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Distinguished Alumni Honored (page 2)

April 12, 2005


Clifford L. Colnot
PhD, School of Music, 1977

As a consummate conductor, arranger, and teacher, Cliff Colnot has contributed to the world of music in countless ways. The broad range of his musical pursuits is reflected in the influences he cites: “Beethoven’s inevitability and James Brown’s groove.”

In 2001 the Civic Orchestra of Chicago named Colnot its resident conductor, providing him with ample opportunities to shape each season. That same year Symphony Center appointed him the principal conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW series, which focuses on recent works and 20th century classics.

A staple of the Chicago music scene for most of his career, Colnot has extended his influence beyond the city to reach national and international audiences. His orchestration of Shulamit Ran’s Three Fantasy Pieces for Cello and Piano was premiered by the Women’s Philharmonic of San Francisco and recorded by the English Chamber Orchestra. He has won critical acclaim for his performances of Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire at Carnegie Hall and for conducting the world premieres of John Eaton’s operas Genesis and Antigone. Assistant conductor at Pierre Boulez’s Lucerne Academy, Colnot also conducts the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Callisto Ensemble, and various orchestras at Indiana University.

As a bassoonist Colnot was a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, and the Contemporary Chamber Players. Other highlights of his Chicago career include his 2000 orchestration of Duke Ellington’s New World Coming for piano and orchestra, premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Daniel Barenboim as soloist. Collaborating with Barenboim again, Colnot subsequently arranged, conducted, and coproduced the compact disc Tribute to Ellington.

Equally active as an educator, Colnot directs the DePaul University Symphony Orchestra and teaches advanced orchestration at the University of Chicago. He also devoted significant time and energy to Barbenboim’s 2001 West-Eastern Divan Workshop for Young Musicians; the event drew students to the Northwestern campus from Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, and other Middle Eastern countries.

Naming Colnot a Chicagoan of the Year in 2001, the Chicago Tribune observed, “Few music educators have his performing skills, just as few performers are such born teachers.”

Colnot credits Northwestern with preparing him for his multifaceted career through intense 14-hour days and a wide spectrum of arranging experiences, from charting marching band shows at 3 a.m. to learning complex jazz charts. “While getting my doctorate at Northwestern,” recalls Colnot, “I was given unique and precious opportunities to develop my classroom teaching and organizational skills.”

His experiences as a School of Music graduate student also included conducting Northwestern’s Jazz Ensemble. “Each and every concert in Pick-Staiger I conducted was completely filled, with people hanging off the balcony, screaming and yelling and completely mesmerized by the band’s performance,” Colnot recalls. “It was like a rock concert.”

Colnot graduated with honors in 1968 from Florida State University, where in 1995 he received the Ernst von Dohnanyi Distinguished Alumni Award. More recently, Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery of Northwestern’s School of Music has appointed Colnot to the school’s advisory board.

Charles S. Czerepak
MS, Dental School, 1983

For nearly three decades Charles Czerepak has made a significant impact on the practice of pediatric dentistry — as a dedicated volunteer and through his professional service at Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital and Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Czerepak earned degrees in physics and dentistry from Fairleigh Dickinson University before studying pediatric dentistry and earning a master’s degree in oral biology from Northwestern’s Dental School in 1983. Since 1979 he has served as an attending dentist at Children’s Memorial Hospital and assistant clinical professor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, making major contributions to both institutions and winning widespread respect as a dynamic instructor and dedicated mentor.

Ray Jurado (GD97), head of the dentistry division at Children’s Memorial Hospital and program director of its postdoctoral pediatric dentistry program, served his dental residency under Czerepak and received further guidance from him in developing the hospital’s graduate pediatric dental residency program (previously affiliated with the Northwestern Dental School). He credits Czerepak’s valuable advice and involvement at all levels of dentistry with helping make the program one of the nation’s best in training pediatric dentists.

From 2002 to 2004 Czerepak served as president of the Children’s Memorial Hospital Medical and Dental Staff — the first dentist ever elected to that position. In that role he strengthened cohesion among the 1,100-member staff by improving communication and by effectively representing the interests of the hospital’s doctors, dentists, and other professionals in matters relating to operations and a planned $600 million expansion.

As part of a preeminent team of clinicians from the top children’s hospitals in the country, Czerepak authored a chapter on pediatric dentistry for the reference book Just the Facts in Pediatrics (McGraw-Hill, 2005), a comprehensive guide for pediatric residents and clinicians.

