Alumni Awards of Merit

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Merit_Clark_SWP_2338L. John Clark, W’63, WG’68
Alumni Award of Merit

Just as there is no such thing as an “ex-Marine,” you have proven that there is no such thing as an ex-Penn Quaker. You are the embodiment of Ductus Exemplo—lead by example—in all that you do for your country, community, and the University of Pennsylvania.

You distinguished yourself early at Penn—as president of the Sigma Chi fraternity, chief of the Sphinx Senior Honor Society, and battalion commander for the Naval ROTC. You earned the respect of your peers in the Class of 1963, who presented you with the prestigious Bowl Award during your senior year.

You also wore uniforms of other kinds: freshman basketball, Penn crew and lacrosse, in which you earned All-Ivy and All-American honors. In the offseason, you served as head manager of the Penn Football team and earned the title of Athletic Team Manager of the Year. Much later (and most deservedly), you were inducted into the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.

Following graduation and three years as an officer in the United States Marine Corps, you traded in your dress blues for Penn’s Red & Blue when you returned to Wharton to pursue an MBA. Then you put your studies of finance and international marketing to immediate good use at the Singer Company, where you rose to president and CEO of the Europe, Africa and Middle East operation, based in London. You subsequently distinguished yourself in a number of executive positions and as a founding partner and co-CEO of Compass Partners International, a London-based private-equity firm. You currently serve as chair of the Steamboat Capital Group.

You provided wise counsel to the Wharton School: as a member of the Dean’s Council; of the Executive Board for Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and as a long-time member of the Board of Overseers. As an Athletics Overseer, you helped to re-engage alumni and implement Athletics’ first comprehensive development campaign. Even when your career necessitated living an ocean away from Penn, you proved your dedication by continuing to attend on-campus meetings regularly. During your years in London, you strengthened Penn’s alumni presence across the pond by helping to establish the UK Leadership Committee. In addition to your remarkable volunteer leadership, you generously supported Penn Athletics, the School of Arts and Sciences, Wharton, and the Kelly Writers House.

In 1996, you joined the Board of Trustees—bringing the strategic thinking you had honed in the military, several decades of management experience, and experience as an alumni volunteer leader to many key committee roles on the Board. As Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and the Debt Subcommittee for nearly a decade, you helped the University prepare for and navigate difficult economic circumstances. Throughout your tenure, you remained faithful to what you considered the committee’s core mission: the University’s long-term stability and success.

In the words of your friend Jim Riepe, former chair of the Board of Trustees, “From his very first days as a standout athlete and student at Penn, John has always given freely of his time and talents, and has exemplified what it means to be a true Penn citizen.” We could not agree more and are therefore delighted to present you with the Penn Alumni 2013 Alumni Award of Merit.


Merit_YoungAlum_SWP_2426Farnia Fresnel, EAS’98
Young Alumni Award 2013

You are a model of perseverance, so we were puzzled when you appeared on the “Extreme Quitters” segment of ABC’s 20-20. Then we realized your story demonstrated the right way to leave a job in order to boldly pursue a new opportunity: you had resigned from a vice president position at Morgan Stanley to found a firm that helps businesses and individuals realize, or even exceed, their potential. You have brought the same impressive skill set that makes you a stellar consultant to your many volunteer roles at Penn.

As an undergraduate studying systems science engineering, you distinguished yourself academically and as a leader in a rigorous technical field, receiving the prestigious Raymond Pace Alexander Award your senior year. You also showed an affinity for service by mentoring students at University City High School and serving as chapter historian and activities co-chair on the Board of the National Society for Black Engineers.

You returned to Penn as a volunteer in 2005, becoming actively engaged in the Engineering Alumni Society, where you rose to the role of president. The association has flourished under your leadership, with several new initiatives launched to facilitate networking between undergraduate and graduate students, outreach to alumni abroad, and harnessing the power of social networking to connect more than 2,000 engineering alumni around the world.

