The Durand Educational Foundation has selected two distinguished graduates of Durand High School to honor this year. The recipients were selected from a pool of nominees that included artists, actors, military personnel, community servants, and numerous individuals with impressive career accomplishments.

Dr. Tom Fuja is a professor and the chairman of the University of Notre Dame Department of Electrical Engineering in South Bend, IN, where he teaches classes and conducts research into ways to make digital communication systems more reliable; and ways to improve the sound and image quality in cell phones, military communication systems, and TV broadcasts. Dr. Fuja has also served as the program director for Communications Research at the U.S. National Science Foundation, and as a consultant to companies such as Apple, AT&T, and Vizio in patent infringement cases, testifying in U.S. District Court and at the International Trade Commission in Washington D.C. Dr. Fuja graduated from Durand High School in 1977 and from the University of Michigan in 1981. He received his PhD from Cornell University in 1987.

The DEF is also recognizing Captain Michael Watkins, who was nominated for his dedicated service to the country as a member of the United States Marine Corps. Watkins enlisted with the U.S. Marines upon graduation from high school. He was commissioned as an officer in 2005 after earning a bachelor’s degree. As a pilot, he accrued over 1,200 flight hours, including 1,000 hours in the EA6B Prowler. Watkins served as an IMEF Special Operations Instructor, and has completed tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. He earned a master’s degree and has received numerous awards and commendations that rounded out his honorable and distinguished career. Watkins retired in 2015 with a rank of captain.

The Durand Educational Foundation will be honoring the alumni at a reception at Durand Union Station on Sunday, Aug. 13 from 3 to 5 p.m. The reception is open to friends, classmates, family, and others who wish to honor the recipients.

Durand Educational Foundation Distinguished Alumni Candidates Announced was last modified: August 8th, 2017 by Karen Elford