Carlow University Names Five Women Women of Spirit® Awardees to Be Honored at April 2016 Gala

Five outstanding Women of Spirit® will be honored at Carlow University’s 13th Women of Spirit® Awards Gala in April 2016.

University Communications For Immediate Release
Drew Wilson, Director, Media Relations December 16, 2015
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 Opera Singer Marianne Cornetti Joins the Pittsburgh Zoo’s Barbara Baker, UPMC’s Leslie Davis, Jones Day’s Laura Ellsworth, and Family House’s Mary Lou McLaughlin as Awardees

Pittsburgh, Pa. – Five outstanding Women of Spirit® – one international awardee and four local awardees – will be honored at Carlow University’s 13th Women of Spirit® Awards Gala in April 2016.

“Carlow’s Women of Spirit® demonstrate characteristics central to the mission of our University,” said Dr. Suzanne K. Mellon, president of Carlow University. “The Women of Spirit® Awards program has earned a distinguished place as a Pittsburgh treasure.  Since its beginning in 1993, women leaders have been recognized for their professional and personal leadership and their service to others.  In turn, they share their expertise with the Carlow community by actively participating in the life of the University and in the development of its students.”

From all of the nominations received, one international award recipient and four local community recipients were selected.  Recipients were chosen based on several criteria, including a strong commitment to values, accomplishments that have led to new knowledge or discoveries, and innovation or leadership that has brought about change for the good of humankind.

The awardees are (Complete bios of each recipient follow at the end of this release.):

Marianne Cornetti, recognized internationally as one of the leading Verdi mezzo-sopranos in the world, who will receive the International Woman of Spirit® award.  This award has previously been given only once: to Queen Noor of Jordan in 2005.

Barbara Baker, DVM, President and CEO of Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium and the Zoological Society of Pittsburgh, whose significant accomplishments in scientific research have led the Pittsburgh Zoo to be a leader in conservation efforts of endangered species.

Leslie Davis, senior vice president of UPMC and executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Health Services Division, UPMC, whose leadership and commitment to community health keep western Pennsylvania a leader in health care.

Laura Ellsworth, JD, partner-in-charge of Global Community Service Initiatives, Jones Day, whose leadership and legal expertise in complex litigation has demonstrated a transformative impact on our region and its economy.

Mary Lou McLaughlin
, the creator and founder of Family House, whose philanthropic pursuits have provided a home away from home for patients and their families who come to Pittsburgh area hospitals for treatment.

This renowned program also provides need-based scholarships to Carlow students who demonstrate the spirit inherent in the women who receive this award.

The Women of Spirit® Awards will be presented on Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 8 p.m. in the Carnegie Music Hall, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Oakland.  The awards program is preceded by a reception beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The presenting sponsors for Carlow University’s Women of Spirit® Awards Gala are UPMC, Magee Women’s Hospital of UPMC, and UPMC Health Plan. Pittsburgh Magazine is the media sponsor for the event.

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.

Women of Spirit® Biographies

Marianne Cornetti, Opera Singer

Marianne Cornetti is recognized internationally as one of the leading Verdi mezzo-sopranos in the world. She has appeared as Amneris in Aida, Azucena in Il Trovatore, and Eboli in Don Carlos at theatres including the Teatro alla Scala, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Theatre Royale de la Monnaie, Brussels, Teatro Comunale in Florence, the Arena di Verona, Gran Teatro del Liceo, Barcelona, the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, and many others. In 2005 Cornetti sang her first Wagnerian role, appearing as Ortrud in Lohengrin at the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi in Trieste. She continued her excursion into this repertoire with her debut as Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma. She has since sung Ortrud in Amsterdam, Paris, and in Palermo, and appeared as Brangaene in Genoa. Cornetti’s verismo repertoire includes the Principessa di Bouillon in Adriana Lecouvreur, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana and Rosa in Cilea’s L’Arlesiana, the last mentioned which she sang to great acclaim at Carnegie Hall with the Opera Orchestra of New York under Eve Queler.

The current 2015/16 season marks several important engagements for Ms. Cornetti. She will appear in both La Coruña, Spain and Tel Aviv as Azucena in (Il Trovatore), a role which she also recently performed at the prestigious NCPA theatre in Beijing, China. Ms. Cornetti can also be seen as Ortrud in Lohengrin in Sao Paolo, as Jezibaba in Rusalka at Minnesota Opera, and in a concert version of West Side Story in La Coruña. She will make an additional concert appearance in Ferrol, Spain as well.