Active in many professional organizations, Czerepak is a past president of the Illinois Society of Pediatric Dentistry and serves as the Chicago Dental Society’s representative to Governor Rod Blagojevich (WCAS79) on matters of children’s oral health. For the Dental Arts Club of Chicago he has been active as an officer and director as well as a featured speaker, events volunteer, and committee member. Czerepak is also a member of the pediatric dentistry executive committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, Illinois State Dental Association, and Chicago Dental Society.

In his private dental practice and as a volunteer, Czerepak is involved in oral rehabilitation for pediatric oncology patients. Additionally, he spends a significant amount of time treating handicapped and special-needs patients. He is a consultant for Children Anguished with Lymphatic Malformations (CALM), a support group for families of children with disfiguring disorders resulting from abnormal lymphatic-vessel formation.

Since 1983 Czerepak has served as a counselor at One Step at a Time, a recreational camp in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, for children and adolescents with cancer and leukemia. He was also a member of the Illinois organizing committee for Prevent Abuse and Neglect through Dental Awareness (PANDA), an initiative that trains dentists to recognize child abuse.

Czerepak is widely admired by his peers for his compassion with children. “Because of his commitment to the highest quality of patient care, many of his colleagues, myself included, go out of our way to bring our children to him and wouldn’t let anyone else treat them,” says Stewart Goldman, a hematology-oncology pediatrician at Children’s Memorial Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Feinberg School of Medicine.

Czerepak’s honors include distinctions as chief dental resident in 1978–79 at Children’s Memorial Hospital and diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. This year he was nominated for membership in the International College of Dentists, an organization that awards fellowships to dental professionals for conspicuous and meritorious service to the dental profession.

Czerepak and his wife, Mary Ann, reside in Evanston. They are parents of Catherine Kulpa and Michael Czerepak.

Bonnie Swanson Daniels
BA, Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, 1969

In 1969, when Bonnie Daniels was a senior English major at Northwestern, a Peace Corps recruiter visited her Alpha Phi sorority house. Working with people in developing countries seemed like a perfect fit for her interests, but then a blind date with her future husband led to a marriage proposal. Daniels never joined the Peace Corps, but the prospect opened her mind to international options and ultimately led to a rewarding career in international development.

Today Bonnie Daniels is a director at Management Systems International (MSI), an international management consulting firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more than 20 years Daniels has worked primarily in developing countries on activities sponsored by the World Bank, United Nations, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Specializing in program and project management, entrepreneurship training, and institutional development, she has provided corporate, technical, and managerial oversight to numerous overseas field projects.

Most recently Daniels has been working with countries in transition. She currently spends approximately two to three months each year in Afghanistan as MSI’s officer-in-charge of the USAID-funded Afghan Governance and Legal Reform Project and Afghanistan Rule of Law Project.

“The single greatest professional challenge I have faced, and hopefully the greatest contribution I will make, is the work I’ve done in the last couple of years as part of the U.S. government’s post-9/11 effort to abolish the Taliban and introduce democracy, governance, and rule of law in Afghanistan,” says Daniels. “When I was asked to oversee several USAID projects there, I found my expertise intersected with something I felt very strongly about, and I accepted. In spite of extremely difficult conditions, political uncertainties, and serious security concerns, the rewards of being part of this unique development-diplomatic-military effort have been remarkable.”

Previously Daniels served as the officer-in-charge of the USAID-sponsored Youth Reintegration Training and Education for Peace Program in Sierra Leone; the USAID Private Enterprise Support, Training, and Organizational Development Project (PRESTO), a four-year initiative in Uganda; the Inter-American Development Bank–funded National Human Resource Management Information System Project (NHRMIS) in Trinidad and Tobago; and the Zambia Outplacement and Business Development Project, a two-year Word Bank–funded project to assist the transition of retrenched civil service and parastatal employees into the private sector. She has also served as a senior resource person and speaker at international private-sector development conferences.

In addition to her English degree, Daniels holds an MS in organization development from American University. Today she lives in Vienna, Virginia, with Michael, her husband of 35 years. They have three sons: Michael II, Christopher, and Alexander.

“I’m most proud of the relationships I have built with people of different backgrounds, cultures, and nationalities,” says Daniels. “My adult life spent in Washington and working in more than 30 developing countries is a long way from my homogenous Minnesota childhood. My job allowed me to introduce my husband and children to the developing world and to teach my children firsthand about the gap between what we want and what we need, and the difference between the two.”

