3 alums inducted to Hall of Distinguished Alumni for work in STEM, journalism and health industry

Shirley Gray (left) is a mathematics professor at California Sate University, Los Angeles. Dixie E. Snider (middle) is a former officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Position. J. Scott Applewhite (right) is a senior photojournalist at the Associated Press. All of three will be inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni at homecoming on October 18.

Matthew Williams

J. Scott Applewhite

Applewhite, a multiple Pulitzer Prize winner hailing from Louisville and Elizabethtown, is a celebrated photojournalist in the world of politics.
After his start as a photographer on the Herald, Applewhite was drawn into the camera world and gained enough skills and experience to lead up to roughly four decades of capturing our country’s last seven presidencies.

Applewhite has photographed U.S. presidents such as Barack Obama and Donald Trump, and has been photographed joking with George W. Bush while taking his picture. He’s also traveled out- side the country to chronicle disasters, strife and invasions in countries overseas and was given the nickname “fireman” by the Associated Press for his vigilance under perilous situations.

In the present day, Applewhite serves on the board of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and as chairman of the Senate Press Photographers Gallery on Capitol Hill.

His work for the AP has accumulated many honors over the decades. Applewhite was a big part of the reason why the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography went to the AP in 1993. Some of his other recognitions include a second Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography in 1999, the Gramling Spirit Award, and was honored with the Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017.

WKU awarded Applewhite with the Award for Outstanding Contributions to Journalism and will be inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni during homecoming.

Shirley B. Gray

Gray is known in the STEM industry as a renowned mathematician and lead researcher who is admired for making significant strides in a male dominated field.

The professor of mathematics at California State University has overseen numerous research endeavors and unearthed groundbreaking information including her discovery of 2,200 years old original mathematics.

Her record includes being a part of the first groups to identify a unique mathematical curve and publish 3D printer models derived off mathematics.

Gray has also collaborated with a team of researchers on the Method of Archimedes and Notices of the American Mathematical Society featured their work in one of the most influential journals in the world.

Minority students from underprivileged backgrounds were taken under Gray’s wing and worked to bring more minority representation in the STEM field. Some of her past pupils have gone on to have careers at NASA, Disney, JPL and more.

Outside of the educational world, Gray is an avid traveler and activist. Her campaign to get Maria Gaetana Agnesi recognized for her achievements as the first woman to write a mathematics book was noticed by the Vatican and the government of Italy.

After 20 years of issuing postage stamps in Agnesi’s honor, the Italian mathematician was honored on the 300th anniversary of her birth by her home country.

She will join her husband, Harry B. Gray, in the HODA. Harry Gray was inducted in 1995.

Dixie E. Snider

WKU alumni Snider Jr. has worked in vital positions through the decades, deeming him a scholarly influence on public health in the U.S.

A career in public health wasn’t something Snider saw himself doing at first, but over time he became passionate about improving the conditions of health in a general population rather than with one individual at a time.

Snider has overseen control over the national immunization policy, vaccine safety monitoring, the protection of human research subjects, proper treatment of animals and technology transfer at CDC, and helped set national policy in these areas.

In 1973, Snider started work as a tuberculosis medical officer and two years later was appointed chief of the research and development branch of the Division of Tuberculosis (TB) Control. He then climbed the ladder until his retirement in 2006, yet still worked as a full-time consultant for CDC until 2013.

He’s played a role in CDC around the world and is a reason for the 1997 presidential apology for the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.

Snider’s induction to the HODA will add to his plethora of other awards such as the Department of Health and Human Service Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award and the University of Kentucky Public Health Hall of Fame.

Reporter Matthew Williams can be reached at [email protected].