2003 Distinguished Alumni Awards

On May 16, 2003, Arts & Sciences honored eight recipients who exemplify the ideals of a liberal arts education, and in so doing, bring honor to the University through their lives, work, and service.

Meet The 2003 Recipients

Lois J. Blackwell, HA ’04

While taking University College undergraduate courses in psychology and anthropology, Lois Judevine Blackwell worked full time on campus, first as an administrative assistant for Dr. Robert Hamblin in the Social Science Institute and then as the Assistant Director of the Social Exchange Lab in McMillan Hall. Graduate students were conducting basic research for their dissertations on the designs of environments that would not support deviant behavior. Children with autism were the subjects in most of their research. Mrs. Blackwell became involved by taking data for the graduate students, most of it on her own time. Even in the late 1960s, little was known about autism, a neurological disorder affecting communication and behavior. When the research project was completed, the money for the program ran out, and the program was over. In 1970, the year the program closed, one parent of a five-year-old called every service agency she could find and asked for help or referral – would they take a child with autism? And there was no place that would. There was no hope and no help. The advice that parents were given was to put their autistic child away, forget about him or her, and have another baby.

"My heart went out to the autistic children and their parents," Mrs. Blackwell says. And that was how the old Social Exchange Lab in the basement of McMillan Hall began to grow into the Judevine Center for Autism. Located now in Olivette, the Judevine Center has helped thousands of children and parents cope with autism. Now, the Judevine Center not only reaches out to the St. Louis area, but also to rural Missouri parents in 92 counties who may receive training in their homes. The Judevine Training Programs have also been replicated both nationally and internationally in a variety of settings. As Founder/President, Mrs. Blackwell led Judevine for 33 years until her retirement in December 2003. Her passion, then and now, is "to reach a child." "The University College courses in anthropology and its emphasis on the effect that cultures have on people’s lives have greatly affected my work in reaching children with autism and their families," Mrs. Blackwell says.

Caught up in her passion for the work and her mission to the children who had once been written off as without hope or help, Mrs. Blackwell left University College in 1968 without completing her bachelor’s degree. She says, "I got into [my work] with the practical analysis of behavior. I needed to work with the children first, and identify the best-fit theory later. I tried to fill in my gaps by exploring the knowledge I gained through putting myself in the place of the child and the parent." She adds, "I really needed to complete a degree. I got here without one, but I would like to have had the formal ticket. I still would. But when the die is cast, and it’s only you, you have to do what lies clearly at hand."

William E. Cornelius, MA ’83

After two years with the U.S. Army’s audit agency in Germany, Mr. Cornelius joined Price Waterhouse in St. Louis in 1955. He moved to Union Electric in 1962, becoming executive vice-president and a member of the board of directors in 1968. Elected president in 1980 and named chief executive officer in 1984, he rose to chairman of the board in 1988. Now a board member of Ameren Corporation, Mr. Cornelius retired in 1994.

A trustee emeritus of Washington University, Mr. Cornelius, with his wife, Ginger, supports scholarships in Arts & Sciences and in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work. He is also extensively involved in community service.

Dennis C. Dickerson, Sr., MA ’74, PhD ’78

Dr. Dickerson, a social historian, first went to Williams College in Massachusetts, where he stayed for nearly 23 years and rose to hold an endowed chair in history. In 1999 he became professor of history and a member of the graduate department of religion at Vanderbilt University.

His scholarly publications include three books and other writings on civil rights, medical history, labor, black leadership, and African-American religious history. President-elect of the American Society of Church History, Dr. Dickerson is an ordained minister and historiographer of the 2.5-million-member African Methodist Episcopal Church. Dr. Dickerson supports Arts & Sciences and Olin Library at Washington University.

Mark J. Ginsburg, AB ’73, House Staff ’81

Dr. Ginsburg is chief executive officer of ESRD Laboratories in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, which performs blood tests for people on dialysis throughout the United States. He also heads Statewide Laboratory Services, which does the lab work for Florida’s Medicaid patients.

A supporter of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Ginsburg chairs the Gold Coast Regional Cabinet and serves on the Arts & Sciences National Council, the Alumni and Parents Admission Program, the Regional Campaign Committee, and more. He has also provided an endowed scholarship and a named professorship in Arts & Sciences. Dr. Ginsburg’s nonprofit corporation, Tropical Nature, purchases endangered land and builds eco-lodges in partnership with the local people.

Marion E. Horstman, BS ’66

Marion E. Horstman, a St. Louis native and graduate of Soldan High School, had responsibilities that kept her working during the day and prevented her from attending college during that time. So in the evenings, she took University College courses, and in 1966, completed a Bachelor of Science degree in business accounting. With that degree, she obtained a career position as an auditor with the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where she worked until her retirement in 1988.

