Gilmour Academy presented its 2010 Alumni of the Year Awards to dentist William Lavigna ’68 and community activist Deanna Carlson Ness ’95. The award honors Gilmour graduates who have distinguished themselves in their personal lives and careers, and who have demonstrated leadership and service to the school. The two alumni were honored at the Christmas Celebration in Gilmour’s Athletic Center.
Lavigna, who is in practice with Landerhaven Dental Associates, has been director of dentistry at St. Vincent Charity Hospital since 1999. He also served as director of dentistry and director of general practice dentistry at Saint Luke’s Hospital. A Diplomate of the American Board of Special Care Dentistry, he went to San Salvador in 2003 on a dental mission to orphanages.
He received a Bachelor of Arts in zoology from Miami University and a Doctor of Dental Surgery from Case Western Reserve University, and has been in private practice in restorative dentistry since 1976. The honoree is a fellow of the American Association of Hospital Dentists and is a member of national, state and local dental associations. An avid scuba diver with more than 500 hours of experience, Lavigna is an FAA certified hot air balloon pilot and has flown competitively in 15 U.S. national championships, and in Australia, Spain and Canada. He participated in the 1988 TransAustralia Bicentenary Challenge with pilots from different countries and was a member of the U.S. World Team in the 2002 World Games in Sevilla, Spain.
After graduating from Gilmour, Ness earned a bachelor’s degree in art and management from Wittenberg University. She is an active volunteer with St. John’s Lutheran Church where her husband, Scott, is associate pastor and she leads a Bible studies program and works with young adults and MOPS, Mothers of Preschoolers. Ness also led a spouses’ group of seminarians at the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C. She previously was a home center service representative and sales representative for United States Gypsum in Florida, Pennsylvania and South Carolina, and was a financial assistant for Thrivent Financial.
In addition to being a busy mom to children Ethan, Elanna and Emery, Ness is a photographer and has lent her talents to Big Brothers and Big Sisters in Wheeling, W.Va. A member of the local Junior League and PTA, she participated in Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary’s mission trip to Honduras. Deanna and her family live near Columbus, Ohio.