Alumni Achievement Awards

Each year during Reunion, the College Alumni Association honors those alumni who have made significant contributions in their fields of expertise and to society at large. While there is a preference to issue awards to alumni celebrating a milestone reunion, we want to know about any Drew alumni who excel in their field or are making an impact in others’ lives!

Because the University recognizes that we have many friends who also contribute to the mission and work of the College of Liberal Arts, in 2021, the CAA added a new “Friend of Drew” award category.

The Achievement in the Arts Award recognizes alumni who demonstrate exceptional and sustained success in the field of art, music and/or theater; exhibit outstanding character and loyalty to Drew; and personify the basic ideals of the University.

The Achievement in Business Award recognizes alumni who have demonstrated exceptional and sustained success in the field of business, outstanding character and loyalty to Drew, and personified the basic ideals of the University.

The Frances B. Sellers Award honors alumni who personify the ideals of the Educational Opportunity Scholars (EOS/EOF) program and who have contributed significantly to their community. The award is in recognition and memory of the late Frances B. Sellers, the first director of the EOS program who promoted and exemplified values of service to the success of our underrepresented youth.

The Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award recognizes alumni who, through exceptional and sustained success in their chosen careers, outstanding character and loyalty to Drew, have demonstrated the efficacy of a liberal arts education.

The Achievement in the Sciences Award recognizes alumni who, through exceptional and sustained success in the field of natural or quantitative sciences, outstanding character and loyalty to Drew, have most personified the basic ideals of the University.

The Service Award recognizes alumni of outstanding character who have demonstrated exceptional and sustained loyalty to Drew by making significant contributions to furthering the University’s mission and goals.

The Community Volunteer Award recognizes alumni who have made significant contributions to their community, state or nation as a volunteer and have demonstrated outstanding character, loyalty to Drew.

The Young Alumni Award recognizes alumni who graduated from the College within the past ten years, and have demonstrated exceptional success in their chosen field, outstanding character, and/or loyalty to Drew.

The Friend of Drew Award is given by the Drew University College Alumni Association Board of Directors for exemplary and sustained service to the University and in recognition of loyal and active support for the mission of the University by a member of the greater Drew Community.

See past recipients below.

Lifetime Achievement Award


Michele was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award during Reunion June 2023.

Michele E. Fabrizio C’73 is the 2023 recipient of the Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award. She entered Drew in 1969 and became editor-in-chief of The Acorn. While working on an anti-war committee, she met fellow Drew student Bob Kopech, who became her husband. After graduation, she began a career in book and magazine publishing.

After doing some professional work for the University, she became involved in the Alumni Association, served as its president and in 1989 was elected to the Drew Board of Trustees, the youngest Board member at that time.

Shortly after joining the Board, Michele and Bob were transferred to London with their children, but she did not pause her involvement with Drew. She attended Board meetings on campus and began hosting the successive groups of London Semester students for a literary tour of Hampstead, followed by a reception at their Hampstead Village home. She also worked with the Fulbright Foundation on the largest college fair in Europe, and with the help of Drew students in London, sent a number of international students to Madison.

Now a trustee Emerita, her service spanned three presidents, two interims, the renovation of the Shakespeare Theatre, and the construction of the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts.

Throughout her service, Michele was known as a champion of the entirety of Drew, from students to faculty, and for selflessly and sincerely presenting her views.


Dianne was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award during a virtual ceremony in June 2020.

When visiting potential colleges during her senior year of high school, Dianne immediately felt that Drew would be the perfect choice for her. Although the number of required courses for a major in chemistry at Drew were extensive, she was still able to enjoy courses in French, German, literature and art. Her extracurricular activities included water ballet, Drew-Eds, Green Key, Oak Leaf art editor, Acorn staff, dormitory council, freshman orientation committee, Sigma Tau Sigma, Kappa Pi, Sigma Phi and social chair of her junior and senior classes. She held part time jobs as a life guard, library staffer and chemistry department student assistant, and gave 50 cent haircuts to dorm mates. These were four wonderful years!

As graduation approached, Dianne had to choose between applying to medical or graduate school. She finally decided to major in biochemistry at the Duke University Medical School. Dianne earned her PhD with a National Institute of Health fellowship. During her final semester, she took an elective course, taught by a team of biochemists and physicians that examined the biochemical basis of inborn errors of metabolism (IEM). This sparked an interest that informed the rest of her professional career.

Dianne accepted a two year post-doctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in pediatric biochemistry. Her laboratory work involved developing methodology and procedures for newborn screening for rare IEM. She was also assigned to re-design the biochemistry course taught to first year medical students. Dianne began using the pathology of rare IEM to illustrate biochemical pathways. Student evaluations of the revised course led to her first teaching award. As interest and experience with IEM grew, Dianne received her first large research grant, began recruiting graduate students, continued to develop newborn screening methodology and teach.

Dianne soon realized that the most rewarding aspect of studying IEM was direct patient contact so she enrolled in the MPH program at UNC School of Public Health. Eventually, Dianne was promoted to Professor of Pediatrics at the UNC Medical School where she had a patient load of approximately 300 children and adults with rare IEM treated via dietary/nutritional intervention. She continued to develop protocols for newborn screening for these IEM and helped North Carolina become the first state to implement a program for screening > 20 IEM. During her academic career, she authored more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and presented over 100 invited lectures, nationally and internationally. She was tapped for membership to the Drew University Silver Tower Society, honored by the Southeastern Genetics Group for her service, received the Lifetime Contribution Award by the Genetic Metabolic Dietitians International and was granted the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian recognition for service to the people of N.C, by the N.C. governor.

During these years, Dianne and her husband, Jim, raised two lovely daughters: Becky (deceased) and Jenny (Drew C’97). Jenny is now a senior vice president at Nielsen and has two lovely daughters of her own. Dianne has taught Sunday school, was a Girl Scout leader and volunteer, is a church volunteer, is trying to reach her goal of reading 100 books per year, and is finishing the course work for a certificate/master’s degree in botanical illustration. Antiquing, hiking and travelling have been Jim’s and Dianne’s favorite leisure time activities.

Dianne credits her wonderful training and experiences at Drew for her enthusiasm for seeking answers to life’s mysteries.


Robert was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award during Reunion 2010.

Robert Drew Simpson has been involved with Drew for most of his life, but his roots here go even deeper—back to his great-great uncle, Daniel Drew.  Bob himself visited the campus with church groups, entered with the class of 1945, and has been engaged with Drew ever since.

After graduating with a religion major, Bob followed the call to Christian ministry.  He immediately went to nearby Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church, where he led the congregation in constructing their first church building.  Fourteen years later, after earning a B.D. degree and a Ph.D. from Drew, he moved to Nutley, N.J., again leading a congregation in church-building. In 1965 he began a 25-year ministry at the Chatham United Methodist Church, even closer to Drew.

His Chatham congregation named him Pastor Emeritus upon his retirement in 1990, and named their Christian education building for Bob and his wife, Megan; in 2008 they created the Simpson Christian Education Fund to assist church members who attend theological seminary.  Members of the congregation have created two named scholarships at Drew Theological School to honor the Simpsons:  the Robert Drew Simpson Scholarship, and the Dr. Robert Drew Simpson and Dr. Megan Demarest Simpson Scholarship.  Bob assisted a third member in initiating the Betty H. Welsh Scholarship here.

As Bob says, he has always been involved with Drew.  He served on the Advancement and Executive Committees of the Theological School Alumni Association, and remains a honorary member of the Executive Board.  He also served on the Theological Editorial Board, the Theological Planned Giving Committee, and the Dean’s Advisory Board, and was Honorary Grand Marshal at President Weisbuch’s inauguration.  A Drew Trustee from 1977 to 1997, he was chair of the Student Affairs and Campus Life Committee, and vice-chair of the Honorary Degrees Committee.  He is a 1994 recipient of the Drew Theological School Alumni Distinguished Service Award.

Bob also taught pastoral ministry in the Theological School, and was an archivist in the Methodist Archives on campus for 14 years after his retirement.  He and Megan have produced six books and numerous articles on history and biography.

Bob did not initially favor Drew’s admission of women in the 40s.  He remembers inveighing against coeducation, only to meet and fall in love with Megan Demarest C’46 a few days later.  They have now been married for 64 years, and have three children, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.  Bob and Megan, who received her Ph.D. from Drew in 1980 and taught English literature in the College, live in the United Methodist home, Bristol Glen, in Newton, New Jersey, still within reach of Drew.


John was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award during Reunion 2008.

We all know that some of Drew’s most notable faculty members have become living legends.  Drew also has legendary alumni/ae, and one of them is John Cunningham, who has become a legend in his own time by bringing us the facts.

John has always seen himself as a journalist.  He began writing for the Morris County Daily Record as a Morristown High School student, continuing while he was at Drew, and later spent 23 years as a reporter for the Newark Sunday News.  He approaches history with a journalist’s quest for truth and a style that engages non-historians.  His accuracy, his knowledge of New Jersey, and his appealing style have earned him recognition as “New Jersey’s popular historian,” as he was named by the New Jersey Historical Association.

It is hard to imagine an aspect of New Jersey history untouched by John’s pen.  He is now preparing the fifth revision of his first book, This is New Jersey (1953), which has never gone out of print.  Other popular titles include New Jersey:  America’s Main Road; The New Jersey Sampler; NEWARK; and Railroads in New Jersey.  His magazine articles, including a cover story in National Geographic, have covered the state’s natural wonders.  Thousands of young people have learned their New Jersey history from You, New Jersey and the World and On the Go in New Jersey, written for third and fourth graders.  New Jersey:  A Mirror on America is widely used in secondary schools and colleges.  He has made over 20 documentary films, receiving an Emmy for his film on immigration, Dreams of Distant Shores, and he has been honored by the American Association for State and Local History, the New Jersey Audubon Society, and the Great Swamp Watershed Association.  He co-founded the New Jersey Historical Commission, and has served as its chair and as president of the New Jersey Historical Society.

John has not forgotten that Drew is an integral part of New Jersey.  His University in the Forest, first published in 1990, has been revised twice.  He and Regina Diverio G’96 published a pictorial survey of Drew in The College History Series (Arcadia, 2000). This past April he held a Drew audience spellbound on the subject of his 50th and latest book, The Uncertain Revolution:  Washington and the Continental Army at Morristown.  His planned gift to Drew will fund a College of Liberal Arts scholarship in his name and that of his late wife, Dorothy.

Nor has Drew been unaware of John.  This is his third Alumni/ae Achievement Award, following the Award in the Arts in 1955 and the Service Award in 1980.  He was the first alumnus to be elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and received one of his eight honorary degrees from Drew in 1976. Rutgers has called John “Mr. Jersey,” but as we present him with the Lifetime Achievement Award, we are proud to call him “Mr. Drew.”

Achievement in the Liberal Arts


Clint will be honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2024.

Clint Bolick C’79 is the 2024 recipient of the Alumni Award for Achievement in Liberal Arts. After graduating from Drew with a major in Political Science and History, Clint went on to study law at University of California–Davis. He currently serves as an Associate Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, first elected in 2016, then re-elected in 2018 for a six-year term.
Over the span of 40 years, Clint has had a remarkable and prominent legal career, which he always credits back to Drew, and more specifically to political science courses with Professor Robert Smith C’36. He has litigated constitutional cases in state and federal courts from coast to coast, including the United States Supreme Court, and has held several leadership positions, including Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute; Co-founder and Vice President for Litigation at the Institute for Justice; and Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
Among his many honors, Clint was named one of the 90 Greatest DC Lawyers in the Last 30 Years by Legal Times in 2008; received a Bradley Prize in 2006; and was recognized as one of the nation’s three Lawyers of the Year by American Lawyer in 2002 for his successful defense of school vouchers in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris.
Clint is a prolific author of a dozen books and hundreds of articles. He teaches constitutional law every fall at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law and lectures at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.


Janet was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2023.

Janet Marie Gorn C’73 is the 2023 recipient of the Alumni Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award. Originally from Wisconsin, she earned her bachelor’s degree at Drew, her M.A. with Honors from San Jose University in 1982, and completed graduate work at George Washington University, and Harvard.

Janet progressed from her time working in the Drew library to research roles at The Brookings Institution and the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress. She then worked for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, becoming a senior international relations officer, and then joining the US Department of State, from which she ultimately retired as a senior U.S. Diplomat in the field of civil nuclear energy and nonproliferation.

A published author, Janet served on the White House Sub-Interagency Policy Committee on Civil Nuclear Energy Policy, representing the State Department . As a staff member of the State Department, she received both the second highest and the highest Civil Service Meritorious Honor Awards.

