University Names 14 Legacy Laureates

Issue Date: 
October 7, 2013

The University of Pittsburgh has named 14 new Legacy Laureates—alumni recognized for their outstanding professional and personal accomplishments. The laureates were honored during Pitt’s Sept. 26-28 Homecoming festivities.

Launched in 2000, the Legacy Laureate program honors alumni who demonstrate the pinnacle of achievement in professional and civic leadership. Brief biographies of this year’s honorees follow.

General Arthur E. Brown Jr. is a highly decorated general retired from the U.S. Army. He earned his Master of Public and International Affairs degree from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA) in 1964.

Brown served two combat tours in the Vietnam War, taught at the U.S. Army War College, served as deputy superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and has held numerous assignments around the world. His assignments include assistant division commander, 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii; commander of mobilization and readiness, Region IV; and vice chief of staff of the Army. During his 35 years of service, Brown received numerous awards and honors, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal (with oak leaf cluster), Silver Star Medal, and Legion of Merit (with three oak leaf clusters).

Since retiring, Brown has continued his commitment to service and contributed to many organizations. He has taken leadership roles with the governing boards of the Technical College of the Lowcountry, Hilton Head Island Foundation, and United Way of Beaufort County, now the United Way of the Lowcountry.

His expertise and civic dedication have been recognized with honors such as the Volunteer of the Year Award from the United Way of Beaufort County; Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island Citizenship Award; and Distinguished Graduate Award from the West Point Association of Graduates. In 2010, GSPIA presented Brown with its Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Robert H. Davis is a distinguished businessperson and community leader who was president of the successful supermarket chain Davis Supermarkets for nearly 50 years. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in business from the University of Pittsburgh in 1943. Davis’ early success as a high school athlete earned him an athletic scholarship at Pitt, where he lettered three years in cross-country and track—serving as captain of both teams as a senior—and earned Pitt’s Gold Shoe Award.

Five days after graduating from Pitt, Davis reported for duty in the U.S. Navy. He served in Europe during World War II, fighting on Utah Beach during the invasion of Normandy. After the war, Davis returned to Pennsylvania and worked for his father, who owned a corner grocery store that Davis expanded into Davis Supermarkets. The award-winning supermarket chain’s commitment to hiring disabled workers led President Lyndon Johnson to appoint Davis to the Committee on Employment of the Handicapped.

Davis has been a committed civic volunteer through his involvement with many organizations. He helped to initiate the Greensburg, Pa., Head Start program and served as president of both Congregation Emanu-El Israel and the Warren Roy Laufe B’nai B’rith Greensburg Lodge. Davis’ tireless service has been recognized with many awards, commendations, and honors, including the Fred Funari Mental Health America Award of Distinction.

A former chair and current emeritus member of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg Advisory Board, Davis received the campus’ President’s Medal for Distinguished Service in 2006.

Richard L. Ferguson is the recently retired chief executive officer and chair of Higher Education Holdings and an adjunct professor in the University of Iowa’s Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations, a position he has held since 1975. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in educational research from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education in 1969.

Previously, Ferguson held teaching appointments at Pitt, teaching statistics and research design and directing a National Science Foundation project studying individualized education. In 1972, he joined ACT, Inc., where he would craft an exemplary career lasting nearly 40 years. After holding progressively more responsible positions at ACT, Ferguson retired as chief executive officer and chair in 2010.

Ferguson’s impact on education and testing extends beyond the office and the classroom, as he has presented across the nation and around the world and contributed to numerous advisory boards. He has served on the boards of many organizations, including the American Council on Education; Scholarship America, Inc.; the Hunt Institute; and the Business-Higher Education Forum, as well as numerous civic organizations.

Ferguson has been the recipient of multiple awards and honors, including the University of Iowa’s Distinguished Friend of the University Award, an honorary degree from Iowa Wesleyan University, the Distinguished Alumni Award from Pitt’s School of Education, and being named a Distinguished Alumni Fellow by the Pitt Alumni Association.

A philanthropic supporter of his alma mater, Ferguson also served on the School of Education’s campaign committee for Pitt’s Discover a World of Possibilities capital campaign.

Howard W. Hanna Jr. is the founder of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Letters degrees from the University of Pittsburgh Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration in 1942 and 1949, respectively.

