Davidson College Reunion Weekend

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April 29, 2000

Distinguished Alumnus Award winner Jim Vann '50 flanked by President Vagt and Alumni Association President Andy McElwee.

According to the Statement of Purpose, Davidson College's mission is to educate young people "for lives of leadership and service." For those who saw Jim Vann work toward his degree in business administration, interact with others on the fraternity court, and compete on the track team, his success later in life in fulfilling these twin goals seems natural.

After graduating in 1950 and serving in the Army Corps of Engineers, he began a long and impressive career with the Aluminum Company of America. Over the next thirty-four years, his responsibilities grew from sales engineer in Atlanta to manager of several units in Pittsburgh. He then returned to Atlanta to become district sales manager for the southeastern U.S. before becoming operations manager for the northwest in Vancouver, Washington. In 1980 he was sent to Perth, Australia, as general manager, Alumina Division, ALCOA of Australia. In 1982 he was named president of Rea Magnet Wire Company, a subsidiary of ALCOA. He was later named chairman of the board of Algonquin Industries and given operating responsibility of PEP Industries.

In 1986 he led a buyout of Rea Magnet Wire from ALCOA and since that time has been Chairman of the Board and majority shareholder. The company is one of the largest manufacturers of wire for electric motors and transformers in the United States.

In addition to his business accomplishments, he has taken true delight in the work of non-profits. The Fort Wayne Community Foundation, the Allen County Public Library Foundation, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Indiana Medical School, the University of St. Francis, and the Davidson College Board of Visitors have benefited from his volunteer service. Jim and his wife Lee have shared their enthusiasm for community service with their five children through the establishment of the Vann Family Foundation.

Because you have taken advantage of the strength of character and mind you developed at Davidson; because you have excelled in your work and encouraged others to do the same; and because you have been devoted to serving your community in the midst of a demanding career, the Davidson College Alumni Association proudly honors you, James Murdock Vann, Jr., with the Distinguished Alumnus Award on the occasion of the Class of 1950's 50th Reunion, April 29, 2000.

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