In retirement, Janet continues to give of her time and talent in Prince William County, northern Virginia, where her involvement has ranged from the Historical Preservation Foundation and the League of Women Voters to the Executive Women of the State Department, and beyond.


About 10 years after she graduated from Drew, Martha “Marti” Denny C’67 found herself sitting in a Moscow prison. A Foreign Service officer, she had been arrested by the KGB and accused of spying for the CIA. She was questioned, released, and expelled from Russia by way of the first plane back to the US.

Marti ultimately published a memoir, The Widow Spy, after retiring from a 32-year career in which she was, in fact, a CIA case officer, for whom Foreign Service work in Moscow had been a cover. It was her time at Drew that ultimately led her to the CIA. After Drew, Marti earned a master’s degree at UNC-Chapel Hill while maintaining contact with a fellow Drew student, John Peterson, who was serving with the Army in Vietnam. The couple married in 1969. John joined the CIA. By 1972, Marti found herself a CIA widow, and decided to join the agency herself.

Marti continued to serve after being sent home from Russia. She eventually remarried, had two children, and was honored with intelligence awards, including the the William J. Donovan Award and the George H.W. Bush Award for Excellence in Counter-terrorism.


Cathy was be honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during a virtual ceremony in June 2021.

Growing up in Jersey City, Catherine “Cathy” Zbyszynski Brennan’s concept of the public sector was one of rough and tumble politics. But after earning a Master’s Degree in Economics from the Graduate Faculty Division of the New School for Social Research, eight years after graduating from Drew, she discovered the world of professional public service.

Nearly three decades later, Cathy now serves as New Jersey’s Deputy State Treasurer in the Administration of Governor Phil Murphy, following almost 25 years with the Office of Legislative Services, the professional, non-partisan staff of the New Jersey State Legislature. Throughout her tenure, Cathy has played a role of increasing responsibility for every annual State appropriations act since Christie Todd Whitman’s first budget in 1994. Tapped for her current role at the beginning of the Murphy Administration by State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio, Cathy transitioned to the Executive branch in 2018 where, among other responsibilities, she oversees the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Revenue and Economic Analysis within the New Jersey Department of the Treasury.

A first-generation college graduate, Cathy has remained an engaged alumna, grateful for the transformational experience the “University in The Forest” afforded. She’s conducted admissions interviews and attended college fairs on Drew’s behalf, connected Drew students with jobs and internship opportunities and last year hosted Professor McGuinn’s PoliSci class in Trenton where students had the opportunity to meet with Governor Murphy and State Treasurer Muoio.

Working on State budget legislation, Cathy has had to pull her share of “all-nighters” under the State House dome, requiring a very supportive spouse. Fortunately, Cathy met and married Dan Brennan, the high school best friend of fellow Drew alum Neil Sheridan (C’86). Together, they have raised two sons, Connor and Colin, Cathy’s greatest sources of joy and accomplishment.


Ben was posthumously honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award at Reunion 2019.

Benjamin D. Davol, 58, of Mystic, Connecticut passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at Yale New Haven Hospital. Ben studied political science at Drew and pursued a career in political consulting. Ben’s father was a career naval officer who knew John McCain’s father. From age seven, Ben was aware of McCain’s imprisonment in Vietnam and eventually watched his 1973 release on television. Ben went on to run McCain’s successful 2000 presidential primary campaign efforts in Connecticut and New Hampshire. The campaign relied upon the tireless efforts of hundreds of volunteers, and Ben was credited with coordinating the troops with no money. McCain died in August 2018, and Ben was interviewed about him on National Public Radio. It was not anticipated that Ben would outlive him by only two weeks. Ben was also a writer, contributing to The Hartford CourantThe New London Day and other periodicals. The good qualities that were evident during Ben’s time at Drew—those of a caring and loyal friend—persisted into his career, setting Ben apart. He is remembered for the increasingly rare quality of spanning all politics, having friends of every political stripe. Of Ben’s many accomplishments, he was proudest of his role as father to Emily (of Washington, D.C.) and Charles (of Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts), who survive him.


Barry was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award at Reunion 2019.

Barry Fenstermacher graduated from Drew in 1969 with a religion major. He also was the College social chair and assisted his roommate in producing several notable rock concerts at Drew, including The Who, Jefferson Airplane, Chuck Berry, and Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Barry briefly attended Yale Divinity School. During the 1970s, he taught, had an insurance business and qualified for the Million Dollar Roundtable, an industry award. Barry was also committed to social service work in Brooklyn and Queens, and he started a program to place developmentally disabled adults in small residential homes instead of larger state institutions.

From 1980-2016, Barry worked at two independent schools in Westchester County, New York, serving as headmaster of The Harvey School in Katonah for thirty years (1986-2016). Barry also volunteered at the Bedford Correctional Center for women for 12 years and was trustee of three organizations: the New York State Association (NYSAIS),  the Glenholme School in Connecticut and The National Sports Academy in Lake Placid, New York. Barry directed the NYSAIS Experienced Teachers Institute and Beginning Teachers Institute and conducted numerous accreditation/evaluation visits to over 16 NYSAIS member schools.

After graduation from Drew, Barry served as president of the College Alumni Association Board for four years, was a trustee for eight years and assisted the Admissions Office in recruiting independent school graduates from Fairfield County, Connecticut and Westchester County, New York. Barry also arranged a speaking engagement for Drew President, Governor Tom Kean, as keynote at the NYSAIS annual meeting and hosted a luncheon at The Harvey School for President Kean to meet with more than 25 local independent school heads. Over time, Barry has successfully recruited approximately 15 students to enroll at Drew from the schools he served.

Barry is married to Rowena Fenstermacher, a retired classics teacher and author. They divide their time between their home in Dutchess County, New York and Rose Bay, Nova Scotia. He is an avid boater in Nova Scotia and a local community volunteer in New York.


Jim was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2018.

After graduating from Drew in 1968, James Freeman, together with several Drew classmates, entered the Graduate School at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he received a Master’s degree in 1971 and a Ph.D. in 1973, both in philosophy. He then taught at IU Bloomington, Butler University in Indianapolis, and Bloomfield College in New Jersey. In 1975, he went to the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia as a research associate. In 1978, he joined the faculty of Hunter College of The City University of New York and became a professor there in 1993. He served as acting chair of the department, 1989-90, and chair, 1992-1998.

While at Hunter, Jim has authored four books, Thinking Logically, (Prentice-Hall, 1987, 1993),  a text for a basic course in logic and critical thinking, and three monographs, Dialectics and the Macrostructure of Arguments (Foris Publications. 1991), Acceptable Premises (Cambridge University Press, 2005), and Argument Structure: Representation and Theory (Springer, 2011). He has also written many journal articles and book chapters. He received the 2010 Award of the International Society for the Study of Argumentation (ISSA) and was a keynote speaker at the Seventh Conference of ISSA, Amsterdam, 2010.


Karen was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2017.

After graduating from Drew in 1968, James Freeman, together with several Drew classmates, entered the Graduate School at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he received a Master’s degree in 1971 and a Ph.D. in 1973, both in philosophy. He then taught at IU Bloomington, Butler University in Indianapolis, and Bloomfield College in New Jersey. In 1975, he went to the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia as a research associate. In 1978, he joined the faculty of Hunter College of The City University of New York and became a professor there in 1993. He served as acting chair of the department, 1989-90, and chair, 1992-1998.

Karen Hunter C’87 can only be described as one of Drew’s hardest working, distinguished and most visible alumni—and is a testament to the power of a liberal arts education. She is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, a celebrated radio talk-show host, is the co-author of numerous New York Times bestsellers and hosts the Karen Hunter Show on SiriusXM.

After graduating from Drew with a degree in English, she began her career as a sports writer for the New York Daily News in 1988, becoming the paper’s first African-American female columnist. She served four years on the Daily News’ four-member editorial board and, in 1999, was a member of news teams that won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Polk Award. In 2002, she became a professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at Hunter College, where she is currently a distinguished lecturer. In 2007 she founded Karen Hunter Publishing, an imprint of Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster.

Karen is also an advocate for social change: She initiated the petition that led to the South Carolina legislature’s vote to remove the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina Statehouse.


Maryann was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2016.

After graduating from Drew in 1968, James Freeman, together with several Drew classmates, entered the Graduate School at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he received a Master’s degree in 1971 and a Ph.D. in 1973, both in philosophy. He then taught at IU Bloomington, Butler University in Indianapolis, and Bloomfield College in New Jersey. In 1975, he went to the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia as a research associate. In 1978, he joined the faculty of Hunter College of The City University of New York and became a professor there in 1993. He served as acting chair of the department, 1989-90, and chair, 1992-1998.

Karen Hunter C’87 can only be described as one of Drew’s hardest working, distinguished and most visible alumni—and is a testament to the power of a liberal arts education. She is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, a celebrated radio talk-show host, is the co-author of numerous New York Times bestsellers and hosts the Karen Hunter Show on SiriusXM.

After graduating from Drew with a degree in English, she began her career as a sports writer for the New York Daily News in 1988, becoming the paper’s first African-American female columnist. She served four years on the Daily News’ four-member editorial board and, in 1999, was a member of news teams that won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Polk Award. In 2002, she became a professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at Hunter College, where she is currently a distinguished lecturer. In 2007 she founded Karen Hunter Publishing, an imprint of Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster.

Karen is also an advocate for social change: She initiated the petition that led to the South Carolina legislature’s vote to remove the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina Statehouse.


George was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2015.

George Burrill began with an interest in farming, added a Drew education, and took both around the globe.

While he grew up on a farm in Ticonderoga, New York, George was active in the Methodist Youth Fellowship, where local pastors led him to Drew. He immersed himself in his political science major, benefiting from the inspired teaching of “Prof” Smith and Julius Mastro, and began to explore the world. He not only enrolled in the London and Washington Semesters, but in 1961–62, he and six other students spent 13 months in a 28,000-mile goodwill tour of Latin American universities, postponing George’s graduation for a year.

Karen Hunter C’87 can only be described as one of Drew’s hardest working, distinguished and most visible alumni—and is a testament to the power of a liberal arts education. She is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, a celebrated radio talk-show host, is the co-author of numerous New York Times bestsellers and hosts the Karen Hunter Show on SiriusXM.

After graduating from Drew with a degree in English, she began her career as a sports writer for the New York Daily News in 1988, becoming the paper’s first African-American female columnist. She served four years on the Daily News’ four-member editorial board and, in 1999, was a member of news teams that won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Polk Award. In 2002, she became a professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at Hunter College, where she is currently a distinguished lecturer. In 2007 she founded Karen Hunter Publishing, an imprint of Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster.

Karen is also an advocate for social change: She initiated the petition that led to the South Carolina legislature’s vote to remove the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina Statehouse.


Barry was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2014.

Barry Thomson started his college years in the hectic days of the Vietnam War era. It was a difficult time to decide on one’s life, but to Barry, coming to Drew from his home in Peapack-Gladstone, N.J., studying the liberal arts was a perfect choice. He fully benefited from the close community and individual attention from the faculty, especially from Julius Mastro, John von der Heide and Perry Leavell in political science and history.

Barry expected to go to law school after graduation, but working in a Wall Street law firm persuaded him to look elsewhere for satisfy the interests he had developed at Drew. He was recommended to the Woolworth Corporation for a legal matter, and there he found satisfying work. At Woolworth, he initially worked on special projects before becoming corporate secretary and then vice president for public affairs, and finally became the company’s youngest senior vice president, chief administrative officer and member of the five-person chairman’s group. He was never pigeonholed at work, he says, because he was a generalist by education, and that suited him perfectly. While at Woolworth, he was selected as a David Rockefeller Fellow, exposing him to leaders and issues in the private, public and nonprofit sectors of New York City.

Then changes at Woolworth, and opportunities closer to home, convinced Barry that he would prefer a change himself. Leaving Woolworth in 1996, he spent a summer in architecture and urban planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Since then he has been a consultant on management and corporate governance; a trustee, director and officer of nonprofit organizations; and a student, writer and lecturer in historical preservation and architectural history.

His deep interest in architectural history led Barry back to the Somerset County, N.J., area where he grew up. As a founder and director of two nonprofit organizations, the Blairsden Association and the Natirar Association, he worked with government officials and private donors to preserve two architecturally, historically and culturally significant large estates in Somerset County. During this time he met a local realtor, the late John K. Turpin, who shared his interest in Somerset history and architecture. Their work together culminated in a two-volume work, New Jersey Country Houses: The Somerset Hills, in 2004–2005. Barry has contributed articles on various historical topics to several area journals.

