Faculty and staff receive Wege Awards and other honors

The annual staff and faculty awards celebration, held during graduation week on Wednesday evening, June 21, featured two special awards along with ten Wege Awards to faculty and staff for their outstanding service to MIU.

Michael Spivak, MIU’s treasurer, received the first award of the evening, the Joe Tarver Service Award. Joe Tarver, a long-time MIU staff member in the accounting department, personified the unsung hero, quietly and competently working behind the scenes for many years, performing essential work. After his passing, his family established this award in his honor to commemorate staff members with a similar ethic. Vice President of Operations Tom Brooks presented the award. In receiving the award, Mr. Spivak — who oversaw the Accounting Department while Joe Tarver worked there and continues to do so — commented that he always strove to be like Joe, that is, effective, unassuming, and always service oriented.

Dr. Ulrich Bauhofer received the annual Anand Shrivastava Award in Maharishi AyurVeda, presented by Dr. Robert Keith Wallace. This award, which carries a $5,000 honorarium, recognizes the work of great medical practitioners who have actively practiced Maharishi AyurVeda for at least 20 years — who have benefited thousands of people through their practice, spread that knowledge widely, and inspired the next generation of healthcare givers.

Dr. Bauhofer, a native of Germany and leading expert in stress and health management, is one of the most renowned Ayurveda experts outside of India.

A bestselling author, teacher of the Transcendental Meditation program, and sought-after health expert in the media, he was one of the first western physicians invited by Maharishi to work with a team of leading vaidyas (physicians) in India — eminent authorities like Dr. Vasudev Dwiwedi, Dr. Brishapati Dev Triguna, Dr. Balraj Maharishi, and Dr. H.S. Kasture — in establishing the scientific foundation of Ayurveda. This gave him the opportunity to study with some of the great masters.

Through his practice and his thousands of lectures and seminars, his books, media presence, executive seminars in industry, and huge social media following, Dr. Bauhofer has contributed substantially to spreading Ayurveda in the global community and making it an essential component of modern healthcare.

Dr. Bauhofer led numerous training courses and seminars for western doctors around the world. In 1983 he established the German Society for Ayurveda, the first Ayurvedic doctors association outside of Asia, and became its founding president. He established and directed three Ayurvedic clinics in Germany and has treated tens of thousands of patients using Ayurvedic principles.

He currently runs an outpatient practice in Munich. Through his practice and his thousands of lectures and seminars, his books, media presence, executive seminars in industry, and huge social media following, Dr. Bauhofer has contributed substantially to spreading Ayurveda in the global community and making it an essential component of modern healthcare.

Anand Shrivastava, after whom the award is named, was a leader of the Transcendental Meditation organization in India, working closely with Maharishi, especially in Ayurveda, where he established and oversaw Maharishi Ayurveda Products International. At the time of his passing, he was completing a master’s degree in Consciousness and Human Potential at MIU. His son Ram is an MIU graduate and member of the MIU Board of Trustees.

Wege Awards

The annual Wege Awards, with an honorarium of $1,000 each, went to seven faculty or former faculty members and three staff members. Faculty awards went to David Orme-Johnson, Tom Egenes, Jane Schmidt-Wilk, Prem Nair, Roxanna Medeiras, Bruce Lester, and Rujuan (Tina) Xing. Staff awards went to James Davidson, Edison Martinez, and SungChull Park.

The Wege Awards, are sponsored by the Wege Foundation, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, which has provided generous grants to MIU for many years to support diverse projects. These grants are facilitated by Chris and Laura Wege; Laura is co-vice-chair of the MIU Board of Trustees.

Here are the faculty recipients of this year’s Wege Awards, presented by Dean of Faculty Vicki Alexander Herriott:

Jane Schmidt-Wilk, PhD, is Professor of Management, Dean of Teaching and Learning, and Director of the Center for Management Research. She teaches a wide range of courses in the business administration department. As Dean of Teaching and Learning, she develops faculty training programs in Consciousness-Based education. She edited the Journal of Management Education from 2005 to 2012 and the journal Management Teaching Review from 2015 to 2022, and she serves on the editorial boards of several other management journals. 

Tom Egenes, PhD, who came to MIU in 1985, is Professor of Maharishi Vedic Science and Sanskrit, where he specializes in teaching Sanskrit. He is one of MIU’s most beloved classroom teachers. He pioneered the study of Sanskrit at Maharishi School and then at MIU. His books on learning Sanskrit rank among the best known in the field and are used at dozens of universities, including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Chicago. His are the only books in the Russian language for learning Sanskrit. Together with Dr. Vernon Katz, he published a popular translation of selected Upanishads. His other books include All Love Flows to the Self: Eternal Stories from the Upanishads and his translation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Maharishi Patañjali Yoga Sūtra. He has given presentations all over the country and internationally.

