Biographical information on Hall of Distinction members

2015 Inductees

Patrick P. Billingsley, probability theorist and actor, 1925-2011WHS 1943, was an influential probability theorist who also became an accomplished actor of stage and screen. “He’s most known for his series of books in advanced probability theory,” said Steve Lalley, UChicago professor in statistics. “They are all models of exposition. They really are fine works of mathematical writing. Several generations of graduate students in both probability and statistics have learned their basic probability from these books. They continue to be used, and they continue to be cited.” Billingsley, professor emeritus in statistics and mathematics, first took the stage in fifth grade, when he played Robin Hood, according to a 1970 article published in the Chicago Maroon. He later performed in “The Revels,” the annual faculty review.

A talent scout saw Billingsley perform in The Lover in 1977, which led to his successful audition for a part in the 1978 Kirk Douglas film The Fury. Billingsley never met Douglas, but they appear on screen together during a car chase on Wacker Drive and Van Buren Street in Chicago. Billingsley played a bad guy who ended up dying in a fiery crash.

Billingsley went on to appear in seven more films and in nine television shows. His movie roles included playing a biology teacher in My Bodyguard (1980), the professor in Somewhere in Time(1980) and the bailiff in The Untouchables (1987).

“When you teach, you perform in front of an audience. That’s much like acting. As a teacher you’re used to being on stage,” Billingsley told the Chicago Tribune Magazine in 1978.

Billingsley was born May 3, 1925 in Sioux Falls, S.D. , graduating from Washington High, he earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1948, then served in the U.S. Navy until 1957. As a Navy officer he lived for a year in Japan, where he earned a black belt in judo. He attended Princeton University for graduate studies and received a master’s degree in 1952 and a doctorate in 1955, both in mathematics. Billingsley worked as a National Science Foundation Fellow in Mathematics at Princeton in 1957-58. Billingsley joined the UChicago faculty as an assistant professor in statistics in 1958, attaining the rank of professor in statistics and mathematics five years later. He served as department chairman from 1980 to 1983 and retired as professor emeritus in 1994. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, his honors also include the Mathematical Association of America’s Lester R. Ford award for mathematical exposition.

Billingsley was a Fulbright Fellow and visiting professor at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark (1964-65) and a Guggenheim Fellow and visiting professor at the University of Cambridge, England, in 1971-72. He served as editor of the Annals of Probability from 1976 to 1979, and as president of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in 1983.

He was the author or co-author of five books, including Statistical Inference for Markov Processes(1961), Ergodic Theory and Information (1965), Convergence of Probability Measures (1968), The Elements of Statistical Inference (1986). His Probability and Measure (1986) was translated into Polish.


George M. Fredrickson, 1934-2008 Author Historian WHS 1952 , was a historian who cast new light on the study of race and who helped define the field of comparative history with a penetrating examination of racial relations in the United States and South Africa.

Mr. Fredrickson is often credited with breaking ground in the use of comparative history to escape provincialism and suggest broader, more thematic judgments about historical forces. This was particularly evident in his book “White Supremacy: A Comparative Study in American and South African History” (1981), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

David Brion Davis, a Yale historian, said in an interview Thursday that “White Supremacy” was “a landmark book and a model that has not been superseded” in the field of comparative history.

In Mr. Fredrickson’s first book, “The Inner Civil War: Northern Intellectuals and the Crisis of the Union” (1965), he dug through mountains of original documents to tell of the dilemma abolitionists faced during the war: whether to criticize the Lincoln administration for lagging in its antislavery commitment or to remain silent in the hope that a Northern victory would free the slaves.

One of Mr. Fredrickson’s most-discussed books was “Racism: A Short History” (2002), in which he used specific examples like the Holocaust, apartheid and legal segregation in America’s South to reach theoretical conclusions about the subject. He believed, for example, that the idea that racial differences are inherently unbridgeable could be traced to the Enlightenment.

George Marsh Fredrickson was born on July 16, 1934, in Bristol, Conn. He spent his high school years in Sioux Falls, S.D., graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1956, studied in Norway on a Fulbright scholarship, then served in the Navy for three years.

