IU College of Arts and Sciences names its 2015 alumni and faculty honorees

  • Feb. 16, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A highly decorated Army general, a historic preservationist, an oil company founder who explores the ocean depths and a visionary leader in the entertainment industry are among the 2015 recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Awards presented by the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences.

“The Distinguished Alumni Award is one of the highest honors the College bestows on its graduates,” said Larry Singell, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “The paths these men and women have trod since graduation have covered a lot of territory, from oilfields to battlefields, from Hollywood production sets to once-forgotten national landmarks. Every year, when our most illustrious alumni return to accept their awards, their words and stories inspire us all -- faculty, students and alumni alike. They truly exemplify the value of a liberal arts education.”

This year, the 39th anniversary of the awards, the alumni will be honored on Friday, Feb. 27, at the College’s annual alumni awards dinner on the Bloomington campus. At this event, typically attended by about 200 alumni, faculty, students and friends of the College, the Outstanding Young Alumni Award and the Distinguished Faculty Award also will be presented.

The 2015 recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award are:

  • Gayle Karch Cook (BA ’56), of Bloomington, Ind., a widely esteemed leader in historic preservation and the co-founder of Cook Inc., one of the world’s largest medical device manufacturers.
  • Jim Farnsworth (BS ’79), executive vice president and chief exploration officer for Houston-based Cobalt International Energy.
  • Lt. Gen. Thomas M. Montgomery (BA ’63), of Fishers, Ind., and North Port, Fla., a highly decorated military leader who served in important command, staff and management posts around the world, from Somalia to Belgium.
  • Sue Naegle (BA ’91), of Santa Monica, Calif., the president of her own television and film production company, Naegle Ink, which is currently working on projects for HBO, Cinemax, ABC and CBS.

The recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Young Alumni Awards is Marie Harf (BA ’03), of Washington, D.C. The deputy spokeswoman at the U.S. Department of State, Harf conducts daily press briefings and travels overseas in her role as communications adviser to the secretary of state and other senior officials.

This year’s Distinguished Faculty Award recipient is Dr. Ken Mackie, a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences who holds the Linda and Jack Gill Chair of Neuroscience and is the director of the Gill Center for Biomolecular Science. Mackie is also an adjunct professor at the IU School of Medicine.

The College of Arts and Sciences Annual Alumni Awards Dinner is open to the public. The cost for the dinner and opening reception is $50 per person. Reservations are required and must be made by Feb. 25.

More about those being honored:

Gayle Karch Cook

Gayle Karch Cook, with her late husband, Bill, built the Cook Group, one of the world’s largest medical device manufacturers. She has spearheaded about 70 historic preservation and economic revitalization projects, including the much-lauded West Baden Springs and French Lick resorts; Indianapolis’ Central Avenue Methodist Church; and Beck’s Mill and Cedar Farm complex in southern Indiana.

A co-author of several books on Indiana landmarks, Cook is a 1956 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of IU, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in fine arts. She and her late husband have been generous, far-sighted benefactors of IU's Jacobs School of Music, School of Education, School of Medicine and Kelley School of Business, as well as supporting IU Athletics, the Wylie House Museum, the Wells Scholars program and research in the College of Arts and Science.

Jim Farnsworth

Jim Farnsworth is one of the founders of Cobalt International Energy, now on the Forbes 2000 list of the world’s biggest publicly traded companies. As chief exploration officer and executive vice president for exploration and new ventures, Farnsworth leads efforts to uncover oil reserves deep beneath the ocean.

After graduating from IU in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in geology and earning his master’s degree in geophysics at Western Michigan University, he spent two decades at British Petroleum, rising to become BP’s vice president of worldwide exploration and technology before taking early retirement to form Cobalt in 2005. Cobalt has since discovered many rich and promising sources of petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico and off the shores of Angola and Gabon.

Thomas M. Montgomery

U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Thomas M. Montgomery, who retired from the U.S. Army after 34 years, won both the Silver and the Bronze stars in combat. Montgomery was the U.S. military representative to NATO’s highest military body, the Military Committee, at the time of his retirement.

Among other key posts he has held, he served in Somalia concurrently as both the commander of U.S. Forces and the deputy commander of the United Nations Forces. He has been director of management in the Office of the U.S. Army Chief of Staff and commander of the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division of the U.S. Army in Europe.

After graduating from IU with a bachelor's degree in Slavic languages and literature in 1963, he earned a master’s degree in management from Central Michigan University. He also attended the Armed Forces Staff College, the Army War College and the Capstone course for joint flag officers. He has returned to Bloomington frequently to mentor ROTC cadets and to help guide the development of the School of Global and International Studies.

Sue Naegle

Sue Naegle leads her own TV and feature film development company, Naegle Ink, which is currently working on projects for HBO, Cinemax, ABC and CBS, in addition to optioning several novels for film adaptations.

After graduating from IU in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a major in telecommunications, Naegle started in the mailroom at United Talent Agency. She rose to become a partner and co-head of the agency’s television department and worked closely with notable writers and directors like Alan Ball and Judd Apatow. In 2008, she became president of HBO Entertainment, where she oversaw the development and production of critically acclaimed series like "Treme," "Boardwalk Empire" and "Game of Thrones."

Naegle has a reputation for nurturing new talent, as well as for championing greater representation of women and members of racial and ethnic minorities both in the film and TV industry itself and in the shows those industries create.

Ken Mackie

Dr. Ken Mackie, recipient of the 2015 Distinguished Faculty Award, directs IU's Linda and Jack Gill Center for Biomolecular Science and Program in Neuroscience. A professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Mackie holds a Gill chair in neuroscience. Mackie, who is board-certified in anesthesiology, also is an adjunct professor at the IU School of Medicine.

The author or co-author of about 250 scientific book chapters, reviews and papers, Mackie has had his research continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health. He is an authority on the body’s cannabinoid receptors that are responsible for the psychoactive and therapeutic actions of cannabis. Much of his current work centers on the endocannabinoid compounds produced by the body and may well lead to new therapies for treating pain, obesity, seizure disorders, and the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

Marie Harf

Marie Harf, recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Young Alumni Award, is the deputy spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of State. She can often be seen on nightly news broadcasts fielding questions about Iran, North Korea and Ukraine.

The daughter of two IU alumni, Harf majored in political science while at IU, earning her Bachelor of Arts with honors in 2003. She went on to receive her master’s in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia before accepting a job as a Middle East analyst and, later, spokeswoman for the CIA.

She has since served as an advisor and spokeswoman on national security issues for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and then as spokeswoman and advisor for Chuck Hagel during his secretary of defense confirmation.

Related Links

Jim Farnsworth

Jim Farnsworth

Print-Quality Photo

Lt. Gen. Thomas M. Montgomery

Lt. Gen. Thomas M. Montgomery

Print-Quality Photo

Media Contacts

George Vlahakis

  • IU Communications
  • Office 812-855-0846
  • Cell 812-345-1500
  • vlahakis@iu.edu
  • IU Inc.

Deborah Galyan

Director of Communications and Marketing

  • IU College of Arts and Sciences
  • Office 812-855-5265
  • dgalyan@indiana.edu