2002 Distinguished Alumni Awards

On May 10, 2002, six recipients were honored for their achievements, service, and commitment to the liberal arts.

Meet The 2002 Recipients

Frank S. Buzard, AB ’43

Colonel Frank Buzard’s 29-year military career earned him acclaim. When he retired from the Air Force in 1972, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the nation’s highest non-combat award. In 2000 he was honored by the National Reconnaissance Office as a Pioneer of National Reconnaissance. In 2001 he was inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame.

After completing the advanced ROTC program and graduating from Washington University, Col. Buzard began his military service during World War II. He was commissioned in the Army Anti Aircraft Artillery before transferring to the Signal Corps, where he installed navigation and communications facilities for Army Air Force units in North Africa and Europe.

Col. Buzard attended a postgraduate engineering program at the Air Force Institute of Technology and earned an M.S. in Mathematics at the University of Illinois.

In 1958 he joined the Air Force’s first satellite reconnaissance program, then in its early phase. He directed the integration of all Air Force and contractor activities supporting Discoverer/CORONA satellite operations and oversaw the launch and operation of 62 Discoverer/CORONA spacecraft. In 1960 Discoverer 13 returned the first item ever recovered from orbit. In 1966 he led the successful development of a higher resolution photographic reconnaissance system. The system’s performance, 19 consecutive successes, made possible the monitoring of the 1972 SALT I arms-control treaty.

After a brief retirement, Col. Buzard became an associate professor of Systems Management in the University of Southern California’s Institute of Safety and Systems Management graduate program. He retired in 1991.

Today he and his wife, Patricia May Buzard, A.B. ’43, are active Washington University alumni, members of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society, and dedicated volunteer teachers in the public schools.

James W. Davis

With the trademark energy, wit, and good will that endear him to the University community, Jim Davis has probably served in as many critical campus positions as anyone in institutional memory. Teacher, mentor, scholar, writer, colleague, leader, and guide, Professor Davis has taught or team-taught courses in five schools on the Hilltop Campus: Arts & Sciences, including the Master of Liberal Arts program through University College; Business; Engineering; and Social Work. He has been associate provost (1978–80); associate dean for the College of Arts & Sciences (1978–70); vice chancellor (1980–86) responsible for student affairs and admissions; and acting dean of the School of Fine Arts (1989). He is now a faculty associate in the newly constructed Small Group Housing on campus, and he led the advisory committee that developed the project’s guidelines.

As director of the Teaching Center, Professor Davis oversees assistance, consultation, and services that enhance the teaching skills of graduate teaching assistants and faculty members.

Professor Davis has taught a variety of courses dealing with politics and public policy, including the American presidency, politics and the media, national security and defense policy, and military history. One of the Washington University’s finest teachers, he has twice received the Award for Teaching Excellence from the Council of Students of Arts and Sciences (now called the ArtSci Council). In 1997 he received a Distinguished Faculty Award at Founders Day.

Leslie F. Loewe, AB ’42

A man who has read four to five books a week since he was nine years old, Les Loewe is well informed, whether the subject at hand be business, politics, or the role of universities. He counts among his strengths practical common sense, a gift for creating ideas, and a talent for figuring out how to do things better. These aptitudes informed his long career at Angelica Corporation, a uniform-manufacturing company in St. Louis that he joined in 1947 after having earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Washington University and his master’s degree in business from Harvard University.

Over the years Mr. Loewe advanced steadily at Angelica at the same time the company was growing through acquisitions of businesses, including retail stores, mail-order companies and hospital service laundries. In 1973 he was appointed one of two executive vice presidents of the company; in 1980 he became chairman and chief executive officer—a position he held until his retirement in 1990.

Several business publications presented Mr. Loewe with industry awards; one called him the “best chief executive in the service industry,” noting his excellent relationship with Wall Street.

Mr. Loewe’s service to Washington University includes years of participation in the Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy, membership in the William Greenleaf Eliot Society, and funding for the Les and Carol Loewe Scholarships in Business. In 2000 he established a charitable gift annuity to Washington University, a gift prompted in part by happy memories of the University and pride in the stature it has achieved.

Marylen Mann, AB ’57, MA ’59

When Marylen Mann was growing up in St. Louis, her parents emphasized the importance of education and the obligation to be sensitive to others. Those precepts continue to shape her life—as do the exhilarating ideas about human nature, justice, and society that opened up her world as an undergraduate majoring in philosophy and as a graduate student specializing in education.

Ms. Mann is co-founder and president of the OASIS Institute, a nonprofit organization established in 1982 to nurture the mind, health, and spirit of independent, active adults ages 50 and up. Her efforts have earned her the Surgeon General’s Bronze Medal Award.

Run by a public/private partnership, OASIS operates five days a week in 26 cities across the country, offering substantive programs in areas ranging from the arts and sciences to finance, health, and volunteerism. Trained OASIS volunteers have also tutored more than 100,000 children in kindergarten through the third grade in reading and language.

Her work with older adults has been part of 19 research projects, has received dozens of grants from funders including the National Endowment for the Humanities, and has been the subject of numerous scholarly publications and workshops.

Ms. Mann has also taught teacher-training curriculum development throughout her career.

She is a member of the International Women’s Forum, the National Council of Washington University’s school of social work, the St. Louis Center Board, the Contemporary Art Museum Board, and dozens of other professional and community-service organizations. Ms. Mann is also active in the Center for Aging at Washington University.

The wife of Franklin A. Jacobs, she is the mother of Robert Mann and John Mann, MBA ’96.

Melvin L. Oliver, MA ’74, PhD ’77

Melvin L. Oliver is a first-generation college graduate whose working-class parents instilled in him the importance of higher education. After earning his master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology at Washington University, Dr. Oliver turned to rigorous research, teaching, and professional service on behalf of social justice. From 1977 until 1999, he taught at the University of California–Los Angeles, where he helped build the interdisciplinary program in African-American studies, co-founded and directed the Center for the Study of Urban Poverty, and was honored with both local and national awards for distinguished teaching.

His landmark work, Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Equality (New York: Routledge, 1995), written with Thomas Shapiro, is one of only two books in the history of American sociology to win the profession’s distinguished scholarship award and an award from the activist Society for the Study of Social Problems. In this empirical study of differences in blacks’ and whites’ assets in the United States—disparities greater than the divide between incomes—he shows how inequities accumulate and can result from ongoing social policy. The work is further distinguished by its discussion of public policies with potential for lessening this divide.

A leading urban sociologist of the Los Angeles interethnic racial scene, Dr. Oliver recently completed Prismatic Metropolis: Inequality in Los Angeles (New York: Russell Sage, 2000), described by a scholar writing in the Los Angeles Times as an important portrait of racial and ethnic relations in the Southland. As vice president for the Ford Foundation’s Asset Building and Community Development Program, Dr. Oliver implements his ideas about the importance of asset building for poverty reduction by supporting national and international programs and policies.

Russell Schwartz, AB ’77

With multiple executive positions at Home Box Office, Russell Schwartz is leading a complicated life that, he says happily, “is as good as it gets.” At AOL Time Warner’s HBO Independent Productions (HIP), he is executive vice president for creative affairs, business, and planning with overall business and creative supervision for the primarily comic shows—like Everybody Loves Raymond—HIP produces for the major networks. As senior vice president for merchandising and licensing for all HBO, Mr. Swartz oversees HBO Properties, the division that undertakes merchandising for scripted series like The Sopranos, Sex and the City, and Six Feet Under; for sports programming; for documentaries and family programming; for television movies and miniseries like Band of Brothers.

Born in Manhattan, Mr. Schwartz graduated at 16 from Bronx High School of Science. At Washington University, he sampled disciplines, majored in history, was active in campus life. After earning his law degree from Cornell University, he rose to partner in the Chicago firm of Sachnoff and Weaver. Eventually he abandoned corporate securities and moved with his wife, Susan Goland, to Los Angeles, where they live with their six-year-old daughter, Nora. He worked at 20th Century Fox, CBS, GTG Entertainment, and Armstrong & Hirsch before joining HBO.

A member of the Arts & Sciences National Council, vice chair of the Los Angeles Regional Cabinet, and a member of the William Greenleaf Eliot Society, Mr. Schwartz co-chairs his regional campaign committee and serves as a 2002 Reunion co-chair. He and his wife sponsor two annual scholarships and an endowed scholarship, both of which honor his beloved humanitarian grandmother, Ida Siwoff. He is also past president of his synagogue, philanthropic community supporter, fundraiser for his daughter’s school, and more.