You also give generously of your time to enhance the experience of current students. You have served on the D. Yarnall Award Selection Committee, and as a Senior Design Competition judge, an alumni mentor, a committee chair for the Student Career Night Panel, and panelist for Engineering Career Day.

You are passionate about increasing the diversity of Penn’s community. As a member of the Penn Alumni Board’s committee on Multicultural Outreach, you have encouraged minority leaders to join the Board. This year, you called on your professional connections as sponsorship co-chair for Penn Spectrum 2013, a weekend-long diversity conference designed to build cross-cultural understanding among Penn’s Asian, Black, Latino, Native American, and LGBT communities.

Ever present at Penn events in Philadelphia and New York City and a regular at Homecoming and Alumni Weekend, you have made it clear that you will never quit being a proud Penn Quaker. You are a role model for Penn’s young alumni. As Engineering Dean Eduardo Glandt has said, you demonstrate “an extraordinary commitment to advancing the mission of the School of Engineering and Applied Science and creating a strong alumni community.”

We appreciate your significant contributions to our University in the 15 years since your graduation, and are confident that you will continue to be meaningfully engaged with Penn for many years to come. With gratitude and pride, we are pleased to present you with the 2013 Young Alumni Award.


Merit_Mindy_SWP_2346Mindy Halikman Heyer, C’79, W’79, WG’80
Alumni Award of Merit

For more than three decades, you have had three great loves: your family, your friends, and the University of Pennsylvania. Anyone who has had the good fortune to fall into one of these categories has been the beneficiary of your incredible loyalty, devotion and generosity. Your alma mater is honored to be part of that favored triumvirate.

You were a standout student, earning Bachelor’s degrees from the School of Arts and Sciences and Wharton and, immediately following graduation, a Wharton MBA. During your undergraduate years at Penn, you swam with the Pennguinettes, a synchronized swimming team on which you no doubt exercised key qualities that have served you so well—strength, endurance, flexibility, timing, and grace.

You have graciously said yes to virtually every volunteer role you have been invited to take on, have attended countless Penn events, and have hosted alumni gatherings on- and off-campus and in your home. Wherever your travels take you, if you encounter someone with a Penn connection, you inevitably try to get them engaged with Penn—usually with great success.

You have used your own Penn experiences to inform your volunteer involvement with Penn. In 1997, you and your Penn-alumnus husband established the Andrew and Mindy Heyer Endowed Scholarship Fund for undergraduates majoring in English and economics, your own fields of study. Later, based on your own and your four sons’ experiences as Penn students, you had ideas for improving residential life. You served on the College House Advisory Board, helped garner alumni support for the renovation of the Quad and Hamilton Village, and generously supported several key projects. Later, you took on an expanded volunteer role during the Making History Campaign, joining its Campaign Major Gifts Committee in 2007 and the Campaign Steering Committee in 2009.

Given your close connection with Penn, it is no surprise that you turned to Penn Vet for the best possible care when your beloved golden retrievers Dally and Midas needed treatment. When you learned that the top-ranked Vet School relied heavily on support from patients’ families and precarious state funding, you rolled up your sleeves and set to work to bolster the school’s endowment, giving back far more than you received.

As Chair of the Board of Overseers for the School of Veterinary Medicine since 2009, you have motivated fellow Board members to become more engaged in understanding the opportunities and challenges facing the school. Never asking of others what you have not already delivered yourself, you have devoted countless hours to meeting with faculty, researchers, clinicians, students, and staff. You have used the knowledge you gleaned to transform Board meetings into content-driven working sessions that further connect Board members to the mission of Penn Vet and helped them become well-informed ambassadors for the school.

You have devoted your time, energy, and signature can-do enthusiasm to everything from penning dozens of personal thank you notes, to serving on numerous committees, to providing inspired leadership that was so vital to the success of the Making History Campaign. For your tireless service—over 228 dog years worth—to Penn Vet and our entire University, we are delighted to present you with the Alumni Award of Merit for 2013.