Barry has been active in New York City, serving on the boards of trustees of the Downtown Alliance, Friends of P.S. 165, the Bruno Walter Foundation, the New York Choral Society, and also with New Jersey ARC, for which he produced a documentary film on the advantages of employing persons with developmental disabilities.


Rob was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2013.

If you’ve found yourself searching for colleges with your kids, and no one can make a choice, you probably haven’t paid enough attention to Robert Franek. He devotes his professional life to finding the answer.

Spending the spring of his senior year The London Semester meant that Rob had not found a job before graduation. To his relief, a friend in the Drew Bookstore referred him to a job as associate director of admissions at Wagner College. After six great years there, he learned that the Princeton Review was looking for a publisher with admissions experience and a sense of humor—a perfect match.

Rob began at the Princeton Review in 1999 as web producer and director of guidebook publications, and his responsibilities and expertise have multiplied over the years. He is now the senior vice president for publishing and content, responsible for the company’s retail books, including their annual surveys of colleges, business schools, and law schools; for their online presence; for research and development, publishing, and public relations. He is their chief expert on all college, graduate and professional school admission guidance. He is a national speaker on college, testing, and financial aid topics at college and high school campuses, bookstore events, and educational conferences. He is frequently a speaker with the media including many television appearances, particularly with NBC, where he has appeared on the Today Show regularly for the last ten years. He suspects that he has visited more college campuses than any other person on the planet!

Rob is a superlative spokesman for higher education. A rapid-fire, authoritative speaker, he exudes optimism about the college experience and the way in which the Princeton Review’s publications can lead students to the right fit. And he does not neglect his opportunities to promote Drew and convey his deep affection for his alma mater.

A major development in Rob’s life is his marriage in January of this year to his partner of 12 years, Mario Lopez-Cordero. Rob is proud of Mario’s career in Hearst publications and his first novel, Monarch Season, which was published early this summer. Rob and Mario live in Manhattan, where Rob founded Sweet City Tours and conducts their historical walking tours. He is also in a running club, volunteers in several GLBT organizations, and keeps in touch with many Drew friends.


Jennifer was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2012.

Jennifer McJunkin has already achieved recognition in fiction, nonfiction, and screenwriting, and she will be the first to tell you how important Drew has been to her career.

Jennifer grew up in Richmond, Indiana, where her father was an administrator at Earlham College.  He suggested Drew, where Jennifer found the special, close community she was seeking.  She is grateful for Drew’s excellence, and she especially remembers professors Geraldine Smith-Wright and Frank Occhiogrosso, who helped shape her writing.  She took advantage of some very special opportunities:  not only did she study film and television for two semesters at Southern Methodist University, but she also did an independent study with James Earl Jones.  Following graduation, she enrolled in the American Film Institute, where she received the Colin Higgins Award for Screenwriting and an Emmy award upon completing her Master of Fine Arts in Screenwriting in 1995.

In addition to screenwriting, Jennifer is also well-recognized for her books, published under the name of Jennifer Niven.  Here she has followed in the footsteps of her mother, Penelope Niven, who is known for her biographies of poets and playwrights and is Jennifer’s greatest inspiration.  Jennifer’s first book, The Ice Master (2000), a report of an ill-starred Arctic exploration, was named one of the top ten nonfiction books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, has been translated into eight languages, earned its author the title of Barnes & Noble Great New Writer, and has been featured in numerous television documentaries.  It received Italy’s esteemed Gambrinus Giuseppe Mazzotti Prize for 2002.  Ada Blackjack (2003), about another ill-fated Arctic venture, was a Book Sense Top Ten Pick, has been optioned for the movies, and has appeared in three translations.

Jennifer developed her first novel, Velva Jean Learns to Drive, from a screenplay she based upon a short story by her mother.  This compelling tale evokes life in the 1930s and ’40s in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, the area where Jennifer’s father’s family lived for many decades.  The bestselling book was picked for the Indie Next List in August 2009, and was also a Costco Book of the Month.  Velva Jean’s story continues in Velva Jean Learns to Fly, and the third novel, Becoming Clementine, has just been published.  Jennifer has also published a memoir of her high school days, and is currently developing an idea for an original television series with a major studio while writing a fourth Velva Jean novel.

When she is not writing, or mentoring young writers and filmmakers, Jennifer is often involved in animal welfare organizations.  She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, photographer and computer security architect Louis Kapeleris, and their three cats.  In addition to family, writing, and felines, she is also passionate about Drew, and takes every opportunity to let people know where she went to school and why Drew is so very special.


Laura was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2011.

It may seem unusual for someone who studied theatre in college to land in a behind-the-scenes, business-oriented communication role—running a major radio station or managing the brand of a growing college system. But Laura Morris C’81 says it’s precisely her theater background that gave her all the skills she has ever needed to be a successful communicator.

“Studying theatre at Drew taught me how to tell a story,” she says, recalling that the emphasis on writing in Drew’s theater department gave her a solid foundation for her long career in communication. Her theater background also taught her critical business skills—like how to develop a project and bring it to life.

As an undergraduate, Morris worked as the business manager for the Drew University Dramatic Society (DUDS) and technical director for the Theatre Department. She remembers helping build a black box theater on campus, citing it as one of many project-management experiences she draws on today.

She also says she’s thankful for the guidance of several Drew professors, particularly Dr. Robert “Buzz” McLaughlin of the theatre department. “Buzz was a remarkable man who has had a lasting impact on my life,” she says. He was driven, very focused on his own work as well as the work of us students and he didn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t accept anything less than your very best effort.”

Morris had planned to attend law school after graduation, and she moved to Texas (her husband’s a native) to do just that. Her plans quickly changed, however.

“I was hired at KTRH Radio and stayed for 19 years,” says Morris. By 1988—just seven short years after graduating from Drew—she was named the station’s general manager, one of the youngest and one of few females at that level in the business.

Her radio career continued with the Houston division of one of the world’s largest entertainment companies, CBS/Viacom, serving as their senior vice president and general manager and leading operations for six stations. Morris helped launch new formats and reinvigorate brands for a variety of radio channels in the Houston area.  Her involvement with Houston radio gave her strong connections to the area’s sports teams, giving her the opportunity to work with the start-up Houston Texans football club, building their brand and leading business operations.

Morris left radio in 2009 and soon found herself in a new communications role. Today, as associate vice chancellor of marketing and communications with Texas’ Lone Star College System, Morris is in charge of branding the largest higher education institution in the Houston, Texas, metro area and the fastest growing college in the state.

Throughout her career, Morris says she has always operated from a place of great integrity—it’s what she’s most proud of. And it’s earned her a great deal of respect. Among many professional accolades, she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from American Women in Media in 2007, inducted in the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2004, and named one of the 50 most influential women in radio in the nation for several years. She was also named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top 10 College Women in 1980 while she was a student at Drew.

Morris and her husband, Gary Bankhead, live in Houston, Texas, with their two sons, Cooper, 15, and Carter, 12. They enjoy sharing all the outdoors has to offer—from hiking and kayaking to vacationing at their second home on the bay in Galveston, Texas. As a family, they are actively involved in Boy Scouts.


Robert was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2010.

Many people don’t think of the military in conjunction with the liberal arts, but Major General Robert Schmidle can prove them wrong any day.  His life has continued to include scholarship, as he has progressed from a history major at Drew to high-ranking service in the U.S. Marines.

A short stint in the business world after graduation did not inspire Robert; he had always wanted to serve his country; and he wanted to fly.  After his first assignment to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 333, he served as instructor pilot, Operations Officer, Aircraft Maintenance Officer, and, in 1990, as Executive Officer in Southwest Asia for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  In 1993 he deployed to Aviano, Italy, as the Commanding Officer of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251.  He led the squadron flying missions in support of Operations Deny Flight, preventing the Serbians from flying in Bosnia, and Provide Promise, delivering goods to Bosnian Serbs in snow-bound mountains.  In 1998 he commanded the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, responsible for conducting warfighting experiments.

His staff appointments have included Military Secretary to both the 32nd and 33rd Commandants of the Marine Corps, and Director of the Expeditionary Force Development Center.  He served as Commanding General, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing from June 2007 to July 2008, before becoming Assistant Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources and the Marines’ lead for the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review.  He has received numerous medals and commendations.

Scholarship is a continuing part of Robert’s life.  He is a distinguished graduate and former faculty member of the Marine Corps Command and Staff College—where he realized how well Drew taught him to write. He is also a distinguished graduate of the Marine Corps War College.  The author of numerous publications, he earned an M.A. in philosophy from American University, and is now pursuing a interdisciplinary doctorate combining social psychology, philosophy, and literature at Georgetown University.  His greatest satisfactions, aside from family, have come from the challenges of command; from reading, writing, and publishing; and from serving our country.

Robert and Pamela Jutkus Schmidle C’74 live in Washington, D.C.  Pamela, a special education teacher, is now on the faculty of George Washington University.  They have two sons:  Nicholas (married to Rikki), a prize-winning journalist specializing in terrorism and Middle Eastern affairs, and Captain Christian Schmidle, USMC, who is moving to the Special Forces after serving two tours in Iraq.  It’s clear that “Drew and Do” has been vital to Bob’s and Pam’s lives, and they have passed on the ideal of thoughtful public service to their children.


Kevin was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2009.

When Kevin Murphy graduated magna cum laude from Drew with honors in Theatre Arts, people in The Forest thought he was a creative young man who would do well.  His two musicals had been produced on Drew’s mainstage, and he had written two television scripts.  Drew was right—he has expanded upon his College theatre experience with great success.  And Kevin is especially grateful to Drew because he has continued to work with two classmates:  his television writing partner, Ed Ferrara C’89, and his musical theatre partner, Dan Studney C’89.

Kevin spent nine months waiting tables in Los Angeles before he landed his first television staff writing job.  Since then, he has spent 19 years as a writer/producer of television series and TV movies.  He was co-executive producer and head writer for the first three seasons of the smash hit “Desperate Housewives,” which won two Golden Globes, an Emmy nomination, a People’s Choice Award, and a Satellite Award, all for Best Comedy; Kevin’s individual contributions were singled out with a Prism Award and two consecutive Writers Guild Award nominations for television comedy script of the year.  He co-created the syndicated TV version of Disney’s “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and the CW’s “Valentine,” and his credits also include the CW’s “Reaper,” NBC’s “Ed,” “Get Real,” “Jack & Jill,” “Weird Science,” “So Weird,” “Dennis the Menace,” and a revival of the “Munsters” TV franchise for Fox.

Much as he enjoys writing for television, Kevin’s first love is musical theatre.  In 1998 he and Dan Studney co-wrote the book and provided lyrics for a musical adaptation of the 1936 movie Reefer Madness.  Kevin and Dan produced Reefer Madness: The Musical in Los Angeles in 1999 and off-Broadway in New York two years later, and also produced a film version for Showtime.  The stage productions have won five Ovation Awards, seven Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, seven Garland Awards, the Helen Hayes Award for Best Musical, and a Drama Desk nomination for lyrics.  The film version, which premiered at the 2005 Sundance Festival, won two Satellite Awards, was nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards (winning in the category of Outstanding Music and Lyrics), and won the Audience Award at the Deauville Festival.  He is currently workshopping two new stage musicals:  an adaptation of the beloved comic strip “Dennis the Menace,” and an adaptation of the seminal 1989 black comedy “Heathers.”

Kevin was awarded an honorary degree by Drew in 2006.  He and his wife Noreen, a television producer, live in Los Angeles with their 21-month-old son, Carter.


Paul was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2008.

Paul Boren loves public and community service, and working in national security.  He says he owes his success to a liberal arts education, which taught him to think and communicate in a variety of situations, and to appreciate the arts.

After Paul graduated cum laude with honors in history, double majoring in history and political science, he went on to George Washington University (M.A. 1984), American University, National Defense University, and Defense Acquisition University.

Paul has had a 25-year Department of Defense career dedicated to national security, with emphasis on combating weapons of mass destruction (WMD).  His jobs included arms control, international disarmament, non-proliferation, strategy, construction, program management, international development, and supporting combatant commanders. From 1992 to 2006, he worked cooperatively with other countries to secure or eliminate nuclear storage bunkers, bio labs, strategic bombers, submarines, and cruise and ballistic missiles. He helped secure Russian nuclear weapons and destroy bio-agents in the former Soviet Union, constructed chemical demilitarization and missile elimination plants, built over 1000 housing units in Ukraine and Belarus to help demobilize the 43rd Strategic Rocket Army (the largest nuclear force aimed at the United States), converted over 20 WMD firms into commercial fields, and negotiated with commercial, political and military leaders.

