Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis recognizes five alumni

John Berg named Dean's Medal recipient

Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis recognized the achievements of five alumni and a special friend at a ceremony May 19 in the Arts & Sciences Laboratory Science Building.

Edward S. Macias, Ph.D., executive vice chancellor, dean of Arts & Sciences and the Barbara and David Thomas Distinguished Professor in Arts & Sciences, presented Distinguished Alumni Awards to five individuals who have attained distinction in their academic or professional careers and have demonstrated service to their communities and to the university.

Macias also presented the Dean’s Medal to John A. Berg, associate vice chancellor for undergraduate admissions, for his support and dedication to Arts & Sciences.

The five who received the Distinguished Alumni Award are: Alan R. Bender, J.D. (A.B. 1976); Barbara Levy Landes (A.B. 1971); Sanford C. Loewentheil (A.B. 1976); Kate Hilliker Murashige, Ph.D., J.D. (A.B. 1956); and Jill Evans Petzall (A.B. 1978, M.A. 1981).

A former corporate securities lawyer, Bender and his partners transformed a small startup company into two giant telecommunications firms: Western Wireless Corp. (now Alltel) and VoiceStream (now T-Mobile).

Since those firms were sold, Bender and his colleagues have established Trilogy Equity Partners, a private equity firm investing in wireless mobility enterprises.

Bender, who earned a political science degree at WUSTL and a law degree at Duke University, serves as vice chair of Arts & Sciences’ Seattle Regional Cabinet and a member of the university’s Entrepreneurship Council. A member of the university’s William Greenleaf Eliot Society, he and his wife, Joyce, have endowed a scholarship in Arts & Sciences.

Landes is Public Broadcasting Services’ senior vice president and chief financial officer. In 2004, she helped establish the PBS Foundation, which has already gained major foundation support.

She oversaw the formation of PBS Kids Sprout, a joint venture that launched a linear channel this past September and a video- on-demand service last spring. Kids Sprout quickly became the nation’s second most-watched video-on-demand service.

Landes, who earned a political science degree from WUSTL and an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, is co-chairing WUSTL’s Reunion Gift Challenge for the Class of 1971.

Loewentheil, a psychology major, builds affordable housing and provides homes for the disadvantaged in New York City through L&M Equity Participants Ltd. and L&M Builders LLC.

His projects have helped catalyze the transformation of neighborhoods in the Bronx and Harlem.

A member of the university’s Danforth Circle, the Arts & Sciences National Council and the New York Regional Campaign Committee, Loewentheil worked with The Jackie Robinson Foundation to set up WUSTL scholarships for underprivileged students from urban areas.

Five students are attending the university or have recently graduated with the help of these awards. This year he established a full scholarship in Arts & Sciences.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree from WUSTL and a doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles, both in chemistry, Murashige taught college chemistry for 16 years while earning a law degree at night, summa cum laude, from Santa Clara University in 1977.

Murashige is now a partner at the powerhouse firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP in San Diego and co-chairs its patent group.

At WUSTL, she has served on the San Diego Regional Cabinet, chaired the Eliot Society Committee of San Diego and endowed the Murray Sisters Scholarship in memory of her mother and two aunts. She also helps the Office of Technology Transfer with patent issues and transactions.

Petzall is a national award-winning video-maker who tackles social-justice issues through her documentaries.

When she first enrolled at WUSTL, Petzall was a single mom with three young children. She earned a bachelor’s in English literature and philosophy, magna cum laude, followed by a master’s in philosophy.

She founded Beacon Productions in 1983, where she produces independent documentaries and video art exclusively for nonprofit agencies.

She teaches feminist film theory in Arts & Sciences. Her husband, J. Claude Evans, Ph.D., is an associate professor of philosophy, also in Arts & Sciences. Her two daughters also are WUSTL graduates.

Berg has presided over an extraordinary rise in the number of students who want to attend Washington University. This year, more than 22,000 applicants vied for 1,350 openings in next fall’s freshman class.

After earning a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and a master’s of business administration from the Wharton School of Business, Berg became general manager of the Savannah Symphony Orchestra in Georgia and then finance director of the Kennedy Center’s National Symphony Orchestra.

In 1987, he accepted a WUSTL position as assistant to Chancellor William H. Danforth, now chancellor emeritus and Life Trustee. Berg helped many of the schools’ deans establish national councils.

After serving as associate vice chancellor for finance, he took charge of admissions in 1994.