Engagements for the 2013/2014 season included Lady Macbeth in Macbeth and Laura in La Gioconda with Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Azucena in Il Trovatore at the National Theatre of China in Beijing and the Teatro Municipal in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Cornetti also returned to the Teatro Regio for Verdi concerts and appeared with the company as Ulrica on their tour to Japan. In the 2014/2015 season, she returned to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in Un Ballo in Maschera, performed as the Witch in Hansel and Gretel at the Minnesota Opera, and will return as Azucena in Il Trovatore to the National Theatre of China. Future performances include a return to the Teatro Municipal as Ortrud in Lohengrin, and a return to the Minnesota Opera as Ježibaba in Rusalka, amongst others.

Marianne Cornetti began the 2012/2013 season as Preziosilla in La Forza del Destino at Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. She then sang her first staged performances of the title role of La Gioconda at the Rome Opera. Cornetti was heard in two productions at the New National Theatre Foundation in Tokyo, appearing as Amneris in Aida and Abigaille in Nabucco. She also sang Amneris in Palermo.

Marianne Corrnetti returned to the Teatro alla Scala in Milan in January of 2011 as Santuzza. Earlier in the season she appeared at the Metropolitan Opera as Azucena, in Bilbao as Eboli, and in Palermo where she sang her first Laura in La Gioconda.  In April of 2011, Cornetti returned to Brussels as Abigaille in concert performances of Nabucco with La Monnaie. She also sang Amneris with the Israeli Opera at Masada. In the autumn of 2011, Cornetti returned to the Metropolitan Opera as Abigaille. In February of 2012, she returned to La Scala in the role of Amneris in Aida, and also appeared in the role at the Hamburg State Opera. Subsequently she sang her first performance of the title role in La Gioconda in Timisoara. She then performed Adriana Lecouvreur at the Gran Teatro del Liceu in Barcelona.

Marianne Cornetti began her professional career, like Giulietta Simionato before her, singing supporting roles in important theaters such as the Metropolitan Opera, Pittsburgh Opera Center and in Wolf Trap. Her performances of Azucena at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, at the Arena di Verona, and at the Teatro dell Opera di Roma, brought her international recognition. She made her debuts at the Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Theatre Royale de La Monnaie in Brussels, Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, at the Choregies D’Orange as Amneris; and at the Teatro Comunale in Florence, Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Teatro Regio in Parma, and at the Bregenz Festival as Azucena.  She also starred as Azucena on the Teatro Comunale di Bologna’s tour in Japan.  Cornetti sang her first Eboli in Don Carlos under Daniel Oren in Tokyo and has been subsequently acclaimed for her portrayal of this role in Rome, Bilbao, Vienna and London.  She made her debut with the Netherlands Opera as Ulrica in Un Ballo in Maschera and sang her first staged performances of Preziosilla in La Forza del Destino at La Monnaie in Brussels. She had previously sung this role in concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. Cornetti added the role of the Principessa di Bouillon in Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur to her repertoire at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma in May of 2002. She has since sung Adriana at the Teatro Regio in Turin, as well as in Florence and Amsterdam. She also sang Rosa in Cilea’s L’Arlesiana for L’Opera de Montpellier and with Opera Orchestra of New York at Carnegie Hall.

Marianne Cornetti appears frequently in concert in works such as the Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Elgar’s Sea Picture and De Falla’s El Amor Brujo.  She has recorded Cilea’s L’Arlesiana and Puccini’s Edgar opposite Placido Domingo.

Dr. Barbara Baker, President & CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and the Zoological Society of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Barbara Baker represents one of only 24 women who head major zoos and aquariums in the United States. Since her arrival, the Zoo’s budget has grown from $3 million to $17 million annually thanks to strong financial support from the community, Allegheny Regional Asset District funding, tremendous growth in attendance and membership, and the success of the Zoo’s outstanding educational programs. Just one example includes the partnership she has formed with PPG Industries, making the Zoo one of only six zoo and aquarium combinations in the United States.

As the caretaker of over 8,000 animals and supervisor of over 130 fulltime staff, Dr. Baker has excelled in all areas of operation, making the Zoo the most visited cultural attraction in the region with roughly one million visitors annually. The Zoo’s number of endangered species has increased from five to 24 endangered species. The Zoo’s conservation efforts include an internationally recognized coral propagation program, an international breeding program for African elephants, a conservation fund that supports lifesaving efforts in 62 countries, and the rescue of three female African elephants from Botswana. The Zoo’s conservation efforts include owning and managing the International Conservation Center, a 724-acre facility dedicated to the breeding of African elephants and other endangered and threatened species.