Merit_MEM_SWP_2461Mary Ellen Mark, FA’62, ASC’64, Hon’94
Creative Spirit Award 2013

Photographic portraiture is your métier, a fact your subjects seem to grasp intuitively. They appear relaxed in your photographs, seeming to have acknowledged your artistry and trusted the moment as they waited for the click of the shutter. Your magnificent oeuvre chronicles life in our times—filtered through your unique sensibility and curated with your unerring eye.

As an undergraduate, you studied painting and art history but ultimately found painting too isolating. After earning your Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1962, you continued on to the Annenberg School for Communication, where you have said you “found your future” in the photojournalism master’s program. When The Pennsylvania Gazette published your first professional assignments, your career as a photographer was launched.

And what a career it has been. To describe your subject matter as diverse misses the point. In truth, you have one subject: the human condition in all of its prismatic varieties. Traveling the world, camera in hand, your subjects have included Mother Teresa, anti-war demonstrations, and brothels in Bombay. You have shot production stills for over 100 films, including Catch-22, Apocalypse Now, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

You have turned your loving lens—and there is really no other term for the great humanity reflected in your work—on twins for a book of the same name and on that quintessential adolescent rite of passage for a book called Prom. For these and other projects, you have mastered the 200-pound, six-foot tall Polaroid Land Camera to create unique large format prints.

Your artistic output has been astonishing: eighteen books, countless assignments for such publications as Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and The New Yorker; images for advertising campaigns; and several film collaborations including the Academy Award-nominated Streetwise about runaway children in Seattle. In most of your work, you have eschewed color and digital technology, remaining true to the art of traditional analog photography.

You have said that “without Penn and the Annenberg School, I would not have had the amazing life that I live as a photographer. I would not have met all those very special people, both famous and not-famous, who have allowed me to photograph them. I am extremely grateful to the University for the great opportunities it gave me.”

You have returned the favor many times over by sharing insights, reflections and practical advice with Penn students. You honored your alma mater by photographing three former Annenberg deans, portraits that hang on permanent display at the school.

You are widely recognized as one of the most respected and influential photographers in the world. We are immensely proud that Penn is where you found your calling. For seeking the essence of what it means to be human, for capturing ephemeral moments that portray the individual but convey the universal, and for your great generosity in sharing your craft, it is our distinct pleasure to bestow upon you the Creative Spirit Award for 2013.


Merit_Peters-SWP_2380Helen Frame Peters, CW’70, G’74, Gr’79
Alumni Award of Merit

You once termed success “the feeling that you’ve done the absolute best you can in everything that’s important to you.” Your impressive list of “personal bests” includes breaking new ground in academia, excelling on Wall Street, raising a family, actively participating in your community, and giving Penn the priceless gift of your intellect and energy.

As an undergraduate, you played badminton, in which the birdie’s unique aerodynamic properties allow it to fly at a higher top speed than balls in any other sport. You exhibited a similar distinctive combination of grace and power at Penn, where you earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the College, followed by a Master’s in statistics, and a Ph.D. in finance from Wharton, becoming the first woman to receive a doctorate from that school.

Initially poised to enter academia, you chose Wall Street instead, building on your doctoral research to help introduce new quantitative methods to the area of asset-backed trading. A series of executive positions ensued, including serving as Chief Investment Officer of the Global Bond Group of Scudder Kemper Investments, overseeing $150 billion in assets and a staff of 300 worldwide. Your other key posts have included CIO of Colonial Management Group, Group Vice President of Merrill Lynch, Managing Director of the Union Bank of Switzerland, and Managing Economist of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

Midway through your career in financial services, you nimbly turned in a new direction, becoming Dean of the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, where you were responsible for 3,000 students and over 100 full-time faculty. You founded the Center for Investment Research & Management at Boston College and continue to serve as a professor of finance. In addition, your industry background and academic credentials make you a sought-after member of corporate and non-profit boards.

