The Joseph C. Donchess Distinguished Service Award
The purpose of the Wyoming Seminary Distinguished Service Award is to provide recognition and expression of appreciation for unselfish and dedicated service to the School, as well as business success, professional attainment, or service to the community which reflects on Wyoming Seminary.
The recipients of the Award shall be known for outstanding accomplishment in one or more fields that bring honor to Wyoming Seminary through personal identity with the School, or shall have demonstrated dedicated leadership or service to Wyoming Seminary either by a single important act or an extensive record of participation in the life of the School. The Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Board of Trustees of Wyoming Seminary on behalf of everyone associated with the school. It also expresses appreciation for the life and example, the sacrifices and devotion of those who are so honored.
Awarded since the fall of 1972, the Distinguished Service Award was renamed in May of 2000 to reflect the school’s admiration for and appreciation of Dr. Joseph C. Donchess ’26.
About Joseph C. Donchess
After completing sixth grade, Joe Donchess left his public school in Youngstown, Ohio to work as an electrician. He came to Wyoming Seminary when a friend convinced him to return to school and enroll at Sem. As a ninth-grader with a sixth-grade education, Donchess was initially intimidated by Sem’s well-qualified students, but he persevered. Working in the school’s laundry to pay expenses, he excelled on the football field and found success in the classroom. Donchess went on to the University of Pittsburgh where he was the epitome of the scholar-athlete, elected to the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame and accepted into Pitt’s Medical School. He later joined the U. S. Steel Corporation and was named Chief Surgeon only eight years later.
Donchess never forgot Wyoming Seminary, the school that changed his life. In 1959 he established the Quay-Adams Award in honor of his football coaches and mentors in the dorm and classroom. And Wyoming Seminary never forgot him either. In 1973, Joe Donchess was in the second group of recipients of the Distinguished Service Award, Wyoming Seminary’s highest honor.
This year's recipients:
Max Bartikowsky ’48, Forty Fort, Pa.
For the past 125 years the name Bartikowsky has been synonymous with fine jewelry in the Wyoming Valley. Max Bartikowsky ’48, grandson and namesake of the business’s founder, has been maintaining and enhancing that reputation since he joined the business in 1955.
During his Wyoming Seminary years Bartikowsky was an energetic athlete, competing on the track, football and basketball teams and serving as president of the Amphictyon Society. He studied at the University of Pennsylvania and Wilkes University, served in the Navy for four years and completed the Gemological Institute of America’s Diamond Grading program. He is President and CEO of Bartikowsky Jewelers, well known in the industry for its pioneering efforts in jewelry catalog sales.
Throughout the years Bartikowsky has been a dedicated Wyoming Seminary Annual Fund and Phonathon volunteer and served on his 60th Class Reunion Committee in 2008; he also took part in refurbishing a Sprague Hall classroom dedicated to Miss Helen Brown. He has also been an active participant in the work of community organizations such as the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Wilkes-Barre where he serves as president of the Board of Trustees; he has been a member of the Jewish Family Service Board and established a scholarship fund there; and has been active on the now-defunct Wilkes-Barre Lions Club Board, Jewish Family Service Student Loan Committee and the Board of Temple Israel, where he served as treasurer.
Among his many honors are his 2011 induction into the Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame, the 2008 Anti-Defamation League Distinguished Service Award (which he received with Anna Cervenak), the 2006 Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce “I Believe” Award and the 1997 JCC Community Award as well as honors from the Wyoming Valley Family Service Association, American Heart Association and the Jewish Family Service.
In his spare time Bartikowsky enjoys playing tennis and basketball and is a longtime horse owner who races at Pocono Downs.
Marc L. Holtzman ’78, Aspen, Colo.
International banking and economic development, technology, education and politics are the fields in which Marc Holtzman has become well known. Now Vice Chairman of Barclays Capital, an international banking firm, Holtzman brings extensive knowledge of economics and political developments in Eastern Europe, Russia and Asia. He also has served as Vice Chairman of ABN Amro Bank, and as co-founder and president of MeesPierson EurAmerica and senior advisor to Salomon Brothers. He lived and worked in Russia and Eastern Europe from 1989 to 1998 and used his expertise to help develop Central Asia’s financial sector; he was appointed by the prime minister of Kazakhstan to serve on the board of trustees of The Almaty Regional Financial Center. Since 2008 he has served as non-executive chairman of Indus, a leading Indian oil and gas company, and since 2009 he has served as a director of the Bank of Kigali in Rwanda.
