2009 Distinguished Alumni Awards

On May 15, 2009, Arts & Sciences celebrated the achievements and generosity of six recipients for their achievements, service, and commitment to the liberal arts.

Meet The 2009 Recipients

Joel W. Abramowitz, AB ’69

Captivated by nature and wildlife as he was growing up on Long Island, hematologist/oncologist Joel Abramowitz recalls wanting to be a scientist or doctor since he was a young boy. As a college undergraduate he studied zoology; he then addressed his interests in research and clinical practice by earning M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in biochemistry from the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York. During that time he received second-place honors for the Louis N. Katz Basic Research Prize for Young Investigators. He went on to complete a fellowship in hematology and oncology at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas, where he received the 1981 Clifton D. Howe Award accorded to the best fellow in medical oncology. Dr. Abramowitz is chief of staff at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital in Houston and listed among the “Top Doctors in America” for oncology. He is defined professionally by his reputation for being an excellent private-practice oncologist. Dr. Abramowitz takes very seriously his role as a patient-centric physician who cares for and supports his patients and their families at an extraordinarily difficult time in their lives. He and his late wife, Joan, endowed the Jesse Nathan Abramowitz Scholarship in Arts & Sciences in memory of their oldest son, who died shortly after his 1999 graduation from Washington University. Dr. Abramowitz is married to Rita Mosko Berger; his middle and youngest sons are Michael Abramowitz and Carl Matthew Abramowitz, A.B. ’04, who majored in Spanish.

Yvette Drury Dubinsky, AB ’64, MA ’66, MFA ’90

With two degrees from Arts & Sciences, a third in the visual arts, and a rich tapestry of experience, Yvette Dubinsky brings broadly informed perspectives to award-winning art that often combines photography with printmaking, drawing, or collage. This St. Louis artist’s works have been featured in exhibitions across the country and abroad, and are part of museum, corporate, and private collections. After graduating from a Chicago city high school, Ms. Dubinsky embraced art and liberal studies at Washington University, where she was in Chimes and Mortar Board. Upon completing her degrees in sociology, she worked as a researcher and taught at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and at community colleges. In 1972 she married John Dubinsky, A.B. ’65, M.B.A. ’67. Her return to art began with drawing groups on Cape Cod, where the couple vacationed with their three children, and continued with individual courses at Washington University before she again entered graduate school. Ms. Dubinsky has taught at the Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill in Massachusetts and at the University of Chicago; later in 2009 she will be teaching at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in Massachusetts. Her awards include the Cité Internationale des Arts residency in Paris. A foundation trustee of National Public Radio and member of the Washington University Art National Council, she has served on search committees for two art deans. Ms. Dubinsky is preparing a book on plant forms (see images at www.yddstudio.com) and a new exhibit to open May 14 at the Bruno David Gallery in St. Louis.

Shelby L. Jordan, AB ’74

One of the greatest pass blockers in National Football League history and a member of the 1984 world champion Los Angeles Raiders, Shelby Jordan has tackled different adversaries since 1989: scarce affordable urban housing and services. Mr. Jordan and his wife of 30 years, Donzella, fund and direct a Los Angeles nonprofit economic development corporation that permanently removes blight, stabilizing neighborhoods once characterized as economically and socially fragile. The results for the University of Southern California/Exposition Park community include six affordable housing complexes for families and seniors; a 130,000-square-foot Class A office building where 600 Los Angeles County employees provide social services daily to 1,500+ people; a childcare center for 57 infants/toddlers/pre-schoolers; six blocks of new streetscape improvements; and a planned mixed-use development of condominiums, apartments, and retail space. At age 17, Mr. Jordan entered the Washington University Career Scholarship Program, directed by Dr. Gloria White, his mentor. He excelled academically and athletically, leading the Bears in tackles three straight years. This pre-med student earned a degree in psychology, worked part-time, and gained local and national collegiate athletic distinctions. He attributes his success as a student/athlete to the environment created by then-Chancellor William Danforth, who inspired people to be their best. Drafted as an offensive tackle by the Oilers, he then became a New England Patriot. Eight seasons later, the 6’7” multiple-award-winning athlete was traded to the Los Angeles Raiders. His Superbowl XVIII ring says the rest. Mr. Jordan says his parents modeled faith in and love of God, determination, sacrifice, gratitude, and compassion for others. His life is treasured with his wife, Donzella, and their children, Shelby II and Erica Melissa.

