Alumni tradition: 'Berg honors Hubble engineer, entrpereneur, Legacy Family

Each year during the Alumni Weekend luncheon, Heidelberg has the opportunity to continue a 53-year tradition of recognizing individuals and families who have made significant contributions – through their professional lives and service – as they have led lives of purpose with distinction.

At Alumni Weekend 2024, we were honored to recognize two outstanding alumni – Hubble Space Telescope engineer and troubleshooter Larry Dunham ’80 and community development entrepreneur Bill Kinley ’64. We also recognized one of Heidelberg’s legacy families – the Kubuske Family and their three generations of ‘Berg alumni.

Check out their profiles below to understand their many important contributions to their professions, their communities and Heidelberg University.

Larry Dunham ’80: Alumni of Distinction Award

Whether through traditional media or the advancement of social media, a majority of us see history happen through a filter. Larry Dunham ’80 has not only witnessed history in person, he made it happen on the grandest stage. For more than four decades, Larry played a pivotal role as the Chief Systems Engineer for Flight Operations of the Hubble Space Telescope – the project’s longest-serving full-time employee.

We’ve all seen the magnificent images generated by the Hubble and learned of its amazing scientific discoveries. Larry owes his foundational success on the project to his ability to lead a team and think logically – skills nurtured during his Heidelberg days as a triple major in Physics, Math and Computer Science.

Right out of Heidelberg, he joined Kaiser Electronics as a programming analyst. His entry into the world of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) world came two years later, when he joined Lockheed Missiles and Space Co., leading a team of 7 engineers who were working on testing efforts. In 1989, Larry joined Jackson and Tull, where he provided management and technical leadership of a team of 50 working on HST programs. In 1997, he was promoted to Division Vice President, responsible once again for providing tech leadership for a team of more than 120 and overseeing annual revenue of $15 million.

He remained with Jackson and Tull through 2005, rising through the ranks and ultimately becoming Vice President of Operations of the Aerospace Engineering Division. For the last 15 years of his career, he served as Senior Systems Engineer/Manager of Vantage Systems, Division Vice President/Principal Engineer at Prototype Productions Inc, and Director of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Programs at Lentech Inc.

Larry truly found his calling with HST. He initially worked with astronomers to design the commanding they could use to acquire targets and obtain amazing scientific discoveries such as determining the age of the universe, finding the first exo-planets and looking at the formation of the earliest galaxies. He committed his career to the HST’s success, troubleshooting when something went wrong, and as with any new spacecraft, things often did. But Larry worked around the clock to get to the bottom of any anomaly.
He had a knack for gathering experts from various disciplines and groups – NASA, hardware and software design engineers, astronomers and other engineers who together analyzed and resolved issues with the HST. Between 1993 and 2009, there were five shuttle missions to Hubble and Larry supported all of them as the Planning Shift Anomaly Response Manager. He never lost sight the human element of the science. When you are dealing with humans in space, he would say, “you need to be prepared for any and all contingencies.”

Two very human incidents deeply impacted Larry’s life: the loss of the Challenger and Columbia crews. Both of those tragedies delayed the HST’s mission, but Larry helped get them back on course when the timing was right. NASA agreed to a final manned servicing mission to the HST in 2009. In November, just prior to Larry’s retirement, he was part of a team meeting with SpaceX engineers to help boost it to a higher orbit and augment gyroscopes to ensure the HST could do science into the late 2030s and beyond.

Larry earned his master’s degree in Computer Science from Santa Clara University School of Engineering. He has received a plethora of accolades, including NASA’s System Engineering Excellence Award, NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Award, Goddard Space Flight Center Certificate of Recognition, Numerous GSFC group awards, NASA Headquarters’ Public Service Award, and NASA Astronaut’s Personal Achievement Award. Although he is retired, continues to provide consultation to Hubble Flight Operations.

While the stars revealed by the Hubble are truly remarkable, Larry knows the true stars in his life are his family. A native of Greenfield, Massachusetts, he reconnected with his high school sweetheart, Leslie, a Smith College graduate who spent her junior year abroad on Heidelberg’s Tiffin campus, rather than in Heidelberg, Germany. He and Leslie are the parents of two children, Andrew and Amy, a 2010 ‘Berg grad, and one grandchild, Noelle. His sister, Kellie (Dunham) Sisco ’88, and her husband, Rich ‘88, round out the family’s Heidelberg tree.

Bill Kinley ’64: Outstanding Alumni Award

In his community, Bill Kinley’s name is golden. A driving force in the real estate industry and a true renaissance man, he has been behind many of his community’s high-visibility construction projects. Bill has devoted his career to real estate development and construction, beginning his entrepreneurial venture as a one-man show that evolved into two successful businesses. Today, his companies employ dozens, average 50 projects per year and enjoy a combined annual revenue exceeding $25 million.

Originally from Upper Sandusky, Ohio, Bill earned his bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mathematics from his beloved Heidelberg in 1964. He received two master’s degrees, in Mathematics and in Industrial and Operations Engineering, from the University of Michigan.

Bill concedes that he has “always been attracted to business and the built world.” After surviving the economic downturn of the 1970s, he found his niche in real estate and construction. In 1978, Bill founded the Phoenix Company, a full-service construction company. His thoughtful planning led him in 1984 to create Phoenix Contractors, Inc., a company well known in the Ypsilanti, Michigan, area for its restoration and re-use of historic buildings. Today, the companies enjoy a distinguished reputation for their commitment to the restoration and reclamation of local architecture. Bill’s philosophy has always been that the best architecture is worthy of preservation so that it can remain a thriving part of the built world.