Paul is currently deputy associate director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, where he provides planning, assessments, and technical support for combatant commanders and other government agencies as they combat WMD around the world.

Paul is committed to Drew and to community service. In 2004 he was the first alumnus to speak at Drew’s Janet T. Siler International Affairs Forum, and two years later became the first alumnus to teach at Alumni/ae College.  Also in 2006, he organized a reunion in London of Drew London semester students and faculty.  He has served Drew as class secretary, on Reunion Committees, and in Alumni/ae in Admissions and other Drew posts.  At home in Vienna, Virginia, he has led and volunteered in Scouting, sports, theatre, and many other community efforts.

Paul is very happily married to Drew classmate, Marla Friedman Boren (C’78), and they are incredibly proud of their two sons.  David (24) and Mike (18), grew up thinking it was absolutely normal for Dad to go to Siberia or Belarus for a week or two, as long as he made it back in time for the Cub Scout meeting.  After all, Dad was the Den Leader, and that’s a really important job.


Liz was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2007.

The theater has claimed Liz Timperman’s allegiance since childhood.  She fell in love with Drew’s campus at first sight, but what really lured her to The Forest from Manhasset, New York, was Drew’s excellent Theatre Arts department.

The 80s and early 90s were an exciting time to be at Drew, where the arts gained from then-President Thomas H. Kean’s enthusiasm for the arts and his keen interest in the theater.  Liz, who was the first recipient of the President’s Award in Theatre Arts, majored in theatre arts and political science and was active in the Drew University Dramatic Society (DUDS).  She has wonderful memories of the late Joseph Patenaude’s inspired teaching and mentoring.

It was not long before Liz began to make a difference in the theater world in a series of award-winning companies.  By 1995 she and two friends had founded Pure Orange Productions, a non-profit theater production company committed to staging new plays by emerging playwrights at affordable prices.  A year later, Liz joined Danny DeVito’s Jersey Films to manage their New York office.  In 1998 she produced a short film, Why Don’t You Dance, which was selected for the Hamptons Film Festival.  After major production responsibilities with The New Group and the Signature Theater Company, she began a five-year stint as executive director of New York Stage and Film in 2002. There she managed all operations, from script selection to fundraising, marketing, and hiring all artistic, production, and administrative staff, to produce 12 to 20 new plays and musicals by emerging and established artists annually. She recently became executive director of Olympus Theatricals, where she looks forward to continuing her work as a theater producer.

Liz has stayed in touch with Drew, serving first on a Theatre Arts panel and then, in 2004, speaking on performance theory and regional theatre differences as a Traphagen Distinguished Alumni Series speaker.  She and her husband, attorney Benjamin Malin C’90, live in New York City with their one-year-old daughter, Sally Rose.


David was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2006.

When David Audretsch came to Drew from Poughkeepsie, New York, he hoped to be a physicist –until Professor Jerome Cranmer introduced him to economic thought.  Thirty years after graduation, as an award-winning economist and prolific scholar, he is outspoken in thanking Drew for preparing him for an impressive career.

After graduating magna cum laude, David went on to the University of Wisconsin.  In 1980, after earning M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in economics, he joined the faculty of Middlebury College.  In his career he has constantly handled multiple responsibilities involving teaching, research, publication, and consulting.

While at Middlebury David became involved with the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fuer Sozialforschung; David lived in Berlin for 12 years and served as acting director of the organization from 1989 to 1991.  Since 1998 he has held Indiana University’s Ameritech Chair of Economic Development and directed Indiana’s Institute for Development Strategies, to which he has added the directorship of the Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy Group of the Max Planck Institute of Economics (since 2003).  He also teaches geography at Indiana, and is actively involved with three other organizations in Germany, London, and The Netherlands.  In addition, he serves as consultant to the Science, Technology and Economic Policy Board of the National Research Council at the National Academy of Sciences and consultant at the World Bank.  He has consulted with a wide range of corporations and government agencies at home and abroad.  His most recent book, Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth, was just published in April 2006 by Oxford University Press.  His list of publications is extensive.

David takes great satisfaction in having introduced a new field in economics:  the study of entrepreneurs.  And he is quick to praise the liberal arts at Drew for equipping him to reason, to question, to make new connections, to think creatively in a way that has enabled him to develop new areas of economic thought and to be a positive force all around the globe.  Most significant among his awards was the 2001 International Award for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Research, given by the Swedish Foundation for Small Business Research.  But if you ask him his greatest professional satisfaction, he is quick to mention his selection as an outstanding teaching assistant when he was a graduate student.  And as Traphagen Speaker at Drew in 2003, he brought his expertise back to The Forest.

Other satisfactions include music, hiking, and, above all, his family.  David and his wife, Joanne, live in Bloomington, Indiana with their three sons, Alex (15), James (11), and Christopher (7).


Robert was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2005.


Peter was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2004.


Kirk was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2003.

Kirk Igler’s life was marked by great integrity and great enthusiasm, and his death has been a loss to his family, his profession, and the Drew community.

Kirk, a native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, came to The Forest because Drew offered excellence without requiring mathematics.  An allergy to numbers did not keep him from studying science, and Robert and Florence Zuck guided his botany major.  He was also close to Julius Mastro and worked in Mastro’s shoe store during and after college.  A brief return to science, as an entomologist for Penick Drugs in Orange, New Jersey, ended with a call from Ward Landrigan C’63.

Landrigan lured him to Parke-Bernet Galleries (now Sotheby’s) to manage antique and classic car sales; Kirk then branched out, heading Sotheby’s European furniture and oriental rug departments after gaining experience in London.  In 1974 he left Sotheby’s to become a retail dealer of English furniture and related decorative arts with Vernay & Jussell.  The next year he went on to a partnership with Landrigan and John Stair, and ultimately worked on his own as Kirk A. Igler, Inc., specializing in fine and decorative arts, appraisals, and advising private clients on purchases.  He continued his association with Sotheby’s as a consultant and senior appraiser.  His knowledge, amazing memory, “good eye,” sense of style, delight in his work, and absolute integrity earned him the trust and respect of all.

Kirk and Roberta Acocella C’66 married in their junior year.  They lived in New Providence and Mendham, New Jersey, for many years, and kept in touch with Drew friends through Jared McDavit C’64’s annual Bastille Day picnic.  Kirk’s enthusiasm for his work was mirrored in his private life by a love of family, cars, motorcycles, his dogs, and golf.  Golf was a passion; he played, practiced, and read golf, built golf clubs, and collected antique clubs.  The Iglers moved to Vermont and semi-retirement in 2000 to be near family and to play golf in a quieter setting.

Kirk died on December 11, 2001, at the age of 57, in an automobile accident.  He is survived by Roberta, their sons Keith and Matthew, and their granddaughter Anna, all of whom Kirk adored.  A second grandchild, born after Kirk’s death, bears his name.  We honor Kirk for his character and achievements and wish he could have been with us today.


Amy was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2002.


Karen was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2001.


William was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 2000.


Peter and Michele were honored with Achievement in the Liberal Arts Awards during Reunion 1999.


Christian was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1998.


Roger was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1997.


Edward was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1996.


Arturo was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1995.


Robert was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1994.


Henry was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1993.


Jean was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1992.


Joseph was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1991.


Mary was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1990.


Ilona and John were honored with Achievement in the Liberal Arts Awards during Reunion 1989.


Erica was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1988.


Rand and Sondra were honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1987.


Julius was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1986.


William was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1985.

F. HEISSE JOHNSON C’40, T’43,’47

Heisse was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1984.


Llewelyn was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1983.


Samuel was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1982.


Marion was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1981.


John was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1980.


Vernon was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1979.


Richard was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1978.


John was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1977.


Sol was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1976.


Joseph was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1975.


James was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1974.


Alastair was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1973.


James was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1972.


William was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1971.


Theodore was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1970.


Alfredo was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1969.


Dan was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1968.


Harold was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1967.


Frank was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1966.


Frank was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1966.


Leonard was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1965.


Guy was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1964.


Harold was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1963.


Joseph was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1962.


Robert was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1961.


John and June were honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1960.


Richard was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1959.


Herman was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1958.


Ralph was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1957.


John was honored with the Achievement in the Liberal Arts Award during Reunion 1956.

Achievement in the Arts Award


James will be honored with the Achievement in the Arts Award during Reunion 2024.

James Fiorentino C’99 is the 2024 recipient of the Alumni Award for Achievement in the Arts. An internationally recognized watercolor artist, James majored in Studio Art at Drew and played starting shortstop for Drew’s baseball team all four years of his college career.

He has been recognized for his artwork from an early age. At 15, James became the youngest artist ever to be featured in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for his likeness of Reggie Jackson. In 1998, he became the youngest artist to be inducted into the prestigious New York Society of Illustrators, sharing the honor with such artists as Norman Rockwell and Andrew Wyeth.

He has painted many sports legends of the past as well as stars of today, including Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Cal Ripken Jr., Arnold Palmer, Muhammad Ali, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and Tiger Woods. James has also painted and illustrated some of the world’s most recognized faces including presidents, Nobel Peace Prize winners, CEOs and political icons. His full body of work includes landscapes, portraits, seascapes, still lifes, and animals, and has been showcased in museums, galleries, and private collections across the globe. His portraits have also been featured on national consumer products, including trading cards for Topps, Upper Deck and Kelloggs.

Currently, James is a member of the New Jersey Watercolor Society, the Garden State Watercolor Society, American Watercolor Society, National Watercolor Society, Society of Animal Artists, and Artists for Conservation, as well as the Salmagundi Club of New York City. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Raptor Trust of NJ and D&R Greenway Land Trust.


Vivian was honored with the Achievement in the Arts Award during Reunion 2023.

Vivian T. Chiu C’93 is the 2023 recipient of the Alumni Achievement in the Arts Award. Vivian majored in music and math at Drew and went on to graduate work in musicology at Stony Brook University. She then began her career with Columbia Artists Management, where her roles included Tour Manager for violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and Associate Manager of Tan Dun, a leading figure in contemporary classical music.  Vivian later worked as an assistant to Maestro Andre Previn.

Vivian attained production credits in several recordings, including the Grammy-nominated Sweeney Todd: Live at the New York Philharmonic

She then joined Steinway & Sons, the world’s leading piano maker, based in New York City, as Steinway’s Director of Cultural Partnerships and Artist Services. Vivian collaborates with international artists, piano competitions, and festivals, as well as cultural and educational institutions, while promoting the legacy of Steinway. She remembers her time at Drew fondly, acknowledging the support of Dean Paolo Cucchi, President Thomas Kean and especially the late Dr. Lydia Ledeen.


Eleanor Selfridge-Field C’62 looks back on Drew as having set the foundation for her achievements by nurturing her ability to keep on growing, no matter the obstacles.

Ellie’s achievements include a master’s in journalism from Columbia and a doctoral degree in music from Oxford University. Her professional life developed in two strands: as a published author focusing on the music, literature, and arts in early modern Venice; and as an originator in the field of computational musicology, which she teaches at Stanford.

Ellie is married to Clive, a physicist, and has one son and two granddaughters. With others in the Stanford community, she has participated in health-related initiatives, including the founding of a consumer-governed health service with hospice care.


After Drew, Anne Lampe C’92 became an art historian, administrator and educator in the museum and art history field. She earned master’s degrees, at Williams College and from the Royal Society of the Arts, London.

After serving in New York as a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Modern Art, and as an assistant curator at the Whitney Museum, Anne dedicated 13 years as executive director and chief curator of the Demuth Museum and Lancaster Museum of Art, whereby two local organizations in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, grew and rose to regional and national presence.

Anne is now CEO of the Museum Trustee Association, based in Baltimore, Maryland, providing programs and tools nationally to advance the partnership between museum trustees and directors, and to enhance the effectiveness of museums in the communities they serve. Anne remembers the excellent education in art history and art that she received at Drew from faculty members including Michael Peglau, Sara Henry, Livio Saganic, Adele La Barre Starensier and Martyvonne Dehoney, and the many life lessons that have helped her throughout her career. She also continues to enjoy skiing with friends from Drew, tennis and sailing.


Omar was honored with the Achievement in the Arts Award during a virtual ceremony in June 2021.

