Founders Day event honors alumni

At the annual Founders Day gala Saturday, Nov. 3, six outstanding alumni and two exceptional friends will be honored for their dedication and service to Washington University.

This is the second part of a two-part story on Founders Day 2012; faculty honorees and keynote speaker Robert Gates are profiled in the Oct. 29 Record.

Distinguished Alumni Awards

John Michael Clear, AB ’71


Before John Michael Clear graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science, he spent his undergraduate days involved in a multitude of student activities that reflected his interest in law and writing: Student Life, the Forensica Union and the Student Judicial Code.

After receiving a JD from the University of Chicago, graduating with honors and being inducted into the Order of the Coif, he clerked for the Honorable Elbert P. Tuttle on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appealst. He then joined the Covington & Burling law firm in Washington, D.C.

Returning to St. Louis in 1980, he joined Bryan Cave LLP and became a partner a year later. As a trial lawyer, Clear works mainly on defense of class-action suits and other complex commercial cases. Among his honors are membership in the American Law Institute and inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America list since 1985.

As a member of the Task Force of Washington University and a charter member of the Arts & Sciences National Council, Clear has participated in a leadership capacity since the 1970s. He has chaired several of his class reunions and currently co-chairs the Arts & Sciences Scholarship Campaign. For more than 20 years, he and his wife have supported the Clear Family Scholarship, established in honor of all five Clear brothers who are also WUSTL alumni.

Hal Daub, BSBA ’63


Hal Daub has represented Nebraskans for four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and later as a two-term mayor of Omaha. He also was appointed to the Social Security Advisory Board by President George W. Bush, serving in that role for six years.

His career in the private sector includes the Standard Chemical Manufacturing Co., serving as vice president and general counsel, and as a partner at Deloitte & Touche. He is the former president and chief executive officer of American Health Care Association. Since 2001, Daub has been a partner with Husch Blackwell LLP, and prior to that, he practiced law at Fitzgerald, Brown, Leahy, McGill & Strom.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1963 from Washington University. After earning a JD from the University of Nebraska, Daub enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a captain from 1966-68.

In addition to his elected offices, Daub has served on the boards of several state organizations, among them the Nebraska League of Municipalities and the National Republican Mayors and Local Officials Association. Active in the Republican Party, Daub has been a delegate at the past five national conventions.

Diane DeMell Jacobsen, MLA ’95, MA ’00, PhD ’03


Diane DeMell Jacobsen was enjoying success in the business world until a move to St. Louis changed her professional focus. An interest in foreign policy put her on a path to earning two master’s degrees and a doctorate in international affairs from Washington University, which subsequently became the springboard for another distinguished career.

Since then, Jacobsen has played a role in many U.S. initiatives abroad involving conflict resolution and peace negotiations throughout the world, including Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Iran. In 2007, she was selected by then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to review defense strategy at the Pentagon. Her membership in the Council on Foreign Relations Women and Foreign Policy Advisory Group, and on the advisory board of the World Affairs Council of Jacksonville, Fla., attest to her stature in the foreign policy arena.

Seeing the need for preparing our future foreign policy leaders, Jacobsen was the driving force behind the creation of Washington University’s International Leadership Program in Arts & Sciences. She also saw the need for helping people desperate for bone marrow donors and her advocacy contributed to the passage of the national umbilical cord blood program.

Another passion is a lifelong love for art and her collection of American art is nationally recognized for its museum quality pieces that trace America’s major historic movements.

Mary Strauss, MA ’69


Mary Strauss’s life’s work has been promoting and supporting arts and culture in St. Louis, but she will always be known, together with her late husband, Leon, for restoring the historic Fox Theatre to its original grandeur and putting St. Louis back on the arts map. St. Louisans also will rightfully credit her with helping create the surrounding area as an arts and entertainment hub known as Grand Center. She has received many honors for these achievements, both locally and nationally.

Today, she is a co-owner of the Fox Theatre and Fox Theatricals in New York, which has produced Broadway plays, musicals, West End Productions and national tours. Fox Theatricals’ productions have garnered 80 Tony nominations and have won 24 to date.

Strauss earned a bachelor’s degree from Mexico City College in 1959, and a master of arts degree in art and archaeology in Arts & Sciences in 1969 from Washington University.

