SLIDESHOW | Photography by Tommy Leonardi ’C89
ALUMNI AWARDS OF MERIT 2015
Photography by Stuart Watson
Thomas J. Cusack C’77 W’77 | Alumni Award of Merit 2015
When you travelled in France, you didn’t fly, drive, or take the train from city to city. Instead, you took the scenic route, pedaling the latticework of bike paths and byways that crisscross the country. This inclination to immerse yourself completely has worked to Penn’s benefit as you tirelessly share your enthusiasm for the University with friends and alumni from coast to coast.
Your innate inquisitiveness was evident at Penn, where you earned degrees in economics from the School of Arts & Sciences and in finance from the Wharton School in 1977. You also found an outlet for your inexhaustible energy in varsity rugby and as a brother at Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity. In all of your campus activities, you exhibited a natural ability to get people involved, and help them stay focused and move forward.
You began your career at Bankers Trust Company as a financial analyst, before earning an MBA in 1981. You spent six years at McKinsey & Company and then moved to the industrial powerhouse, General Electric, in 1987, where you worked in business development. You joined Transamerica Corporation in 1989 and were later named chairman, president, and CEO of Transamerica Life Companies in 1995. In 1999, you retired to work as a private investor and advisor from your home base on the West Coast.
Starting in 2000, you served on the Penn Libraries Board of Overseers as it re-examined the fundamental role of libraries in a contemporary research university. That transformative process resulted in several significant changes, including large-scale digitization projects and important new and revitalized facilities and resources for students, faculty, and scholars. During your tenure as board chair (2005-2013), Penn Libraries undertook a transformative renovation of its special collection research center—now the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Your own foundational gifts and efforts to advance the project were vital in positioning the Kislak Center as a leader in preserving and interacting with treasures from the past.
As a member of the Making History Campaign steering committee from 2007 to 2012, you helped connect people to Penn in meaningful ways that encouraged the philanthropy that made the campaign a historic success. Penn Libraries, in particular, benefited from your leadership during the Campaign, exceeding its ambitious $47 million goal to raise $62.5 million.
As a member of the Homecoming Weekend host committee, you helped plan programming that went beyond the standard alumni meet-and-greets to include activities such as a program on the Art of Wharton Esherick and an alumni-curated film festival.
You consistently put your commanding curiosity to work for causes you deeply believe in—and we feel privileged that the University of Pennsylvania tops that list. For your enthusiasm and tireless interest in advancing the interests and capabilities of Penn Libraries, we are thrilled to present you with the 2015 Alumni Award of Merit.
Ken Glass EE’82 W’82 | Alumni Award of Merit 2015
You are the angel investor who sees opportunity everywhere—in the alumni you meet, the students you mentor, and the university you champion. Your ability to identify talent and potential—and to steer ventures from conception to fruition—has made you an essential partner for the University of Pennsylvania.
As an undergraduate, you were a member of the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology (M&T)’s first full graduating class, earning dual degrees in Systems Science & Engineering and Economics in 1982, with a concentration in Entrepreneurial Management. Despite the demands of a rigorous academic program, you found time for the Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team, Entrepreneurial Club, Math Club, and other activities.
You launched your career at AT&T Bell Labs, the celebrated idea factory, where you helped bring cutting-edge technologies to the marketplace. Then you served as vice president of marketing and business development at Brightwork Development, before you joined Microsoft in 1991. In 2000, you struck out on your own to found Glass5, LLC, a venture capital and private equity firm that funds and nurtures young enterprises.
Along the way, you have tirelessly explored ways to make the Jerome Fisher M&T Program the best it can be. Your ability to spot potential has made you an invaluable alumni interviewer. You actively participate in M&T Day, during which newly admitted students and their parents visit campus. And for the past 20 years, you have been a popular guest lecturer in M&T’s required Management of Technology course.
From your home in the Pacific Northwest, you have spearheaded alumni engagement initiatives up and down the West Coast. Most recently, you have served on M&T’s Executive Board, shuttling back and forth between time zones to attend meetings and special events. Your leadership of M&T’s 35th anniversary in 2014 was exceptional. You coordinated a team of alumni volunteers; oversaw subcommittees; attended lead-up events in three cities; and organized an email campaign and face-to-face meetings with alumni.
The hard work paid off. More than 200 M&T alumni returned to campus for the anniversary festivities. A total of 415 alumni made contributions, including 215 first-time donors who were inspired, perhaps, by the challenge grant you generously established. The $13.5 million raised was the largest single-year total in the history of the Jerome Fisher Management and Technology Program.
