MARQUETTE—Two Northern Michigan University alumni with Upper Peninsula roots will be recognized for their achievements during NMU’s Homecoming celebration this weekend. Robert Wallenstein of Fort Wayne, Ind.—known as Bob Chase in the radio industry—and Dr. William Bowerman of Central, S.C., are recipients of the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Wallenstein is a Marquette native who began his radio career at NMU, where he announced hockey games. Since then he has gone on to announce high school sports, Big Ten football games and the Indy 500. He began play-by-play sports announcing on radio station WOWO for the Fort Wayne Komets hockey team in 1953. He also served as the public service director, assistant program director, sports director and marketing director for WOWO. He has made a name for himself both inside and outside the hockey rink. Wallenstein supports the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, mentors broadcasting students, advocates leagues for youth sports and has a hockey tournament for handicapped athletes named after him. He has been inducted to the Upper Peninsula Hall of Fame and was named the International Hockey League Broadcaster of the Year. Semi-retired, he is set to begin his 60th season of broadcasting .
Bowerman, a Munising native, received his master’s degree in biology in 1991. He teaches wildlife ecology and toxicology at Clemson University, where he also chairs the environmental science and toxicology department. He has served on a bald eagle recovery team for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and has studied the correlation between pollution and bald eagle ecology for about 25 years. Bowerman has trained more than 300 wildlife professionals and is leading a team of scientists through 19 countries to study indigenous eagle species. He also led a team that discovered the cause of avian vacuolar myelinopathy, a disease that killed more than 100 bald eagles and 10,000 waterfowl. Bowerman co-chairs the International Joint Commission’s Great Lakes Science Advisory Board, a national authority on water quality issues.