David Orme-Johnson, PhD, is one of the first and most prolific researchers on meditation, with more than 100 published scientific papers. He was the first (in 1973) to provide evidence that meditation of any kind could improve how the body reacts to stress. The first to show the benefits of TM for prison rehabilitation. The first to show that EEG coherence (as elicited through TM practice) is correlated with creativity, intelligence, and higher states of consciousness. The first to study the TM-Sidhi techniques, showing that they accelerate the benefits of TM practice by itself. The first to study the effects of TM on health insurance usage, finding that TM practice markedly reduces hospitalization and doctor visits in all categories of disease and all age groups. And David and his collaborators have published numerous studies on the Maharishi Effect, showing the immense promise of Maharishi’s technologies of consciousness for creating peace and harmony in the world. He served as chair of the MIU Psychology Department for many years and is a gifted painter and sculptor.

Roxanna Medeiros, is the director of the Online BA in Ayurveda Wellness & Integrative Health, one of MIU’s fastest growing programs, with responsibility for all aspects of that program — curriculum development, student advising, assessment, budgeting, staffing, and training. Before coming to MIU, she spent more than ten years putting Ayurveda to practical use as an Ayurvedic counselor and practitioner, building successful practices in California and Colorado. She is working on her PhD at MIU, with a dissertation on the benefits of Maharishi AyurVeda for patients with cardiovascular disease.

Prem Nair, Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics, has the distinction of holding two independent PhD degrees, one in mathematics and the other in computer science. He was a tenured full professor at Creighton University for 30 years before joining MIU in 2012. When he visited MIU for the first time, he said, “I sensed a state of peace and calm from everyone I met. This is where I need to be.” Dr. Nair became a Sidha in 2013 and has been a cornerstone senior faculty member these last 11 years. “He is highly respected by students and fellow faculty not only for his knowledge and professionalism, but for his bubbling blissful personality,” Vicki Alexander Herriott said in presenting the award. He has authored or co-authored numerous conference papers, journal articles, and textbooks, and he is the author of Java Programming Fundamentals: Problem Solving Through Object Oriented Analysis and Design (2009).

Bruce Lester received his PhD in computer science from MIT and then taught at Princeton for two years before founding the MIU Department of Computer Science in 1980. He chaired the department for eight years before taking a 20-year leave of absence to participate in the Maharishi Purusha program, with the aim of gaining enlightenment as quickly as possible. Bruce has worked in industry and has continually published in computer science journals and presented papers at conferences, in addition to writing a seminal textbook on parallel programming. Bruce had many interactions with Maharishi as the Computer Science department was being formed, discussing how the areas of computer science relate to principles of consciousness. He is editing these recordings and updating them with Maharishi’s most recent knowledge to create a course for current and future generations of our CS faculty. 

Rujuan (Tina) Xing graduated from MIU’s Computer Professionals MSCS program and received the Most Outstanding Student award from a class of over 100 students. Tina had professional experience in China before joining the MSCS program and then worked in US industry for three years after graduating before joining MIU faculty. “Everyone considers Tina a shining brilliant gem of the department,” Dean Herriott said. “She gets incredibly high reviews from her students. She teaches our highest-level courses and brings 1,000-watt energy and incredible preparation and organization to every class she teaches. A senior faculty member once sat in on the first day of one of her classes — a large class with 36 students — and observed her go through the entire class and greet each student by name from memory.”

The Wege Awards for staff, presented by Carol Passos, Vice President of Human Resources, went to:

James Davidson, Director of US Admissions. After graduating from MIU with a BA in Creative Writing, he joined the admissions office in 2017 as a counselor and quickly rose to Director of US Admissions. “James is super-efficient and hard working,” Carol said. “Always willing to listen and collaborate, always interested in solving an issue rather than delaying. James has shown heroic work in growing the university — insightful, energetic, uplifting, and generous in all endeavors. He leads the Admissions team to accomplish their goals for vastly expanding student enrollment each entry. He does this with infectious joy and jubilation. He is admired and adored by team members. He is a jewel in the crown of the university.”

Edison Martinez came to MIU in 2021 as an MBA intern student, working in the Human Resources office to offset his tuition. He has completed his MBA and is still in the HR office, now as the Customer Service Team Lead. “I’d nominate the entire HR department because they work so hard and are always so supportive despite the pressure they are under,” Carol said. “I chose Edison because he has had to juggle being an MBA student with all the homework and challenges on top of his job responsibilities. And he is always so kind and cheerful. He cares about people and makes sure to find solutions for any situation. Edison is the embodiment of putting people first and delivering value to his customers. He is caring, cheerful, competent, and most importantly, a great friend to everyone.”

SungChull Park, originally from South Korea, came to MIU in January 2010 as an intern student in the Maharishi Vedic Science master’s program, then switched to the MBA program. He has worked in several areas of the university, starting with the University Store, then Student Life as the Residential Life Director, and, starting last year, as the Graduation Director for the Computer Professionals program. “SungChull is an example of a highly developed intellect and highly developed heart, with a quiet, unflagging devotion to selfless service,” Carol said. “He radiates peace and bliss and exemplifies devotion to MIU.”

Thank you to Vicki Alexander Herriott and Carol Passos for their contributions to this story.