Omar Rodriguez-Graham (b. Mexico 1978) lives and works in Mexico City. He  graduated with a BA from Drew University in Madison, N.J., U.S.A. in 2003 and received his MFA in Painting from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, P.A., U.S.A. in 2005. He has twice been a recipient of FONCA’s Beca de Jóvenes Creadores fellowship, as well as FONCA’s Sistema Nacional de Creadores Fellowship. Among the residencies he has attended are The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (2013) and The Banff Centre (2010).

His work has been shown both individually and collectively in México, the United States, Europe, and South America. His work is held in private and public collections in Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, the United States of America and Venezuela among which are included The JUMEX Collection, Mexico; Museum of Modern Art, México; SPACE Collection, USA, the Jorge Pérez Collection, USA, Sigg Foundation, Switzerland, and Fondazione MACC, Italy.

Rodriguez-Graham’s work is the result of an ongoing exploration of painting’s inherent language–hoping to find the meeting point between the recognizable and the abstract. His work begins with the use of recognizable images as an armature upon which to place marks: traces of the event of painting. Together, these marks construct a figure that acts not as a replacement or stand-in of this initial figuration, but as a memory: an amalgamation between the translation of a recollection and the construction of something new.

Within his recent work, Rodriguez-Graham has tackled a group of paintings based on physical constructions: sculptures that present a purely painterly experience, which–upon being re-presented upon a canvas–suggest a new reality that presents a coexistence between the recognizable and the abstract. 

Omar is represented by Galería Arróniz in Mexico City, Marc Straus Gallery in New York City and Galleria Macca in Cagliari.

View some of Omar’s work on his website.


Robert was honored with the Achievement Award in the Arts during a virtual ceremony in June 2020.

Bob was at times a Zoology major, a Psychology major, a Political Science major and graduated as an English major, all the while a Philosophy minor. Bob is the poster boy for the Liberal Arts education. His claim to fame came from a cold call made to the NBC offices of Saturday Night Live to the in-house graphics head–a woman named Tara Donnelly—in 1995. Through her, Bob met Joe DeTullio one of the four designers of SNL. Besides Joe, there is Keith Raywood, Akira Yashimora (Leo), and Eugene Lee. Leo and Eugene have been there since show one, which is 1781 shows in at this writing and will be at show 1789 by year’s end—after 45 years. They saw something in Bob and began over the years to trust him with all the backdrops and signage. Bob basically takes things off their plate. The show does 8 sets for every show. They don’t have concepts till Wednesday night for a live Saturday show. If you were to design a set for a Broadway show, you would get at least a month. Bob has done some work for those shows, they have no idea what pressure means. SNL does 8 sets in two days. Bob is valuable to them for a couple of reasons: he keeps records of every backdrop, and he has dealt with every intern who perhaps was in over their head for the last 20 plus years. They are thrown into this incredibly stressful environment and Bob always says they should ask him first. People get testy under pressure—especially when there are three shows in a row.

When you get people to trust you, and you deliver on that trust, you get rewarded. Bob is not an NBC employee, but when they receive an Emmy, they think enough of him to send him a signed certificate from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. That is what Bob is most proud of. Leo once called him “The Fifth Musketeer”. That designation came from one of the most Iconic set designers in television history: Four of them and Bob–he’ll take it.

Plus, Bob got to see Mick Jagger perform with the Foo Fighters as the back up band at one of their after parties and that was kinda cool.


Drew was honored with the Achievement Award in the Arts at Reunion 2019.

After graduating from Drew, Drew Martorella stage-managed for Paul and Ellen Barry at the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, now the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

Like the previous award recipient, Dan Studney, he was lured out to Los Angeles and joined a house full of Drewids, yes, including Dan, to seek fame and a bit of fortune. Finding neither, he set to work as a freelance production assistant for commercials and the odd feature. He fetched Ellen DeGeneres’ coffee, wrangled a giraffe, opened a bottle of water for Andie McDowell, parked in Kevin Costner’s parking space (mistake), and drove a truck all…over…Los Angeles.

Aching to return to theatre, he called the production manager of the Mark Taper Forum about a stage-managing job. Finding none, he decided to call again. And again. And again. And about a dozen more times before landing a gig with Oscar-winning producer, Roy Conli who was producing for Peter Brosius, then the director of the Improvisational Theatre Project. This led to stage-managing Woman in Mind at the Tiffany Theatre in Los Angeles starring Helen Mirren.

He moved to Santa Fe in 1992 to stage-manage for the New Mexico Repertory Theatre where Martin Platt had been hired as the artistic director. He was then promoted to Producing Director and worked with one of his early mentors and former general manager of the Public Theatre, Bob MacDonald. He also served as the general manager and producer for the Institute for Spanish Arts’ national tour of Maria Benitez Teatro Flamenco.

In 1995 he moved to Colorado Springs and joined the University of Colorado–Colorado Springs as Producing Director and later Executive Director of Theatreworks. Here he worked with his dear friend and colleague, artistic director Murray Ross.

In 2013 the university honored him with the staff Thomas Jefferson Award. One of the university’s most distinguished service award, winners are those who embody and advance the ideals of Jefferson. The Jefferson Award recognizes CU faculty, staff and students who demonstrate excellence in the performance of regular responsibilities while contributing outstanding service to the broader community.

In 2015 he was promoted to Executive Director of UCCS Presents and was one of the key figures in helping lead the construction of the $60 million Ent Center for the Arts. This new arts center has changed the cultural landscape in the region. As Executive Director, Drew leads a unit that includes the University Center and Event Services, the Artist Series, Theatreworks and the Galleries of Contemporary Art.

He credits whatever modest success he’s had to his many friends from Drew who are still among the most important people in his life as well as faculty members Dan LaPenta, Gary Benson, Buzz McLaughlin, Janice Paran and John Knox. All have helped him develop, grow and be a little bit better. Now he’s married to his best friend Caitlin and father of the two best, most hilarious kids on the planet, Jack and Matt. He credits Drew University for setting him on the path on which he is still traveling and for teaching him that quality and values matter as well as instilling in him that the arts can and should be central to civic life.


Dan was honored with the Achievement in the Arts Award during Reunion 2018.

After graduating from Drew, Dan spent the next year directing shows in regional theaters in New Jersey. But when the opportunity presented itself to move out to Los Angeles with no money, no car and no job, how could he say no?  

Once in California, Dan made ends meet by doing extra work and bit parts in movies and television shows.  You might have missed him in several episodes of In Living Color, in a deleted scene from The Mask, as Fred Flintstone’s body double in The Flintstones, all over Sam Raimi’s cult classic Army of Darkness, or fighting over a newspaper in the subway with Kramer on Seinfeld.

This soon led to work as an Extras Coordinator and Assistant Director on many projects, including Forrest Gump, Strange Days, Species, Nixon and Party of Five.  Dan also had the pure joy of 1st Assistant Directing Michael Goorjian’s Illusion with screen legend Kirk Douglas, who told many stories about Spartacus, the infamous blacklist and Dan’s favorite novel and live-action movie from childhood, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Dan then embarked on the writing career for which he had made the move, scripting such shows as Weird Science, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Sabrina: The Animated Series and others, often working with his Drew University musical theater collaborator Kevin Murphy C’89. The duo’s theatrical roots would emerge in musical episodes of most of these shows.  

He also co-wrote the Disney Channel movies Genius (with Roger Rabbit’s Charles Fleischer and a pre-Phantom of the Opera Emmy Rossum) and ’Twas the Night (starring Bryan Cranston) and penned issues of The Simpsons comics for Matt Groening.

Yearning to return to the stage, Dan (composer/bookwriter) and Kevin (lyricist/bookwriter) wrote and produced Reefer Madness: The new “Hit” Musical, which won many Los Angeles theatrical awards — 5 Ovations, 8 Backstage West Awards, 7 Drama Critics Circle Awards and the most prestigious High Times Magazine’s “Stoney” Award (which came in the form of what he was told is a fully-functional pewter bong)! They recorded a cast album at Capitol Records, which was a real treat.

After a failed run of the same show in New York City during 9/11, they made a movie version for Showtime, starring Alan Cumming, Christian Campbell, Kristen Bell, Ana Gasteyer, Steven Weber, John Kassir, Amy Spanger, Robert Torti and Neve Campbell.  It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and Dan and Kevin later won a Primetime Emmy Award for their songwriting.

Dan then produced a variety of independent films and scratched his musical itch from time to time, playing keyboards in various venues, including Avalon Hollywood at a concert for Gay Marriage Initiatives with Pink, Margaret Cho and Kelly Osborne, at the Viper Room on the Sunset Strip and at Joe’s Pub in New York City for the release of the Reefer Madness movie soundtrack.

In contrast, in recent years, Dan has been writing and rewriting ridiculously expensive studio movies like Jack the Giant Slayer starring Nicholas Hoult, Ewan MacGregor and Stanley Tucci, a bunch that you’ll never know he had a hand in, and, coming this Christmas, Bohemian Rhapsody, about rock icon and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

Dan and Kevin Murphy recently signed with new producing partners to bring the aggravatingly-still-timely Reefer Madness back for a potential Broadway run next year. He also co-wrote a live-action feature film version and simultaneously co-wrote and composed a stage musical adaptation of his aforementioned favorite childhood movie, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.


Janet was honored with the Achievement in the Arts Award during Reunion 2017.

Janet Gorzegno C’82 left Drew with a degree in studio art, lifelong connections to her peers and professors and a foundation that set her on a path of creative discovery, leading to a rewarding career as an artist and an educator.

During her time on campus she participated in intensive study of the French language—including a semester abroad in Lacoste, France—and took part in the Semester on Contemporary Art, which she describes as a “transformative experience.” After leaving Drew, she studied at the New York Studio School and went on to receive her MFA in painting from Yale University. Since then, Janet has had success as a professional artist, exhibiting her works both nationally and abroad in both solo and group exhibitions. She has also forged a career as an artist-educator, serving as a professor of art at the University of Southern Mississippi, focusing on drawing and painting, and also curates community-based exhibits such as Drawing on Katrina: Mississippi Children Respond to the Storm, a project she spearheaded in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Janet is affiliated with Bowery Gallery in New York City, where she has had four solo shows and is currently preparing her fifth.

Achievement Award in Business


Chris will be honored with the Achievement Award in Business during Reunion 2024.

Chris Sakalosky C’94 is the 2024 recipient of the Alumni Award for Achievement in Business. Chris received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, concentrating in International Law and Economic Policy, from Drew.

He is currently Vice President, North America Strategic Industries at Google Cloud North America Strategic Industries, where he is responsible for the sales and customer engineering teams that serve leading Financial Services, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Telecom, Retail, Media and Gaming companies. Chris leads the efforts to transform these customers’ businesses through the use of innovative cloud and AI technologies.

Beyond his role at Google Cloud, Chris serves as an active board member and advisor for several organizations, including Google’s Health Advisory Board, CapitalG (Alphabet’s growth fund), 25m Health, and T-Rex Medical. In 2023, he served as the Co-President of Google Cloud’s North America Go-To-Market Organization.

Before joining Google, Chris served as Microsoft’s Senior Vice President for the U.S. National Healthcare Organization and worldwide health leadership council. He served in a variety of leadership capacities during his 23-year tenure at Microsoft, including Vice President of U.S. Central Region Enterprise, Vice President of Corporate Account and Partners, and with startup businesses such as Microsoft Business Solutions Group (ERP/CRM) and Amalga.

Chris resides in the Chicago area with his wife and two daughters and is an emeritus member of the Economics Club of Chicago.


Chris was honored with the Achievement Award in Business during Reunion 2023.

Chris Holland C’88 is the 2023 recipient of the Alumni Achievement in Business Award. After studying political science and economics at Drew, Chris earned an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Chris served for 15 years with JPMorgan, where he was vice president and helped to grow the healthcare investment banking practice. He then spent nine years with ARAMARK Corp., where he played a critical role in a management-led buyout that took ARAMARK private. Thereafter, Chris became chief financial officer at C.R. Bard, a leading medical device company. During his nearly six year tenure the company achieved an accelerating period of growth and strong financial performance, culminating in the $25 billion acquisition of Bard by Becton Dickinson. Chris retired following the transaction, and today sits on the boards of Jabil Inc. and STERIS plc.

Throughout his busy career, Chris has also been known to prioritize his family, give back to his local community, and to Drew. One Drew classmate observes that Chris has lived the Drew motto, “[f]reely have you received, freely give.”


Jason Winder C’92 is the founder and CEO of Sonogen Medical, a Maryland-based medical devices company working to commercialize patent-pending ultrasonic bone fracture healing technology.

