Bemidji State to host alumni lectures as part of Homecoming activities

BEMIDJI, Minn. (Sept. 28, 2009) — Two prominent alumni of Bemidji State University will be back on campus this week to deliver lectures in their areas of experties as part of the University’s annual Homecoming activities. Both lectures will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1.

Dr. Benjamin Tsang, a 1971 graduate of Bemidji State and director of the University of Ottawa’s Reproductive Biology Unit, will provide a lecture on ovarian cancer, to be held in Sattgast 245. 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, to be held in Hagg-Sauer 100.

Dr. Benjamin Tsang
Tsang graduated from Bemidji State with a degree in chemistry. He 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, 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 doctorate degree in pharmacology at the University of Ottawa. After his post-doctoral training at the University of Western Ontario, he joined the National Research Council of Canada as an assistant research officer. He returned to the University of Ottawa in 1981 as assistant professor of physiology. He has held numerous academic and administrative positions over the last 35 years, including associate chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and director of research at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.

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

Tsang and his wife, Janet, currently reside in Ottawa, Canada and have two grown children, Christopher and Jacqueline.

Michele Leonhart
Leonhart graduated from Bemidji State in 1978 with a degree in criminal justice. Leonhart began her career as a patrol officer in Baltimore, Md., and joined the Drug Enforcement Administration as a special agent in 1980 to pursue a career in federal narcotics law enforcement.

After beginning her DEA career with a five-year stay in Minneapolis, Leonhart earned promotions from special agent and group supervisor to senior executive rank positions. In 1997 she became DEA’s first female special agent in charge, with command assignments in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In 2004, she was appointed by President Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the deputy administrator of the DEA. In that capacity, Leonhart is the highest-ranking DEA special agent, responsible for all enforcement, intelligence, administrative and regulatory operations and over 10,000 employees across the U.S. and in 83 foreign offices. Since Nov. 2007, she has served as 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 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.

Leonhart is married to Gene Johns, a narcotics detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office. They have two sons, Michael and Stephen. They split their time between California and Washington, D.C.