Hanna joined the U.S. Army during World War II, serving as an American liaison officer with the British Army in Madras, India. After the war, he worked at the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, Uniontown Chamber of Commerce, and Home Builders Association before entering the real estate business. He founded Howard Hanna Real Estate Services in 1957 with his wife, Anne Freyvogel Hanna, and the company has since become the fourth-largest real estate company in the country.

In addition to his business, Hanna has provided leadership for a wide range of industries. He served as a director of the REALTORS Association; served as president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Independent Fee Appraisers; and was a founding member and former president of the East End Multi-List, Inc., and West Penn Multi-List, Inc. In 1991, then Governor Bob Casey appointed Hanna to the Pennsylvania State Real Estate Commission.

Hanna has received numerous honors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the REALTORS Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh and the Florida Association of Realtors Living Legend of Real Estate distinction. In addition, the University of Pittsburgh has honored Hanna with its 225th anniversary medallion and the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business Distinguished Alumnus Award.

The Honorable David J. Hickton is the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Nominated by President Barack Obama in May 2010, Hickton was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn into office in August 2010. He received his Juris Doctor degree in 1981 from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Hickton began his career as a law clerk for the Honorable Gustave Diamond, and he went on to cofound Burns, White & Hickton in 1987. For more than a decade, he also taught antitrust law as an adjunct professor at Duquesne University School of Law. A fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and the Academy of Trial Lawyers of Allegheny County, Hickton has been admitted before numerous courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. At the request of President Bill Clinton, Hickton previously served on the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Hickton has been a staunch supporter of many civic organizations, has served as an executive board member and president of Pittsburgh Public Theater, and was a longtime member of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Hickton and his wife, Dawne, are life members of the Pitt Alumni Association and dedicated supporters of Pitt through generous commitments that include establishing the Loren H. Roth, MD, Summer Research Program in the School of Medicine. Earlier this year, the University of Pittsburgh awarded Hickton its 225th anniversary medallion.

Dawne S. Hickton is vice chair, president, and chief executive officer of RTI International Metals, Inc. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1983.

Hickton previously worked as an attorney at USX Corporation and later was of counsel to Burns, White & Hickton. In addition, she was an assistant professor of clinical law and manager of the Corporate Counsel Clinic at Pitt’s School of Law. While a professor at Pitt, she became the founding president of the University’s W. Edward Sell American Inn of Court chapter. She returned to the metals industry in 1997, joining RTI International Metals as vice president and general counsel.

Hickton serves on various boards, including the International Titanium Association, Aerospace Industries Association, and Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland Pittsburgh branch. Previously, she was a director of F.N.B. Corporation, where she served on various committees. In 2012, Hickton was featured as one of the top 100 women in STEM in the inaugural issue of STEMconnector’s 100 Women Leaders in STEM, and in 2013 Hickton was named to the top 100 CEOs in the world in STEM.

A recipient of Pitt’s 225th anniversary medallion, Hickton was elected to the University’s Board of Trustees in 2008 and serves on its nominating, student affairs, and audit committees. In addition, she serves on the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine Advisory Board; the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Advisory Council; and the School of Law Board of Visitors, which she chairs.

Along with her husband, David, Hickton is a life member of the Pitt Alumni Association and a generous supporter of Pitt through philanthropic commitments that include establishing the Loren H. Roth, MD, Summer Research Program in the School of Medicine.

Ralph Hingson is the inaugural director of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), one of the National Institutes of Health. He earned his Master of Public Health degree in 1970 from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Hingson has led an extensive career as an educator and researcher and is a noted authority on alcohol and substance abuse. His advocacy for strengthening alcohol policies resulted in national and regional changes in related law and public policy, including zero tolerance laws and the lowering of the national blood alcohol limit for driving.

Prior to joining NIAAA, Hingson was a professor at Boston University’s School of Medicine. He also was a member of the founding faculty at the university’s School of Public Health, which he later served as associate dean for research and chair of its Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

 Hingson represented the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the World Health Organization; served as national vice president for public policy and a board member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD); and served as president of the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs & Traffic Safety.

His contributions to health and safety have been honored with awards that include the Widmark Award, the highest award bestowed by the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs & Traffic Safety, and the Ralph W. Hingson Research in Practice Annual Presidential Award, a MADD national president’s award instituted in his honor.