He earned his doctorate from Harvard in 1964. He taught there for three years, then moved to Northwestern University, where he became the William Smith Mason professor of American History. In 1984 he became the Edgar E. Robinson professor of United States history at Stanford University, from which he retired in 2002.

Among his other books are The Inner Civil War: Northern Intellectuals and the Crisis of the Union(1965); The Black Image in the White Mind: The Debate on Afro-American Character and Destiny(1971); White Supremacy: A Comparative Study of American and South African History (1981); The Arrogance of Race: Historical Perspectives on Slavery, Racism and Social Inequity (1988); and Black Liberation: A Comparative History of Black Ideologies in the United States and South Africa (1995).

  • 1982 Merle Curti Award, for White Supremacy: A Comparative Study of American and South African History
  • 1982 Pulitzer Prize for History finalist .
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John Y. McCollister US Congressman

(June 10, 1921 – November 1, 2013) WHS 1939

He was born to John M. McCollister and Ruth Yetter McCollister in Iowa City, Iowa. In 1939 he graduated from Washington High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and in 1943 he graduated from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. He married Nanette Stokes on August 22, 1943. He was a lieutenant in United States Naval Reserve from 1943 to 1946. From 1960 to 1971 and again from 1979 to 1986 he was president of McCollister & Co.

For two terms from 1965 to 1970, he was the Douglas County Commissioner. He was a delegate to the Nebraska State Republican conventions from 1960 to 1970, and delegate to the 1968 Republican National Convention. He was elected as a Republican to the Ninety-second United States Congress, defeating incumbent Glenn Cunningham in the Republican primary. He was reelected to the Ninety-third United States Congress and Ninety-fourth United States Congress serving from January 3, 1971 to January 3, 1977. In 1976, he decided to run instead for U.S. Senate but was unsuccessful, losing to Omaha Mayor Edward Zorinsky by a 53% to 47% margin. He was a presidential elector for Nebraska in 2000. He was a resident of Omaha.

He was a member of the Presbyterian church, the Kiwanis and Phi Kappa Psi. McCollister, who served in the House of Representatives from 1971 to 1977, also served on numerous civic boards, from Boy Scouts to schools to Kiwanis and United Way, and led the family-owned McCollister & Co., which manufactured lubricants. It was sold in 2006.

He died of cancer in November 2013. John Y. maintained a sense of humor to the end. Days before entering the Josie Harper Hospice House, he wrote that he knew it wouldn't be his home address for very long.

“The Hospice House is temporary,” he wrote, “and the next one will be much more permanent. We're not sure of email accessibility at the subsequent permanent address.”


Tony A. Jensen, President and CEO, Royal Gold WHS 1980, 

serves as the Chief Executive Officer and President of RG Exchangeco Inc. Mr. Jensen has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Gold Inc. since August 2003 and since July 1, 2006 respectively. He served as the Chief Operating Officer of Royal Gold Inc. since August 2003 until June 2006. He has more than 20 years experience in the mining industry, and served as Mine General Manager for Placer Dome''s Cortez Gold Mines, in Nevada. During his career with Placer Dome, Mr. Jensen served various senior operating positions domestically and internationally, as well as corporate positions in San Francisco, California and Santiago, Chile. Prior to his posting at Cortez Cortez Gold Mines, in Nevada, he served as the Director of Finance and Strategic Growth for Placer Dome Latin America. He serves as a Director of RG Exchangeco Inc. He has been a Director of Royal Gold Inc. since August 25, 2004. He has been an Independent Director at Golden Star Resources, Ltd. since January 13, 2012. He has been a member of the Nevada Mining Association Executive Committee and Board since 1999 and served as Chairman of the Nevada Mining Association from 2001 to 2002. He serves as Chairman at the South Dakota School of Mines Industrial Advisory Board. He holds a B.S. degree in Mining Engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and also holds a Certificate in Finance from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

(Aug. 31, 2015) – The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology has received a $500,000 donation from Royal Gold, Inc. (“Royal Gold”), to advance the university’s minerals and energy industries programs, bringing a total of $1.5 million raised this year for the project.


