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Businessman, choreographer named Distinguished Alumni

Oct. 6, 2006

KALAMAZOO--A prominent businessman and an internationally known choreographer have been selected by the Western Michigan University Alumni Association to receive the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award.

The two award recipients are Robert Bobb, chief executive officer of Cardinal Growth L.P. in Chicago, and Derrick A. Evans, a choreographer, performer, rehearsal director and master teacher in New York.

Bobb and Evans will be honored at a reception and dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, in the East Ballroom of the Bernhard Center on WMU's main campus. During the event, the University also will recognize this year's College of Arts and Sciences Alumni Achievement Award winners and College of Engineering and Applied Sciences Alumni Excellence Academy inductees.

The reservation deadline for the event is Oct. 9.

Robert Bobb earned a bachelor of science degree from WMU in 1969 and earned a doctor of law degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1972. He served as a law clerk to the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Court, then went on to make a name for himself as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Criminal Trial Division and an attorney with the Chicago law firm Hopkins & Sutter.

Since 1978, Bobb has been a principal equity investor in small to middle market companies engaged in real estate development, financial services, beverage distribution, trucking, steel processing, construction and agriculture. Such investments have included startups, turnarounds and acquisitions from both private and public sellers.

In addition to all of those private investment endeavors, for which he served as either CEO or chairman of the board, Bobb and a partner formed Cardinal Growth L.P. in 2000. Bobb serves as chairman of this small business investment company, which is a $100 million fund investing in small to middle market companies and is located in Chicago.

A life member of the WMU Alumni Association, he has maintained close ties to his alma mater. Currently, he is a member of the WMU Foundation Board of Directors and of the Haworth College of Business Advisory Board.


Derrick Evans has enjoyed a successful career since 1988, the year he was named WMU's Presidential Scholar in Dance and left school as a senior to pursue performance opportunities. In 2000, he returned to campus and completed the final few requirements for his bachelor of fine arts degree.

As a dancer, Evans has performed with such well-known companies as the Cori Terry/Wellspring Dance Collaborative in Kalamazoo, the River North Chicago Dance Company and Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. His credits include touring the country with Sweet Charity as the dance captain and in the role of Big Daddy; performing with Liza Minnelli, Dionne Warwick, Michael Jackson and a host of other recording artists; and being featured in commercials for JC Penny, K-Mart, Levi and Intel.

Evans' work as a choreographer is equally varied and diverse. He has created works for the Motion Mania Dance Theatre in Maryland, Monthey Dance Center in Switzerland and WMU Department of Dance, to name a few, and has choreographed several musicals as well as industrial productions for companies such as Footlocker, ATT, Reebok, Nautica and Nike.

He also was an assistant choreographer for the off-Broadway musical "Four Guys Named Jose," which was honored with a Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors nomination; one of four choreographers featured in an Emmy-winning PBS documentary about the River North Chicago Dance Company; and a co-choreographer of the 2005 European Youth Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the WMU Alumni Association's most prestigious honor. It was initiated in 1963 to recognize graduates who have achieved a high level of success in their respective professions. Counting this year's winners, only 126 alumni and alumnae have received the award.

For more information about the reception and dinner honoring this year's award winners or to make a reservation for the event, call (269) 387-8777 or visit www.wmich.edu/alumni, click on "Events" and complete the online reservation form on the Distinguished Alumni Dinner page.


Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

WMU News
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