Lucie Young Kelly earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Master of Letters degrees from the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing in 1947 and 1957, respectively, and received her Doctor of Philosophy degree from the School of Education in 1965.

She is the author of numerous periodical articles, editorials, book chapters, and textbooks and has held editorial positions at professional journals. At Columbia University, where Kelly established an interdisciplinary nursing and public health program, she served as a longtime professor and as associate dean and was named professor emeritus in 1990.

Kelly was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, which also presented her in 2001 with its Living Legend award. An inductee and former president of Sigma Theta Tau International, the honor society of nursing, she has several times received the organization’s Mentor Award—since renamed the Lucie S. Kelly Mentor Award.

In addition, the University of Pittsburgh has honored Kelly with its Bicentennial Medallion of Distinction, School of Nursing Distinguished Alumna Award, and School of Education Distinguished Higher Education Alumna Award.

Kelly is a former member of Pitt’s Board of Trustees; the School of Nursing Alumni Society, of which she served as president; the School of Nursing Board of Visitors; and the Graduate School of Public Health Board of Visitors, which she also chaired. Her generous philanthropy to Pitt includes establishing the Lucie Young Kelly Faculty Leadership Award in the School of Nursing.

Ronald Lee Krall earned his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1973 from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

He is best known and most highly regarded for his work in drug discovery. Krall’s successes in drug development and safety include his work as a senior executive for pharmaceutical companies, including Abbott Laboratories and AstraZeneca. Most recently, he served as senior vice president and chief medical officer at GlaxoSmithKline, where he was responsible for drug development and the ethical conduct of clinical research.

Krall serves as a member of a wide range of health care organizations, including the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health Board of Directors and the Institute of Medicine Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation. In addition, he remains an industry consultant through independent firms and his own company, SBSky, LLC.

Krall is a dedicated volunteer with many organizations, and he has served on the executive board of the Observational Medical Outcomes Partnership and on the advisory board of the Harvard University Clinical Scholars Program. Elected a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, he has further been recognized for his excellence in research and health care with the Public Health Service Commendation Medal from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.

Currently, he lives in Steamboat Springs, Colo., where he and his wife, Susan, own Off the Beaten Path, a bookstore, coffeehouse, and bakery café.

Laurence B. Leonard is the Rachel E. Stark Distinguished Professor in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences and director of the Child Language Research Laboratory at Purdue University. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in speech pathology and psycholinguistics from the University of Pittsburgh Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences in 1973.

Leonard has devoted his life’s work to understanding the causes of and treatments for language disorders in children, particularly those whose impairments are not typical. He has collaborated with scholars around the world to incorporate the study of the English, Italian, Hebrew, Swedish, Spanish, Cantonese, Finnish, and Hungarian languages to help to narrow both the number and types of related theories.

Leonard’s research has been funded for more than 30 years by the National Institutes of Health, on whose study sections and advisory panels he also has served. A distinguished educator, he has taught numerous doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, many of whom have become leading researchers and faculty members.

A prolific author in his field, Leonard has produced work that has appeared in scores of publications. He has served as chair of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Publications Board, was honored by the association with its Alfred K. Kawana Council of Editors Award for lifetime achievement in publications and its Honors of the Association award, and was elected a fellow of the association. The Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders and Journal of Speech and Hearing Research both presented Leonard with their Editor’s Award for the Article of Highest Merit. In 2010, the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences presented Leonard with its Distinguished Alumni Award.

Francine G. McNairy recently retired from a self-described “awesome journey” in academia that spanned nearly 40 years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in sociology in 1968; her Master of Social Work in 1970; and her Doctor of Philosophy in speech, rhetoric, and communication in 1978, all from the University of Pittsburgh.

McNairy has led an illustrious career in academia, holding progressively more responsible appointments at Clarion University of Pennsylvania and West Chester University of Pennsylvania before joining Millersville University of Pennsylvania as its provost in 1994. McNairy became the first African American woman to head a Pennsylvania state university in 2003, when she became Millersville’s 13th president.

