LMSD celebrates 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award honorees
LMSD celebrates 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award honorees

The Lower Merion/Harriton Alumni Association recently welcomed the newest class of Distinguished Alumni Award recipients with a special luncheon and ceremony at The Radnor Hotel. The honor is bestowed upon outstanding alumni whose personal lives, professional achievements and community service exemplify the spirit of their alma maters. This year's class features titans of industry, world-renowned medical professionals, distinguished military leaders, media moguls, a celebrated chef and more. Congratulations to the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award winners! To view a slideshow of pictures from the reception, click on the image below!


Lynda Harris Resnick – Class of 1960

Lynda Resnick is vice chair and co-owner of The Wonderful Company. Dedicated to harvesting health and happiness around the world, the company's iconic brands include Wonderful Pistachios, Wonderful Almonds, Wonderful Haloes, POM Wonderful, FIJI Water, Landmark Wines and Teleflora. She runs worldwide marketing and product development for the company and in 2018 was ranked #10 among Forbes Top-60 Most Successful Self-Made Women in America. Under her personal supervision, The Wonderful Company gives back to the areas in which its employees live and work with robust community development, health, wellness and educational initiatives.

Alon Shaya - Class of 1997

Alon Shaya - who was born in Israel, raised on cheesesteaks in Philadelphia and now calls New Orleans home - has started and served as executive chef and partner at three award-winning restaurants: Domenica, Pizza Domenica and Shaya, which all reflect his culinary journey and love of Italian and Israeli cuisine. Last year, he formed Pomegranate Hospitality - a space for community and cultural engagement, to foster opportunities for friends and partners to work together and to achieve personal goals. In 2016, Shaya and Donna Barnett, his high school home economics teacher, started the Shaya Barnett Foundation, which is committed to providing culinary education and resources to high school students. Tapping into the philanthropic community in New Orleans, he also cooks to raise money for No Kid Hungry, Alex's Lemonade Stand and DC Central Kitchen/Martha's Table. Shaya has been honored by the NOLA schools and received the Youth Advocate Award from Liberty's Kitchen. He recently published his first book and is scheduled to open two more restaurants in New Orleans and Denver. He has earned such accolades as Best Chef – South and Best New Restaurant; was named one of 50 People Who Are Changing the South and has been nominated for five James Beard Awards.

Arn Tellem – Class of 1972

After graduating from University of Michigan law school, Arn Tellem began his law career working with sports attorney Steve Greenberg, son of legendary baseball player Hank Greenberg, who was a hero of Tellem's. He became partner in the law firm and specialized in law representing basketball and baseball. He went on to launch his own sports agency and became CEO of Wasserson Media Group negotiating deals for players like Tracy McGrady. Currently, he is Vice Chairman of Palace Sports and Entertainment, which owns and operates the Detroit Pistons. He has also served on the Board of Directors of Peace Players International and Seeds of Peace and was later inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Hall of Fame.

Farnoosh Torabi – Class of 1998

From her early days reporting for Money Magazine to hosting a prime time series on CNBC and becoming the resident money guru for the Oprah Magazine, Farnoosh Torabi has become one of America's favorite money exports. Millions of Americans tune into her award-winning podcast where she chats with leading experts, authors and influencers about their financial perspectives, failures and habits. The show was recently recognized as a "top podcast to grow your business." She is a sought-after speaker and best-selling author of multiple books. Her work has been featured in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Forbes.

Robert Brodsky, M.D. – Class of 1981

World-renowned oncologist Robert Brodsky is the Johns Hopkins Family Professor of Medicine and Oncology and Director of the Division of Hematology at the Johns Hopkins University. He has played a major role in clinical developments in the treatment of aplastic anemia and related auto-immune diseases. He has played an integral role in the ground-breaking discovery of the method to perform transplants with only a single match donor instead of a double match for sickle cell. This advancement gives hope for a possible cure and makes transplantation accessible to anyone with a sibling. This breakthrough has garnered Dr. Brodsky numerous awards.

David Crane – Class of 1975

David Crane is best known as the co-creator of the long-running TV show Friends, which ran for ten seasons and earned him numerous awards including an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series. He also produced Mad About You, for which he received the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for TV Writing Achievement from the Writers Guild. Most recently, he co-created the Showtime/BBC comedy EPISODES starring Matt LeBlanc.

Michael Goldfarb – Class of 1968

Author, journalist and podcaster Michael Goldfarb has covered conflict and conflict resolution for more than 30 years in more than 20 countries and five continents. He worked in public radio as NPR's London correspondent during the 1990's. His work earned him honors on both sides of the Atlantic with a DuPont Colombia Award and the Overseas Press Club of America's Lowell Thomas Award. His first book, Ahmad's War, Ahmad's Peace: Surviving Under Saddam, Dying in the New Iraq, was named New York Times Notable Book of 2005. Goldfarb served as a Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government; has received numerous other awards; authored a second book in 2009; and is published in various news publications and lectures.

Lower Merion

David Amado – Class of 1986

David Amado has served as the Musical Director and Conductor of the Delaware Symphony Orchestra since 2003 and began a second musical directorship at the Atlantic Classical Orchestra in Florida in 2016. As a much sought-after American conductor, Amado has had engagements with such prominent orchestras as the St. Louis Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Stockholm, Toronto Symphony and several others. While studying at the Juilliard School, he was the recipient of the Bruno Walter Memorial Award.

Elizabeth Schussheim Brater – Class of 1969

Elizabeth Shussheim Brater is a member of Phi Beta Kappa from Michigan University. After college she worked as a writer and editor before teaching writing at her alma mater. She was elected Mayor of Ann Arbor and was the first woman to hold this position. After her election to the Michigan House of Representatives, she was then voted in to the Michigan Senate. She was awarded the Sierra Club Environmentalist of the Year Award in 1996 for her work on environmental issues and clean water initiatives. She has also served on the Michigan Governors Land Use Leadership Council with a continued focus on environmental issues.