Donald E. Brown- Anthropologist/Author WHS 1952, (born 1934) is an American professor of anthropology (emeritus). He is best known for his theoretical work regarding the existence, characteristics and relevance of universals of human nature. In his best-known work, Human Universals, he says these universals, "comprise those features of culture, society, language, behavior, and psyche for which there are no known exceptions." He is quoted at length by Steven Pinkerin an appendix to The Blank Slate, where Pinker cites some of the hundreds of universals listed by Brown. In area studies his doctoral research on the structure and history of Brunei was foundational.


Department of Anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara

Full Professor 1980

Professor Emeritus 1994

Fall 1998

Universiti Brunei Darussalam

Visiting Professor


1963 B.A. Anthropology, UC Los Angeles

1964 M.A. Anthropology, UC Los Angeles

1969 Ph.D. Anthropology, Cornell University

Member, Borneo Research Council, 1969 to present
Editor, Borneo Research Bulletin, November 1973 - August 1975
Departmental Chairman, 1975-1978
Acting Director, Asian-American Studies, 1986-1989
President, UCSB Chapter, Phi Beta Kappa 1988-1990, 1996-1997
Member, Vice Chair, and Chair, Committee on Academic Personnel, 1991-1994
Fulbright Student Selection Panel (West Coast) 1991, 1992, 1999
NSF Review Panel 1992, 1993
Consultant, Ministry of Education, Brunei (5 months), 1994-95

  • Hierarchy, History, and Human Nature: The Social Origins of Historical Consciousness. University of Arizona Press, 1988
  • The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1999
  • Member, La Jolla Group for Explaining the Origin of Humans (1997-)

    Speaks- Malay-Indonesian, Spanish, German.


    Rudi M. Brewster Federal Judge WHS 1950(1932-2012), was a United States Federal Judge, best known for 2006 ruling in a patent infringements suit against Microsoft tied to the licensing of the MP3 format.

    Born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, graduating from WHS in 1950. . While attending Washington High School, he was an avid participant in debates and extemporaneous speaking activities, strengthening his family’s assumption he would follow in his father’s footsteps and become a lawyer. Brewster received a B.A. from Princeton University in 1954 and was in Navy ROTC there. He was in the United States Navy as an aviator from 1954 to 1957, and thereafter attended Stanford Law School while in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He earned a J.D. from Stanford in 1960, and went into private practice in San Diego, California, at the law firm of Gray, Cary, Ames & Frye. He left the Naval Reserve in 1981

    At Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, he participated in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. After graduating cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in public and international affairs in 1954, he was commissioned as a Navy ensign.

    As a Navy pilot stationed in San Diego, he was deployed to the Western Pacific aboard the Philippine Sea as part of an anti-submarine attack squadron. Retiring from active service in 1957, he remained in the Naval Reserve and served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps until retiring as a captain in 1981.

    Within days of leaving active duty, he enrolled in Stanford Law School and graduated in 1960. Judge Brewster was a member of the American, California and San Diego County Bar Associations. He was a director of the San Diego County Bar Association; former director of the Legal Aid Society, serving as its president from 1970 to 1971; and vice president of the San Diego County Bar Association from 1971 to 1972.

    On May 24, 1984, President Ronald Reagan nominated Brewster to the United States District Court for the Southern District of California,. He was confirmed by the United States Senate on June 15. While on that court he tossed out February, 2006 ruling against Microsoft for patent infringements tied to the licensing of the MP3 format, worth $1.5 billion. He also ruled in United States v. Bauer. He assumed senior status on July 1, 1998.

    Brewster held a fellowship with the American College of Trial Lawyers, was an associate of the American Board of Trial Advocates and served as President and chancellor: Louis M. Welsh Inn of Court. He was also a member of the J. Clifford Wallace Inn of Court.