Under her leadership, Millersville University received national rankings as one of the top regional public institutions of higher learning by U.S. News & World Report and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. McNairy helped to usher in new academic, distance learning, and international programs; reach record enrollment numbers; and achieve unprecedented diversity among students and faculty. Additionally, she directed two successful capital campaigns that raised $40 million and $88 million, respectively. Upon her retirement, the board of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education designated her president emeritus, and the Francine G. McNairy Library and Learning Forum was named in her honor.

Throughout her career, McNairy has been active in a number of professional and civic societies, including the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, Leadership Lancaster, the Marine Science Consortium, and the Pennsylvania State Board of Education.

The recipient of many honors, including Pitt’s 225th anniversary medallion, she was named a Distinguished Alumni Fellow in 2005 by the Pitt Alumni Association, of which she is a life member. In 2002, the National Resource Center for the First-year Experience and Students in Transition named McNairy an Outstanding First-year Student Advocate.

Arthur J. Nowak is professor emeritus of pediatric dentistry and pediatrics in the University of Iowa’s College of Dentistry and Dental Clinics and Carver College of Medicine. He received his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine in 1961.

A widely published authority on dental pediatrics and special-needs dentistry, Nowak earned diplomate status from the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, of which he served as executive director and president. He spent many years as a dental officer in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps.

He is an affiliate professor in the University of Washington’s Department of Pediatric Dentistry and director of clinical research at its Center for Pediatric Dentistry. Additionally, Nowak is an appointed research fellow in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Pediatric Oral Health Research and Policy Center and has held membership and leadership roles in various professional organizations. He also has served as president of both the Academy of Dentistry for the Handicapped and the National Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped.

Nowak’s numerous honors include having the University of Iowa and the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry establish the Arthur Nowak Visiting Professorship and the Arthur J. Nowak Award of Excellence, respectively, in his honor; receiving the Distinguished Service Award and the Manuel M. Album Award from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry; and being named the 2004 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by Pitt’s School of Dental Medicine.

Krish Prabhu is president of AT&T Labs, Inc., and chief technology officer for AT&T, Inc. He earned his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Doctor of Philosophy in electrical engineering from the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering in 1977 and 1980, respectively.

Prabhu’s expansive career in the telecommunications industry has included tenures as chief executive officer of Alcatel Network Systems, chief operating officer of Alcatel Telecom, and chief executive officer of Tellabs. He also previously served as a venture partner at Morgenthaler Ventures, where he aided in the development of information technology and communications start-ups.

A popular presenter and keynote speaker at conferences around the country, Prabhu has served as an advisor for many organizations and companies in the telecommunications and semiconductor industries and serves as a director of ADC Telecommunications, Inc., and Altera Corporation and as vice chair of the supervisory board of ADVA Optical Networking. He has been inducted into the Metroplex Technology Business Council’s Tech Titans Hall of Fame and received the Swanson School of Engineering’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001.

Prabhu’s dedication to higher education extends to the University of Texas at Dallas Development Board, of which he is a life member and prior chair, as well as to his own alma mater. He served on the Swanson School’s Board of Visitors and has provided philanthropic support to the University, including establishing the first engineering legacy fund at Pitt, the Krish A. Prabhu Engineering Legacy Fund.

Marna C. Whittington retired as chief executive officer of Allianz Global Investors in 2012. She earned her Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in quantitative methods from the University of Pittsburgh Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences in 1970 and 1974, respectively.

Whittington began her career in 1972 with Associates for Research in Philadelphia, Pa., rising to the position of vice president before leaving the private sector to serve in executive roles for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of Delaware. In 1984, she joined the University of Pennsylvania as vice president of finance and, later, executive vice president.

In 1992, Whittington left academia to pursue a career in investment management that included a successful tenure as managing director and chief operating officer of Morgan Stanley Investment Management. She is a board member for several organizations and corporations and serves on the Boards of Trustees of Middlebury College and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Her years of achievement
have been recognized with honors such as the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement Hero Award and the National Council for Research on Women’s Women Who Make a Difference Award.

Whittington’s generous philanthropy includes remarkable gifts to the University of Pittsburgh with her husband and fellow alumnus, Tom (LAW ’71), to establish the Harvey L. Cupp Jr. Scholarship in Mechanical Engineering—in honor of her late father, also a Pitt alumnus—and The Whittington Fellowship in the Dietrich School.