Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State Honors Four with Distinguished Alumni Awards

October 13, 2008

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - The Indiana State University Alumni Association has announced the recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Awards. The four alumni will be honored at a reception and banquet Friday, Oct. 24, in Dede I and II, Hulman Memorial Student Union. This year's recipients are:

Robert W. Baesler

A Terre Haute native, Baesler earned his degree in business administration from Indiana State in 1972. From there, he became a partner with his father at Baesler's Market, making him the fourth generation to operate the area's oldest local retail grocery store.

As a business owner, Baesler has encouraged numbers of young adults to pursue their education at Indiana State, offering them financial reimbursement for grades as well as adjusting their work schedules so they could meet classroom obligations.

Baesler has given back to his community by donating food to Harmony Haven, supporting the Spay-Neuter League, Terre Haute Boys/Girls Clubs, and the Boy Scouts of America. He has also supported his alma mater as a Sycamore Athletic Booster, a member of the Vigo County Alumni chapter and supporter of Indiana State's Alpha Tau Omega chapter.

He currently serves as a member of the board of directors for many organizations, including Wabash Valley Crime Stoppers, Terre Haute Savings Bank, Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, as well as past chairman of the board for the Indiana Retail Grocers.

He and his wife, Julie, reside in Terre Haute. They have two sons, Nicklas and Casey.

Randall Minas

Minas took summer courses and graduated cum laude in 1975 with a degree in management and a minor in accounting at age 20.

Wanting to become a registered representative and work in the finance industry, he realized he could not take the certification exams until he was 21 years old. While waiting to take the exams, he took a position of assistant manager with Osco Drugs and married his high school sweetheart, Nancy.

In spring 1976, Minas passed his exams and took a position with a northwest Indiana brokerage firm. When Merrill Lynch opened an office in the area in 1979, he went to work for them as a financial consultant. Minas has been with the finance/brokerage firm for 28 years and is currently serving as senior vice president and a regular member of the firms Circle of Champions.

The Minas' have been instrumental in helping area high school students interested in finance careers by sponsoring work days and internships with his Merrill Lynch office in Merrillville. When the idea of a hands-on finance center at Indiana State was presented to the couple, they embraced the idea.

Through a $150,000 endowment, the Minas Foundation helped build a financial trading room, located in the College of Business. The area allows students to gain actual experience in trading. As part of that gift, the Minas' stipulated the University's student investment club be involved regarding the growth and administration of their endowment, providing valuable experiential learning opportunities for future students.

The Minas' formed the Minas Foundation in 2000, funding projects with local educational foundations, Indiana State, and the Tri Town Safety Village in Schererville. They have also donated their time, serving on several boards and foundations, including the YMCA, Campagna Academy, Culver Academies, Schererville Parks Department, Highland Christian School, Schererville girl's softball and the Tri Town Safety Village.

Minas was recently appointed by Gov. Mitch Daniels to serve on the Indiana State Board of Trustees.

Mary Kay Lloyd Sommers, Ph.D

Sommers has been in education ever since graduating from Indiana State in 1968 with a degree in elementary education.

After spending 15 years as an elementary school teacher in Indiana public schools, she moved from the classroom into school administration in 1979 as principal of an elementary school in West Lafayette. She served as the school districts elementary curriculum director in 1985.

In 1987 she moved to Colorado, working at three schools before taking her current position as principal of Shephardson Elementary School in Fort Collins.

She has been involved in numerous professional organizations, including the National Association of Elementary School Principals, which she serves as immediate past president. As president, she was responsible for overseeing board meetings, task forces and special projects.

Sommers has also been involved in the Indiana Association of Elementary School Principals, the Colorado Association of School Executives, Phi Delta Kappa and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

She has visited schools throughout the United States, Australia, the Netherlands and Newfoundland and has met with department heads within the U.S. Department of Education. She spoke at the Education Department's 2007 Blue Ribbon School Awards.

In addition to speaking at numerous conferences and workshops, Sommers testified in front of Congress in 2007 in regard to No Child Left Behind and was invited to the White House to meet First Lady Laura Bush in May 2008.

Mervin Yoder, M.D.

Yoder, a physician and educator in the field of pediatrics, earned a Master of Arts degree in life sciences from Indiana State in 1976. He went on to medical school at the Indiana University School of Medicine, earning his degree in 1980, and completed post-graduate training in pediatrics and neonatology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

In 1985, he returned to the IU School of Medicine, this time as an educator. He began as an assistant professor of pediatrics and in 1990 was promoted to assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology. He also was appointed to the graduate faculty at the medical school in 1996.

Yoder teaches courses in biochemistry, neonatology, pediatrics, cellular and molecular biology. He has supervised more than 30 junior faculty, doctoral fellows and graduate students' research, dissertation and thesis projects as well as overseeing undergraduate research.

He currently is a professor of cellular and integrative physiology and Director of the Comparative Medicine program at the IU School of Medicine in addition to being the attending neonatologist at IU Hospitals and Wishard Memorial Hospital. In 2004, he was named the Richard and Pauline Klinger Professor of Pediatrics.

Yoder is a member of numerous organizations, including the American and Indiana Boards of Pediatrics, Indiana Neonatal Society, Midwest Society of Pediatric Research and the American Society of Hematology.


Downloadable, high resolution images are available at:

Bob Baesler:

Randall Minas:

Mary Kay Lloyd Sommers:

Mervin Yoder, M.D.:

Contact: Elizabeth Tuttle, ISU Alumni Affairs, (812)237-3779

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783 or