Merri Jo Gillette
BPh, School of Continuing Studies, 1979

Merri Jo Gillette learned early about the importance of community service and has acted on that knowledge throughout her nearly 20-year career in public service as a lawyer for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Born to two teachers in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Gillette says she was raised to embrace two interrelated concepts: that much is expected from those to whom much is given, and that a person’s true character will be measured in part by what he or she gives back to the community.

Gillette came to Northwestern after completing two years at Kalamazoo College and a one-year stint as a Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) volunteer, helping communities organize to address substandard housing issues for low-income tenants. Gillette credits her VISTA experience with confirming her long-held desire to be a lawyer. While majoring in sociology at Northwestern, she also worked full-time, which she says prepared her for competitive success in law school and beyond.

After earning her law degree at Dickinson School of Law in 1982, Gillette served on the legal staffs of the U.S. Department of Labor and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry before joining the SEC’s Philadelphia office in 1986. There she held enforcement positions of increasing responsibility, including branch chief (1989–90), chief trial counsel (1990–94), assistant director (1994–98), district trial counsel (1998–2003), and associate director for enforcement (2003–04).

Gillette’s work contributed to settlements with major companies such as Morgan Stanley, which paid $50 million in penalties for failing to disclose marketing agreements whereby mutual fund companies paid fees to Morgan to promote their funds. She also worked on an emergency action alleging a $71 million fraud by a Pennsylvania investment adviser who reinvested municipal bond offering proceeds on behalf of local school districts and municipalities as well as the first enforcement action against a face-amount certificate company.

Gillette’s work in the Philadelphia District Office led to her being named regional director of the SEC’s Midwest Regional Office in June 2004. As supervisor of more than 250 employees in one of the commission’s largest offices, she oversees enforcement and examination programs throughout a nine-state jurisdiction.

“Merri Jo is a lawyer of considerable talent who has played a large role in many of the successful cases brought by the Philadelphia District Office over the past several years,” said SEC director of enforcement Steve Cutler when Gillette received her appointment. “She will bring an enormous amount of energy, tenacity, and passion to her new role as the leader of our Midwest Regional Office.”

In turn, Gillette expresses gratitude to her SEC colleagues. “More than anything else, it is the people with whom I work that make going to work each day a welcome adventure,” she says, adding that the SEC is “filled with individuals who are committed to professional excellence and public service.”

Gillette has made many presentations about her work to professional organizations. Recently she spoke about securities at the American Bar Association’s annual meeting and about corporate governance at a Chicago conference sponsored by Law Bulletin Publishing Company.

Despite all her professional accomplishments, Gillette says she is most proud of being a parent. “Being the parent of five children has allowed me to grow and has given me a perspective on life that I do not believe any other experience could afford in quite the same way,” she says. Gillette is married to Bernard E. Jude Quinn, Esquire. Her five children are Megan, 20; Alison, 17; Daniel, 10; Dillon, 9; and Rory, 5.

Rikki J. Klieman
BS, School of Communication, 1970

A Court TV anchor, Today Show legal analyst, trial attorney, actor, and best-selling author, Rikki Klieman has earned a sterling reputation as one of the nation’s most celebrated attorneys and legal scholars. A dynamic and versatile communicator, Klieman has found success in multiple fields, including television journalism, law, and academia.

Klieman graduated from Northwestern in 1970 with a degree in theater, aiming for a career as a professional actor. Active in campus theater and an avid student of literature and ethics, she says that her Northwestern education stressed the presentation and communication skills she would use for the rest of her life. But it was her return to Northwestern a year after graduation that stands out as her favorite memory.

“I felt that I could not continue as an actor, since life was too uncertain,” she remembers. “I visited communication studies professor Franklyn Haiman, and he suggested that I go to law school. It was 1971, and I said, ‘But Professor, girls don’t go to law school.’ He replied, ‘No, but women do.’ With these four words, he changed my life.”

After receiving her JD from Boston University School of Law in 1975, Klieman became a law clerk for Judge Walter Jay Skinner of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, a prestigious position for a new law school graduate. She then served as a prosecutor with the Middlesex and Norfolk County district attorneys’ offices and as a partner at Friedman & Atherton, a Boston commercial law firm, before establishing her own practice. She remains of counsel to her Boston firm — Klieman, Lyons, Schindler & Gross — where she specializes in criminal trial and appellate practice as well as civil litigation.

Klieman’s energy and skill as a persuasive attorney soon brought her national recognition. In 1983, only eight years after she earned her JD, Time magazine named her one of the five most outstanding women trial lawyers in the country.

