NMU Alumni Award Recipients Announced

Kennedy, Stephenson and Hawes

Northern Michigan University Alumni Relations has announced the recipients of its 2023 NMU Alumni Awards: Ellen J. Narotzky Kennedy ('71 MA, '72 MAE) of St. Paul, Minn., Distinguished Alumni; Mitchell Stephenson ('13 BA) of Dillon, Mont., Outstanding Young Alumni; and Charles Hawes ('77 BS) of Lansing, Mich., Alumni Service-Community.  

Nominated and selected by fellow alumni, the recipients are honored for significant achievements in their fields and substantial contributions to society, and have demonstrated exceptional leadership and civic qualities.

Kennedy earned a master of arts in English in 1971 and a master of arts in education in 1972 from NMU. She is the executive director of World Without Genocide, a human rights organization she founded in 2006. Her human rights work has been recognized nationally, including by the Anne Frank Center in New York. Kennedy is a representative to the United Nations Department of Global Communications. World Without Genocide received Special Consultative Status to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations in 2022. She previously served as a professor for nearly 30 years and still teaches courses in human rights as an adjunct professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul.

Stephenson completed a bachelor's degree in Sports Science from NMU in 2013, supported by a Harden Scholarship. He is an associate professor of Health & Human Performance at the University of Montana Western, where he teaches courses using the same experiential pedagogical approaches he benefitted from at NMU. As a certified strength and conditioning specialist, Stephenson oversees student interns and researchers who concentrate on methods to improve human performance and mitigate injury risk. Much of his academic and government-sponsored research contends with neurocognitive performance and musculoskeletal injuries in both sport and military environments. Stephenson also currently serves as the director of a U.S. initiative tasked with providing safety and security to aid efforts in Ukraine.

Hawes attended NMU on a basketball scholarship and graduated with a bachelor's degree in accounting in 1977. He had a 35-year career in public accounting. He also worked in the private sector as vice president and CFO of a mutual insurance company late in his career and retired at 62. Hawes joined the Board of United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Michigan as Treasurer in the late '80s and has served in that volunteer position for more than 30 years. During his service to UCP, Hawes received the President's Award in 2002 and 2008, was recognized for volunteer service to UCP at the 2021 Mary Ann Greenawalt Awards Ceremony, and received the Volunteer Recognition Award from the National UCP Office. He also served as a recycling volunteer at several Common Ground Music Festivals in Lansing and was a member of the NMU Alumni Board from 1997-2003.

The honorees will be recognized and celebrated in-person during Homecoming 2023 (Sept. 15-16). A Homecoming schedule is available at nmu.edu/homecoming. Detailed feature stories with comments from each recipient will be issued at a later date.

For more information on the award criteria and to nominate a fellow alumni, visit nmu.edu/alumni/awards. NMU Alumni Relations can be contacted at alumni@nmu.edu.

Prepared by NMU Alumni Relations. Media contact: Kylie Bunting, (906) 227-2610, or kbunting@nmu.edu

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Categories: Alumni