The Mepham Who's Who
1994 Honorees

On Monday evening, June 6, 1994, Past President Brian Levy '60 and other Board members of the Alumni Association were honored to present six distinguished Mepham alumni to an audience of 1994 graduates, their parents, faculty, administrators, and community organization representatives, who had gathered for the Annual Awards Assembly in Mepham's nostalgically wonderful auditorium.

Each Who's Who inductee has met the criteria for inclusion in the Mepham Hall of Fame, which includes accomplishments in their chosen careers and outstanding contributions to the welfare of mankind. When these extraordinary people are introduced to an audience of young people, it provides the forum for the future generation to see that with knowledge and dedication, they too can achieve "fame in Mepham's hallowed halls."

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 1994 recipients are:

Abby Ilene Gilbert Budnick '69 Chiropractic Medicine

Dr. Budnick was nominated by Jane Kussoy Gordon '74, who wrote "I feel Abby is an outstanding role model for young women graduating from high school today - an excellent example of how a bright, motivated woman can successfully combine the demands of a professional practice with the challenges of raising a family."

Dr. Budnick received her B.A. in psychology and education in 1973 from Hofstra University, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Subsequent to her marriage and the birth of her first child, she entered NY Chiropractic College. Her second child was born while she was completing the prerequisites for her doctorate. Abby opened her private practice in Bellmore in 1991.

She has served on the Mepham Athletic Scholarship Committee, is a member of the Bellmore Chamber of Commerce, does scoliosis screening for the East Meadow Schools, is a sponsor of the Bellmore Little League and is a member of the NY Chiropractic Association and the Parker Research Foundation.

Jane Gordon continues: "Dr. Budnick treats infants through the elderly and is extremely respected for her expertise in her field as well as her outstanding ability to 'listen' to her patients and treat them in a caring, compassionate and friendly manner. It is rare to meet a practitioner who is admired by her patients, and who is as committed to providing the highest standards of chiropractic care."

David (Michaels) Holtzman '68 Television Production

David is the producer of 'The $25,000 Pyramid, "The $100,000 Pyramid" and producer/senior talent coordinator of "Vicki!" (Vicki Lawrence's talk show). He has served for four years as governor of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and for six years as co-chair of the "Daytime Emmy Awards." David has accepted two Emmys as producer for 'The $25,000 Pyramid" game show.

His humanity to human beings is evident in his dedication to the AIDS cause. As West Coast chairman of "The Ribbon Project" for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, David writes: ". . . I am the person responsible for all the red ribbons you have seen over the past three years on awards shows. We have spread AIDS awareness throughout the world by making the red ribbon a world-wide symbol of AIDS awareness. AIDS is no longer a word that can't be said on television. By using awards shows, we have reached an incredible number of people through the acting, music and sports award shows. In addition, through the Ribbon Project, many thousands of dollars have been collected personally for AIDS service and research organizations."

Romeo E. Muller '46 Screen Writing

Romeo's talent for screen writing has delighted children of all ages for decades. He created many television Christmas specials, which include: "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman," "Little Drummer Boy," "Cricket on the Hearth," "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town," "Little Rascals Christmas," and "Jack Frost."

In 1987 Romeo had eleven specials aired; in one night he had three different shows on three major networks during the same hour. Mr. Muller also created and wrote "The Hobbit" for which he won his first Peabody Award. His second Peabody was presented for "Puff the Magic Dragon" series. His final Christmas special, "Noel," was shown on NBC in 1993, and the switchboard was deluged with viewers' calls for a repeat performance before Christmas so that friends and relatives who may have missed the airing could see it.

Sadly, Romeo E. Muller passed away on December 30, 1992, but his contributions to children's joy will live eternally.

Jeffrey Lloyd Seltzer '74 Investment Banking

Jeffrey graduated cum laude with a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. From there he earned his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. Mr. Seltzer is presently managing director of Lehman Brothers (a well-known investment firm) in New York City. He is Chairman of the Securities Industry Association Swap and Derivative Products Committee and is a member of the U.S. Advisory Committee on Trade Policy Matters for Service Industries. Jeffrey was a member of the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Small Business Advisory Council of the Republican National Committee. He has also been an advisor to numerous political campaigns.

