Celebrating Washington University by celebrating distinguished faculty and alumni at Founders Day

Annual ceremony includes address by Jon Huntsman Jr.

The Washington University in St. Louis “family” will come from near and far Saturday, Nov. 2, to gather in St. Louis and celebrate the university’s founding in 1853.


The annual dinner and ceremony, sponsored by the WUSTL Alumni Association, will be held this year at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel. The special guest speaker will be Jon Huntsman Jr., former U.S. ambassador to China and former Utah governor.

Other highlights include the presentation of Distinguished Faculty and Alumni awards and the Robert S. Brookings Awards.

To register for Founders Day, email alumniassociation@wustl.edu; for information concerning reservations, visit the Founders Day website or call (314) 935-6503.

The 2013 Distinguished Alumni honorees are:

Robert L. Behnken, BS ’92, BS ’92
Brian C. Cunningham, BS ’65, JD ’70
Avram Glazer, BSBA ’82
Michael Isikoff, AB ’74
Henry D. Warshaw, AB ’76, MBA ’79
Michael E. Willis, AB ’73, MA ’76, MSW ’76

The 2013 Distinguished Faculty honorees are:

Lisa Bulawsky, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
Panagiotis (Panos) Kouvelis, Olin Business School
Andrew D. Martin, School of Law, Arts & Sciences
Tae Sung Park, School of Medicine
Shelly E. Sakiyama-Elbert, School of Engineering & Applied Science

Robert S. Brookings Awards

William H. Danforth
John F. McDonnell

The following are brief profiles of the awardees; visit the associated links to read the full summaries.


Robert L. Behnken


Col. Behnken’s career as a NASA astronaut demonstrates that with a WUSTL education, not even the sky is the limit. As an undergraduate, he served in the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) while earning bachelor’s degrees in physics and mechanical engineering. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees from the California Institute of Technology.

After completing Air Force test pilot training, Behnken served as the lead flight test engineer for the F-22 Combined Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base. Since joining NASA in 2000, Behnken has held several key positions, and in 2008 and 2010, he flew on two Endeavour space missions to the International Space Station, logging a combined total of more than 450 orbits of the Earth. Click here for full profile.

Brian C. Cunningham


For more than 40 years, Cunningham has successfully traversed two professional paths, first in the legal field, followed by a career in biotech entrepreneurship. After earning his undergraduate degree in engineering at WUSTL and a law degree, he joined the New York law firm of Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts. But he decided to head west, first stopping back in St. Louis at Monsanto Co., then moving on to San Francisco to help lead the pioneering biotech firm Genentech Inc. Settling there, Cunningham began concentrating on the technology side of litigation and the life science industry. In 1998, he left law practice to work with biopharmaceutical startups before helping found two virtual biotech companies.

His strong ties to his alma mater (as well as wife Martha’s, AB ’65) are evident in the active role he takes supporting numerous alumni initiatives both in his home community and at WUSTL. Among these are: serving as chair of the San Francisco Regional Cabinet, as a member of the San Francisco Eliot Society Committee; and as a member of the School of Law National Council. Furthermore, Cunningham is vice chair of the local campaign committee for Leading Together, the Campaign for Washington University. Click here for full profile.

Avram Glazer


Talk about a winning record! On second thought, make that plural since Glazer’s team, the phenomenally successful and most popular soccer/football team in existence — Manchester United — was crowned champion of England this year for the 20th time. Glazer co-chairs the team that has been in the family business for eight years, and since then Manchester United has been named champion of Europe and champion of the world. And in the world of American football, the Glazers are among the owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But sports is not just fun and games to Glazer, who is actively involved in the family’s foundation, dedicated to supporting positive social and economic development for youth and families both here and abroad. Through a long-term partnership between Manchester United and UNICEF (called United for UNICEF) Glazer continues to provide meaningful impact on the lives of more than 2.2 million children.

In addition to earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from WUSTL, he received a law degree from American University and also studied law in China. Click here for full profile.

Michael Isikoff


One of the country’s most prominent and respected investigative journalists, Isikoff has covered virtually every major news event that has occurred in the past 30 years. As the national investigative correspondent covering national security and law enforcement issues for NBC News, he appears frequently on its nightly newscast and its morning show.

But he made his mark during his long tenure with Newsweek magazine, where his incisive reporting earned him many of the industry’s most acclaimed honors. For example, Isikoff’s June 2002 cover story on U.S. intelligence failures that preceded the Sept. 11 terror attacks received the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ top prize in magazine journalism.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in history from WUSTL, Isikoff earned his master’s in journalism from Northwestern University. Click here for full profile.

Henry D. Warshaw


As a student from New York, Warshaw planned to head right back to the East Coast after graduating with honors in economics and psychology and receiving his MBA at WUSTL. Lucky for St. Louis, he changed his mind, married fellow graduate student Susan (MSW ’79) and, for more than 40 years, he has contributed significantly to his adopted home.

His rise in the banking profession was swift and began at age 29 as president of Mark Twain Bank-Frontenac. However, Warshaw’s longtime interest in entrepreneurship gave rise to a second career owning and managing many successful businesses. For the past 20 years, he has been at the helm of real estate investment firm Virtual Realty Enterprises. Warshaw’s contributions to St. Louis have taken many forms; as a dedicated alumnus, he has given generously of his time and talent, including serving as chair of the Alumni Board of Governors, and more recently, as a leader in The Campaign for Washington University. Click here for full profile.

Michael E. Willis


With the degrees that Willis received from WUSTL — a bachelor’s and master’s degree in architecture and a master’s degree in social work — it’s no surprise that the founder and principal architect of MWA Architects has built his firm and his national reputation on an overarching belief that good design does not have to be expensive, that it should always be conceived with the community in mind, and that it should always be sustainable.