Prior to Sonogen Medical, Jason was the founder and CTO of Aerstone, a cybersecurity consultancy which is one of five firms, worldwide, certified for vulnerability assessment work by the National Security Agency (part of the Department of Defense). As a national intelligence officer, Jason provided extensive cybersecurity support to the US military and intelligence community, and to international organizations and private industry.

Jason is bilingual, speaking English and French, and has traveled extensively. After his time as an economics major at Drew, he went on to the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned an MBA and a master’s in international business. In his spare time, Jason enjoys guitar, writing, cooking, and golf — at varying levels of proficiency.


Devyani will be honored with the Achievement Award in Business during a virtual ceremony in June 2021.

Devyani Gupta Morris is Principal of Cronheim Mortgage Corporation, the largest privately owned real estate investment banking firm in the Northeast. Her role as a producer has led to the placement of over $2 billion of commercial debt for all income-producing property types. She is also a managing member of the firm’s affiliated Channel Real Estate Funds, which secures leveraged investment capital for value-add real estate opportunities. Having joined the firm in 1996, as an entry-level analyst, Dev learned the commercial real estate investment business from the ground up. Within 3 years she quickly became a major contributor to the firm’s revenue and continues to play a key role in the firm’s leadership and development. Dev has also been integral to the firm’s growth as an asset manager for its institutional clients. Although most of her time is spent in new production, she spends considerable effort training and mentoring associates, most of whom are taking a similar career path in learning the industry from the ground up.

Dev holds a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Finance from New York University and graduated magna cum laude from Drew University, which she attended on a full academic scholarship, with a B.A. in Economics and French. Ms. Morris resides in Mendham, NJ with her husband, two children, and two dogs.


David was honored with the Achievement Award in Business during a virtual ceremony in June 2020.

David Lippman is President and Chief Executive Officer of TCW. Mr. Lippman joined TCW in 2009 during the acquisition of Metropolitan West Asset Management LLC (MetWest), previously leading the Fixed Income group and TCW’s sales and marketing activities. Prior to joining TCW, Mr. Lippman led MetWest’s strategy and operations as CEO, and was a member of both the credit committee (which determined strategies for corporate securities) and the structured products committee (which determined strategies for mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities).

He was also the president and principal executive officer of the Metropolitan West Funds. Prior to joining MetWest in 2001, Mr. Lippman was managing director of structured product sales at Credit Suisse First Boston in New York. Prior to that, he was a managing director at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, where he headed mortgage sales.

Prior to joining DLJ, Mr. Lippman worked at Drexel Burnham Lambert in Beverly Hills from 1985 to 1990. Mr. Lippman also holds a JD from Hofstra University.


Lou was honored with the Achievement Award in Business at Reunion 2019.

Lou Eccleston is chief executive officer of TMX Group Limited. He joined TMX Group on November 3, 2014. Lou is a member of the TMX Group board of directors, as well as a member of the board of directors of several TMX Group subsidiaries, including TSX Inc., TSX Venture Exchange Inc. and Montréal Exchange. Lou has more than 30 years of extensive experience gained in senior leadership roles in the information services, financial technology and capital market services sectors.

Prior to joining TMX Group, he was president of S&P Capital IQ and chairman of the board for S&P Dow Jones Indices, which are business lines of McGraw Hill Financial. He was with that organization for six years. While there, Lou was named to the Institutional Investor “Tech 50” in 2012-2014. Previously, Lou was at Thomson Financial for four years in the roles of president of global sales, marketing & services and president of the banking and brokerage group. Lou was at Bloomberg LP for 14 years, where he held a number of roles, including chief executive of Bloomberg Tradebook for six years. He also served as chairman and CEO of Pivot Inc., a capital market software services company.

Lou graduated from Drew with a bachelor’s degree in economics and received his MBA from La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Chip was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2018.

Known by his friends as “Chip,” Lewis Andrews graduated from Drew in 1968 with a BA in political science and spent the next 40 years working with the state and federal government or trade associations. Chip’s last position was Associate Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. During his tenure, he successfully executed space realignment which in fiscal year 2006 saved more than $2.2 million, developed and completed the agency’s competitive sourcing plan (part of President George W. Bush’s management agenda), and transformed the agency’s executive secretariat into one of the federal government’s best.

Prior to Chip’s appointment to the SBA, he served as President of Glass Packaging Institute, an international trade association representing manufacturers of glass containers, successfully leading the association through industry consolidations, globalization and downsizing of the industry. During his time at Glass Packaging, Chip improved efficiencies, saving over $500,000 annually by replacing bloated and costly committee structures with task force systems and outsourcing specific staff functions. Additionally, Chip created an effective grassroots lobbying system, repositioned glass package as environmentally friendly by building a national recycling network, and improved the glass packaging image as the national media spokesperson and through award winning public relations/advertising campaigns.

Earlier in his career, Chip held increasingly important positions in state and federal government, including serving as Special Assistant to Rogers Morton (Secretary of the Interior under Presidents Nixon and Ford), as Deputy Commissioner, Department of Commerce, Connecticut Development Authority, and as a key advisor to Thomas Meskill during his campaigns and terms of office as a member of the U.S. House of Representative and Governor of Connecticut.

Chip was a member of Drew’s Board of Trustees for over twenty years, serving as Chair for five years. He and his wife, Christina, reside in Venice, Florida and Alexandria, Virginia. They have two children, four grandchildren, and a standard poodle.


Paul was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2017.

Many Drew graduates begin their careers the moment they walk off stage at Commencement, but Paul began his investment career even before that. As a senior, he secured an internship at Merrill Lynch, turning that into a position at a newly opened Merrill Lynch Futures office in Washington, D.C.

A few years into his financial career, Paul moved from the futures market into more traditional banking and investment, and in 1993 he joined R. Seelaus & Co., where he continues to meet the financial planning and investment management needs of high–net worth individuals, business owners and corporations. Since 2013, he has served as the executive vice president of Granite Springs Asset Management, a wholly owned subsidiary of R. Seelaus, and has been recognized as a FIVE STAR Professional Wealth Manager for the past five years.

Paul graduated from Drew in 1982 with a degree in economics. He remains active in the Drew community, particularly with the Center for Civic Engagement, serving both as an adviser and as a participant in its Civically Focused Alumni Networking program. He is also active in his community, as a former board trustee and current adviser for Furniture Assist and as a trustee for the Henry S. & Agnes M. Truzack Foundation. He met his wife of 31 years, Valerie (Russo) C’85, while on campus, and lives in Westfield, New Jersey, with his three children, Matt, Drew and Emma.


Chris was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2016.

Christopher Smith didn’t go far from home to Drew, and he still lives a few miles from Madison, but his talent and his education are taking him around the world.

Chris chose Drew for its close community of students and faculty and its proximity to New York City. His freshman seminar with Professor Don Cole not only involved him in critical thinking but helped him to see economics as his chosen field. While at Drew, he also took advantage of many opportunities the College offers, including internships; served as advertising manager of the Acorn; and was a resident assistant for two years.

During the next few years after graduation, Chris joined MetLife, then worked with several other firms while pursuing a graduate degree. He earned an MBA with honors, with a concentration in computer and information systems, at Rutgers Graduate School of Management in 1998, and he is also qualified as a chartered financial analyst. He returned to MetLife Investments in a variety of positions with increasing responsibilities, excelling in this leading insurance company which extends worldwide. He became vice president and chief of staff to the chief investment officer in 2006 and led the department’s communications during the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

By 2010, Chris was vice president and chief enterprise strategy officer. The next year, he became senior vice president and chief of staff to MetLife’s chairman, president and CEO, while also chairing the Board of MetLife Foundation. Since 2013, Chris has been executive vice president and head of global operations, founding this company division by uniting over 40 independent operating groups, leading over 14,000 associates, to transform MetLife’s operations into one unified global organization to be a powerful advocate for its customers while creating the capacity for the company’s growth.

Chris has been an increasingly involved Drew alumnus, and he has hosted Drew’s Wall Street Semester’s year-end reception at MetLife. Since 2014, he has been a member of the Board of Trustees, serving on several committees including Student Affairs, where he enjoys interacting with current students.

Summit, New Jersey, is still home. He and his wife, Heidi, a nurse in St. Barnabas Hospital’s neonatal ICU, enjoy living in the small city where Chris grew up. Their son, Josh (21), is a senior majoring in graphic design at Boston University, while their daughter, Abby (18), will enter Lafayette University in the fall. Chris’s greatest interest is his family, and he enjoys his work with Drew.


Leo was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2015.

It’s not every day that Drew is grateful for sports injuries, but that is what brought Leo Grohowski to the Forest. We’d hate to have missed him.

When Leo graduated from New Jersey’s Livingston High School, he thought that Drew was just too close to home. But at Franklin and Marshall, he had athletic injuries severe enough to bring him home to recuperate. While he healed, he visited high school friends at Drew, and transferred during his sophomore year. Leo gained a solid education that determined his career, and became a two-year baseball co-captain and MVP in his senior year. Drew gained a committed alumnus.

Leo’s interest in economics preceded his arrival at Drew, but he says that Vivian Bull kickstarted his career, inspiring him in the classroom and finding internships that helped him to relate his studies to real life. Following his magna cum laude graduation at Drew, Leo earned his MBA at New York University’s Stern School of Business in 1985. He began his career at the Princeton Bank and Trust, then moved to the Marine Midland Bank (which soon became HSBC), where he became chief investment officer in 1993. In 1996 he joined Bankers Trust as senior trust investment officer of the Private Bank and head of the U.S. Investment Strategy group. He served as CIO at Deutsche Bank and U.S. Trust Company. By 2007, he was at BNY Mellon Wealth Management, where he is currently executive vice president and CIO, overseeing $200 billion in assets while serving on the Operating Committee, the Benefits Investment Committee, and Compliance, Ethics and Conflicts.

Despite his significant career responsibilities, Leo has been very active at Drew and in his community—so active that he received Drew’s Volunteer Award in 1994. He served on Drew’s Board of Trustees for 12 years and chaired the Investment Committee; has lectured in Drew’s Wall Street Semester, has been active with admissions and is a frequent attendee at Drew functions. His strong support includes the Grohowski Family Scholarship for economics majors, The Fund (which allows economics majors to experience real investment decisions), the Ehinger Center, the Thomas H. Kean Visiting Professorship of History and Political Science and Drew’s baseball facilities.

In addition to his Drew activities, Leo was a trustee at the Far Hills Country Day School for six years, was involved in coaching his children’s sports and is currently on the Investment Committee at Blair Academy. He is grateful that he has been able to maintain balance and perspective, enjoying family, friends, volunteer work and a demanding career.

Leo and Nancy, who met at Marine Midland Bank, live in Far Hills, New Jersey, with their three sons: 18-year-old twins Andrew and Matthew, who are seniors at Morristown-Beard School, and Evan, 15, now at Blair Academy.


Paul was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2014.

The chance to play baseball in a liberal arts college brought Paul Cunningham to Drew. Who would have guessed that years later he would start a new career making unique balls?

Paul grew up in Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, so you might say that baseball was in his blood. He played baseball for three years at Drew, and his summer break job at the Hall of Fame’s library related well to his American studies major.

After graduation, Paul worked as a photo researcher with FPG International, in the days when stock photography was in great demand. His experience in photography and baseball allowed him to move to Major League Baseball Properties in 1995, as a photo editor.

By 2006, Paul was yearning to make something tangible; he enjoyed working with his hands, having worked for many years with leather as a hobby. He began to make baseballs, “Lemon Balls,” named for the lemon-shaped cross-stitched balls used in the 19th century, and they sold well. But could he base an entire business on a unique baseball?

He started to think hard about the NFL’s official football. It was too large and too firm for Paul to enjoy throwing. What would happen if he made a new football? So he designed a ball that was smaller and easier to grip, using soft leather that was a joy to work with and to handle in play. It was an immediate success. By 2011, Paul’s Leather Head Sports company came to the attention of the Wall Street Journal, which featured it just before Christmas; so many orders came in that Paul was unable to fill them all in time for Christmas.

How many of us would have voluntarily left a steady job in 2008, when Paul did, to become an independent craftsman and create a unique business? Lehman Brothers vanished, real estate foundered, Wall Street was crumbling. But Leather Head Sports meshed with a renewed craft movement and a worldwide appreciation for sports. Paul provides unique products—some with exotic leathers—and continues to expand his line, which now includes basketballs, medicine balls, rugby balls and baseball gloves. He sees his products as boutique items, not just sports equipment, and his public appreciates them (President Obama has approved their sale in the White House gift shop). He now has five employees and several part-timers. He is delighted that he can create jobs, and that he and his staff can take pride in their work.