In her position as President & CEO, Dr. Baker has been honored with numerous awards. In 2015, she received the BusinessWomen First award and will receive an honorary doctorate from Wilson College. In addition, she has been a finalist for the Athena Award, honored by Pittsburgh Magazine for Pittsburgher of the Year, earned the Girl Scouts’ Women of Distinction Award, and was recognized as the Vector’s Women of the Year. In 2007 she received the Tribute to Women Leadership Award, and in 2008 she was presented the Diamond Award honoring Pittsburgh’s Top CEOs.

In her position as the leader of a Zoo, Dr. Baker has an ideal combination of training in management and science with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Auburn University and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina.

Leslie Davis, Senior Vice President of UPMC, and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Health Services Division, UPMC

Leslie C. Davis is senior vice president of UPMC and executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Health Services Division,  which encompasses more than 20 hospitals and 3,500 employed physicians, 17 senior community facilities, a comprehensive array of clinical specialty service lines, and pre- and post-acute services that  include senior living, rehabilitation and home care.

Ms. Davis has more than 30 years of health care experience, with particular emphasis on operations and developing businesses and services. She has served as president of Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC since 2004.

Prior to joining UPMC, Ms. Davis was president of Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia, part of Tenet Healthcare Corp. Ms. Davis began her career at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City. She subsequently spent 13 years with Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in positions of increasing responsibility, including vice president of clinical affiliations and ambulatory programs. She also served as chief operating officer of Presbyterian Medical Center of Philadelphia before joining the University of Pennsylvania Health System, where she eventually became chief marketing and planning officer.

A native of Long Island, NY, Ms. Davis graduated from the University of South Florida and earned a master of education in administration, planning and social policy from Harvard University.

Laura Ellsworth, JD, Partner-In-Charge, Global Community Service Initiatives, Jones Day
Laura Ellsworth practices across a wide range of complex litigation matters, including toxic torts, product liability, insurance, intellectual property, employment, and ERISA. She has been involved in a number of multijurisdictional product liability and bankruptcy matters, several of which have resulted in significant appellate rulings on novel issues such as market share liability and public nuisance. Her work includes coordinating and litigating nationwide matters for various clients, and she has appeared in numerous federal and state courts throughout the U.S.

In 2008, Laura was a lead lawyer in the landmark public nuisance case in which the Rhode Island Supreme Court rejected an attorney general’s attempt to apply public nuisance law to the manufacture and sale of products. Previously, she represented the creditor’s committee in the largest bankruptcy of a health system in the U.S. In 2008, she was named by Governor Edward Rendell as one of Pennsylvania’s “Best 50 Women in Business.”

Laura has been involved extensively in electronic discovery and has served as a managing editor of The Sedona Principles: Best Practices Recommendations and Principles for Addressing Electronic Document Production. She currently serves on the Firm’s e-Discovery Committee and has participated actively in federal and state rulemaking in this area.

Mary Lou McLaughlin, Creator and Founder of Family House
Mary Lou McLaughlin received the 2010 National Philanthropy Day Special Lifetime Achievement Award. Although Ms. McLaughlin has spent a lifetime in service to the community, she is perhaps best known for her work as creator of Family House. In 1981, Ms. McLaughlin accepted the position of Director of Corporate Relations at the University of Pittsburgh, with a special emphasis on the creation and development of Family House. Designed to provide supportive housing for adult patients and their families who travel to Pittsburgh to receive treatments for life-threatening illnesses, Family House was dedicated in 1982 on McKee Place in Oakland and quickly became the national model for specialized adult housing. In 1982, Ms. McLaughlin became the Executive Director of Family House, with a staff of two. Upon her retirement in 1993,

Family House, Inc. consisted of three facilities with a staff of 18 supported by over 200.

Ms. McLaughlin has been awarded the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh Leadership Award in Human and Social Service, Pittsburgh Magazine’s Real Pittsburgher of the Year Award, and the Carlow College President’s Award. She is Director Emerita of the Pittsburgh Foundation’s Board of Directors, a founding member of the Board of Directors for Oakland Catholic High School and is currently a member of numerous boards of directors, including the Committee for Oversight in Organ Transplantation, Little Sisters of the Poor, The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative and the Honor Board at WQED Multimedia.

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