Over the years, the M&T Program and the wider Penn community have benefitted immeasurably from your seasoned perspective on the constantly changing entrepreneurial landscape. Your philanthropy, including the Glass Family Management & Technology Fund and the Glass Family Scholarship, is helping to ensure the future of the program and its ability to attract the best students. Your wise counsel and your firm’s support of several M&T alumni ventures have helped make M&T what might be called a self-sustaining ecosystem of innovation. What’s more, your enthusiasm for Penn has become a family tradition; two of your children are also Red & Blue alumni—Leila Glass C’10 and Alex Glass C’12.
For your commitment to the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology from your earliest student years, and for generously sharing your expertise and energy ever since, we are honored to present you with the 2015 Alumni Award of Merit.
John R. Rockwell W’64 WG’66 | Alumni Award of Merit 2015
You’re a model Penn citizen, an active, dedicated alumnus who targets the causes you want to support, then gives them your all. Your contagious enthusiasm for the Red and Blue, your beloved Class of 1964, and Quaker teams of all kinds has inspired countless others to step up their involvement with the University. For more than 50 years, you have been one of Penn’s champions.
And you bring great pizzazz to the task. You have been known to cheerfully wear your red-and-blue striped class blazer not just for Reunion, but off campus as well. Such fashion bravery speaks volumes about your trademark exuberance and your dedication to Penn.
After graduating from Wharton, with both an undergraduate degree and an MBA, you embarked on a distinguished career with the T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., from which you retired as Senior Vice President and Managing Director in 2007.
Even as you built a distinguished career, you gave unstintingly—of time, resources, and sheer enthusiasm—to your alma mater. You chaired the Class of 1964’s very successful 50th Reunion, reconnecting your classmates with the University and with each other, and now serve as Class President. You are also a former member of the Penn Alumni Council and the Parents Executive Board.
Your philanthropy is deeply rooted in the Red and Blue. As a child you accompanied your grandfather, Dr. Clarence S. Rockwell V’1906, to Penn sporting events and to the campus museum. Fittingly, as an adult, you went on to support both Penn Athletics and Penn’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
You have rooted for Quaker teams at countless basketball and football games; served as a longtime member of the Athletics Board of Overseers; and have co-chaired the Basketball Board since 2007—the same year in which you joined the Football Board.
You recognized Penn Athletics’ needs and responded with strong leadership and support. You endowed the Men’s Head Basketball Coach position, which carries your name. You have even changed the campus landscape: The gleaming John R. Rockwell Gymnasium at Hutchinson Gym, a practice space for varsity basketball, owes its existence to your generosity.
Your support for Penn’s Museum has been equally all encompassing. After joining its Board of Overseers in 2008, you served on the Finance and Marketing and Acquisitions committees. You have supported key exhibitions—notably, Native American Voices: The People—Here and Now, on which you were lead underwriter. And you provided the sole funding for two key object conservation projects: the restoration of the famed stone reliefs of horses, commissioned by the emperor Taizong, in the museum’s China Rotunda; and the creation of an innovative—and hugely popular—conservation area in the museum’s Artifact Lab, where visitors can watch ancient Egyptian mummies being restored.
You even have a newly discovered pharaoh to your credit, having funded the museum’s Egyptian excavation that unearthed the tomb of Senebkay, of the lost Abydos dynasty, whose name had not previously been known.
It is with great gratitude—and a rousing Red and Blue hurrah—that we present one of Penn’s most ardent champions with the Alumni Award of Merit for 2015. We can’t wait to see you, resplendent in your striped red-and-blue blazer, in the stands of Franklin Field and the Palestra for many years to come!
Katherine Stein Sachs CW’69 | Alumni Award of Merit 2015
As a Penn undergraduate, you were drawn to the study of art history because you sensed that an appreciation of that subject would serve you all your life. How right you turned out to be! That passion for the visual arts has been a foundation of your life and philanthropy ever since.
In the years since you graduated, you have generously given both your time and resources to the alma mater you share with your husband, Keith Sachs W’67, and your children—Deborah S. Rothman C’95, Judith Leah Sachs WG’06, and David B. Sachs CGS’98 WG’10.
