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Outstanding Northwestern Alumni Honored

Eighteen recognized for service to society and Northwestern

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October 16, 2009 | by Pat Vaughan Tremmel

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Northwestern Alumni Association honored 18 outstanding individuals last month at the 77th annual Alumni Awards presentation. The honorees  included philanthropist and real-estate developer Neil G. Bluhm, who received the Alumni Medal. They all have distinguished themselves through service to the community, loyalty to their alma mater and professional and personal achievement.

Alumni Medal

The Alumni Medal is the mark of highest distinction granted to a Northwestern alumnus or alumna who has achieved eminence in his or her community and field of endeavor and who has rendered exceptional service to the University.

This year's recipient, Neil G. Bluhm, received a J.D. from the Northwestern School of Law in 1962 and made his mark in real estate. Co-founder of the realty investment firms JMB Realty Corporation and Walton Street Capital LLC, Bluhm develops high-end commercial properties in cities across the nation. He appears on the "Forbes 400" list.

A member of Northwestern's Board of Trustees since 1986, Bluhm also serves on the advisory boards of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and the Kellogg School of Management's Center for Real Estate Research. He has generously supported some of Northwestern's most important initiatives, particularly at the Law School and at the Feinberg School of Medicine. In 1999, he and his children made a significant contribution to name the Bluhm Legal Clinic, an innovative, hands-on student-training center at the Law School.

Bluhm's generosity also extends to Northwestern Memorial Hospital. In 2001, he earned its Distinguished Philanthropist Award.

Service to Society

C. Raymond Zeiss, M.D., was honored with the Service to Society Award.

Zeiss graduated with a bachelor's degree from the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in 1963 and an M.D. from the Feinberg School of Medicine in 1967. He joined the Northwestern faculty in 1974 as an assistant professor. Zeiss, who specializes in internal medicine and allergy-immunology, became professor of medicine in 1983 and then was named the associate dean for clinical affairs in 1992.

Zeiss, a former major in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps, spent two decades treating fellow veterans at the Veterans Affairs Chicago Health Care System's Lakeside Division. During his time there he helped foster an affiliation between the Lakeside VA and Northwestern. He still volunteers as an attending physician at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.

Along with his wife, Joyce, also a Northwestern alumnus, Zeiss has traveled to Africa with several Christian charities. They have worked in refugee camps in Namibia and Zambia, supported school construction efforts in Angola and set up a clinic in Zambia to treat HIV and AIDS patients.

In addition to his long medical career and overseas charity work, Zeiss served as president of the Rotary Club of Wilmette and is involved with the club's International Services Committee.

Alumni Merit Awards

The Merit Award recognizes those who have distinguished themselves in their particular professions or fields of endeavor.

Recipients were Selim A. Bassoul (Kellogg School of Management, 1981), chief executive officer of Middleby Corporation; Mervin J. Block (School of Continuing Studies, 1955; Medill School of Journalism, 1959), former executive producer of WBBM-TV, former script-writer for reporters including Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather; Susan Booth (School of Communication, 1986), artistic director of The Alliance Theater in Atlanta; Roger C. Boye (Medill School, 1971), associate professor emeritus at the Medill School of Journalism; Tina Brenza (Dental School, 1996), a dentist who helped start a practice for developmentally disabled patients; Barbara A. Caulfield (School of Education and Social Policy, 1969; School of Law, 1972), managing partner of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP's Lilicon Valley Office, former U. S. District Judge in the Northern District of California; Avner Greif (Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, 1988; Weinberg College 1989), economic historian and Bowman Family Endowed Professor in Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University; Giancarlo Guerrero (School of Music, 1992), music director of the Nashville Symphony; Daniel Lipinski (McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, 1988), U.S. Representative, 3rd District of Illinois; Boris D. Lushniak (Feinberg School of Medicine, 1981; Feinberg School, 1983), Rear Admiral and Assistant Surgeon General in the U.S. Public Health Service's Commissioned Corps; Kathleen J. Reichs (Weinberg College, 1972; Weinberg College, 1975), professor at University of North Carolina-Charlotte, author of best-selling novels that inspired FOX television show "Bones" and forensic anthropologist; Penny Bender Sebring (School of Education and Social Policy, 1985), co-founder of the Consortium on Chicago School Research and senior research associate at the University of Chicago.

Alumni Service

The Alumni Service Award is given in recognition of loyal service voluntarily rendered to the University.

Recipients were David Alan Eckert (McCormick School, 1977), former chief executive officer and re-builder of several struggling companies and consummate fundraiser for various Northwestern initiatives; John Paul H. Lussow (Weinberg College, 1998), vice president in investment banking at Credit Suisse; Terri L. Mascherin (School of Law, 1984), attorney at Chicago law firm Jenner & Block and counsel for a client of Northwestern's Center on Wrongful Convictions; Ava Harth Youngblood (McCormick School, 1979), former president of the Northwestern Alumni Association, founding member of the Northwestern chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and founder of Youngblood Executive Search.