The Mepham Who's Who
2009 Honorees

Four distinguished graduates will be inducted into the Mepham Who's Who Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place on May 3, 2009 with officers and board members presenting the honors at the annual Who's Who Brunch.

This program was initiated in 1964 to recognize and honor graduates who have made significant accomplishments in their fields of work and significant volunteer service to the community. A plaque in the foyer honors our one hundred sixty previous winners and the new inductees.

If you have graduated from Mepham more than ten years ago, meet the above qualifications and would like to be considered for an award next year, send an e-mail to to receive an application. You may nominate yourself or another Mepham alumna/alumnus.

The distinguished 2009 recipients are:

  • Harry M. Betzig ’39 – Engineering
  • Gudrun Moe Christenson ’41 – Botany
  • B. Franklin Diamond ’59 – Neurology
  • Edward D. Westervelt ’62 — Education

Harry M. Betzig ’39 – Engineering

After graduating, Harry served in WWII with the Corps of Engineers. He went to St. John’s University, then to Carnegie Tech, graduating with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering. He worked, while in the Army for Carbide and Carbon Chemicals in purification of Uranium 235 until 1946. He directed the design of a variety of chemical and food plants for Chemical Plants Division of Blaw Knox. He was Chief Engineer in their Chicago office until 1955, designing food, fats, oils, and fertilizer manufacturing facilities for Ralston Purina, Swift, Wilson & Company, Land O’ Lakes, Spencer Kellogg, etc. He was Director of Engineering for Process Plants division, on Allied’s facilities, and for Ford Motors, General Electric, and others, before transferring to Specialty Chemicals Division to build and direct an engineering department designing a variety of chemical plants. Next he was manager of Corporate Engineering for NL Industries designing lead smelter, flue gas desulfurization. In 1977 he accepted an assignment for Combustion Engineering Assoc. as Director of Engineering, heading up a start-up task force for a 2500 tons per day waste-to-energy plant in CT. Since 1980 Harry has been a consultant and owner of a group specializing in waste-to-energy, scrap metal processing, stormwater, and waste water control plants. Since leaving the Army in 1946, Harry has built 5 engineering departments from scratch and reorganized 3 engineering departments—designing over a billion dollars of sophisticated process facilities. He was active in American Institute of Chemical Engineers as chairman of its Chicago section and member of AICME’s National Professional Committee.

While his busy work schedule didn’t leave much time, for 20 years Harry has been a Sunday School teacher and usher at St. Catherine’s of Siena in Mountain Lakes NJ and an avid fan of sports activities (once “fan of the year” at Mountain Lakes High School). He has served as Election Inspector for primaries and elections.

While at Mepham Harry played trombone in the marching band and Jolly Rogers (while in the Army, played in several “Big Bands” and introduced the Jolly Rogers to band leader, Glenn Miller). He was on the Buccaneer and in the German Club. He, along with John Lackos ‘40 and 10 others started a fraternity, the Yachi Hughi, that persists to this day, although only three members still survive. Harry was the first Vice President of our Alumni Association, and continues his involvement with Mepham as the 1939 Class Representative and, since the death of John Lackos ‘40 (who submitted Harry for Who’s Who consideration) will take over John’s role as the 1940 Class Rep as well.

Gudrun Moe Christenson ’41 – Botany

Gudi was a very involved student at Mepham. Active in the “Treasure Chest,” “Buccaneer,” and many athletic endeavors, she capped her athletic activities as Captain of the Sports Night Garnet Team.

She and her husband, Charles (now deceased), raised two daughters who are now themselves married—one a social worker in Cambodia, and one with a master’s degree in American History.

Poor health and home responsibilities for most of the 1940s curtailed her energy and activities outside her home. Open Heart surgery in 1947 changed her life.

When she was a widow in her late forties, Gudi began undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD, attaining, in 1972, a B.S. in Botany, Magna Cum Laude. She was elected to the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and contributed to two scholarly papers in 1976 and 1989.

Gudi worked for the U.S.D.A. for 15 years, retiring in 1988 as a GS 9 Botanist. During those 15 years she traveled to England, Malawi, Zambia, Venezuela, and Brazil, collecting plant material for anti-cancer research and collecting plant material in search of germplasm for possible new crops.

“It pleases me to know that plant specimens I have collected are being preserved in national museums in eight different countries on four different continents,” she recently stated.

A year after her retirement she received a call from the U.S.D.A. asking her to make yet another plant exploration trip to Brazil. You just know she said “Yes!” Her long and varied list of community service reflects her many and diverse interests.

B. Franklin Diamond ’59 – Neurology

Frank Diamond graduated from W. C. Mepham in 1959 where, among other things, he was a member of Skull & Bones. He went on to the University of Pennsylvania earning his bachelor’s degree. He earned his M.D. in 1967 from the University of Pittsburgh. Frank followed Med school with a residency at the University of Pittsburgh and the prestigious Neurology Residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Frank also served in the U.S. Air Force from 1972-74, achieving the rank of major.

Among his significant accomplishments in the field of medicine was being named Chief of the Division of Neurology at Abington Memorial Hospital in Pennsylvania, Founder and Medical Director of both the Abington Stroke Center and the Sleep Disorders Center, and President of the Philadelphia Neurological Society. He has published numerous papers and articles and been involved with many clinical trials of medications and advanced techniques. His membership in many professional societies and committees has demonstrated his dedication to medicine.

Doctor Diamond has served his community well, having contributed his time to organizations including the American Heart Association, the Montgomery County High School Blood Pressure Council, the National Foundation for Ileitis and Colitis, the Settlement Music School of Jenkintown, and many others.

Frank and his wife, Martha, have two children—Stephanie and Elliot.

Edward D. Westervelt ’62 — Education

Ed’s career in Education has skyrocketed from the days he was an English teacher right here in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District. Yes, Ed started at Calhoun High School in 1966 and became a Guidance Counselor there from 1972-1978. He went on to be an Assistant Principal at Central Valley, and then Principal at Highland Falls, Orange County, NY. In 1988, Dr. Westervelt accepted a position as Assistant Superintendent, Pearl River, NY and then crossed over the state line to New Jersey and became Superintendent, Northern Highlands Regional School District in 1994. Dr. Westervelt is currently the Superintendent of the Red Bank, New Jersey, Regional School District, which numbers approximately 1200 students.

Dr. Westervelt has served on the National Council of Christians and Jews, Planning Committee; the Board of Trustees, Red Bank Initiative and Development Committee; The Executive Board at Seton Hall, Superintendent’s Study Council; and is a member of the Board of Trustees, New Jersey Council of Economic Education. Ed has also written articles for several publications; among them, The New Jersey School Board Association, The American Association of School Administrators, and the Bergen Record.

Ed is most proud that the schools in his districts have always improved their academic standing while he has been involved in the district. His schools have been cited as “Schools of Excellence” by the United States Department of Education and Edward D. Westervelt, Ed.D, ranked very high in both New York and New Jersey. Currently at Red Bank, Ed is gratified to have added thirteen Honors and Advanced Placement courses, as well as leading the district to pass a $15 million bond referendum for capital improvements.

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