The GW Alumni Association awarded five Distinguished Alumni Achievement Awards Saturday night in front of a group of GW officials, alumni, former Student Association presidents and the University’s board of trustees.
Former U.S. ambassador to China Joseph W. Prueher, healthcare specialist Frederick L. Brown, corporate lawyer Dee J. Kelly, naval veteran Ronald J. Zlatoper and former GW health professor Virginia R. Kirkbride were honored at the 64th annual award ceremony, held in the Columbus Club of Union Station before GW’s Monumental Celebration.
The award was created in 1937 to recognize outstanding achievements of GW graduates. Past winners include former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and Secretary of State Colin Powell.
“These individuals have all achieved phenomenal successes in both their individual and professional lives,” GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg said.
Prueher recently completed his post as ambassador, which he held since November 1999. In China, Prueher negotiated the release of 24 American servicemen who were detained by the Chinese military in March. He graduated from GW’s School of Public and International Affairs in 1973.
“With the faculty here, there is a rich time ahead,” Prueher said.
Brown, a 1966 School of Public Health and Health Services graduate, founded the Barnes Jewish Christian Health System in St. Louis. He was the first GW graduate to chair the American Hospital Association.
“I cherish this (award) because my university preparation has been very important to me,” he said.
Kelly graduated from the GW Law School in 1954 and is a founding partner of the Kelly, Hart & Hallman law firm in Fort Worth, Texas, where he represents organizations such as American Airlines and the Dallas Cowboys football team.
“Now that I see all the good things happening at the GW Law School, I’m happy to be more involved in its future,” he said.
After receiving his degree from the School of Business and Public Management in 1970 and serving in the Navy for 33 years, Zlatoper became the 22nd Trustee of the Estate of James Campbell, a national community development program.
Dean of the Graduate School of Education and Human Development Mary Futrell, who presented the award to Kirkbride, said the former professor and administrator was a very positive influence on the lives of students. Students twice dedicated the Cherry Tree yearbook to her.