the Military Aide to the President of the United States. 

During her return to campus, she delivered a public talk on the topic of “Successfully Navigating Challenges and Storms,” inspiring her audience at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater to embrace leadership, perseverance and grit.  

Ryan earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1984, was a member of the National Honor Society of Pershing Rifles and an active affiliate of the Army ROTC program. While attending BGSU, Ryan enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve augmenting small boat crews on weekends at Coast Guard Stations Toledo and Marblehead, Ohio.

She received a master’s degree in adult education from the University of South Florida and is a graduate of the National Preparedness Initiative (NPLI) from the Harvard School of Public Health/Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 

Her personal military awards include the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Award, two Defense Superior Service Medals, three Legion of Merits and six Coast Guard Meritorious Service Medals. She wears the Presidential Service Badge and the Secretary of Homeland Security Service Badge. 

Ryan is an active community leader and volunteer. She serves as keynote speaker and facilitator for many organizations and community events. When not volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her husband of 35+ years, Tim, their 21-year old daughter, Aisling, and dog Lucy.

Allen W. Schmidthorst- Academy of Distinguished Alumni 2023

Allen W. Schmidthorst ’17 (Hon.)

Well-known for his tenacity and hard work, Allen W. Schmidthorst has long been respected as a leader in the hotel and hospitality industry, with holdings in hotels, restaurants and real estate. His entrepreneurial spirit tracks back to his childhood, when as a 10-year-old he sold sweet corn and watermelons from his family’s farm in the Cincinnati area.

Schmidthorst learned his earliest lessons while working alongside his grandfather at the farm and applied that knowledge throughout his illustrious career.

He attended BGSU in 1957 for a year before needing to transition to the workforce. He rose through the ranks at McDonald’s and bought several franchises that he owned for 30 years before selling them and entering the hotel business.

Schmidthorst and his wife, Carol, also own AWS Properties, a business that provides comprehensive services for office, retail and leisure properties. The longtime residents of Lima, Ohio, anchored their businesses in the state and expanded throughout the Midwest.

The pair are longtime supporters of BGSU, making the single largest academic donation in the history of BGSU. The transformational gift in 2020 established BGSU’s first named college, the Allen W. and Carol M. Schmidthorst College of Business.

Other gifts also led to the creation of the Schmidthorst Pavilion and Schmidthorst Heritage Hall, both located at the Stroh Center. They have also supported WBGU-TV, as well as many scholarship and athletic funds at the University.

Schmidthorst received an honorary doctorate of business administration from BGSU in 2017.

About the Academy of Distinguished Alumni

Created in 2011, the BGSU Academy of Distinguished Alumni represents the highest honor bestowed by the University and was established to recognize the extraordinary accomplishments of alumni who have made significant contributions to their chosen professional field and/or through their community involvement.

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Updated: 10/19/2023 02:55PM