2004 Distinguished Alumni Awards

On May 21, 2004, we celebrated the achievements and generosity of five Arts & Sciences alumni, who each represent the best aspects of a Washington University liberal arts education.

Meet The 2004 Recipients

David T. Blasingame, AB ’69, MBA ’71

Mr. Blasingame is known to more than 80,000 donors, hundreds of volunteers, the entire campus community, and educational institutions around the world as the leader of a magnificent fundraising effort. To date, the Campaign for Washington University has generated nearly $1.5 billion, including more than $185 million to Arts & Sciences and University College. The Campaign, which Mr. Blasingame planned and directs, is providing resources to implement Project 21, the University's strategic plan for its future.

Mr. Blasingame attended Washington University on a full scholarship where he majored in Psychology. He then concentrated in marketing in the Olin School's M.B.A. program. Mr. Blasingame was in the Army from 1971 to 1973 and in 1974 he sought work at the University specifically to give back to the institution that had been so important to him. In the course of 30 years Mr. Blasingame has made that impact. His delight in watching Arts & Sciences and its "great faculty" grow, and his gratitude to the worldwide Washington University family are personal rewards for exemplary service.

Michael Isikoff, AB ’74

An investigative correspondent for Newsweek, Mr. Isikoff has uncovered some of the biggest stories of our day -- which he invariably wanted to "get first and get right." During 30 years of reporting, he has mined for facts behind Whitewater, Iran-Contra, the Persian Gulf War, 1996 Democratic campaign contributions, Enron, and the war on terror.

After graduating from Northwestern University's journalism school, Mr. Isikoff wrote for Midwestern newspapers. Then he moved to the Washington Star, the Washington Post, and, in 1994, to Newsweek. A Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1991 for articles about gun trafficking and violence, he has received other honors, including the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Reporting on the Presidency for exclusive coverage of the Clinton scandal. The Book of the Month Club named his bestseller, Uncovering Clinton, the best nonfiction book of 1999. Mr. Isikoff has won many awards for stories he broke about the war on terror following the events of September 11, 2001. These include the Overseas Press Club's most prestigious award, the 2001 Ed Cunningham Memorial Award, presented to Mr. Isikoff and a Newsweek team; the Investigative Reporters and Editors prize; and the National Magazine Award for General Excellence in 2002 for Newsweek based on Mr. Isikoff's and colleagues' coverage. Mr. Isikoff continues to keep an eye on young reporters' work at Washington University as a member of Student Life's editorial board.

Harry S. Jonas, AB ’49, MD ’52, House Staff ’56

Dr. Jonas earned a bachelor's degree with a major in biology at Washington University and then entered the School of Medicine. During a thriving obstetrics practice in Independence, Missouri, from 1956 to 1974, Dr. Jonas was also a volunteer teacher in the ob-gyn residency program at Kansas City General Hospital. In 1975 he became the first chair of the ob-gyn department in the new medical center at the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) and in 1978 he became dean of UMKC's medical school, serving in that position until 1987. After UMKC, Dr. Jonas accepted a position as assistance vice president of medical education for the American Medical Association and served for 13 years as secretary of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the agency responsible for accreditation of the 126 medical school in the United States and the 16 in Canada.

Although retired, Dr. Jonas continues to serve as a consultant to the dean of UMKC's medical school. He also is actively involved nationally and internationally as a consultant in medical education. Among many other leadership activities, he was national president of the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology in 1986-87 and a four-time member of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships Regional Screening Panel. He currently serves as board chair of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. Dr. Jonas has also served Washington University -- as a Council City resource, member of the Kansas City Regional Cabinet, and member of the Eliot Society Membership Committee. In 1992 he received the School of Medicine's Alumni Achievement Award.

Constance Kling Levy, AB ’52, MAEd ’74

Ms. Levy is a children's poet who evokes essences of the natural world -- whale spouts, radishes, the Hale-Bopp comet, pond surfaces, stalactites, ocean waves -- for readers whose sense of wonder is intact or waiting to be revived. As a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reviewer wrote of her 2002 book published by Scholastic/Orchard, Splash! Poems of Our Watery World, the lines will rekindle "a childlike awe" in adults and encourage them to "notice the world around them." Splash! received the Lee Bennett Hopkins Award in 2003. Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster published Ms. Levy's books I'm Going to Pet a Worm Today (1991), A Tree Place (1994), When Whales Exhale (1996), and A Crack in the Clouds (1998), which also received a Hopkins award. This spring Harcourt is publishing her first picture book, The Story of Red Rubber Ball, a 2004 Junior Library Guild Selection.

Each well-researched collection of close observations and beautiful cadences has been honored. For example, the National Council of Teachers of English designated two works notable books in language arts; Bank Street College named two collections children's books of the year; one volume received the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award.

Ms. Levy has taught first and second grades, children's literature in college, and poetry writing through the Missouri Arts Council. She is a visiting author in St. Louis and other city schools, a guest lecturer in college classes, and a speaker and workshop leader at conferences and children's literature festivals. She is a also a member of the Arts & Sciences Dean's Advisory Board at Washington University.

Jerome T. Loeb, MA ’64

Mr. Loeb graduated magna cum laude in physics and mathematics from Tufts University and then earned his master's degree in pure mathematics from Washington University. He then joined the May Department Stores Company's Famous-Barr division. In 1977 he became senior vice president for control operations before his appointment that same year as executive vice president for Hecht's, the division based in Washington, D.C. He returned to St. Louis in 1979 as executive vice president for corporate development. After subsequent promotions, he was elected to the board of directors in 1984. He was named vice chairman of The May Company in 1986, president in 1993, and board chairman in 1998. He retired in 2001. Now he serves as adjunct professor of marketing at Washington University's Olin School of Business.

Mr. Loeb's generous longtime support of Washington University includes establishment of the Carol B. and Jerome T. Loeb Teaching Fellows Program in the School of Medicine. He is a member and past chairman of the board of directors of both national and regional Junior Achievement. Mr. Loeb is also a trustee and past chairman of the board of the St. Louis Science Center -- where he and his wife, Carol, established the Loeb Prize to recognize excellent local math and science teachers. He also serves on the boards of BJC Health System, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and OASIS. He is a member of the President's Council of the American Jewish Committee.

Sally K. Silvers, AB ’69

Growing up two miles from campus with her parents, who are Washington University alumni, Ms. Silvers felt strong ties to the University at an early age. After majoring in education and psychology, she became a special education teacher before moving to Columbia, Missouri. After earning her master's degree in special education at the University of Missouri, she taught five years in the university's Department of Special Education.

A winner of the JC Penney Golden Rule Award for service to the community, she helped cement the volunteer program in Columbia's public schools. She is a long-standing officer of the Columbia Public School Foundation, which raises money for school enrichment. At Washington University, Ms. Silvers has served as a member of the Parents Council and vice chair of the Alumni Board of Governors. She also served a three-year term as national chair of APAP. She and her husband, Robert, A.B. '66, neurology residency '74, endowed the first APAP Scholarship in memory of her parents. Members of the Eliot Society, the Silvers sponsor the Professor Merritt Sale Scholarship in Arts & Sciences.