“Rikki’s story is all the more remarkable because she made a name for herself at a time when there were few prominent women criminal defense lawyers,” says Ronald Cass, dean of the Boston University School of Law. “She has never been afraid to take on a challenge, no matter how daunting.”

In 1994 Klieman became a Court TV anchor, analyzing trials and legal proceedings throughout the country. She also hosted Both Sides, a daily trial coverage program, where she evaluated the tactics of each advocate and commented on the highlights, drama, and passion of the day’s testimony. She is now the network’s Los Angeles–based legal analyst.

Returning to acting in 1998, Klieman portrayed a reporter in the film A Civil Action with John Travolta. Since then she has played roles on NBC’s Las Vegas, ABC’s NYPD Blue, and CBS’s Dr. Vegas.

As an educator, Klieman taught trial law at Boston University School of Law for many years and served as an adjunct faculty member at Columbia Law School. She has also taught trial advocacy at institutions such as the University of Virginia and Harvard University as well as through Northwestern’s Short Course for Criminal Defense Lawyers. As a mentor and social activist, she has worked at the Rape Treatment Center in Los Angeles and at L.A.’s Best, an after-school enrichment program for disadvantaged elementary school students.

A veteran public speaker, Klieman lectures to businesses, bar associations, and schools on subjects such as law in the media, theater in the courtroom, and her own life story. She served on the Advisory Committee to the U.S. Supreme Court on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and currently serves on Northwestern’s Council of One Hundred, an organization of outstanding alumnae who mentor women students at the University.

Klieman’s autobiography, Fairy Tales Can Come True: How a Driven Woman Changed Her Destiny, was published in 2003 and became a Los Angeles Times bestseller. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Los Angeles chief of police William Bratton.

Alan R. Nelson
MD, Feinberg School of Medicine, 1958

One-time president of the American Medical Association and World Medical Association and former chief executive officer of the American Society of Internal Medicine, Alan R. Nelson has enjoyed a rewarding career in clinical practice and academic medicine that led him to leadership in health care on a national and international level.

Mastering even one area of medicine requires a lifelong commitment and unflinching resolve. Nelson’s accomplishments as both an internist and an endocrinologist demonstrate a level of dedication and skill that should be an inspiration to ambitious medical students everywhere. But it is through his leadership work in professional organizations that Nelson has truly distinguished himself.

After serving two years as the American Medical Association’s board chair, Nelson rose to the AMA presidency in 1989. As president he fought tobacco and alcohol advertising, spearheaded several crucial initiatives focused on caring for the uninsured, and sought increased benefits and respect for internists across the country. Nelson became known for his tireless efforts as a spokesman in Washington, where many of his battles were fought.

In 1991 he became president of the World Medical Association for a one-year term. The group includes medical associations from 49 countries.

The following year Nelson became chief executive officer of the American Society of Internal Medicine. After ASIM merged with the American College of Physicians in 1998, Nelson headed the Washington office of ACP-ASIM until his semiretirement in 2000. He currently serves as special adviser to ACP-ASIM’s executive vice president and CEO. Since 2000 he has also served on the influential Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), which advises Congress on a wide range of Medicare policy issues.

For the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences (IOM), Nelson has served on the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences Research and Medicine, cochaired the Workshop Planning Group on the Environment and Cancer, chaired the Committee on Ethnic and Racial Disparities in Health Care, and served as coeditor for the resulting study report, “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care.” He is currently a member of IOM’s Committee on Payment-for Performance and Quality Improvement.

Describing his medical education at Northwestern as “second to none,” Nelson says that “student life was exciting and fulfilling and further enriched by opera, art, and music in Chicago’s cultural environment.” He was particularly fond of student bridge games and the “smells of Maxwell Street” while he lived in that area. In 2003, 45 years after his Northwestern graduation, Nelson received the Feinberg School of Medicine’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Born in Logan, Utah, Nelson attended Utah State University as an undergraduate and remained connected to his home state throughout his career. Before moving to his current residence in Fairfax, Virginia, Nelson was a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Utah, earning the Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award in 1989. He maintained a private practice in Salt Lake City for 27 years and served on the board of trustees of Intermountain Health Care, a large integrated health system headquartered in Salt Lake City. Early in his career he served as president of the Utah Society of Internal Medicine and the Utah Medical Association.

Among the many honors Nelson has received are Distinguished Internist of the American Society of Internal Medicine, mastership in the American College of Physicians, the Coble Award of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the Perry A. Lambird Excellence in Medicine Award, and the Boyle Award for Distinguished Public Service for ACP-ASIM.

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