Five Laureates to Be Honored on Friday, May 9, during Luncheon at Rodef Shalom Congregation
Pittsburgh, Pa. – Carlow University has named five distinguished alumni as its 2014 Carlow Laureates, the University’s most prestigious alumni award. The Laureates will be honored at a special luncheon at Rodef Shalom Congregation on Friday, May 9, 2014, at noon.
“Carlow Laureates are alumni whose work, thought, and action demonstrate the highest standards of professional accomplishment and leadership, whether it is in their chosen disciple, in academics or through community service,” said Suzanne K. Mellon, PhD, president of Carlow University. “Recipients of this award are lasting tributes to their own professional excellence, the transformational education they received at Carlow, and the dynamic environment which helped to fuel their ambitions and their desire to make a difference in the best ways they can.”
The 2014 Carlow Laureates are (Complete biographies are attached at the end of this release):
Juilene Osborne-McKnight, is the chair of the Department of Humanities, the chair of the Communications Program, and an Associate Professor of Humanities at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa. She was the first graduate of Carlow’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program in 2007. A published writer for 20 years, Osborne McKnight is the author of four historical novels set in Ireland between the years 500 B.C. and 500 A.D., and her Irish history The Story We Carry in Our Bones: Irish History for Irish Americans is forthcoming in 2015.
Dorothy A. Davis, JD is an attorney with the Pittsburgh law firm of Eckert Seamans, where she concentrates her practice on commercial, business, and real estate transactions, and litigation in both individual cases and class actions. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology in 1978. Davis chairs the Women’s Initiative at Eckert (WIE), a firm-wide program designed to foster an energetic and supportive atmosphere for women. WIE provides a platform for women to market their professional skills and leadership competencies to others in a manner consistent with the high professional standards and business ethos of Eckert Seamans, while continuing the firm’s legacy of excellent service and community prominence.
Susan E. Lee is the Chief Marketing Officer for Nederlander Producing Company of America, where she has been a business innovator and industry leader on Broadway for more than 30 years. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Speech, Communication and Theatre in 1979. Throughout her career, she has forged many innovative marketing partnerships, including Visa’s sponsorship of the Tony® Award-winning musical, Movin’ Out, which still stands as the largest integrated marketing campaign in theatrical history. She also was the architect of Audience Rewards, Broadway’s official loyalty program.
Deborah Rice-Johnson is the Division President-Health Services, and an Executive Vice President of Highmark, Inc. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Management in 2008. Rice-Johnson has more than 25 years of experience in the health insurance industry. She has held a variety of management positions at Highmark and its predecessor company in strategic development, operations, information technology and customer service.
Sister Jane Scully, RSM is the President Emerita of Carlow University, having served as president from 1967 until 1982. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English in 1939. Her reputation as educator, public speaker, and concerned citizen has won honors for the native Pittsburgher. Since her stepping down in 1982 from the presidency of Carlow, she has devoted her energies to lecturing on the issues of corporate social responsibility, business and society, and the values for today and tomorrow.
The Laureates will also participate in Carlow’s Spring Commencement at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum on Saturday, May 10, 2014.
About Carlow University
Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Carlow University was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1929. Offering both undergraduate and graduate programs, Carlow University is a comprehensive master's institution dedicated to learner-centered education at the collegiate levels and at the elementary school level in the Campus School of Carlow University.
2014 Carlow University Laureate Biographies
Chair, Department of Humanities; Chair, Communications Program; and Associate Professor of Humanities, DeSales University
MFA ’07—Creative Writing
Juilene Osborne-McKnight is the first (and proudest) graduate of Carlow University's MFA program and is deeply indebted to Ellie Wymard, PhD, for her superb direction of that program. Juilene is associate professor and chair of humanities as well as director of both communication and creative writing at DeSales University, where she founded the DiScoUrse Creative Writing Honor Society. In the fall of 2014, DeSales named her visiting professor abroad, during which time she lived and taught in Rome, Italy. She has also directed several trips to Ireland with her students at DeSales. Juilene speaks Irish Gaelic, and is a traditional seanchai, or storyteller, in the ancient Irish tradition. She earned her MA from Antioch University in Celtic and Native American writing and earned both her BA and BSEd (summa cum laude) from Youngstown State University, majoring in English literature and French.