    2016 Inductees

    PETER H. MONFORE was graduated from WHS in 1945, where he won academic honors and excelled in football and boxing.  Upon graduation, he entered U.S. Navy Officers’ training, and in 1946 he received an appointment to the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, where he became captain of the boxing team, achieving the title of Eastern Intercollegiate light heavyweight champion in 1949 and 1950.  After graduation from the U.S. Military Academy in 1950, Monfore was sent to Korea and assigned a platoon leader.  Upon being seriously wounded in action, he was evacuated to Japan, but after recovery Monfore returned to combat duty and fought with his division all the way through North Korea to the Yalu River.  In 1951 Monfore turned down an opportunity to be Aide-de-Camp to General Ridgeway, choosing rather to command an infantry company.  Fighting in more intense combat, he received the French Croix de Guerre Award for rescuing an encircled French Battalion.  In September of 1951 his company was ordered to lead a night assault on Hill 851 during the battle of Heartbreak Ridge in North Korea.  His company was successful in capturing the hill, but Monfore was killed while defending his position.  For his leadership and heroic efforts, Peter Monfore was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.


    HAROLD T. SPITZNAGEL was graduated from Washington High School in 1916.

    He went to the Art Institute of Chicago for two years, and then earned a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania in 1925.  Returning to Sioux Falls, Spitznagel started his own architectural firm, Harold Spitznagel Architects and Associates, Inc.  His first major commission, the Sioux Falls City Hall, came in 1936.  It marked the first significant artwork provided with a Spitznagel design.  The building contained three frescos in the Commission Room, as well as granite carvings over the entrances and limestone plaques over the windows, and it is considered to be the best Art Deco design surviving in Sioux Falls.  It was also probably the first public building designed without a cornice, and it received considerable criticism.  With World War 11, national war defense priorities caused the postponement or cancellation of virtually all non-essential design projects.  But during that time Spitznagel served as Director of Housing for the 40,000 person Sioux Falls Military Base.  Moreover, his work has been featured several times in publications such as House and Garden, 1935, Better Homes and Gardens, 1951 and Northwest Architect, 1962, 1970, 1975.  Harold Spitznagel was also Vice President of the American Institute of Architects from 1966 to 1970.


    DAVID W. ALLEY was graduated from WHS in 1949.  For his service in the U.S. Marine Corps, the following citation was bestowed upon him: “The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to David W. Alley, Private First Class, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as an Automatic Rifleman in Company G., Third Battalion.  In action against enemy forces on a hill overlooking Yudam-ni, Korea, on 30 November 1950, as the enemy launched an attack while his company was moving into new positions and platoon and squad officers and leaders were killed or wounded, Private First Class Alley unhesitatingly assumed command of his squad and, reorganizing his group, conducted the effective defense of his sector with the result that the hostile troops were repulsed.  Repeatedly braving intense enemy fire, he positioned his men for efficient defense and supplied them with ammunition, successfully repelling continued hostile attacks throughout the night.  Indefatigable in his efforts, he exposed himself to small-arms, automatic weapons and grenade fire again on the next morning to observe and adjust mortar fire for his company.  When his company was ordered to break contact with the enemy located fifty yards to the front, he skillfully withdrew his squad without a single casualty.  His cool and skilled leadership, indomitable fighting spirit and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of aggressive enemy action reflect the highest credit on Private First Class Alley and the United States Naval Service.”

    BILL DOUGHERTY was graduated from WHS in 1950.  In the late 1950s, he befriended the Kennedy family and in 1960 he worked on Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign.  In 1968, Dougherty managed New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s South Dakota campaign for the Democratic nomination for the presidency. With Dougherty at the helm, Kennedy won the South Dakota primary on the same day he won the California primary.  Also in 1968, Dougherty managed freshman Democratic Senator George McGovern’s successful re-election campaign.  Four years later, Dougherty held a major post in McGovern’s unsuccessful campaign for the presidency.  Dougherty was elected Lieutenant Governor of South Dakota in 1970, running on a ticket with State Senator Richard F. Kneip.  They were both re-elected in 1972.  After retiring from public office in 1974, Dougherty launched a lengthy lobbying career in Pierre, but he then retired from that activity in 2009.  That same year he was inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame.

    2017 Inductees