In the 1980s, Strauss began contributing to the local arts scene, focusing first on film. She helped produce the St. Louis International Film Festival for seven years, produced the documentary film EROICA! and was involved with Civil Pictures’ two multiple award-winning documentaries, The Gateway Arch: A Reflection of America and The World’s Greatest Fair. Her interests expanded to support philanthropic events such as the annual St. Louis Teen Talent Showcase Competition and, more recently, the Sheldon Art Galleries’ Al Hirschfeld Jazz and Broadway Scrapbook exhibit.

Gregg Walker, AB ’94


As Student Union president at Washington University in the early 1990s, Gregg Walker worked hard to create a strong, engaged undergraduate student body. His efforts to strengthen his alma mater have continued throughout his successful rise in the media and telecommunications industry.

He also cares deeply about his adopted home of Harlem in New York City and found a clever way to benefit both by endowing a scholarship fund and establishing an annual scholarship, for Harlem students attending Washington University.

After graduating from WUSTL in 1994 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, and earning a JD from Yale University, Walker joined Goldman Sachs, then Viacom, before his current employer, Sony Corp. of America.

As senior vice president for corporate development, he works closely with colleagues at Sony’s group companies worldwide to formulate corporate business strategies. Among his key initiatives at Sony were the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing, the creation of 3net, and the implementation of the first 24-hour, 3D cable channel. In 2010, he made Crain’s New York City’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars list.

An active alumnus, Walker has served as vice chair of the Alumni Board of Governors and as a member of the Eliot Society Executive Committee. He also serves on the Arts & Sciences National Council and the New York City Regional Cabinet.

Robert S. Brookings Awards

Nancy Green


Nancy Green’s philanthropy covers many interests and organizations, including the Preston M. Green Charitable Foundation, named in memory of her late husband, a Washington University alumnus. After earning a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering, Preston Green joined Southwest Steel Supply Co., becoming president in 1955 and chairman of the board in 1957. Under Preston Green’s direction, the company became the leading steel processor in the Midwest. In 1990, he sold Southwest Steel to Hanwa American.

When he passed away in 2003, Preston Green provided $8 million to the university to support the School of Engineering & Applied Science’s Department of Electrical & Systems Engineering, which bears his name. An additional $5 million gift in 2010 supported the construction of Preston M. Green Hall. Nancy Green was present to make remarks at its 2011 dedication.

Nancy grew up on a farm in Troy, Mo., but moved to St. Louis and worked as a ballroom dancing teacher and also briefly as a dental nurse. She supports the St. Louis chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association through its annual fashion show, as well as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Diamond Ball. She has modeled in charity fashion shows for the Variety Club, which supports programs for children with physical and mental disabilities. Furthermore, she has contributed to the Judevine Center for Autism’s Festival of Trees and to the Silver Ball fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation of Eastern Missouri.

Howard L. Wood, BSBA ’61


Howard Wood has been an ardent supporter of his alma mater, especially the Olin Business School from which he graduated with a BSBA. Among the Wood family’s major contributions are the Wood Fellows for MBA candidates and the Wood Scholars for undergraduates, as well as an endowed chair in organizational behavior. Their generosity also has extended to the School of Medicine, assisting in establishing the Simulation Center at the School of Medicine.

Over the years, Wood’s leadership and service to Washington University have ranged from appointment to the Board of Trustees where he currently enjoys emeritus trustee status, to membership on the Olin National Council and the School of Medicine’s Finance Committee. He is a life member of the Danforth Circle.

After graduation, he joined the Arthur Andersen & Co. accounting firm and rose quickly through the ranks to become partner in charge of the St. Louis tax division and a regional tax partner.

In 1987, he joined Cencom Cable Television as chief financial officer and chief executive officer, but left in 1993 to launch Charter Communications Inc., which became the fourth-largest cable television operation in the United States. After Charter was sold, Wood co-founded Cequel III LLC, an investor and operator in cable television and other communications businesses. In 2003, he co-founded Gilead LLC, an investor and manager of four communications-related businesses.

Interested in conservation policy, Wood was active in the Conservation Federation of Missouri, serving as the federation’s president in 1984 and 1985. In 1997, he was appointed to the Missouri Conservation Commission by Gov. Mel Carnahan.