Celebrating the Alumni Connection
The Northwestern Alumni Association paid tribute to outstanding alumni at its annual awards banquet.
This year's alumni awards banquet took on a new name and a new feel. Now known as the Northwestern Alumni Association Awards Celebration, the 69th annual ceremony at Chicago's Westin River North Hotel brought together 420 alumni, faculty, administrators, family and friends to honor admired alumni.
While 21 distinguished alumni received awards for their outstanding service to Northwestern and their professional achievements, NAA president Ava Harth Youngblood (McC79) noted that the evening also celebrated Northwestern's diverse alumni community and the many ways members stay connected to their alma mater.
Alumni Medal winners Richard (McC53) and Roxelyn (S53) Pepper accepted the association's highest honor for their years of Northwestern support, professional accomplishments and community involvement. Richard Pepper is chair and CEO of Pepper Cos., a major construction and real estate enterprise that has built and managed commercial and industrial structures throughout North America. During the 1970s Pepper's company constructed 12 of the buildings on Evanston's Lakefill campus, including Norris University Center and Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.
Richard and Roxelyn Pepper have both held leadership roles in the John Evans Club. He serves on the advisory board of the Robert R. McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science and she on the School of Speech's advisory board. Together, they established the Stanley F. Pepper Chair in Civil Engineering in 1978 in honor of Richard's father. Their 1998 financial gift to McCormick is helping to fund renovations to the Technological Institute.
Both are active outside Northwestern as well. Roxelyn Pepper is a director of Hospice of Northeastern Illinois and president of the Hospice Foundation, while Richard Pepper is a director of the Barrington branch of Harris Bank and a life director of the board of the Associated General Contractors of America. In accepting the Alumni Medal, Richard Pepper reminded the audience that J. Roscoe Miller (M30, GM31), Roxelyn's father and the University's 12th president, received the award in 1951. "When we received the news that we would be awarded the Alumni Medal, we were overwhelmed and could not believe this could happen to us," he said. "This makes it a family affair."
Richard also praised the subsequent University presidents with whom he and Roxelyn have been associated. "The University is in great hands and has a wonderful future over the next 50 years," he said.
Ralph Chase (M51), a retired San Angelo, Texas, pediatrician, received this year's Service to Society Award for his advocacy on behalf of west Texas' indigent families, whom he refers to as his First Families of Texas. Awards committee chair and presenter Jim Palos (KGSM89) introduced Chase to the audience, explaining that "Ralph's special gift is bringing hope to all he meets, especially those in seemingly hopeless situations."
Throughout his career, Chase has taken a proactive approach to improving the lives of young children. In addition to his focus on children, he started parent and caregiver educational programs in the San Angelo community. Chase also promotes the area's history and culture through lectures he established at Angelo State University.
Seven alumni received NAA Service Awards for their accomplishments as educators, advisers, fundraisers and recruiters.
Jerald Esrick (WCAS63), a partner in the Chicago law firm of Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon, was lauded for his leadership in the Professional Partners Program, which acquaints undergraduates in the Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences with professional career possibilities. He also serves as an adviser to Weinberg dean Eric Sundquist and participates in Campaign Northwestern.
Robert Goldsborough (J59, GJ60), journalist, author and special projects director for the magazine Advertising Age, has been the driving force behind a number of successful Seminar Day programs, chairing the 1992 event. From 1993 to 1995, he served on the NAA board of directors.
Judith Hayes (WCAS76) and her husband, Michael (WCAS75), a registered physical therapist and an actuary with Watson Wyatt & Co., respectively, are national co-chairs of Northwestern's Annual Fund. They've also helped expand the role alumni play in the University's development efforts.
Richard Heimler (S82), vice president of Walter Heimler Inc., a costume jewelry design and manufacturing company, has been an alumni leader since his graduation. As a board member of the NU Club of New York City, he helped boost membership and organized successful club events. Heimler is best known for student and alumni volunteer recruiting in New York and New Jersey.
Richard Heller (M63) is radiologist in chief, professor of radiology and professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Closely connected to Northwestern's Medical School, Heller is on its national alumni board and served as president from 1997 to 1999. He was also a member of the Medical Board of Trustees, the alumni board of councillors, the 1996 search committee for the school's new dean and the editorial board of Ward Rounds, the school's alumni magazine.
Susan Osterberg (S66), adjunct professor of communications at the University of Houston, is Houston regent for the NAA, local co-chair for Campaign Northwestern and a past president of the NU Club of Houston. She has also been an active member of the Council of One Hundred, the John Evans Club, the School of Speech's national advisory council and the Annie May Swift Society.
Eleven Merit Awards were presented to alumni for exceptional achievement in their professions.
Roy Adams (GL76) is an attorney and heads the trusts and estates practice group for Kirkland & Ellis in New York. An adjunct professor at the School of Law, he also mentors financial executives and writes for professional publications.
Leonard Eiserer (GJ39), chair and publisher of Maryland-based Business Publishers Inc., was a pioneer in the newsletter publishing industry and funded research that increased recognition of the field.
Kathleen Flaherty (WCAS73, McC75, 79), president and chief operating officer of Winstar International, is a leader in the international telecommunications field.
Melvin Gerbie (M60), the George H. Gardner MD Professor of Clinical Gynecology and chief of gynecology at the Medical School, is an active Medical School alumni leader. He and his wife, Patricia, established an endowed professorship in honor of his brother, Albert.
Martha Gilmer (Mu78), the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's vice president for artistic planning, is a leader in the Chicago arts community and was one of the first administrators of the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.
Michael Heuer (D56) is dean emeritus of the Northwestern Dental School (199398) and is known for his advances in endodontics, the treatment of diseases of the dental pulp and surrounding tissues.
Paul Michael Igasaki (WCAS76), vice chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C., has improved workplace standards regarding gender discrimination and sexual harassment. He also advocates on behalf of Asian Americans.
C. Richard Kramlich (EB57) is a venture capitalist and partner in New Enterprises Associates in Menlo Park, Calif. He and wife, Pam, are major supporters of avant-garde art in unconventional media.
Joseph R. Newton III (SESP51, GSESP52), former head track and current cross-country coach at York High School in Elmhurst, Ill., has led his teams to an unprecedented record of state and national championships.
Robert Saltzman (WCAS64), former president and CEO of Lansing, Mich.based Jackson National Life, led his company to become one of the nation's largest fixed and variable annuity writers. Saltzman relinquished day-to-day responsibility for his business in June.
David W. Peterson (CB58), retired owner of Kendall Manufacturing Co. of Milwaukee and trustee of the Otto Lehmann Foundation, died in a Florida boating accident on March 21. Richard Lorenzen, dean of the School of Continuing Studies, accepted Mr. Peterson's award on behalf of his family.
Those wishing to read more complete biographies of this year's award winners or to nominate individuals for future awards may do so by logging on to the NAA Web site (www.alumni.northwestern.edu).