Dr. Marion Stoj ’74, P’02 was awarded the Cavalier’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland. Polish President Andrzej Duda honored Stoj with the award during a ceremony on September 21, 2019, for his efforts furthering relations between Poland and the United States. Stoj, who established the Falcons Academic and Athletic Association (FAAA) in 2017, also enabled the association to purchase a historic parkland in New Britain. The property will remain undeveloped and continue to be available to Polish-American groups and others for cultural events and sports. At Wesleyan, Stoj majored in biology. He earned his medical degree from the University of Connecticut. An ophthalmologist, he specializes in medical and surgical diseases of the retina and macula.
Gail Marcus ’78 was appointed assistant professor of health professions at Hofstra University. With a career of leadership positions in healthcare, domestic and global, she has served as CEO and president of Calloway Labs, as well as Caris Life Sciences, Inc. She was selected as one of the top 100 women leaders in Massachusetts. Marcus has also held significant roles at United Healthcare and CIGNA, and has been a professor for healthcare strategy at UConn School of Business. A Spanish and math major at Wesleyan, Marcus earned both an MS and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania, and a doctorate in health care administration from the Medical University of South Carolina. She serves on two public company boards (Natera and Triple S Salud) and is a fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors.
Steven Ossad ’70, a historian and biographer, won the 2018 Society for Military History Distinguished Book Award for Biography for his book Omar Nelson Bradley: America’s GI General. The book offers an account of Bradley’s formative years, his decorated career, and his postwar life. Ossad, who has focused his writing career on biography and command, under-studied heroes and battles, the lessons of failure, and considering applicable military leadership-training models for the C-suite, was recognized at an awards dinner during the society’s annual meeting. A philosophy major at Wesleyan, he earned graduate degrees from the New School and Harvard University.
Charisse R. Lillie ’74, businesswoman, attorney, and lecturer, received the A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. [Hon. ’96] Lifetime Achievement Award during the 29th Annual Pennsylvania Bar Association Minority Attorney Conference in October. The award recognizes the accomplishments of a lawyer or judge who has demonstrated dedication to the legal profession and the minority community through civil, community, or legal service. Lillie is the CEO of CRL Consulting. Previously, she was affiliated with Comcast Corporation, where she served as a senior vice president of human resources, among other executive positions. Earlier in her career, she was a trial attorney with U.S. Department of Justice in the Civil Rights Division. A history major at Wesleyan, Lillie earned a master’s from Yale University and a doctorate from Temple University. Wesleyan named her a Distinguished Alumna in 1993.
John Huttlinger Jr. ’73, CPA, was the 2017 recipient of the 14th annual Michael H. Urbach, CPA Community Builders Award by the New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc. The award recognizes exemplary achievements of a certified public accountant who serves in leadership positions on charitable organizations’ boards of directors. Martha Spear of the Rotary Club of Lake Placid, who nominated Huttlinger, stated he “is the finest CPA-volunteer I have ever worked beside in my nearly 30 years of nonprofit employment and leadership.” Huttlinger serves as a board member for several community organizations including the Adirondack Film Society and the Rotary Club of Lake Placid. An economics major at Wesleyan, Huttlinger earned an MBA from Rutgers University.
Adweek named Michele A. Roberts ’77, executive director—and first female leader—of the NBA Players Union, to its “30 Most Powerful Women in Sports” list, which featured outstanding executives, athletes, and journalists, among others. Previously an attorney with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Roberts had begun her career as a public defender in Washington, D.C. In the June 26 article, Adweek’s Tim Baysinger noted that Roberts would be negotiating across the table from league commissioner Adam Silver when the two worked on a new collective bargaining agreement—and Roberts would be trying to avoid a lockout, something her two predecessors were not able to do. A government major at Wesleyan, Roberts earned her JD from the University of California at Berkeley. The negotiations now completed, Roberts noted, “The deal we worked out with the League contained a number of favorable provisions for our players, including a 45 percent across the board salary increase for those players whose salaries are pre-set. And, no lock-out!”
Richard Melchreit ’77, MD, is the recipient of the 2017 Charles G. Huntington III Award for his 30-year career in public health. The Connecticut Public Health Association presents this award annually to a Connecticut health care practitioner who has demonstrated public health leadership and a commitment to the health and well-being of the population. Beyond his career in positions with St. Francis Medical Center and the Connecticut Department of Health, Melchreit mentored dozens of undergraduate and graduate students and held leadership roles in the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, most recently on the Healthcare Associated Infections Subcomittee. Melchreit was a biology major at Wesleyan, and received his medical degree from the University of Connecticut.
Jim Friedlich ’79, P’14 was appointed the chief executive officer of The Lenfest Institute for Journalism in Philadelphia. This newly formed Institute has an endowment for investment in technology and innovations that advance the future of journalism. The Institute is also the parent company of The Philadelphia Inquirer, a winner of 20 Pulitzer Prizes and now the largest newspaper in America operated as a public-benefit company. Cable mogul and philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest said, “The hiring of Jim Friedlich—one of the most talented and capable thinkers in the business of journalism—will help propel our mission: developing effective models for powerful public-service journalism on a local and regional level in the digital age.” An English major at Wesleyan, Friedlich was chief executive of digital media advisory firm Empirical Media which was purchased by Lenfest. He worked as group publisher of The Wall Street Journal International and was a seed investor in Business Insider.
Ellis Neufeld ’79, M.D., PhD., was appointed clinical director, physician-in-chief, and executive vice president of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, an internationally renowned center that pioneers research for and offers treatment to children with catastrophic illnesses. St. Jude President and Chief Executive Officer James Downing, M.D., said: “Dr. Neufeld’s leadership and experience will help steer St. Jude clinical operations as we expand our patient care programs, increase the number of patients treated and work to set the standard for pediatric cancer care delivery.” A biology and chemistry major at Wesleyan, Neufeld earned his doctoral degrees at Washington University in St. Louis, with specialty training in pediatrics and medical genetics at Boston Children’s Hospital and in pediatric hematology/oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s.
Leon Vinci ’72 is now a national technical advisor on climate change for the National Environmental Health Association, a membership organization for practitioners and others working in environmental health. He has worked in the public health arena for the past 40 years, specializing in environmental and health policy. After a career in management of environmental and public health agencies, he serves as the CEO and president of Health Promotion Consultants, an environmental health consulting firm which he founded. He lectures frequently on environmental and public health topics and is an adjunct professor at Drexel University. A biology major at Wesleyan, he earned his MPH from Yale School of Medicine, and his doctorate in health policy from the Medical University of South Carolina.