Mr. Seltzer is listed in: Who's Who in the East, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in the Law, Who's Who in Finance and Industry, and Who's Who of Emerging Leaders in America. Jeffrey states, "I consider myself to be a very fortunate person. In the twenty years since I graduated (from Mepham), I have obtained a fine education at the best graduate and undergraduate schools, risen to the top of my profession and most importantly, begun to raise a family here on Long Island. I have also had an impact on public policy which directly or indirectly affects all of us, through my work as an advisor to the U.S. government and political campaigns. I have been an effective advocate for my industry as well as for the small business community. I am proud of my success and am appreciative of the foundation that Mepham provided me enabling me to accomplish so much."

Virginia Ann Cummiskey Simpson '49 Education

Virginia attended SUNY Plattsburgh, where she obtained her B.S. in 1954. She began her career as a third grade teacher and writes: "In between teaching third grade for two years and all day kindergarten for seventeen years, I became a mother to six children (all are grown and successful in their chosen careers) and stayed home for eleven years to help them in their early years." In 1987, Mrs. Simpson received her Masters from SUNY Stony Brook.

She is presently manager of Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. She also is a part-time direct care counselor at Camelot Residence in East Northport. Virginia says, "After teaching for twenty years and loving it, I am also finding my work as manager of Ronald McDonald House extremely rewarding. The courage and strength of these young couples with critically ill children is unbelievable. Being there to help them through their crisis is a service which they truly appreciate. No words can describe watching a child who could hardly walk because of a heart condition start running around after they have recuperated from open heart surgery. My husband Ray (co-manager with me and also a Mepham graduate) and I could go on and on telling the miracles we see."

Virginia is a past president of the Kings Park PTA, coordinator of Family Mass Group at St. Joseph's Church, an active member of Huntington Tennis Association, the Ft. Salonga Association, the Nature Conservatory and the Smithtown Environmental Center.

With all these involvements, Virginia and Ray have time to pursue their love of mountain climbing and have reached many summits. "We even walked down to the Colorado River at the Grand Canyon and then did the exhausting hike back up out of the canyon. We are always ready for a challenge!"

Charles Ward Strang '49 Business Education and Economic Development

Charles began his letter: "It has been over forty years since I walked the halls of Mepham High School. I often wondered what I could do after graduation and considered several career options. Fortunately, I have been able to pursue several of the careers that I had under consideration. One thing is for certain, the teachers and coaches at Mepham had a tremendous impact upon my life. They prepared me for college and the numerous responsibilities I faced in my military, business and academic careers."

Dr. Strang is presently director of the New Mexico Community Economic Development Leadership Institute. He earned his B.S. from Virginia Polytech in 1954, his M.B.A. from the University of Hawaii in 1967, and his D.Ed. in 1985 from the University of Southern California. His U.S. Army career spanned twenty years, and he retired as Lt. Colonel, Ranger and Airborne qualified. He served as company commander, an advisor to a South Vietnamese infantry battalion, and on the Department of the Army staff. His last assignment was as budget officer for the U.S. Army, Pacific.

His academic career as an assistant and full professor at Chaminade University of Honolulu from 1974 through 1986 saw him as chairman of the Department of Business, and Founding Dean for the School of Business. In 1986 he left Hawaii and moved to New Mexico, where he continued his career of business education at Western New Mexico University.

Dr. Strang is involved in many community and professional organizations and has had numerous articles published. He also is author of a weekly column called "Business Report" in the Silver City Daily Press. Charles has been recognized over the years for his contributions to humanity, including: the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, the Soldiers Medal (Army's highest non-combat award for heroism), listed in Who's Who in the West, Who's Who in the United States, received the Economic Development Leadership Award for Grant County, was selected as Best Teacher in the department by his students in 1992 and was selected to organize and establish the New Mexico Community Economic Leadership Institute, a joint venture between the New Mexico Department of Economic Planning and Western New Mexico University.

Return to Who's Who Honorees Tables

Return to Mepham Alumni Home Page