Paul and Michelle Cunningham, and their daughters Grace, 15, and Lucy, 11, live in Glen Rock, N.J. The demands of Leather Head Sports keep Paul busy, but he has volunteered in local baseball, while Michelle works at Bayer Corporation and coaches their girls’ softball teams.


Susan was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2013.

When Susan Crowley arrived on campus from New Lenox, Illinois, Drew saw a brilliant student with a very promising future.  Her achievements so far prove the wisdom of those early assessments.

Susan, a Drew Scholar, was already interested in international affairs in high school, and her interest inspired her to major in political science and Russian area studies.  An enthusiastic student of Douglas Simon’s courses, she participated in the United Nations Semester and studied in Moscow with a Dickinson College summer program.  By the time she graduated summa cum laude, she had been elected to Phi Beta Kappa and to honor societies in both her majors, and had been active in The Forest, especially in the Gibbons Pre-Law Society, the Russian Studies club, events on campus, and intramurals as captain of Women’s Ultimate Frisbee.

From Drew, Susan went to Georgetown University Law Center, where she earned a J.D. cum laude in 1996.  Her next step was the law firm Foley & Lardner LLP, where she was an associate in the Washington D.C. office, and became senior counsel in 2003 and partner two years later.  In February 2007, Susan joined the law firm of Bryan Cave LLP and was elected partner in January 2011.  At Bryan Cave, Susan specializes in international trade.

For her clients, Susan interprets the legal complexities of international trade laws and regulations and the means of complying with them.  Her work includes matters concerning International Traffic in Arms Regulations, Export Administration Regulations, trade sanctions administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. anti-boycott laws, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  She designs and implements compliance programs, holds training sessions, designs and leads internal audits and reviews to ensure compliance, and conducts due diligence reviews related to export controls, trade sanctions, and anti-corruption matters.  She represents clients in civil and criminal enforcement proceedings.  She is a frequent speaker on compliance issues, and she has published articles in her field.

Most of Susan’s volunteer activities are centered on professional organizations.  Among others, she has been active in the International Law Section of the District of Columbia Bar Association, where she has chaired the Steering Committee; the International Practice Section of the Virginia Bar Association, where she is a member of the Board of Governors; and the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia.  She has been a board member and treasurer of the Women’s Bar Association Foundation.

Susan is married to Scott Kovarovics, who works in conservation and outdoor recreation as executive director of the Izaak Walton League of America.  They live in Arlington, Virginia, with their children, Ryan (12) and Kara (10).  Outside of the office, Susan enjoys cooking, baking, hiking, and keeping up with her family.


Gale was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2012.

Drew gave Gale Eisner everything she wanted in a college. It was close – but not too close – to her home in Roslyn, Long Island, and convenient to New York City. Above all, Drew offered the opportunity to learn from dedicated, accessible professors who could provide genuine mentorship. She emerged from Drew with majors in political science and psychology, an exciting London Semester experience, memories of tennis as team captain, and lifelong friends.

Gale’s family’s work on Wall Street caught her interest, and she began her career in investment banking with Gruntal & Co. shortly after graduation. In the early 1980s women did not find it easy to advance in the field; Gale found that a female “sales assistant” was basically a secretary. It was not until her third position, at McKinley Allsop Inc., that she found a company that would sponsor her license, allowing her to be a full sales person. There she was able to demonstrate her abilities, creating a significant amount of new business as vice president of institutional sales in the southeastern territory.

With an M.B.A. in Marketing and Finance from the Fordham Graduate School of Business (1988), Gale moved to increasingly responsible positions in alternative investments. Her career has included 14 years with Citigroup, where she was director of sales for all Citi Wealth Management financial advisors, institutional consultants and family office advisors in New York and New England from 2002 to 2009. She is currently co-head of alternative investments at Corinthian Partners LLC, where she specializes in hedge funds in a firm that stresses individualized service. She is a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst and is a member of 100 Women in Hedge Funds.

A demanding career has not prevented Gale from pursuing additional interests. She has volunteered with cancer services at City of Hope and young people’s welfare at Inwood House, fed the homeless at Yorkville Pantry, and facilitated charity events in her synagogue. At Drew, she has been a 1982 Class Host, is on the 2012 Reunion Committee, and has been active in fundraising, serving on the Gift Committee in 2007.

Asked the greatest satisfaction in her life, Gale says, “My children, of course!” She and her husband, Robert Blum, who owns and operates a medical sales and marketing company, live in New York City with their two sons. Andrew (14) and Evan (5) are enrolled in the brand-new Avenues: The World School that stresses international learning and prepares its students for globalization.

So far as her career goes, Gale is proud to be a woman who has achieved recognition in a largely male-dominated field. She is even more proud that she has accomplished all her efforts with integrity, and that she is able to educate her clients: “My most memorable moments are when I can teach people the information that I have learned and see it have a positive impact on their lives.”


Sanjay was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2011.

Sanjay Mirchandani, who studied math and computer science at Drew University, started his career developing new technology—but he quickly realized that wasn’t exactly where he wanted to be. “I found I got more satisfaction in helping customers use technology than I did from creating it,” he says. Armed with graduate degrees in both business and engineering, he headed off down a new path.

“The best opportunities in life are not always defined. Go with it and see where it takes you,” says Mirchandani. He went with it—and today he is the chief information officer and chief operating officer with the Global Centers of Excellence of EMC Corporation, the world’s leading developer and provider of information infrastructure and technology.

Mirchandani thinks understanding how the customer interacts with technology is key. That’s why he launched the EMC IT Proven program to chronicle the company’s experiences testing, deploying and managing EMC’s industry-leading technologies.

Before EMC, Mirchandani spent 11 years with Microsoft, working throughout Asia and holding multiple management positions, including president, Asia Pacific Region; president, South Asia; and managing director, India.

When Mirchandani came to the States from his home in India to attend Drew University, it was his first overseas experience. “I immediately felt like I belonged,” he says, “There were only a handful of us from other countries, and the school really embraced us. I felt like I had a new home.” He felt that Drew brought out the very best in him—and that’s what he’s encouraging his teenagers daughters to think about as they choose which colleges to attend.

That positive experience of being brought together at Drew left a lasting impact on him. In his career, Mirchandani takes great pride in his ability to build teams. “I’ve always had a global role,” he remarks. “Being able to bring really diverse people from all over the globe together as a team and really accomplish things has been the most fulfilling part of my career.”

Mirchandani says his Drew education has been paramount to his success, and it has encouraged him to never stop learning. A self-proclaimed “technology geek,” he loves experimenting with new “toys,” and he’s passionate about the impact technology can make. “If something makes you more productive, I’m interested in it,” he says. In an effort to keep up with the day-to-day changes in the IT world, he challenges himself to write new computer programs from time to time—using new programming languages and building new skills.

With an already successful technology career under his belt, Mirchandani won’t speculate what his future holds. But he does know that it’s all about learning. “With everything I do,” he says, “I ask myself, ‘What can I learn from this?’ It’s all about gaining competencies and experiences.”

Mirchandani lives in Massachusetts and has two teenage daughters, Pooja and Simran. He also likes reading and sports—cricket and soccer—and hopes to learn to play golf.


Dean was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2010.

Dean Criares transferred from the University of Richmond to follow his brother, James C’83, to Drew in the fall of 1982.  Three years later, he emerged with a double major in political science and economics, with the United Nations Semester and good memories of playing baseball behind him.

After a stint at the European American Bank, Dean joined CIBC World Markets in 1987.  In his last assignment there, he was a managing director and a portfolio manager for the structured investment vehicles managed by Trimaran Advisors LLC.  His previous responsibility included structuring and underwriting senior secured debt, primarily for leveraged issuers.  Along the way, Dean earned an M.B.A. from Columbia University in 1994.

From CIBC, Dean moved in 2002 to The Blackstone Group.  There he founded Blackstone Debt Advisors and part of the Corporate Debt Groups.  He headed Blackstone’s management of structured investment vehicles and served as co-chairman of the team’s Investment Committee, where he was responsible for the strategic direction of the group as well as oversight of the investment process.

Continuing involvement with Drew has been important in Dean’s life. He has been a member of the College Alumni Association Board, an Economics Volunteer, and a member of  the Drew Alumni Recruitment Team (DART).  He began participating in Drew’s Wall Street Semester, which offers students an in-depth experience of New York’s financial markets, in 1997.  He served four years on the Metro New York Committee for Drew’s Gateways to the Future campaign.  In 2004, he was elected by the College of Liberal Arts alumni as one of the College’s two alumni-elected Trustees, a position in which he continues to serve.

Dean has also volunteered in New York City, where he was a resident for many years.  He is a director of USO Metropolitan New York, which operates two service centers in the New York City area, offering a “home away from home” for U.S. military personnel and their families.  He and his wife, Karen, and their children, Carly and Theodore, now live in Summit, New Jersey.


Anthony was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2008.

In the course of creating exceptional living environments for his clients, Anthony Ingrao has created a considerable reputation for talent and imagination.  His interest in the decorative arts has provided him with an absorbing career on two continents.

Tony came to Drew from Bronxville, New York, majored in economics, and took advantage of Drew’s opportunities for European study by participating in the London and Brussels semesters.  A winter session course in water color revealed his gift for the arts and made a major change in his career direction.  Following his instructor’s recommendation, Tony pursued graduate studies, with a concentration in architecture, at the Rhode Island School of Design.  He set up his own studio upon graduation, and then headed to Paris.  There he started a branch of his design business and educated himself in what would be a lifelong quest for fine European antiques.  Twelve years of work in France, restoring a variety of grand houses and chateaux and deciphering the intricacies of European design, shaped his design philosophy.  His favorite project there was the restoration and decoration of an 11th-century monastery in the Luberon Valley.

In the 90s, Tony returned to the Upper East Side of New York.  He established his business, which provides unique architectural and design services to a select group of private clients.  From there he has built and decorated many great estates in California, Connecticut, Florida, Long Island, Maine, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.  He has completed architecture and interiors for clients including Howard Stern, actresses Goldie Hawn and Kim Cattrall, producer Marty Richards, and businesspersons Jack and Suzy Welch, Richard Rainwater and Darla Moore, Steven and Alex Cohen, and Dan and Jane Och, as well as the chairman of The Related Group, and Steve and Kara Ross.  Tony’s work is frequently featured in art and design periodicals.

A designer who is equally adept with homes, commercial sites, and landscapes and gardens, Tony works in a variety of styles, from traditional French, English, and American to contemporary and modern.  He is known for intriguing and often playful designs, and is never afraid to combine seemingly disparate elements to achieve a result that combines the client’s taste with his own intuitions and expertise.  His designs blend a fresh, contemporary approach with old-world classicism, and he succeeds in uniting the timeless with the practical in an integrated environment.

The opening of the Ingrao Antiques & Fine Arts gallery on Manhattan’s East 64th Street was one of the Manhattan design world’s major events of 2003.  In the gallery, Tony has brought new drama to the antiques field by displaying fine art and antiques in a stark, minimalist setting, a move which the art world has found both startling and refreshing.  His expressed aim is “to present important works of art in a non-museum setting, and to open a fresh dialogue between art and objects with architecture.”


Joseph was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2007.

Joe Beneducci has achieved major success in the insurance business, but his greatest priority is the same as his greatest pride—his family.

After growing up in Staten Island and attending North Hunterdon Regional High School in Annandale, New Jersey, Joe was being recruited for soccer by Division I schools.  He just happened to stop by Drew, and it was a natural:  strong academics, a beautiful campus, and a good soccer program.  Joe majored in political science, minored in business management, and played soccer and basketball.  Seeking business experience, he applied for an internship with Chubb and Son, Inc., then stayed on in commercial underwriting and marketing for eight years after graduation.

In 1998, Joe began a nine-year association with the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company in California.  Beginning as senior vice president, he became executive vice president in 2002 (with a title change to president in 2006), serving also as chief administrative officer and then as chief operating officer.  By 2004 he was responsible for the strategic direction, business strategies, and most operations of all the company’s business units (personal, commercial, and specialty insurance), with a total of $6 billion in premiums written and over one million customers nationwide.  By 2007 he was president and chief executive officer, responsible for all aspects of the company’s performance and success.  His efforts to modernize the insurance industry have included testimony before the United States Senate.

Working with the Fireman’s Fund was a special opportunity for Joe, the son of a New York City firefighter.  It also gave him a unique way to put his strong feelings about corporate philanthropy into practice—the Fireman’s Fund had been known in the past for its social mission to disabled firefighters and their families.  Today’s firefighters’ families are better provided for, but the firefighter’s greatest need now is professional support.  Joe is proud that he revived the Fireman’s Fund’s commitment to philanthropy and oversaw donations of more than $12 million to local fire departments for equipment, tools, and training.

As the next step in his career, Joe hopes to fulfill his dream of founding his own company.  In the meantime he is, and always has been, adamant about putting family first.  He and his wife, Bonnie (Ethridge) C’88, live in Santa Rosa, California, with their children, Joseph (11), Jason (10), Jared (8), and Jessica (6).  The whole family enjoys a variety of sports, especially skiing from their second home in Lake Tahoe.


Thomas was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2006.

Tom Collamore began his career in public service.  In the corporate world, he still concentrates on serving the public good.

A native of Bloomfield, Connecticut, Tom was hooked on political science early in life.  As a student of Julius Mastro, Douglas Simon, David Cowell, and Perry Leavell, he pursued his love of American history and his political science major, and was active in political campaigns.  He worked in the George H. W. Bush campaign in 1979 and arranged for Bush’s visit to Drew in 1980.  After completing his degree magna cum laude—also with four years of baseball—he was invited to join the new Secretary of Commerce, Malcolm Baldridge, in Washington, D.C.  In 1985, after four years as Baldridge’s special assistant, Tom received the Commerce Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Achievement.  He then served in the White House on Vice President Bush’s senior staff for four years.  He traveled extensively with the Vice President and was senior traveling aide during the campaign that led to Mr. Bush’s election as President in 1988.  In the George H. W. Bush administration, he served as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Administration and later as Chief of Staff and Assistant Secretary of Commerce.

The 1992 national election results marked the time for Tom to join the private sector, and he has made a graceful transition from success in public service to success in business.  In 1992 he joined Philip Morris Companies Inc.—now Altria Group Inc.—as Vice President for Corporate Affairs Policy and Administration, and became Vice President for Corporate Public Affairs three years later.  At Altria he is responsible for the strategy, direction, and management of the company’s public policy, public affairs, charitable and political giving programs, and outreach.  He develops and manages efforts that exemplify Altria’s commitment to corporate responsibility, including programs on hunger and domestic violence, support of the arts, and promotion of employee volunteerism.  He finds the ability to steward Altria’s philanthropy exciting, and is enthusiastic about applying his public service experience in a different sphere.

Tom’s commitment to public affairs does not end when he leaves Altria’s doors.  He is a former Drew trustee and currently serves on Drew’s Board of Visitors, and has also been active in the College Alumni/ae Association and in admissions support.  He serves on the boards of organizations involved in hunger, health, the arts, and domestic violence in several states and is on the advisory board of the George Bush Presidential Library in College, Station, Texas.  He and his wife, Jacqueline, live in Chevy Chase, Maryland with their four children, Thomas Jr. (11), Pauline (10), Sally Ann (9), and Katherine (6).


Michael was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2004.


Timothy was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2002.


Dona was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2001.


Harris was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 2000.


Stephen was honored with the Achievement in Business Award during Reunion 1999.

Achievement Award in the Sciences


Ken will be honored with the Achievement in the Sciences Award during Reunion 2024.

Dr. Kenneth Vega C’84 is the 2024 recipient of the Alumni Award for Achievement in the Sciences. Born and raised in The Bronx, Ken graduated from Drew with a major in Zoology and obtained his MD degree from Cornell University Medical College in 1988. Upon graduation, he completed an internship/residency in Internal Medicine at the Boston City Hospital in 1991 and fellowship training in Gastroenterology at Temple University in 1995. In 2022, Ken received a Master of Health Administration degree from the University of North Florida

Presently, he is Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Augusta University–Medical College of Georgia, where he has been on the faculty since 2018

Ken has been on the Gastroenterology faculty at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School, the University of New Mexico, the University of Florida–Jacksonville, the University of Oklahoma, and National Jewish Health.

In 2013, he retired from the US Army National Guard with the rank of Colonel, following three overseas deployments providing medical support for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Ken’s research focuses on gastrointestinal reflux disease, Barrett’s esophagus in groups other than non-Hispanic whites, esophageal stem cells, and epidemiology of gastrointestinal cancers along with ethnic/gender disparities in gastrointestinal diseases, treatment, and outcome. He is the author of more than 80 original articles, reviews, and book chapters and has presented original research at local, regional, national, and international scientific meetings.


Joshua was honored with the Achievement in the Sciences Award during Reunion 2023.

Joshua Drew, PhD C’98 is the 2023 recipient of the Alumni Achievement in the Sciences Award. After graduating from Drew in 1998, he earned a master’s at the State University of New York at Albany and a doctoral degree at Boston University. Marine biodiversity and conservation have figured prominently in his research.

Josh is presently an assistant professor of vertebrate conservation biology at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He spent several years as a lecturer at Columbia University. He also taught at East West University in Chicago while doing postdoctoral research on a National Science Foundation fellowship at the Field Museum in Chicago. Josh has published extensively.

In the Drew tradition, Josh has mentored numerous undergrad and graduate students who have come through his lab. In the course of his work on marine biodiversity, he advised the government of Fiji on a national system of marine protected areas. He also undertook to build grassroots support for conservation, both now and in the future, by establishing a groundbreaking program that engaged high school students from both Fiji and Chicago in his research for the Field Museum. Currently, he has projects with undergraduates working with communities in Fiji and with the Onandaga Nation in New York.


A lifelong resident of northern New Jersey, David Cennimo C’97 majored in biology and chemistry at Drew, and then proceeded to New Jersey Medical School in Newark, becoming a medical doctor in 2001. After completing residencies and fellowships, he began practice in infectious diseases, which he continues today. He is also an associate dean and associate professor at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

While David loved his science studies at Drew, he credits his broad exposure to other liberal arts — and his involvement in Drew student activities — with honing his abilities in critical thinking, writing, negotiation, and coordination of events and processes. He found all of these strengths very useful in medical school and beyond.

David notes that practicing and teaching infectious disease medicine in a pandemic has been an unusual and challenging experience. It it is fair to say that he “Drew” much strength from his continuing, lifelong Drew University friendships along the way.


Kathleen was honored with the Achievement in the Sciences Award during a virtual ceremony in June 2021.

Looking back, Kathleen’s two influential professors at Drew were Dr. Joy Phillips for Anatomy and Embryology, and Dr. Harold Rohrs for Physiology.  Can you tell she was a Zoology major? She recalls when students came to embryology class, Dr.  Phillips required them to have colored pencils to mark the three cell layers – she taught them how a fertilized egg becomes a chicken by drawing the movements of the cell layers with the yellow, blue, and red colors, which they copied with their pencils.  They visually learned how the numerous migrations of cells and their interactions all precisely occurred within 21 days to create a perfect hatchling. Quite an amazing story.

After some years of working at startup company in Massachusetts on a project developing an optical cell sorter instrument, Kathy learned that a PhD was necessary if one wanted to be in the lead and win grants.  She funded her PhD studies in Cell Biology at Tufts Medical School by instructing medical students in the Anatomy Lab. Actually, Dr. Phillip’s class came in handy, because if you can recall some embryology, less memorization is needed; it’s all connected.  She earned her PhD with research in cellular biology, studying cells in the immune system.  To get a PhD in Science, it’s not a matter of taking more courses.  Instead, you must discover something nobody else has ever known before!  And that’s what makes the science so interesting.

Afterwards, Kathy did go back to working at another R & D company but was beginning to get interested in teaching. At that time, the Harvard Graduate School of Education had a program designed for retooling scientists into science teachers, so she attended while working part-time.  Now with a master’s in science education at the age of 40, she decided that 6th grade was the most important grade to teach, not high school.  Why?  Because 6th grade is the first year that kids experience “science” as course.  It’s typically the time a student decides whether or not they “like” science.  So, 16 years later, working at a public school where educational innovation was supported, Kathy was very glad she did make the move to teaching.  It was extremely rewarding.  She also received a lifetime achievement award by being Inducted into the Massachusetts Science Educators Hall of Fame by the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers (MAST) November, 2011.

Perhaps surprisingly, teaching sixth grade science helped qualify her for her next career, working at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Here, being able to explain complex scientific information in an understandable way was a requirement for the position of Community Engagement Core Director for the Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS). This Center is a collection of researchers studying how the environment affects human health.  For example, some chemicals from the environment can get stuck on a cell’s DNA, damaging the DNA.  To help explain these concepts, she created tactile educational models to show both what molecules look like and how these molecules function.  The audience for these patented, hands-on models include secondary school and collegiate classes  (https://edgerton.mit.edu/DNA-proteins-sets).  For middle school and for informal science learning, she also has created a way to model the chemistry of climate change (https://edgerton.mit.edu/molecule-set), a change that will profoundly impact human health.

Kathy wishes to thank her husband J. Kim Vandiver and children Amy, Ben, and Alex for their support, as they have contributed greatly to these accomplishments, and Drew University for an excellent academic start in the field of Biology.

Kathleen Finley also received a 4 year Rose Memorial Scholarship and would like to thank Drew University for this support.


Bryon was honored with the Achievement Award in the Sciences during a virtual ceremony in June 2020.

With the emergence of COVID-19, epidemiology has become a national fascination. But in 1989, discussion of epidemiology was rare. Bryon Backenson, a junior biology major, spent spring break visiting graduate ecology programs at several universities, but Professor Linda Van Blerkom’s spring semester medical anthropology class introduced Bryon to epidemiology–and he was hooked.

He attended the School of Public Health at the University at Albany because of its partnership with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) which provided internships and experience in the practical (as opposed to academic) side of public health.

Working on tracking the spread of Lyme disease in ticks and wildlife for NYSDOH, he experienced vector-borne diseases and moved on to working on basic pathology of the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, discovering an emerging relapsing fever pathogen in Spain, developing novel statewide surveillance systems to collect and test ticks for several pathogens and streamline the reporting of human cases of Lyme disease.

He authored the national Lyme disease surveillance case definition and sits on several panels that advise the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on issues regarding tick and mosquito-borne diseases.

In 2009, coinciding with the discovery of H1N1 pandemic influenza in New York, his role at NYSDOH expanded to cover investigation of all communicable diseases and their outbreaks in the state. He coordinated efforts to respond to H1N1, Ebola, Zika, vaping illnesses and novel coronavirus.

The part of epidemiology and public health he enjoys most is communication—the teaching and translating of data and principles. He often speaks with the media and gives numerous seminars.

Backenson has been an assistant professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Albany since 2005, teaching Infectious Disease Epidemiology. He lives in Clifton Park, NY with his wife, and his fantasy baseball league that started with classmates at Drew in 1988 is still going strong in its 34th year!


Steve was honored with the Achievement Award in the Sciences at Reunion 2019.

Stephen Casey is a professor of mathematics and affiliate professor of computer science at American University (AU). He also currently serves as the chairman of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Steve graduated from Drew University in 1979 with a major in mathematics. He also studied physics, philosophy and classical studies at Drew.

After college, Steve taught physics for a year at the Delbarton School in Mendham, NJ and then decided to attend the University of Maryland, College Park, MD, based on the advice of his advisor at Drew, the late Dr. Norma Gilbert.

Steve pursued his doctorate under the guidance of David Hamilton. His doctoral thesis, The boundary of the universal Teichm ̈uller space and the Bers space of Schwarzians, developed mathematics that is used in string and superstring theory. He received tenure-track job offers from 12 schools, and chose American University in Washington, D.C.

Steve’s research focuses on complex analysis, harmonic analysis and number theory with applications to signal and image processing. He is a founding member of the Editorial Board for Sampling Theory in Signal and Image Processing and an associate editor of The Journal of Signal and Image Processing. He was also unanimously selected by the SampTA Steering Committee to be the chair of SampTA 2015, the 11th biennial international conference on Sampling Theory and its Applications, and was named guest editor-in-chief of Sampling Theory in Signal and Image Processing from 2015-2017. He was invited by Springer-Birkhäuser to co-edit a book in their Applied and Numerical Harmonic Analysis Series based on the SampTA papers and talks.

Steve has been a visiting research professor at the Institute for Systems Research at the University of Maryland and a Visiting Research Professor at the Norbert Wiener Center for Harmonic Analysis (NWC) at the University of Maryland. He spent three weeks in the summer of 2018 as a guest of the Austrian Academy of Sciences Acoustics Research Institute, working on signal processing problems in non-Euclidean geometries. He will be visiting research professor at the NWC at the University of Maryland for academic year 2019-2020.

Steve has published nearly 50 articles, and is completing work on two invited books;