Edward S. Macias

During Edward Macias’ tenure as dean of Arts & Sciences and executive vice chancellor from 1995 to 2008, Arts & Sciences advanced to the first tier of the nation’s best undergraduate and graduate liberal arts programs. Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton calls Provost Macias “one of the most effective academic leaders in America.” Equipped with what one department chair called “broad vision, excellent judgment, the ability to make tough decisions, all combined with personal warmth and diplomacy,” Provost Macias strengthened Arts & Sciences by recruiting superb faculty and students and by fostering interdisciplinary programs. Because Arts & Sciences is the heart of the University, its programs are essential for the interactions Provost Macias is now building among all schools. In his role as provost, he works with Washington University’s seven deans to explore common educational issues from intraschool programs to internationalization, and he is developing new ways to enhance diversity as he meets critical academic, budgetary, and capital planning responsibilities. Provost Macias joined the University’s chemistry faculty 39 years ago after completing a Ph.D. program at MIT. In addition to teaching, he long studied the chemistry and physics of atmospheric particles and their effects on air pollution. He has been a consultant to the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences and Argonne National Laboratory, among others. A past board member of Colgate University, he currently serves on the board of the Center for Research Libraries. Provost Macias’ partner in many University activities is his wife of 42 years, Tedi. They have two children, Julia and Matt, and four grandchildren.

Martin K. Sneider, AB ’64

During high school in 1959, Martin Sneider sold shoes part-time at a Chandlers store operated by Edison Brothers Stores. It was his first contact with the company that he would one day lead. Before extending his family’s long retailing tradition, Mr. Sneider majored in history at Washington University prior to earning an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri and an M.B.A. degree from Harvard. He then joined Edison Brothers, the nation’s largest retailer of women’s shoes at that time. Mr. Sneider played a key role in developing the company’s men’s and women’s apparel divisions, which eventually numbered 2,000 stores. When he was named president and co-CEO in 1987, he became the first person outside the Edison family to hold that position. Before he stepped down in 1995, Mr. Sneider had successfully transformed the company into a multi-category fashion retailer operating approximately 3,000 stores and generating sales of $1.5 billion. For the past 16 years Mr. Sneider has been an adjunct professor at the Olin Business School, teaching courses in retailing and corporate social responsibility to undergraduates and M.B.A. students. He has received numerous teaching awards, including four Reid Teaching Awards and the inaugural William Finnie Family Adjunct Professor Prize this past fall. This summer Mr. Sneider will publish his first book, an insider’s look at the dynamics of retailing during the past half century. From 1994 to 1998 Mr. Sneider served as chairman of St. Louis Children’s Hospital. His support for Washington University has included chairing the Alumni Board of Governors and serving on the Arts & Sciences National Council. His wife, Jill, A.B. ’66, M.A.’85, is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in American literature at the University. She has served on the Executive Committee of the Women’s Society of Washington University.

Pamela L. Tremayne, AB ’64

As principal in an Atlanta law firm, Pamela Tremayne represents clients from business, medicine, law, politics, and professional athletics in highasset, complex domestic relations matters, including divorce and custody. Dr. Tremayne tries her cases in the sole state that seats juries, on demand, in divorce cases. She enhances her practice with academic, cultural, and international experience and hours of pro bono work. Before establishing the Law Offices of Pamela L. Tremayne in 1986, this St. Louis native earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology (also emphasizing Latin American studies and Spanish). She also earned a master’s degree in Latin American studies from the University of Florida, and a J.D. degree and a Ph.D. in sociology from Emory University. Along the way Dr. Tremayne taught Spanish. A leader in her profession who also publishes and lectures, she chaired the Joint Medical-Legal Committee of the Atlanta Bar Association, among other efforts, and assumed key responsibilities with the State Bar of Georgia. She sits on the Sociological Practices Committee of the Southern Sociological Society and serves on the board of the Atlanta Lyric Theatre. The first woman president and the longest-serving president of the International Club of Atlanta, Dr. Tremayne is also a seven-year board member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. She is on the advisory board for Common Cause Georgia. A member of the Washington University Atlanta Regional Cabinet, she has hosted alumni events and served on the Alumni Board of Governors. Dr. Tremayne is married to H. Theodore Heintz, Jr. Her son, Brian Marcus, is an attorney in London. Her late father was distinguished alumnus Bertram W. Tremayne, AB ’35, JD ’38.