It’s been a winning philosophy for MWA since 1988, and Willis is widely recognized in the profession for his successful integration of community participation and exceptional urban design in affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization projects. He has been called upon to advise in rebuilding initiatives, most notably for the “post-Katrina” rebuilding and recovery projects. Click here for full profile.


Lisa Bulawsky


Associate professor of art, director of Island Press

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

An internationally recognized artist working in print media, Bulawsky’s prints have been collected, or included in exhibitions, in some of Europe’s finest galleries, including the Royal Academy of Fine Art in Belgium, Opole Contemporary Art Gallery in Poland, and the Dalarnas Museum in Sweden. In America, her work has been featured in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and Washington D.C.’s Corcoran Art Gallery.

She has been officially recognized twice for her excellence in teaching, and since 2011 Bulawsky also directs the university’s printmaking workshop known as Island Press. In this capacity, she has greatly expanded its educational and internship opportunities for students. Click here for full profile.

Panogiotis (Panos) Kouvelis, PhD


Emerson Distinguished Professor of Operations and Manufacturing Management; director, Boeing Center on Technology, Information and Manufacturing

Olin Business School

A leading scholar in production and operations management, Kouvelis is one of the most frequently cited researchers in his field. His most recent work focuses on supply-chain risk management, with an emphasis on the integration of operational and financial hedges. But his work also includes pioneering research on the interaction between operational and financial decision-making in supply-chain finance. In addition, Kouvelis is a six-time recipient of the school’s Reid Teaching Award.

Under his administrative direction as senior associate dean and head of executive programs at Olin, the executive MBA program has increased dramatically in size, reputation and ranking, currently holding the No.14 spot in the U. S. News & World Report 2014 list and landing No. 6 on the Financial Times global rankings. Click here for full profile.

Andrew D. Martin, PhD ’98


Charles Nagel Chair of Constitutional Law and Political Science; professor of political science

School of Law and Arts & Sciences, respectively

Martin is considered a trailblazer in his field of political methodology, which is the application of statistics and formal theory to study politics. Since joining the university in 2000, he has helped establish the program as one of America’s best.

Among his most enduring contributions to the field include the Supreme Court Database Project, an important tool for statistical analysis of the court’s decisions; and, with Kevin M. Quinn, the development of the Martin-Quinn scores that measure justices’ ideologies.

In addition to teaching and research, Martin is vice dean of the School of Law and is founding director of the Center for Empirical Research in the Law. Click here for fulll profile.

Tae Sung Park, MD


Shi H. Huang Professor of Neurosurgery, Neurosurgeon-in-Chief

School of Medicine and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, respectively

Park is one of the world’s leading pediatric neurosurgeons and has made pioneering advancements in several surgical procedures for children, most notably the selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR). Since 1986, when he established the SDR program to improve mobility for children suffering from spastic cerebral palsy, Park has performed this surgery on more than 2,600 patients, many of whom he remains connected with via his SDR Facebook page.

Celebrated for his contributions, Park has received the most prestigious honor awarded in his profession, the H. Richard Winn, MD Prize for Meritorious Research, given by the Society of Neurological Surgeons. Closer to home, he received the 2011 Distinguished Faculty Clinician Award from WUSTL’s School of Medicine. Click here for full profile.

Shelly E. Sakiyama-Elbert, PhD


Professor of biomedical engineering

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Sakiyama-Elbert’s groundbreaking research involves the development of biomaterials to assist in drug delivery and cell transplantation to treat peripheral nerve and spinal cord injuries. Taking a transdisciplinary approach to her work, Sakiyama-Elbert uses her knowledge of biology and chemistry in addition to her understanding of biomedical engineering to develop new materials to aid in wound healing and tissue regeneration. Currently, she holds eight patents related to her research.

As associate chair for graduate studies, she takes an active interest in graduate students, which has been acknowledged with an Award for Excellence, presented jointly by the Graduate Student Senate and the dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. In addition, she serves as WUSTL’s co-president of the Association of Women Faculty. Click here for full profile.


Presented by the Board of Trustees, the Robert S. Brookings Award honors individuals for their extraordinary dedication and generosity to Washington University.

William H. Danforth, MD


It would take a book to include the lasting accomplishments and contributions by the university’s 13th chancellor.

Danforth’s involvement with WUSTL began as a professor in the School of Medicine, then as vice chancellor for medical affairs. In 1971, he was named chancellor, beginning the longest tenure for that position in the institution’s history. For the next 24 years, aided by his late wife, “Ibby,” Danforth led WUSTL through one of its most critical periods of development and set it on course to become the world-class institution of higher education it is today.

The philanthropy of the Danforth family and the Danforth Foundation has greatly strengthened the university. Equally important has been his leadership in helping secure St. Louis’ reputation as a world leader in plant science. Click here for full profile.

John F. McDonnell


McDonnell joined McDonnell Aircraft Co., founded by his father, in 1962. Thirty-five years later, he retired as chair of the board of the aeronautical giant McDonnell Douglas Corp. after overseeing the merger with Boeing Co. that created the world’s largest and broadest aerospace company.

Since he became a trustee of Washington University in 1976, then later as chairman of the board, McDonnell brought the same high level of vision and leadership to the institution as he had to McDonnell Douglas.

Through the extraordinary generosity of the McDonnell family and their associated foundations, he has been able to help put that vision into action, most notably by establishing the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, a global network with partner institutions that attracts graduate students to study here and build leadership experience.

Click here for full profile.