Although you have lived in your native Boston for many years, your deep connection with Penn has never wavered. You ably represented our University in New England during your tenure as president of the Board of Associate Alumni Trustees, Northeast Region. You remain a strong ambassador for Penn through your philanthropic and alumni activities, and by mentoring a new generation of alumni leaders. You were a founding member of the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women and have subsequently co-chaired four of its committees. You are a former Alumni Class President, and you served on the Graduate Board of the Wharton School and the Board of the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business. You are currently a Penn Athletics Overseer and are a devoted advocate for women’s athletics, particularly women’s lacrosse.

Your bond with Penn is so strong that is no surprise that your children, Cole, ENG ‘00, and Kate, C’06, G’12, attended the University that you and your Penn alumnus husband, Garrett, W’70, WG’74, love so well. Your two foster daughters, refugees from South Sudan, share your family tradition of educational achievement: Aduei Riak is a graduate of Brandeis University and the London School Economics; Adut Ayuel is a high school junior.

Your excellent sense of humor and gracious demeanor belie the seriousness of purpose with which you approach your work, family, community and University. It is with great admiration for the exceptional talents and intellect you have exhibited—in your own endeavors and on behalf of your University—that we are honored to present you with the 2013 Alumni Award of Merit.


Merit_Rosenthal_SWP_2486Andrew J. Rosenthal, C’06
Young Alumni Award 2013

You are an unabashed optimist and a virtual whirlwind of positive energy. Describing the experience of working with you, one admiring colleague said, “You just fasten your seatbelt and hold on.” To Penn’s great benefit, you have invited the University along for the ride.

You’ve been unleashing your vitality on your alma mater’s behalf ever since your undergraduate days as a health and societies major. You stayed on campus for your first post-college job as project manager at Penn’s Positive Psychology Center. At the same time, you put all the daunting time and effort that a startup requires into co-founding the website,, which provided strategies and information for improving mental health.

Then, you took on the presidency of the Penn Alumni Club of Philadelphia—bringing high-wattage energy to the role. During your three-year tenure, from 2007-2010, you engaged existing members and attracted new ones with creative programming, inspiring alumni to take part in such disparate offerings as a conference at the Penn Center for Bioethics and the annual Philadelphia Cares Day. In addition, you launched a social impact initiative for the club to engage members to help ameliorate social and economic challenges in disadvantaged Philadelphia neighborhoods.

Your commitment to Penn has been so passionate and effective that we even forgave you for temporarily substituting deep crimson for the Red & Blue by enrolling at Harvard Business School. No sooner had you arrived in Cambridge, or so it seemed, than you reached out to other MBA students who had attended Penn, bringing them together for social and other events to keep the Quaker spirit and connection alive. What’s more, your efforts as part of your five-year class reunion committee were instrumental in breaking attendance records for that event.

After you relocated to the San Francisco Bay area as Chief Strategy Officer of Jawbone, a high-tech healthcare venture, your Penn-related activities continued apace on the West coast. You even engaged with fellow alumni on business trips to such far-flung locales as Australia, where you encouraged fellow alumni to participate in that country’s regional clubs. In addition to your professional duties at Jawbone, you are an advisor to, a workforce consulting business that harnesses the power of positive psychology, a subject on which you are clearly an expert!

Currently, even as you invigorate your fellow alumni in California, you return to campus frequently and enthusiastically, attending Homecoming and Alumni Weekend and other regional events. You actively serve on the Penn Alumni Programming Committee and the Penn Alumni Executive Committee, as well as on The Penn Fund Executive Board.

We bestow upon you the Young Alumni Award in great appreciation for how you continue to harness your amazing, positive energy so effectively on Penn’s behalf. We look forward to accompanying you—seatbelts buckled!—on your exhilarating journey for many years to come.


Merit_Roth_SWP_2415Steve Roth, W’66
Alumni Award of Merit

To those who know you, the parallels between your two great enthusiasms—Penn and running—come as no surprise. Both require commitment, discipline and the individual resolve to “go the distance.” You have used these character traits, as well as your many other talents, to unite fellow alumni of all generations for the great benefit of our University.

