Pitt Alumni Association Names 2010 Distinguished Alumni Fellows

Issue Date: 
February 22, 2010

The University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association has named Jeremy W. Feldbusch (A&S ’01), national spokesperson for the Wounded Warrior Project, and Samuel A. McCullough (BUS ’60), president and CEO of Griffin Holdings Group LLC, as Distinguished Alumni Fellows for 2010. Feldbusch and McCullough will be honored during the University’s annual Honors Convocation at 3 p.m. Feb. 26 in Carnegie Music Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

The University’s 34th annual Honors Convocation will feature Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor James V. Maher as the keynote speaker. Pitt’s chief academic officer since 1994, Maher is widely credited with helping to lead the University through a period of unparalleled progress. In November, he announced that he would leave his current position and return to the Pitt faculty. Maher came to Pitt in 1970 as an assistant professor of physics. He was chair of Pitt’s Department of Physics and Astronomy prior to becoming provost. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physics at the University of Notre Dame in 1964 and his master’s and doctoral degrees in physics at Yale University in 1965 and 1969, respectively.

The convocation recognizes outstanding undergraduate, graduate, and professional student academic achievement; student leadership; and faculty accomplishments, including recipients of the 2010 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award, Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award, and Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence.

Brief biographies of the alumni honorees follow.

Feldbusch, a Blairsville native who graduated from Derry Area High School in Derry, Pa., turned down an opportunity to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point to enroll in the University of Pittsburgh. He was the first in his family to go to college, graduating in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences.

After earning his Pitt degree, Feldbusch joined the U.S. Army and was selected for the 228-member training class of the U.S. Army Rangers, the Army’s premier light infantry unit and part of the U.S. Special Operations Command. He graduated first among the 74 soldiers who completed the Ranger program. Feldbusch served in the 3rd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment and was stationed in Iraq. While guarding the Haditha Dam, a strategic point near Baghdad, Feldbusch sustained shrapnel wounds that resulted in blindness. He recovered at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio for two months and returned to Pennsylvania for further rehabilitation. Guided by the words of the Soldier’s Creed to never accept defeat and to never quit, Feldbusch learned to navigate using a white cane and mastered Braille. He returned to Brooke Army Medical Center, inspiring his comrades with his strength, undying hope, and hard-won recovery.

An advocate for wounded servicemen and servicewomen, Feldbusch appeared in the renowned documentary Home Front, which chronicles his recovery and captures the many struggles of wounded veterans. He is the first national spokesperson for the Wounded Warrior Project and has extended his advocacy to the political arena, lobbying Congress to ease the financial and emotional stress of wounded veterans and their families. His efforts, along with those of other Wounded Warrior Project members, led to the passage of a federal law delivering millions of dollars in aid to severely wounded soldiers.

Feldbusch’s many honors and decorations include the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star with Valor, the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and the Master Sergeant William “Chief” Carlson Tomahawk Medal. He is the youngest person in the history of Pitt to be named a University Distinguished Alumni Fellow.

McCullough declined an offer to pitch for the Pittsburgh Pirates farm team as a teenager and instead chose to enroll at Pitt while working part-time at Mellon Bank. After receiving his business degree, McCullough began working as an assistant cashier at Mellon, embarking on a successful career in the financial sector in positions of increasing responsibility and importance. McCullough served as vice president of Mellon Bank and president and chief executive officer of American Bank and Trust Company and its successor corporation, Meridian Bancorp. Under McCullough’s leadership, Meridian became one of the nation’s largest banks. It merged with CoreStates Financial Corporation in 1995, and McCullough became the expanded company’s president and chief operating officer.

In 1997, Governor Tom Ridge nominated McCullough to serve as Pennsylvania’s secretary for community and economic development. During McCullough’s five-year term, he led dozens of international trade missions and increased Pennsylvania’s foreign presence from four to 19 countries. He championed the historic reopening of the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, bringing shipbuilding back to the United States. Under his purview, billions of dollars were invested in economic development projects across the state, and initiatives were launched to support advances in technology, including the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse, Life Sciences Greenhouses, Tech 21, and Cyberstart.

McCullough developed the “Stay Invent the Future” campaign, touring the state to meet with students, encouraging them to make Pennsylvania a part of their future.

After leaving his post as secretary, McCullough established both the McCullough Consulting Group and the Griffin Holdings Group. He also served on a number of boards, including the Berks Economic Partnership, the Berks County Community Foundation, and the Reading Hospital and Medical Center.

McCullough was a member of Pitt’s Board of Trustees for more than eight years, serving as a member of the Academic Affairs/Libraries, Athletics, and Investment committees. He also was a member of the Board of Visitors of the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business for more than 16 years. In addition, he established the Samuel A. McCullough Chair in Finance at Pitt.

Among McCullough’s honors are the United Negro College Fund Golden Achievement Award, the William Penn Foundation’s Distinguished Pennsylvanian Award, the Boy Scouts of America Silver Antelope Award, the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business Distinguished Alumnus Award, and, from the University of Pittsburgh, the Bicentennial Medallion and inclusion in the inaugural class of Legacy Laureates, a designation that honors Pitt alumni for their outstanding personal and professional accomplishments.