Honoring outstanding alumni

Each year, the Wayne State University Alumni Association honors the accomplishments of outstanding alumni who exemplify the Wayne State spirit of achievement, excellence and service through two awards. 

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally and through service to the university, recognizing individuals who have made a distinct impact in their field and serve as role models to enhance the visibility of Wayne State and the university community. 

Nominations are now closed.

Homer D. Strong Award

The Homer D. Strong Award is presented for distinguished service to the alumni association and university as a whole, recognizing individuals who encourage alumni participation and benefit the university through volunteer leadership. 

Nominations are now closed.

2017 recipients

Lance Werner '04

Lance Werner

Lance Werner received the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes individuals who have made a distinct impact in their field and serve as role models to enhance the reputation of Wayne State and the broader university community. 

Werner is chief executive director of the Kent District Library, where he's recognized by his colleagues as an empowering leader, mentor and innovator. As head of the second-largest library system in Michigan, Werner serves as a trusted expert in information sciences, library law, local and state policy, new technology, and community engagement. Since 2010, he has mentored more than 75 Wayne State graduates and continues to mentor current students in the School of Library and Information Science.

John Walus '04

John Walus

John Walus, an attorney at Alpert & Alpert and retired lieutenant colonel for the U.S. Army, received the 2017 Homer D. Strong Award for his distinguished leadership and service to the Alumni Association and the university as a whole.

Walus, who lettered in football at Wayne State in 1971, also is a member of the Alumni Association's Board of Directors and one of the founding members of the WSU Athletic Alumni Association. As a key stakeholder and coordinator of Armed Forces Day activities, he helped establish a program to recognize veterans during select Warrior football games each year, working with active military groups and the WSU Student Veterans Organization to set pre-game and in-game activities.