As a member of the University’s Board of Trustees for nine years, beginning in 2004, you played a key role on the Development, Academic Policy, and Student Life committees; since becoming an Emeritus Trustee in 2013, you have been active on the Facilities & Campus Planning Committee. You are a valued long-term member of the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women. And your alma mater’s development and alumni relations programs have benefited from your work on the Penn Alumni Board of Directors, the Penn Alumni Council, the Steering Committee of the Making History campaign, and the Class of 1969 Reunion Committee.
Thanks to your inspired philanthropy, Penn’s programs in the visual arts are stronger and more connected than ever before. The programming fund you and your husband created to raise the profile of contemporary art on campus continues to do exactly that. And the professorships you have endowed—the Sachs Professorship in Contemporary Art in the School of Arts and Sciences and the Keith L. and Katherine S. Sachs Endowed Visiting Professorship in the Fine Arts at the School of Design—have enabled us to bring to campus eminent faculty whose teaching has benefitted countless students.
Penn’s Institute of Contemporary Art, or ICA, has been a particular focus of your attention. You joined its board in 1996, becoming chair shortly afterward. In addition, you chaired the ICA Endowment Campaign and served as ICA chair for the Making History campaign. Your contribution establishing the Sachs Guest Curator Program was one of the anchor gifts of the ICA campaign.
You were also instrumental in founding the popular Arts Leadership Day, which was later transformed into Homecoming Weekend Featuring Arts and Culture at Penn, now a signature fall event on campus.
Your passion for the visual arts extends well beyond campus. You and your husband Keith have assembled a justifiably renowned collection of work by first-rate contemporary and modern artists, Gerhard Richter and Jasper Johns among them. Last year, you and your husband donated 97 key works from that collection to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Not surprisingly, this generous act received widespread media attention. Less well known is how, for many years, you opened your collection to Penn students, affording them the invaluable gift of experiencing stellar contemporary art outside of the museum setting.
You have often talked about how much great art can teach us—no matter what our professions or interests—and how much can be learned by its contemplation. We are delighted that you have chosen to share your learning with your alma mater. It is with deep appreciation, for your generosity, connoisseurship, and advocacy for the arts that we award you the Alumni Award of Merit for 2015.
Seth M. Ginns C’00 | Young Alumni Award of Merit 2015
The wheel of becoming, bhavacakra, which has figured in Indian art and literature for thousands of years, scarcely seems applicable to modern Western life. But the transformation it depicts surely is. Life can change abruptly. The wheel turns.
Such was your experience. Thinking you would be a pre-med major at Penn, you initially focused on science. But in the course of your undergraduate years your interests shifted—the wheel turned—and your areas of academic concentration became math and South Asia Regional Studies.
An extended trip to India—an experience you have described as “transformative”—moved the wheel even further. By the time you returned to America, you were fluent in Hindi and deeply impassioned by the subcontinent and its myriad cultures.
In the years since, India has remained a touchstone. You travel there regularly from New York City, where you are managing director of the investment management firm of Jennison Associates and share a home with your wife, Jane Yanovsky Ginns, a lawyer; twins, Isadora and Spencer; and a new son, Henry.
India is a continuing inspiration for you, one that has guided the direction of your philanthropy, notably for Penn’s School of Nursing, where you have served on the Board of Overseers since 2012. You were the establishing donor for the Penn Nursing-India Healthcare Initiative, which has supported a series of projects in partnership with the IKP Centre for Technologies in Public Health; that initiative has explored innovative models of health care delivery with a nursing philosophy at their center.
You have consistently worked to make the experience that proved so transformative for you available to today’s Penn students: In 2006 you funded the Gambhir and Gangulee Endowed Travel Scholarship, which allows students to participate in the University’s Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI) study-abroad programs in South Asia; you have served on CASI’s International Advisory Board since 2011.
You are drawn to philanthropic projects with a broad, humanistic base. The Dr. Edward and Nanette Ginns Endowed Scholarship, which you created to honor your parents, rotates among Penn’s four undergraduate schools—thereby helping students across the University. You also established the Ginns Fund for International Writers, which supports the Writers Without Borders series at Penn’s Kelly Writers House, which benefits international authors and journalists whose work has been suppressed.
And while your giving often has an international focus, you have not neglected areas closer to home. The Ginns Literacy Program Fund, the University-wide tutoring program at the Netter Center for Community Partnerships that you funded in 2008, serves West Philadelphia.
In the fifteen years since you left Penn, you have also given back to your alma mater through your work on the Major Gifts Committee for the Making History Campaign, the Class of 2000 Gift Committee, and your class’ 15th Reunion Gift Committee.