In 1999 Holtzman joined the cabinet of Colorado Governor Bill Owens as the state’s first secretary of technology and chaired the state’s Information Management Commission and Commission on Science and Technology. From 2003-2005 he served as president of the University of Denver and developed the Rocky Mountain Center for Homeland Security.
Holtzman’s interest in politics began during his student years at Wyoming Seminary as he led the student body as president of government and served as senior class president. Ronald Reagan, who he greatly admires, appointed him executive director of his 1980 Pennsylvania campaign, the youngest person to ever run a state-wide campaign in a U.S. presidential election. He also served as Executive Director of Citizens for America, Reagan’s national issues advocacy group. In 1986 he ran against fellow Sem alumnus Paul Kanjorski ’54 for the 11th District Congressional seat, and in 2006 he was a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor of Colorado.
Holtzman holds a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Lehigh University. He and his wife Kristen are the parents of two young children.
O. Charles Lull, Venice, Fla.
Inspirational teacher, talented coach, admired administrator: all are terms that describe Charles (Chuck) Lull who during his 43-year career at Wyoming Seminary (1963-1971, 1973-2006) served the school in a variety of leadership positions in and out of the classroom. Hired to teach math, the Lehigh University graduate also served as a football coach for three years; soon after he was tapped to coach the boys tennis team. During his 29-year tenure as the men’s tennis coach, his teams compiled many successful seasons, earning several team and individual championships and honors. A highlight was winning Sem’s first PIAA state championship in 2001. He was honored to be inducted into Sem’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
Students revered Lull as a teacher who could make opaque math concepts seem clear, and he chaired the math department for 19 years. A recipient of the 1998 John A. McCole Chair in mathematics, he also received the 1979 Maslow Award for Excellence in Teaching. His “triangle dance” activity created not only laughs but a deeper understanding of geometry, and his students eagerly anticipated his chocolate-chip “math” cookies.
Lull is remembered for more than his coaching and teaching prowess. At crucial moments in Sem history he was the “go-to” man when the administration needed to fill a vacancy. During a period of 16 years he served either as Director of Student Affairs, Dean of Students or Dean of the Upper School. He always taught at least one class and coached for most of those years because he felt it kept him in close contact with students.
Since retiring to Venice, Florida in summer 2006 Lull and his wife June have become active members of their condominium community. Lull has tutored in math at the local high school and he now serves on the board of the condo association. The couple also are enjoying the area’s thriving arts offerings, learning French, walking the beach and visiting the families of their sons Jim ’82, Greg ’83 and Tom ’90 which include five grandsons; and yes, Lull continues to play tennis and golf, maintaining his lifelong interest in athletics.
Lillian Davis Smith ’53, Dallas, Pa.
Wyoming Seminary has always been prominent in Lillian Davis Smith’s life. While she was growing up on Sprague Avenue in Kingston, she and her sisters Ellen Davis Bender ’48 and Miriam Davis Dunham ’50 knew the faculty well. Smith began her Sem education as a subfreshman and enjoyed being active in many activities while holding leadership positions in several.
After earning a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Elmira College in 1957 she began her career in the Elmira admissions office where she traveled extensively throughout the Midwest. She later taught first grade at the Alexander Robertson School on Central Park West in New York City. She also worked as an admissions counselor at Wyoming Seminary Upper School from 1985 to 1988 and has served the school on the Alumni Council and as an alumni Trustee for eight years; she was a member of the Board of Trustee’s executive committee for five years. She has also been a dedicated Phonathon volunteer and regularly attends Reunions.
Smith believes strongly in the importance of community service and has been an active volunteer all her life. She volunteered with the Red Cross at Bellevue Hospital in New York City; here in Luzerne County she was a 20-year member of the Junior League and served on the board of the Old Ladies’ Home, where she worked on the development and planning of the current Heritage House. She has also served on the boards of the Children’s Service Center, the Children’s Home of Wilkes-Barre, the Historic Thursday Club of Wyoming Valley and the United Way of the Back Mountain; she also has served as a member of the Elmira College Alumni Board of Trustees. Most recently she chaired the committee for the restoration of the Forty Fort Meeting House.
Smith and her husband Dr. H. Alex Smith ’44 are the parents of three Sem graduates: Rebecca Ferguson Smith ’79, Amy Smith Johnson ’81 and Terrell Smith Juth ’86.