You came to Penn a wide-eyed 16-year-old, a first generation college student eager to experience all Penn had to offer. You did just that, ably earning a degree from Wharton in management, with a minor in sociology. Heading back to your native New York, you ultimately helped build a marketing research company, DCI, Inc., and worked with such A-list clients as Pepsi and Nike before selling your firm to advertising powerhouse Ogilvy & Mather.

You have said that in your experience, what’s most enduring for many alumni is their connection to their classmates. You have stayed closely connected with the Class of 1966, serving as class vice president for more than a quarter century. As co-chair of the gift committees for your 25th, 30th, 35th, 40th, and 45th Reunions, practice clearly made perfect: your hard work resulted in record-breaking cash receipts for a 45th Reunion year. You also have served on the Penn Alumni Executive Committee, while President of the Alumni Class Leadership Council (ACLC). In this role, you helped create a successful annual Class Presidents’ event where class presidents spanning generations share best practices, in addition to your continued enhancement of the Penn Reunion Leadership Conference (PRLC).

You have generously shared your professional expertise as a member of the Wharton Marketing Department Advisory Board, as a guest lecturer on marketing research and international marketing, and as a member of the Alumni Communications Committee. You and your wife Marsha created the Roth Family Endowed Scholarship, perhaps inspired, in part, by the excellent experience of your children, Andrew, C’93 and Lisa, C’95. You also contributed a term chair in psychology to help further the field of cognitive science at Penn.

Your energy is felt on the east end of campus, where you are a visible and active member of the Football Board. Referring to you as a member of his “inner circle,” the head football coach credits you for helping reconnect generations of former players and alumni. Clearly, geography is no impediment as you gladly travel to distant games at Harvard, Cornell and elsewhere to cheer on Penn Quakers.

A veteran marathoner, you serve on the board of New York Road Runners (NYRR), a group known primarily for organizing the iconic New York Marathon, and for getting people of all ages and abilities running and moving toward better health. You have said that that your ongoing service to NYRR is motivated by its running-based fitness programs that reach 125,000 children weekly.

Looking ahead, we are confident that you will continue to set the pace on behalf of Penn with your trademark candor, good humor, and more than a soupçon of showmanship. After all, you’ve been known to don multiple Penn caps, one on top of another, to show how many roles an engaged alumnus or alumna can expect to play as a volunteer.

For wearing so many hats as a volunteer leader, and for your unparalleled enthusiasm for your alma mater, the University is honored to bestow upon you the Alumni Award of Merit for 2013.

Presenter Brett E. Weinheimer, W’00, with Adrienne Price, C’78, W’78, G’78 (left), and Stephanie Yee, C’08, representing the Class and Class Communications award-winners, respectively.

Presenter Brett E. Weinheimer, W’00, with Adrienne Price, C’78, W’78, G’78 (left), and Stephanie Yee, C’08, representing the Class and Class Communications award-winners, respectively.

Class of 1978
Class Award of Merit

“Your class broke every attendance record for a 35th Reunion: total registrants topped the previous record by 128% … Overall, the Class of 1978 contributed more than $22.6 million to Penn in 2013 … with the showstopper of your Reunion weekend … the inauguration of the Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion.”

Class of 2008
David N. Tyre Award for Excellence in Class
“You set a new record, with 687 revelers at your Masquer(08) Party at Houston Hall … Your communications strategy followed several time-honored principles: You kept the message simplemade it personalemployed humor … and used multiple platforms by reaching out to classmates …”

Penn Alumni Club of Metro New Jersey
Alumni Club Award
of Merit
“How do you bring together 8,000 Penn alumni in eight northern New Jersey counties? … You kept in touch, reaching out to members in a variety of ways, including a glossy annual calendar … and frequent electronic updates, from weekly emails to posts on social media.”

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