In every way imaginable, you have kept the wheel turning. And you have done so with intelligence and humanity, aiming to transform the lives of those near and far. In gratitude for all that you have done, and continue to do—not just for Penn, but for the world—we are pleased to award you the Young Alumni Award for 2015.
Stephanie S. Yee C’08 | Young Alumni Award of Merit 2015
It’s been over ten years since you arrived as a freshman, yet your involvement with the University only grows. In fact, you spend almost as much time on campus now as during your student days! Given your myriad efforts on behalf of Penn, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Since graduating with a BA in Biological Basis of Behavior, you have worked—as laboratory manager, research specialist, and webmaster—at Penn Medicine’s departments of Radiation Oncology and Ophthalmology and are now laboratory manager of the Circulating Tumor Material (CTM) Center at Penn’s Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute.
Even when the working day is over, you don’t leave Penn behind. You’ve devoted many, many volunteer hours to Penn Alumni leadership roles. You’re a fixture at men’s basketball games, too, cheering for your beloved Quakers. And when you take time out for blogging, it’s for Frankly Penn.
Whether you are presenting a research paper you co-authored at a scientific conference, or working towards the master’s degree in Criminal Justice that you recently earned from St. Joseph’s University, you bring your trademark combination of efficiency, warmth, enthusiasm, and charm to the job. Your winning personality is on display in your blog posts, in which you have mused on the beauty of Penn in winter or the unexpected sighting of a wild rabbit on campus.
Your energy knows no bounds. As Co-Chair of the Reunion Outreach Committee for your class’ 5th Reunion, you whipped up enthusiasm for Alumni Weekend with outstanding results, winning the David N. Tyre Award for Excellence in Class Communications. You serve as President of the Penn Club of Philadelphia and the Corresponding Secretary for the Association of Alumnae Board. In addition, you have been a member of the Homecoming and Time to Shine Host committees and have served on the Penn Alumni Board of Directors, and on the executive board of the Association of Alumnae.
These days, you are co-president of the Class of 2008, as well as a member of its Gift Committee. You continue meeting with prospective students under the Penn Alumni Interview Program (PAIP), while also volunteering as a consultant for nonprofits through PennPAC.
The Alumni Class Leadership Council (ACLC) has been a focus since your early years at Penn; you became a vice president in 2013 and a member of its executive committee. You have been particularly effective in strengthening ACLC’s communication efforts, having revised both its Facebook page and the Class Presidential Handbook.
Indeed, your social network expertise has been invaluable, not just for the ACLC, but for class leaders and the Philadelphia Penn Club as well. Thanks to your guidance, many classes have established or improved their presence on social networking sites, and their alumni are more engaged as a result.
Your 24/7 dedication to All Things Red and Blue leaves us breathless. In appreciation for everything—and we do mean everything—you do for your alma mater, we are overjoyed to award you the Young Alumni Award for 2015.
CLASS AND CLUB AWARDS 2015
Class Award of Merit — Class of 1955 | During the countdown to your last reunion—your “60th Diamond Jubilee,” as you called it—your extensive telephone outreach paid off. Your class broke records and exceeded your own goals many times over. With 139 guests in attendance, you had the highest-ever turnout for a 60th reunion. Your most remarkable achievement, however, was raising more than $1 million for The Penn Fund—the first 60th-reunion class in the history of the University to do so.
David N. Tyre Award for Excellence in Class Communications — Class of 1990 | Your communication strategy was pitch-perfect. As reunion time approached, you used newsletters, phone calls, emails, and face-to-face chats to spread the word. And the results were spectacular! The Class of 1990 set new attendance records, with close to 800 classmates on campus for your reunion. An impressive 730 donated to The Penn Fund, including more than 100 who gave at the Benjamin Franklin Society level.
Alumni Club Award of Merit — Penn Alumni Club of Boston
The activities you sponsored this past year were original and creative. To supplement Penn’s first-ever exclusive alumni Coursera course—”History of the Slave South”—you invited Penn Quakers to a talk and exhibit on the history of slavery and the anti-slavery movement at the Massachusetts Historical Society. Your club calendar also included a performance of Kinky Boots at the Boston Opera House … and on the birthday of Penn’s charismatic founder, a cheerful group of Quakers wandered the city on a Ben Franklin-themed parcourse, with stops at his birthplace on Milk Street, the bronze statue in front of the old City Hall, and other historical locations.