Davis & Elkins College will honor four alumni for their achievements and contributions during a special evening with President Chris A. Wood and First Lady Lisa Wood to celebrate Half Century Club members, including the Class of 1973, cocktails at 5:30 p.m., dinner and alumni award recipients at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13 in Myles Center for the Arts, Senate Commons. This ceremony is part of Homecoming Weekend.
Honorees are: Nicolaas P. “Nico” Pronk ’86, Distinguished Alumnus; Kimberly M. Farry ’85, Tower Award; Makeia R. Jonese ’18, Outstanding Young Alumna; and Amanda Yeargan Monroe ’02, Alumni Volunteer.
Pronk is a native of Aalsmeer, Netherlands. He received a Bachelor of Science degree at Davis & Elkins College in 1986. He continued his education in Nebraska at Kearney State College, receiving a Master of Arts degree, and a doctorate degree in exercise physiology at Texas A&M University. He completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in behavioral medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center at the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Pronk is President of the HealthPartners Institute and Chief Science Officer at HealthPartners, Inc. and holds an academic appointment as Affiliate Full Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He continues to serve as a Co-Investigator on research studies in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.
Nico’s work is focused on connecting scientific evidence of effectiveness with practical applications of programs and practices, policies and systems that measurably improve population health and well-being. His work applies to the workplace, the health system setting, and the community and involves development of new models to improve health and well-being at the research, practice and policy levels.
He was confirmed by the White House to serve as co-chair of the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services’ Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for the year 2030 (aka “Healthy People 2030”). Nico is a current member of the Food and Nutrition Board and Chair for the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. He serves on various health-related committees and boards including the board of directors for the Health Enhancement Research Organization (HERO) and is the founding and past president of the International Association
His work has been recognized with the President’s Award at HealthPartners (1998), the prestigious NIH Merit Award (2012), the HERO Research Award (2013), and the Merit in Authorship Award from the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (2018). For the decade of 2011-2021, he was rated from among 250,000 published researchers as one of the top 5 experts worldwide in Health Education and Health Promotion. Dr. Pronk is a Fellow at the American College of Sports Medicine and the Association for Worksite Health Promotion. He is widely published in both the scientific and practice literatures.
Farry graduated cum laude from D&E in 1985 receiving a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She went on to earn a Master of Science in Physiology and a Doctor of Medicine from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In addition, she gained an internship at Reading Hospital and Medical Center, a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, with a board certification through the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Professionally, Farry is the staff physician for WVU Medicine Department OB/GYN; where she has been since 2017. She has also served as an Assistant Professor, Director/Quality Buckhannon OB/GYN; Surgery Mentorship program, Chairman Promotion and Tenure Committee, Co-Director WVU System Maternal quality and Safety Committee. Prior to this, she served as staff physician for Community Care of WV, Inc and Associates for Women’s Health at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
Farry has worked with D&E as the student health clinic director and physician, she served on the Board of Trustees from 2006-2015, and is currently a member of the College’s nursing program advisory committee.
Jonese earned her Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, magna cum laude and Bachelor of Science in Marketing, with a Minor in Business from Davis & Elkins College in 2018. She went on to earn her Juris Doctorate at West Virginia University College of Law. As a student at D&E, she was a member of Senator Soccer and earned the All-Conference Academic Athlete Award. She served as the Secretary for the Criminology Association, in 2017 she was awarded the Business Administration and Entrepreneur Award and in 2018 received the Psychology/Criminology Department Academic Achievement Award.
Professionally, Jonese has risen in her career. As a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the United States Attorney’s Office, SDGAS in Savannah, Georgia, she is responsible for representing the United States in the prosecution of a variety of violent crimes under federal law occurring within the City of Savannah. These offences include, but are not limited to, firearm and drug violations, human trafficking, and many more.
Prior to her current role, Jonese worked as the Assistant Solicitor for the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office in Beaufort, South Carolina and conducted an Externship at the United States Attorney’s Office, SDWV in Charleston, West Virginia.
Monroe is a Davis & Elkins College graduate, Class of 2002. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management. As a student, she held leadership roles in Alpha Phi Omega and received the Outstanding Service Award in 1999. She was a member of two business Fraternities – Phi Beta Lambda and Beta Alpha Beta Honorary Business Fraternity. Monroe was also a member of the Volleyball Club.
She has gone above and beyond with her volunteer work. She served as the Secretary and Treasurer for Habitat for Humanity, Secretary and Director of Chesterfield Jaycees, a non-profit group that raises monies to send individuals to camp. She received the Outstanding Jaycee New Member award in 2022 and Outstanding Jaycee Board Award in 2023. She serves as the Meal Ministries Coordinator through Bon Air Baptist Church. She served as the Guard from 2019-2022 for the Phi Epsilon Omega Sisterhood and is currently the Corresponding Secretary and Link Sister.
Currently, Monroe serves on the National Alumni Council as a member of the Regional Events Committee and held the position of Secretary for several years. She is also instrumental in organizing gatherings for D&E’s Virginia Alumni Chapter.
Professionally, Monroe works at C&F Mortgage as the receptionist in Midlothian, Virginia. She donates to charities, volunteers at company sponsored events and partakes in the company Angel Tree. Prior to her current role, she worked as the Front Desk Agent at Double Tree by Hilton where she received the Hero of the Month Award in August 2017.