Lewis First, M.D. – Class of 1972

Lewis First is a pediatric hospitalist at the University of Vermont Children's Hospital and professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont's Larner College of Medicine. He also serves as Chief of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont Children's Hospital. First has received numerous awards throughout his career including the 2017 Green Mountain Boy Scouts of America Award for his work as a distinguished citizen for the betterment and improvement of the lives of children in Vermont. In addition, the University of Vermont Alumni Association honored him with the George V. Kidder Outstanding Faculty Award for excellence in teaching.

Alan Poul – Class of 1972

Alan Poul has enjoyed a distinguished career as a director and producer of both movies and television. Over the past 20 years he has received an Emmy, Golden Globe, two Producers Guild Awards, four GLADD Awards and three Peabody Awards. He also served as Consulting Producer on HBO's series Westworld, Executive Producer and Director on Aaron Sorkin's series Newsroom and directed episodes of Six Feet Under. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Film Independent and in the past has served on the board of The Producers Guild of America.

Jon A. Reynolds – Class of 1955

Retired Brigadier General Jon A. Reynolds graduated from Trinity College with a degree in Engineering and a United States Air Force Commission. He participated in various deployments in Cuba, Kontum, South Vietnam, Japan and Thailand. Reynolds was shot down over Vietnam, captured and interned for seven years and endured incredibly difficult hardships as a POW until his repatriation in 1973. Subsequently, he served as an Air Attache' and Defense Air Attache' to the People's Republic of China. He became a private businessman and served on the Board of Directors of the National Air and Space Museum. Reynolds has been decorated with the Distinguished Medal of Honor, Legion of Merit and the Silver Star with Oak Leaf from the military, to name only a small number of military honors he received for his service to our country.

Richard Roberts, M.D. – Class of 1950

Dick Roberts has spent his career in medical research. After serving our country in the armed services, he was assigned to the Division of Communicable Diseases and Immunology at the Walter Reed Research Institute at the Walter Reed Medical Center where he assisted in the battle against meningococcal disease, which was prevalent in the armed services at the time. He continued with research at the Rockefeller University in New York followed by joining the faculty of Cornell University Medical College where he held numerous academic positions, most notably Chief of Infectious Diseases Division, Vice Chairman of Medicine and Associate Dean for Affiliations. Roberts has held many academic appointments, published 140 articles and received numerous prestigious honors, including the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art (First Class), which was presented to him at Carnegie Hall by the Austrian Ambassador to the United States.

Herman Shelanski – Class of 1974

Retired Vice Admiral Shelanski is the 40th Naval Inspector General of the United Stated Navy, whose duties involve all matters of importance to the Department of the Navy, including advocating for quality of life for sailors, marines, civilians and family. Shelanski holds a degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology and a Masters of Electrical Engineering and Space Systems Engineering. He completed several deployments, was a NATO Supreme Allied Commander and coordinated Naval air and Tomahawk strike capability on targets in Iraq. He amassed nearly 3,000 hours in the E-2C Hawkeye and more than 500 Cartier landings during his career. Admiral Shelanski has received the Legion of Merit Award and the Airborne Early Warning Excellence Award, in addition to numerous other awards.

Robert "Jay" Sigel – Class of 1961

Golfer Jay Sigel had enjoyed one of the more illustrious careers in the history of U.S. amateur golf before turning pro. He has earned 20 professional wins, eight PGA tour championships and received the USGA Bob Jones Award and the Golf Writers Association of America's Ben Hogan Award. He has been involved with the GPSGA for years and raises money for cancer research through his invitational charity golf event. In addition to his success in golf, Sigel has had a successful career as a Chartered Life Underwriter and a Chartered Financial Consultant helping individuals and business owners with an array of personal and business insurance needs.

J. Russell Peltz – Class of 1964

As a 13-year-old, Russell Peltz knew that he was "hooked for life" when he went to his first live boxing match. He was initially a copy editor on the Evening Bulletin sports desk before being promoted to his first boxing card of a sold-out fight. He worked in promoting at Philadelphia's Blue Horizon and has continued to help develop individual boxers. His boxing cards have been televised on cable, HBO and other major networks. He has been inducted into the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame, World Boxing Hall of Fame, Atlantic City Hall of Fame, N.J. Boxing Hall of Fame and he has received the James J. Walker Memorial Award from the International Hall of Fame.

Kenneth Hill – Class of 1955

Kenneth Hill was a seasoned executive with an extensive background in general management and marketing after 34 years of positions at Sunoco. He was the first African-American to hold positions at the level he achieved, serving in many posts, including V.P. of Community Relations. He graduated from Temple University before earning degrees from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University. He later served on numerous Boards and received many awards, including the NAACP State of Pennsylvania Distinguished Service Award, City of Philadelphia Community Award and was honored by the ELC - the nation's premier Leadership Network of the most senior African-American Corporate Executives in Fortune 500 companies.

James H. Vance lll – Class of 1959

James Vance was among the first wave of African-Americans to anchor a local broadcast. He was originally a school teacher at Overbrook High School in Philadelphia when he answered an ad for a local TV station. Vance went on to win 17 Emmys, was named "Washingtonian of the Year" and was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame. His reporting took him all over the world, including across the United States, El Salvador, South Africa and Vietnam. He also received the Board of Governors Award for Outstanding Community and Achievement Service. He appeared on his broadcast for 43 years making him the longest serving news anchor in Washington before retiring.