2021 University of Pennsylvania Alumni Merit Award Recipients
The University of Pennsylvania honored seven Distinguished Alumni at the 2021 Alumni Awards Virtual Celebration on November 5, 2021.
Administrator of Alumni Arts Stephane Goff, C’62, received the Creative Spirit Award 2021 for its lifelong commitment and excellence in the arts. Mr. Goff graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences with a BA in Architecture in 1962 and served as CEO of the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (now Penn Live Arts) for over 22 years. During his tenure at the center, he launched his acclaimed dance program, partnered with professional groups such as the Philadelphia Drama Guild and the American Music Theater Festival, and featured companies such as the New York Shakespeare Joseph Papp Festival at Lincoln Center and the New Vic Theater of London, England. In 1985, he and Catherine S. “Kaki” Marshall, C’45, founded the Philadelphia International Children’s Festival, which is continually acclaimed for providing memorable experiences for children and families. As a former student he supported the Penn Band, the Mask and Wig Club Scholarship, and the Penn Museum.
Beyond Penn, his impact on the cultural landscape extends to the board of directors of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Performing Arts League of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Theater Caravan. In addition, he was a panelist for the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Councils on the Arts and the 1993 Philadelphia Repertoire Development Initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Judith Bollinger, Ghislain Gouraige, Mike Kowalski, Clemson Smith Muniz and John Vosmek, who all received the Alumni Award of Merit, co-starred with Mr. Goff, as did Ashley Zampini Ritter, who accepted the Young Alumni Award , and Al Filreis. , who accepted the Faculty’s Award of Merit.
Judith Bollinger, WG’81, worked at Goldman Sachs for 13 years before joining ABG Securities, where as CEO she executed the company’s merger with Sundal Collier and subsequently served as Chairman of ABG Sundal Collier Holding ASA. She is currently CEO of Judico Capital, Pte. Ltd. Trustee Emeritus, Ms. Bollinger’s leadership also extends to her tenure on the Penn Libraries Board of Trustees, the Wharton Advisory Board and the Wharton Board of Directors for Asia. Its philanthropic support includes the creation of the Bollinger Scholarship for Library Innovation, the creation of a COVID-19 scholarship for MBA students, and generous funding for innovative student projects through the President’s Engagement Prize.
Ghislain Gouraige, C’80, was inducted into the Onyx Senior Honor Society. After earning a law degree, he embarked on a distinguished career in finance, including with Bank of America, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup, before launching his own wealth management fund at UBS. He joined the Penn Parents Council in 2006 and again in 2018. His leadership has also extended to the Penn Libraries Board, the James Brister Society (JBS) and the Penn Museum Board. His involvement with JBS has helped the company reaffirm its priorities, energize and expand its membership base, and encourage alumni of color to find leadership roles across the University. Active in the Miami community, he not only found ways to connect alumni, but he also advocated for the dissemination of Penn’s knowledge, connecting the museum’s learning programs with the distance learning capabilities developed. in Florida schools.
Mike Kowalski, W’74, retired in 2015 after a long career with Tiffany & Co., where he became CEO and Chairman of the Board. A Director Emeritus, his leadership with Penn includes the development of MBA courses that link the Wharton programs in Marketing and Legal Studies, and a guest speaker in Wharton’s Marketing courses. He also served for 15 years on the Penn Museum Advisory Board, where he helped establish the Center for the Analysis of Archaeological Materials. During his tenure as Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, he led and advised throughout the renovation of three wings of the building, the opening of new galleries throughout the museum’s main level and reinventing the museum’s public spaces to make them more welcoming and accessible.
Clemson Smith Muñiz, C’79, is a sports broadcasting pioneer – a vocation that began at Penn, where he was the Latino sports co-editor of The Daily Pennsylvanian, played wide receiver in the sprint soccer team and was a broadcaster at WXPN. Mr. Smith Muñiz is the longest-serving New York Jets radio commentator and the voice of the New York Knicks, Army Football and Major League Baseball Network “in Spanish”. He is also the editor of La Vida Baseball. His company, Smith Muñiz Productions, helps broadcast sports programming in Spanish to audiences around the world on major networks. He was the past chair of the committee and a long-time member of the James Brister Society and established a scholarship with ongoing financial support for undergraduate female students. He is also a founding member and past president of the Association of Latino Alumni and a supporter of La Casa Latina, the Hispanic Center of Excellence.
Jean Vosmek, C’61, earned a master’s degree in architecture and a second bachelor’s degree from Yale after graduating from Penn. He practices architecture in Portland, Oregon, and with Edward D. Blum, C’74, founded the Portland Penn Club. He then served as president for 17 years, hosting an annual Ben birthday party and a summer lawn party to welcome newly admitted students. His leadership also includes the role of interviewer for his local Penn Alumni interview program and his membership in the Regional Club Advisory Board and Penn Alumni Council, as well as the Mask and Wig Alumni Council and SAE Alumni Group. .
Ashley Zampini Ritter, Nu’07, GNu’08, GrN’18, has focused her research and career on providing healthcare to the elderly and as a postdoctoral fellow in the National Clinician Scholars Program. Dr Zampini Ritter sits on the Penn Nursing Alumni Board, where she first served as a student representative and vice-president and chair. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she was also active in an effort by Penn nurses and others on social media to provide accessible, evidence-based information about the virus on social media, a project which gathered 40,000 followers.
This year’s Faculty Merit Award went to Al Filreis, Kelly Family Professor of English at the School of Arts & Sciences, Director of the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing and Director of the Faculty of Kelly Writers House. Among his innovations are the initiation with Charles Bernstein of PennSound, a visionary company that creates and collects recordings of poets reading their works, and the creation of a Coursera, Modern and Contemporary Poetry course, with global reach. His awards include the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award and the Ira H. Abrams Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching at Penn, the inaugural Coursera Outstanding Educator Award and the 2000 Carnegie Foundation Pennsylvania Professor of the Year award. He was also named one of the top ten technology innovators in higher education by the Chronicle of Higher Education in 2013.