Juilene has been a publishing writer for 20 years. She is the author of four historical novels set in Ireland between the years 500 B.C. and 500 A.D: I am of Irelaunde, Daughter of Ireland, Bright Sword of Ireland, and Song of Ireland, all from MacMillan. At various stages of her career, Juilene has served as columnist for the Youngstown Vindicator in Ohio, stringer for Gannett in New York, columnist for Dutchess Magazine in upstate New York, Native American book reviewer for the Antioch Review, and has published poetry in such magazines as Commonweal, Blue Unicorn, Poet, Cold Mountain Review, and English Journal.
Her Irish history The Story We Carry in Our Bones: Irish History for Irish Americans is forthcoming in 2015 and her daughter, Mara Kate McKnight, a DeSales University graduate, has been selected as the illustrator for that project. Juilene and her husband, Thomas, will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary this summer.
Dorothy A. Davis, JD
Attorney, Eckert Seamans
BA ’78—English and Psychology
Dorothy (Dot) Davis graduated from Carlow summa cum laude in 1978 with degrees in English and psychology; she then moved on to the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, graduating in 1981.
Dot concentrates her practice on commercial, business, and real estate transactions and litigation in both individual cases and class actions. In addition to being a member of the Board of Directors at Eckert Seamans, Dot chairs the Women’s Initiative at Eckert (WIE), a firm-wide program designed to foster an energetic and supportive atmosphere for women. WIE provides a platform for women to market their professional skills and leadership competencies to others in a manner consistent with the high professional standards and business ethos of Eckert Seamans, while continuing the firm’s legacy of excellent service and community prominence. Dot’s broad litigation and counseling experience enables her to bring a unique and practical problem-solving perspective to a range of legal challenges and opportunities.
Prior to private practice, Dot was an attorney with United States Steel Corporation, representing its corporate finance group, realty division, energy, purchasing, and transportation departments, and the Bessemer and Lake Erie Railroad and its 13 consolidated railroads and dock companies. She is an admitted member of the bar in the states of Florida, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio; the First, Third, and Fourth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals; and the Supreme Court of the United States. In 2013, Dot was selected for inclusion in Pennsylvania Super Lawyers. She is also a 1997 Carlow Woman of Spirit®.
In addition to her extensive legal experience, Dot is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Pittsburgh Film Office. She is also chair of the Community Advisory Committee and member of the Executive Committee for Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild.
Susan E. Lee
Chief Marketing Officer
Nederlander Producing Company of America
BA ’79—Speech, Communication, and Theatre
Susan Elizabeth (Ley) Lee has been a business innovator and industry leader on Broadway for more than 30 years, representing many producing companies, theatres, and non-profit arts organizations. Since 2005, she has served as the chief marketing officer for the Nederlander Producing Company of America, one of the premier theatre owners in the country.
Susan grew up in Wexford, Pennsylvania, the fourth of five children of George and Gloria Ley. She attended Vincentian High School where she was a member of the National Honor Society, the recipient of the Louis Caplan Human Relations Award, and the St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind honoree for community service. In 1975, she began her studies at Carlow College and set a course directly to Broadway.
In 1979, Susan graduated from Carlow College with a Bachelor of Arts in speech, communication, and theatre following a junior year abroad studying theatre in London, England. Before graduation, she landed her first job in the theatre with DiCesare-Engler Productions taking telephone orders at the Stanley, Pittsburgh’s leading live entertainment venue of the day. Soon thereafter, hard work, good luck, and great timing converged to give Susan the opportunity to work with Broadway star Richard Kiley and composer/producer Mitch Leigh on Pittsburgh’s record-breaking engagement of Man of La Mancha. Within the year, Susan moved to New York to eventually become the national press representative for Yul Brynner’s Farewell Tour of The King I, Arsenic and Old Lace starring Jean Stapleton, and Macbeth starring Glenda Jackson and Christopher Plummer.
Susan eventually unpacked her suitcase to become the first director of marketing for The League of American Theatres and Producers, Broadway’s trade association. During her tenure she helped introduce sponsorship marketing in the sector with the successful launch of many industry initiatives most notably Celebrate Broadway: The 100th Anniversary of Broadway in Times Square.
