2006 Distinguished Alumni Awards

On May 19, 2006, we celebrated our 2006 Arts & Sciences Distinguished Alumni Awards recipients.

Meet The 2006 Recipients

Alan R. Bender, AB ’76

Mr. Bender and his partners tallied historic achievements as they transformed a small startup company into two giant telecommunications firms: Western Wireless Corporation (now Alltel) and VoiceStream (now T-Mobile). Western Wireless Corporation's 1996 initial public offering was Seattle's largest up to that time. And VoiceStream's rapid ascent to NASDAQ's Top 100 is unparalleled on the exchange. In 2001, VoiceStream was sold to Deutsche Telekom in one of history's largest cross-border mergers.

Mr. Bender earned his political science degree at Washington University and a law degree at Duke University. His true passions are his family and his community. He and his wife, Joyce, have two children and he is active on the boards of the University of Washington's Diabetes Research and Training Program and Special Olympics Washington; he is also a trustee of his temple. An avid basketball fan, Mr. Bender is part owner of the Seattle Supersonics. At Washington University, he and his wife have endowed a scholarship in Arts & Sciences. Mr. Bender is vice chair of the Seattle Regional Cabinet, a member of the Eliot Society and the Entrepreneurship National Council, and former co-chair of the Pacific Northwest Regional Campaign Committee.

John A. Berg

After earning a bachelor's degree from Tufts University and a master's of business administration from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, Mr. Berg became general manager of the Savannah Symphony Orchestra in Georgia and then finance director of the Kennedy Center's National Symphony Orchestra. In 1987, he returned to St. Louis to accept a position as assistant to then-Chancellor William H. Danforth, now chancellor emeritus and trustee. He went on to become associate vice chancellor for finance and then, in 1994, took charge of admissions. As the number of applicants has risen, the University has become ever more competitive, attracting some of the most talented students from across the country and around the world.

Mr. Berg is the son of two Washington University alumni, Gerry Berg, AB '47, and Leonard Berg, AB '45, MD '49, who is professor emeritus of neurology in the School of Medicine. His wife, Christine Berg, PhD '99, is on the faculty of the University's Program in Occupational Therapy. Their daughter, Katie, is a sophomore in Arts & Sciences at Washington University.

Barbara Levy Landes, AB ’71

Relishing new challenges, Ms. Landes thrives as Public Broadcasting Services' senior vice president and chief financial officer. In 2004, she helped establish the PBS Foundation. She oversaw the formation of PBS Kids Sprout, a joint venture that launched a linear channel and a video on demand service with Comcast, Sesame Workshop, and HIT Entertainment.

After receiving her political science degree from Washington University, Ms. Landes went on to earn an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. She is Director and Treasurer of Girls Incorporated, which inspires girls age 6-18 from disadvantaged backgrounds to be Strong, Smart and Bold through scholarships and other programs. Ms. Landes also serves on the advisory board of Women Matter and as trustee of the Suburban Hospital Foundation in Bethesda, Maryland. An Eliot Society member, she has solicited contributions on behalf of the Eliot Society in Washington, D.C., for the past several years.

Sanford C. Loewentheil, AB ’76

Twenty years after first entering the low-income housing market Mr. Loewentheil and his company have built or renovated over 6,000 dwellings worth $1 billion, and his projects have helped catalyze the transformation of neighborhoods in the Bronx and Harlem. Mr. Loewentheil's interests and the help he offers extend well beyond housing. Early on, he helped establish a college scholarship program for students at six inner-city high schools. More recently, he has worked with The Jackie Robinson Foundation to set up Washington University scholarships for underprivileged students from urban areas.

A steadfast friend to the University in many ways, Mr. Loewentheil is a member of the Danforth Circle, the Arts & Sciences National Council, and the New York Regional Campaign Committee. But scholarships remain closest to his heart. "It's important for me to try to help these needy students gain access," he says. It's a fantastic thing for students to be able to pursue their dreams, attend a fine university, and have a chance to maximize their potential." These same opportunities are what he and his wife, Karen, wish for their children, Hannah, Adam and Sarah.

Kate Hilliker Murashige, AB ’56

After graduating with an A.B. from Washington University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, both in chemistry, Kate Hilliker Murashige began her career as a chemist. She did postdoctoral research at the University of California, Davis, and then taught college chemistry for 16 years while earning a law degree at night, summa cum laude, from Santa Clara University in 1977. That same year she began her transition from higher education to the legal profession. Today, Dr. Murashige is a partner at the powerhouse firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Diego and co-chairs its patent group. Her peers have named her one of the best lawyers in Washington and in San Diego, where she makes her home.

At Washington University, she has served on the San Diego Regional Cabinet, chaired the Eliot Society Committee in San Diego, and endowed the Murray Sisters Scholarship in memory of her mother and two aunts. She also helps the University's Office of Technology Transfer with patent issues and transactions.

Jill Evans Petzall, AB ’78, MA ’81

When she first enrolled at Washington University, Ms. Petzall had three small children. She earned an A.B. in English literature and philosophy (magna cum laude), followed by an M.A. in philosophy. She next began writing and producing for PBS's KETC Channel 9 in St. Louis. In 1983, she founded Beacon Productions, producing independent documentaries and video art exclusively for nonprofit agencies. Ms. Petzall's work has achieved national attention and influenced policies throughout the country. She has won four Emmy's, a Corporation for Public Broadcasting Award, an International Television Association Golden Reel, and the National Poetry Association & Television Literacy's Maya Angelou Award.

Connections to the University run in her family. Ms. Petzall currently teaches feminist film theory in Arts & Sciences and has produced numerous television features highlighting the talents of faculty members. Her husband, J. Claude Evans, is associate professor of philosophy in Arts & Sciences. Her daughters, Julie and Jennifer, graduated from Washington University, while her son, Guy, attended the University of Chicago. Ms. Petzall serves on the boards of the Saint Louis Psychoanalytic Institute, the Center for the Humanities at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and Legal Advocates for Abused Women.