Since 1985, Ms. Horstman has engaged in what amounts to a second career: volunteer service to Washington University in St. Louis. A former chair of the Eliot Society Membership Committee and of the annual Phone-a-thon fund-raising campaign, Ms. Horstman is also a member of the Washington University Association, the Dean’s Advisory Board, and the University Planned Giving Committee. Dean Edward Macias says Ms. Horstman is “delightful to work with.” Ms. Horstman says, “I’m grateful for the education that I received because it helped me in my professional career. It allowed me to earn money and take care of my family. And that gratitude is why I have the enthusiasm to help.”

Ms. Horstman attends Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) courses twice a week, serves on the LLI steering committee. A self-described “big fan of the Cardinals,” she acted as a facilitator for the Lifelong Learning course “The History of the St. Louis Cardinals,” and also for the perennial LLI course “Current Events Crossfire,” which features lively and sometimes heated discussions. “It’s a challenge to keep everyone in hand,” she says. In 1999 Ms. Horstman endowed the Marion E. Horstman Scholarship for students majoring in economics. She is also a regular contributor to the Lifelong Learning Institute’s scholarship fund. She intends to continue taking LLI courses and volunteering. “I like meeting all the fine people,” she says. “They have given me the inspiration, and I’ve taken it from there. That’s what drives the energy. I just don’t feel like it’s smart to retire and sit down in the corner. It’s better to be busy.”

Mark E. Mason, AB ’51

Mr. Mason is vice chairman of Oxford Development Company, one of the largest private developers in western Pennsylvania. He has served as a trustee of Washington University, chairman of the Alumni Board of Governors, member of the Arts & Sciences Campaign Leadership Committee, and co-chair of his 2001 Reunion. He is a member of the Arts & Sciences National Council and recipient of the University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. He has also made special efforts to raise Washington University’s profile in his city.

Deeply involved in civic and public service activities in Pittsburgh, Mr. Mason has also been active in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Robert M. Senior, MD

Robert M. Senior, M.D., is an expert on lung disease and cell biology. Director of Pulmonary and Critical Care at the former Jewish Hospital from 1969 to 1996, Dr. Senior became a full professor of medicine at Washington University in 1979. Currently, he is the Dorothy R. and Hubert C. Moog Professor of Pulmonary Diseases in Medicine and professor of Cell Biology and Physiology at the Washington University School of Medicine. He earned the A.B. from Oberlin College in 1957, the M.D. from George Washington University in 1961, and a Master of Liberal Arts degree from University College in 1997.

“I have a sense of accomplishment that I actually completed the M.L.A. program,” says Dr. Senior, who has published more than 200 articles in medical journals and has received national honors for his scientific research. “I was driving home and heard an ad on the radio for University College, and it sounded sort of interesting to me. I had gone to a liberal arts college, and I always liked reading literature and history. It just sort of happened that I enrolled in the M.L.A. program.”

In his M.L.A. courses Dr. Senior studied literature, drama, political philosophy, and history. “I was very impressed with the professors,” he says. “They were really very informed about the subjects, very engaging – and seemed to enjoy having students that were as old as they were, or older.

“It wasn’t trivial to do the M.L.A. coursework. I had to write a lot of papers. It wasn’t just ‘show up and chit-chat,’” Dr. Senior adds. “One of the courses was on ancient Greece. Every Sunday during that semester I was writing a two- or three-page paper. Even so, it was refreshing and enjoyable to work on something completely different from my daytime job. And it was really fun to go to graduation and be one of the oldest graduates – and to wear the robes.”

Among Dr. Senior’s professional honors are the Alton Ochsner Award from the American College of Chest Physicians (1995), recognizing Dr. Senior’s contributions to the study of emphysema, and the Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Thoracic Society (1998). He is currently the principal investigator of research grants funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. He also continues to serve as a pulmonary-disease consultant at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and is listed in the 2003 edition of Best Doctors in America.

Susan Ekberg Stiritz, MA ’68, PhD ’01

Translating knowledge into action, Dr. Stiritz served as an enthusiastic enlistee in the War on Poverty, developed a day-care center through the Model Cities Program, and served as education and training director in family planning.

After returning to doctoral course work at Washington University, she was struck by the impact of women’s studies on students. So Dr. Stiritz endowed the Susan E. and William P. Stiritz Distinguished Professorship in Women’s Studies. She now teaches two courses in the Women and Gender Studies Program in Arts & Sciences, conducts literary research, and participates in a four-year training program at the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute.