Tonawanda News

The City

April 30, 2014

THS honors alumni at awards dinner

Tonawanda News — Tickets for the Tonawanda High School 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner at 6 p.m. May 16 are currently on sale at the high school.

The dinner at the school, served by the National Honor Society students, will precede the award ceremony in the Distinguished Alumni Auditorium. The program will feature school chorus and jazz band performances.

The award will be presented to Robert Batt from the class of 1970 who will be honored posthumously; Robert Mussell, class of 1973, and William Kaplan, class of 1960.

The award, which is based on professional careers, and honorees are selected for excelling beyond the requirements of their positions, bringing acclaim to their profession and community.


Batt is survived by his parents, Robert and Delores Batt, who will receive the award. The family said his fondest memories included being co-captain of the swim team and dressing up as the mascot for football games. His favorite teacher was Robert Holler who taught drafting and developed an interest in construction technology.

A graduate of the State University at Delhi, he secured a position with the Colonel at Kentucky Fried Chicken and his designs are still evident today. He created a prototype for fast food restaurants while employed by West Coast chain Jack-in-the Box. This project gained him recognition in the Restaurant Hospitality magazine in 1984.

In 2001 he was named associate director of housing-dining-hospitality planning and construction services at the University of California, San Diego. He was also a well-known community volunteer.

Batt is also survived by a sister Kathleen Patrick, wife Susan, and children Hannah and Nicholas.


Kaplin graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1964 and Cornell University Law School in 1967. He became a well known author, known as “The Premier Scholar of higher education law in the country,” as quoted in Discovery Magazine in 2005. He spent most of his career as a professor of law at Catholic University where he wrote many books and was recognized by the American Council on Education, which presented him with the Borden Award for an outstanding book on higher education.

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