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Outstanding BSU alumni to speak at homecoming

Two prominent alumni of Bemidji State University will speak on their areas of expertise as part of BSU's annual homecoming activities.

Both lectures will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1.

Michele Leonhart, a 1978 BSU graduate and acting director of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, will lecture on law enforcement issues related to the drug trade.

Benjamin Tsang, a 1971 graduate of BSU and director of the University of Ottawa's Reproductive Biology Unit, will provide a lecture on ovarian cancer in Sattgast 245.

"The public is invited to attend the lectures," said Marla Patrias, director of BSU Alumni Relations. "They both have fascinating stories and are worth listening to."

Michele Leonhart

Leonhart graduated from BSU in 1978 with a degree in criminal justice. She was named BSU 2009 Outstanding Alumni.

Leonhart currently works as acting director of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. In 1997 Leonhart became the DEA's first female Special Agent in Charge, with command assignments in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In 2004, Leonhart was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Deputy Administrator of the DEA. She was the highest ranking DEA Special Agent, responsible for all enforcement, intelligence, administrative and regulatory operations and over 10,000 employees across the United States and in 83 foreign offices.

Since 2007, Leonhart has served as the DEA's Acting Administrator.

Leonhart has been recognized for her role in several major domestic and international drug investigations and seizures. She received the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executive from President Bush in 2004, the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service from President Bill Clinton in 2000, and numerous other awards. She has also been recognized for her leadership in the Law Enforcement Exploring Program, working with young people interested in a career in law enforcement.

Benjamin Tsang

Tsang graduated from Bemidji State in 1971 with a degree in chemistry.

"Ben was named outstanding BSU Alumnus in 2008," said Patrias.Tsang is currently the Director of the Reproductive Biology Unit and professor of obstetrics and gynecology and cellular and molecular medicine at the University of Ottawa, Ontario, where he has spent the majority of his professional career.

He also holds a senior scientist position at the Ottawa Health Research Institute. Tsang received his Ph.D. degree in pharmacology at the University of Ottawa.

Tsang is an internationally recognized scientist in the field of women's health, particularly on the causes and treatment of female infertility and chemo-resistant ovarian cancer.

He has frequently been invited to speak at national and international conferences and has authored close to 200 original publications, reviews and book chapters. His research has been continuously funded by peer-review agencies during his career, with grants totaling over $8.5 million.

Tsang holds a U.S. patent for diagnosis and treatment of cancers.