Distinguished Alumni Class of 2008
Pictured from left are members of the Oxford Area Hgh School Distinguished Alumni Class of 2008: Jennifer Gilbert, Jeffrey James, Dennis Heron and Yvonne Maule Hannum, representing her father Francis Maule. Inductees were presented with handmade wooden bowls created by former teacher Scott Gold.
Francis Maule, Class of 1921
For many years Francis Maule was well known in Oxford for his heavy involvement in a wide variety of activities throughout the community. An independent craftsman and businessman, Mr. Maule held elective positions in local government, and he took part in projects sponsored by many community service organizations. He was extremely proud of Oxford’s history and traditions, and he also felt a great responsibility to do as much as he could to improve conditions for every resident of the area.
Mr. Maule’s formal education began almost a century ago, and the current events of his school years included topics such as Woodrow Wilson, “Pancho” Villa, the League of Nations, and women gaining the right to vote. For him, the early 1920’s were an exciting time to be graduating from high school into a world made “safe for democracy” by the “war to end all wars” that had recently been decided on the battlefields of France and Belgium.
The optimistic spirit of the Roaring Twenties certainly inspired Mr. Maule, persuading him that anything could be accomplished by people who were willing to dedicate time and energy to community projects. Among the many local groups he supported during his life were the Masons, Oxford’s Union Fire Company, and the Boy Scouts of America. It is evident that the Scouts’ “Be Prepared” motto guided Mr. Maule throughout his astonishing 75 years of membership in the organization.
Most of us respond to problems by ignoring them, complaining about them, grimly tolerating them, or insisting that “they” should do something about the situation. This was not Francis Maule’s way of doing things. For example, when increasing car and truck traffic in Oxford made walking to school hazardous for the children of the town, he organized a unit of volunteer crossing guards who kept the street corners safe. —John Bradley
Dennis Heron, Class of 1970
Every year more than 330 wishes are granted to children with life-threatening medical conditions in southeastern Pennsylvania by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Philadelphia. That organization’s Executive Director, Dennis Heron, a 1970 Oxford graduate, plays a key role in organizing this wonderful service.
After high school Mr. Heron spent two years at Lincoln University and then completed his bachelor’s degree in sociology at Catawba College, in Salisbury, North Carolina. Following a brief career as a hearing-aid salesman, Mr. Heron worked for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare in Coatesville before taking a job with the American Cancer Society. Finding the non-profit world appealing, Mr. Heron next moved on to an executive job with the Freedom Valley Girl Scouts before landing his present post with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Among his responsibilities are raising nearly $3.5 million a year, supervising a staff of 14, overseeing 130 volunteers, working with a board of directors, and maintaining contact with the national organization. The Philadelphia unit is one of 71 Make-A-Wish chapters in the U.S., and the entire Foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world.
Mr. Heron lives in West Chester with his wife Sue. Their three adult children were all top students, excellent athletes, and, like him, are intense Phillies, Flyers, Sixers, and Eagles fans. Gardening, politics, and physical workouts are some of Mr. Heron’s varied interests, and he reports that his six best friends are all Oxford classmates from 1970. —John Bradley
Jeffrey James, Class of 1971
Jeffrey James has had a distinguished career as a director of arts centers, performing arts groups, visual arts organizations, and institutions of higher education. He is presently director of the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, where his goal is to provide new and exciting experiences in the arts. At Dartmouth, Mr. James oversees programs that reach audiences of over 100,000 people every year.
After graduating from Oxford in 1971, Mr. James studied at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. He began his professional career by directing regional arts organizations in Westerly, Rhode Island and Chautauqua, New York, moving later to a management post with New York City’s Dance Theater of Harlem. Mr. James has also served as associate director of advertising and public relations for the New York Philharmonic, and he was the founding president of the International Foundation for the Canadian Centre for Architecture.
Mr. James’ resume also includes key posts at the California Institute of the Arts, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Cunningham Dance Foundation. As the foundation’s chief executive he oversaw the fiftieth anniversary of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, which included an international tour with appearances in New York, Chicago, London, Paris and Hong Kong.
At Dartmouth Mr. James is responsible for the many activities of the Hopkins Center, such as a Visiting Artist Series, performances by several student groups, a series of workshops in woodworking, pottery and other crafts, and an innovative film program. The Hopkins Center includes three theaters, studios, galleries, practice rooms, and recital spaces, all of which receive extensive use. The Center is the cultural hub of the Dartmouth campus and of the surrounding communities. — John Bradley
Jennifer Gilbert, Class of 1986
Jennifer Gilbert is a highly-respected member of the news media, anchoring the weekday newscasts for Baltimore’s FOX 45 at 5:30 and 10 p.m. She has worked at Channel 45 since 1993.
After high school Ms. Gilbert studied at the Medill School of Journalism of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism. She began her career as a reporter at Florida Today, a newspaper in Melbourne, Fla. Next, Ms. Gilbert became a television news reporter for WGAL Channel 8 in Lancaster.
Ms. Gilbert has won two Capital Region Emmy Awards since coming to Fox 45. One of these was for a story titled “History of a Gun,” which tracked the violence connected to a pistol that fell into the wrong hands. She has won numerous awards from the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists, and in 2002 was chosen as “Best News Anchor” by Baltimore Magazine.
In her free time, Ms. Gilbert enjoys playing the piano, tennis, antique shopping, and spending time with her husband and nine-month-old son at their family’s second home in Bucks County. She also enjoys visiting her parents at her childhood home in Upper Oxford Township. — John Bradley