Pitt African American Alumni Council Honors Seven Distinguished Alumni During 2012 Homecoming Weekend

Issue Date: 
October 8, 2012

The University of Pittsburgh African American Alumni Council (AAAC) of the Pitt Alumni Association will host the annual Sankofa Homecoming weekend Oct. 12-16 to welcome alumni and to honor seven distinguished graduates during the University’s 2012 Homecoming festivities. 

Recipients of the 2012 Distinguished Alumnus Award will be honored during the AAAC Distinguished Alumni Awards Banquet and Reception at 6 p.m. Oct. 13 in the Connolly Ballroom of Pitt’s Alumni Hall.

Distinguished Alumnus Award recipients were selected for their professional accomplishments as well as their community stature. The 2012 honorees are Linda Wharton Boyd, Lucile Adams-Campbell, Charles T. Curry, Arnold M. Sowell, Tracey T. Travis, Lois Dougan Tretiak, and David B. Washington

The AAAC Sankofa weekend will begin at 8 a.m. Oct. 12 with The Apple Seed Community Service Project, an initiative that allows alumni the opportunity to share their professional and educational paths and experiences with students in Pittsburgh’s Public Schools. 

Highlighting the first day’s events will be a Meet-N-Greet Social Networking Event with Pitt Students and Alumni at 4:30 p.m. on the 6th floor of Pitt’s William Pitt Union (WPU). The 12th annual Mr. and Miss Black University of Pittsburgh Pageant will follow at 7 p.m. in the O’Hara Student Center. The evening will conclude with the African American Young Alumni Mixer & Soiree at 10 p.m. at the Wine Loft, 2773 Tunnel St., South Side. 

On Oct. 13, the AAAC Annual Membership Meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the Cross Cultural and Leadership Development Center on the sixth floor of the William Pitt Union. Following Pitt’s annual homecoming football game and the Distinguished Alumni Awards Banquet, the Sankofa festivities will continue through the evening with the AAAC Annual Partee’ at 9:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall’s Connolly Ballroom. On Oct. 14, a worship service, “Rejoice in the Miracle,” will be held from 10 to 11 a.m., followed by a fellowship brunch titled “Until We Meet Again” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., both in Pitt’s University Club.

A special awards presentation during the fellowship brunch will honor the athletic accomplishments of Pitt’s African American Olympians, including Herbert Douglas (EDUC ’48, ’50G) a bronze medalist in the long jump at the 1948 Olympics; Roger Kingdom (CGS ’02), winner of two Olympic gold medals (1984 and 1988) in the 110-meter hurdles; and Arnold Sowell (BUS ’57), an honorable mention designee in the 1956 800-meter run competition. 
Biographical information on the 2012 AAAC Distinguished Alumnus Award honorees follows. 

Linda Wharton Boyd (A&S ’72, ’75G, ’79G) is the founder of the Wharton Group, Inc., a communications consulting firm based in Washington D.C. She has held a variety of positions, including director of communications for Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, chief of staff and chief communications officer for Washington, D.C., Council Member Michael A. Brown, and chief communications officer for the Washington, D.C., Public School System. Wharton Boyd served as national president of Pitt’s AAAC from 2005 to 2011. 

Lucile Adams-Campbell (GSPH ’83) is a professor of oncology at Georgetown University Medical Center and the associate director of Minority Health and Health Disparities Research at the medical center’s Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Prior to serving in her current position, she was director of the Howard University Cancer Center for 13 years. She has led and participated in numerous large-scale studies of female health in the United States and abroad. Adams-Campbell was honored with a Pitt Distinguished Alumni Fellowship in 2000, was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2008, and was named a Pitt Legacy Laureate in 2010. 

Charles Curry (EDUC ’98G) is the vice president for finance and administration at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (SRU), and he was the first African American chief executive in SRU’s history—holding the position of acting president from February to June 2012. He has held professional positions at Cornell University, Syracuse University, and Onondaga Community College. Curry was honored with a Minority Achievement Award from Talk Magazine in 2008. He also was named a “Top 40 Inspirer” by Inspire Magazine in 2010, and he was acknowledged as a New Pittsburgh Courier Man of Excellence in 2011.

Arnold Sowell (BUS ’57) competed in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia, where he received an honorable mention for his performance in the 800-meter race. He also broke seven collegiate, national, and world records at the 1955 U.S. National Amateur Athletic Union Outdoor Track Meet in Boulder, Colo. Following his athletic career, he served in the U.S. military for more than 20 years and worked in the aerospace industry for more than a decade. Sowell was honored with Pitt’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1987 as well as the Pitt Varsity Letter Club’s Award of Distinction in 1996. 

Tracey T. Travis (ENGR ’83) is the executive vice president and chief financial officer for The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. as well as a member of Pitt’s Board of Trustees. Previously, she was the senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer at Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation. In addition, Travis has held executive positions at General Motors Corporation, Pepsi-Cola/Pepsi Bottling Group, the Beverage Can Americas Group of American National Can, and Intimate Brands, Inc. She spent several years at Limited Brands, Inc., serving as chief financial officer from 2001 to 2002 and as senior vice president for finance from 2002 to 2004. Black Enterprise magazine and Institutional Investor named Travis one of the Top 50 Women in Business and the Best CFO, respectively, both in 2008. She was also named a Pitt Distinguished Alumnus in 2008. 

Lois Dougan Tretiak  (A&S ’61) was vice president and director, China, for The Economist Group as well as founder and head of its Economist Corporate Network for senior executives doing business with China. She was also The Economist Group’s chief representative in Beijing and Shanghai. A specialist on China’s politics, economy, and operating environment, Tretiak authored two of the earliest studies on private-sector foreign investment in China, Joint Ventures in the PRC and Operating Joint Ventures in China, and created the reference work China Hand. A native of Pittsburgh, Tretiak has lived in Hong Kong and Beijing for more than 35 years.

David B. Washington (A&S ’57, LAW ’60), serves as an administrative law judge in the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in Minneapolis, Minn. He was formerly a chief administrative law judge in the Social Security Administration’s Office of Hearing and Appeals as well as a former special administrative law judge for the U.S. Treasury Department. Previously, he held the positions of deputy executive director, general counsel, and executive director of the City of Pittsburgh’s Housing Authority, as well as executive director of the Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission. 

About the African American Alumni Council

The mission of the AAAC is to support African American alumni, faculty, staff, and students and to strengthen their connection to the University through the council’s many programs and activities. 

The idea for the African American alumni association originated with a small group of Pitt graduates in the early 1980s. The group met in the intervening years and sponsored several events, generating the interest and participation of an increasing number of African American graduates. The increased interest and growth led to the group’s recognition as an affinity group of the Pitt Alumni Association. 
For more information on AAAC or for a full list of events for the AAAC’s 2012 Sankofa Homecoming Weekend, visit www.alumni.pitt.edu/aaac/.