Bill’s companies have received numerous awards for their efforts to preserve and restore downtown Ypsilanti, including Ypsilanti’s Heritage Foundation Award for work on an 1887 flour mill building in the town’s historic district. Additional awards include “Best Contractor Developer” to “Best Project Team” to “Award of Merit.” And the list goes on. Individually, Bill was named “Realtor of the Year” by the Michigan Realtors Association in 1989.

He has been a standout in his community, generously supporting the arts and community development. His company purchased an old Masonic Temple building in Ypsilanti and revitalized it to become the Riverside Arts Center, which has invigorated performing arts in the community. He has served as the chair of the Center’s board for 15 years.

One project – Murphy’s Crossing – is near and dear to Bill’s heart. Located in the center of Saline, Michigan, the development, formerly an opera house in the late 1800s, underwent a massive restructuring and rebuilding for adaptive uses. He affectionately named it Murphy’s Crossing in honor of his now-deceased wife, Mary. He gave her the nickname “Murph” not long after they met.

It is said if you need to get something done, ask the busiest person. Bill is that person. He is the recipient of the “Lifetime Achievement Award of Merit” from Washtenaw Community College for his contributions and community service. At WCC, he serves as chair of the Foundation Board. He also serves as the chair of the Ann Arbor Board of Realtors, the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce (chair), the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (chair) and the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority (chair).

He sold the construction company several years ago and but kept the commercial real estate development company. Aside from the built world, Bill’s passion is cars, not just any cars – vintage cars. He frequently gathers with other car enthusiasts and also enjoys fly-fishing, music and reading in his retirement.

Together, Bill and Mary formed a lovely blended family of six children, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild, before Mary’s passing two years ago. Bill recently met and connected with Sidonie Smith and the two have been enjoying each other’s company as life partners.

When they were young, Bill said to his sister, Patty Sherwood ’71, “You know, we can choose any college we want to attend, as long as it’s Heidelberg!” And choose Heidelberg they did! Bill’s parents, Kenneth ’32 and Nora ’34, and Patty and her husband Rick ’71, all met at The Berg. They have frequently attended Homecoming to enjoy the beautiful autumn and the camaraderie and connections on campus. The Kinleys generously supported the Gillmor Hall and Hoernemann Stadium construction projects, and the Strike Up the Bands capital campaign for the purchase of new band uniforms.

Kubuske Family: Legacy Family Award

The first alumna who represents this year’s esteemed Legacy Family – Jean (Hartsel) Kubuske ‘45 – literally grew up on Heidelberg’s campus on what is now Rebecca Street in a home that was located where Frost Lecture Hall currently sits. During her childhood, Jean’s parents rented rooms to young men who were attending Heidelberg after the war. The family sold the home to Heidelberg when the time came to build Bareis Hall of Science.

Jean surely must have relished her childhood years on campus, deciding to enroll in 1941 to study history. The family’s loyalty to Heidelberg was demonstrated by the next two generations who followed their mother to Heidelberg: daughter Janet Lee Kubuske ’72 and son James Kubuske ’76. James married Jessie (Cole) and their daughter, Joy Kubuske ’12 rounds out the family’s Heidelberg tree.

Jean also set another example that her son, daughter and daughter-in-law followed: teaching. The family matriarch, who majored in English, taught at Amherst Marion L. Steele High School until her retirement in 1988. While at Heidelberg, she also was a member of the Philalethean Society.

Next in the line of Kubuske educators was Janet, a history major and also a member of the Philalethean Society. Janet spent her entire career teaching at Sheffield Middle School in Sheffield, Ohio. At Heidelberg, she also was a member of Phi Alpha Theta, editor of the Aurora her junior year and member of Who’s Who her senior year.

Tragically, Jean and Janet were killed in a car accident in September of 1988.

Jim also followed suit. An elementary education major, he was a four-year letterman in soccer, worked as a DJ for WHEI for three years and was a member of the “H” Association. He was the Resident Coordinator of Krieg Hall. Jim coached football for 40 years – 31 of those as a head coach. He also coached baseball and enjoyed stints coaching football at Murray State University in Kentucky, the University of Akron and Heidelberg.

Jessie, who majored in biology, was one of the founding members of the Alpha Phi Tau Little Sisses, serving as president for four years. (Coincidentally – or maybe not – Jim also was an Ap.) Jessie was crowned the Homecoming queen in 1975. Along with Jim, she taught in various schools around Ohio for many years.

Jim and Jessie’s daughter Joy, a physical education major, recently celebrated her 11th year working at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The couple has three additional children, Jere, Jake and Jayna, and seven grandchildren. They are both happily retired and live in Amherst, Ohio.

Latest News & Announcements


The Retail, Print & Parcel staff will be working on inventory in the Bookstore July 2-15, 202

The Office of Student Engagement is currently seeking students to apply to be Welcome Week Leader

The current issue of Heidelbiz, the School of Business newsletter, was recently publishe

The Marketing Team wants to extend a giant thank-you to the many students, faculty and staff memb

Summer Internship Opportunity. Applications due May 6th.

Jeep (Stellantis) is accepting applications for internships in Toledo, Metro Detroit, and Kokomo,