Established in 1995, her one-week summer vacation project called Camp Broadway® has become a year-round company that has hosted 25,000 children at its annual summer camps and over 300,000 students at its educational workshops. The company is the recipient of the Educational Theater Association’s Ovation Award for Excellence.
Susan became the vice president of new business development for Serino Coyne, Inc., Broadway’s leading advertising agency, in 2001 where she forged many marketing partnerships including Visa’s sponsorship of the Tony® Award-winning musical Movin’ Out, which still stands as the largest integrated marketing campaign in theatrical history. Susan also oversaw the development of Season of Savings, Broadway’s post-9/11 consumer outreach strategy that has since generated more than $50 million in ticket sales.
In 2005, she joined Nederlander and was the architect of Audience Rewards, Broadway’s official loyalty program. Working in collaboration with the Pittsburgh CLO, Susan co-created The National High School Musical Theatre Awards to recognize the importance of theater arts education.
Susan is currently embarking on a new chapter in her career with the start of Leonine Edutainment, LLC to focus on national arts education and audience development platforms. She lives in New York City with her life partner, Brian Curran.
Division President-Health Services
Executive Vice President, Highmark
BS ’08—Business Management
Deborah Rice-Johnson is president of Highmark Health Plan for Highmark Inc. In this role, Deborah is responsible for providing senior leadership and strategic direction for Highmark’s core health insurance business, serving 5.3 million customers and managing more than $15 billion in revenue. Additionally, she has responsibility for product management and development, provider and clinical services, sales, marketing, and strategic planning.
Deborah has more than 25 years of experience in the health insurance industry. She has held a variety of management positions at Highmark and its predecessor company in strategic development, operations, information technology and customer service.
In addition to her position at Highmark, Deborah serves on the board of the American Association of People with Disabilities as well as the National Institute for Healthcare Management. She is also very active in the community, serving as board president for Variety The Children’s Charity and as a board member on Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, United Way of Allegheny County and the Epilepsy Foundation. Deborah has also served as a board member for Leadership Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and Pittsburgh Public Theater.
Sister Jane Scully, RSM
President Emerita, Carlow University
Sister Jane Scully, a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania and a well-known figure in the City of Pittsburgh, has held many important offices in her special field of education, and has earned public recognition for her 30 years of distinguished service to her native city, Pittsburgh, to the Commonwealth, and to society at large.
As president of Carlow College for 16 years, Sister Jane became known as an advocate for educational opportunities for women. She pioneered in programs especially designed for working women, for older women, and for women’s political and economic development. In 1973, President Nixon appointed her to the National Commission for the Financing of Postsecondary Education.
As a public citizen, Sister Jane has served on working committees of the United Way, the Urban League, and television station WQED. In 1971, she was appointed to the board of directors of the Port Authority of Allegheny County and served for two years in promoting consumer services and affirmative action. In 1975, she was elected a director of the Gulf Oil Corporation, a responsibility she carries to this date. In 1976 she was appointed to the Economic Development Commission for the City of Pittsburgh, serving as its chairman. She is a member of the board of directors of the Symphony Society, Mercy Hospital Foundation, and the Citizens Sponsoring Committee of the Allegheny Conference.
As a public speaker, Sister Jane is much in demand. An ardent advocate for the private citizen and the public good, she is called upon frequently to highlight the deliberations of major academic and corporate conferences. She has participated in seminars at universities in Maryland, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, and Pennsylvania. Three colleges have awarded her honorary degrees.
Her reputation as educator, public speaker, and concerned citizen has won honors for the native Pittsburgher. She is the Distinguished Alumna of two institutions—the University of Pittsburgh and her own college, Carlow University. She has twice been named outstanding citizen by the JAYCEES of Pittsburgh—once “Man of the Year in Education.” The National Conference of Christians and Jews, the Knights of Columbus, and WTAE-TV, among others, have also honored her.
Sister Jane is a graduate of Carlow College and holds advanced degrees from University of Pittsburgh School of Informational Sciences, and University of Michigan. She was named the sixth president of Carlow College in 1966. Since her stepping down in 1982 from the presidency of Carlow, she has devoted her energies to lecturing on the issues of corporate social responsibility, business and society, and the values for today and tomorrow.