A near capacity crowd of 400 alumni and supporters were on hand Thursday at the Crowne Plaza to honor the ten 2009 alumni fellows and Hank Conn, the alumnus of the year, at this year’s UofL Alumni Association awards ceremony. 

This was the first year for the Alumni Association dinner, which replaced the traditional Alumni Association luncheon. Speakers included Conn, Alumni Association president  Steve Grant and UofL President Jim Ramsey.

We were very pleased with the change in format for this year’s program,” said Jimmy Ford, assistant vice president for alumni relations.  “The more formal cocktail reception and dinner added a special touch to the evening and we couldn’t have been more pleased with the outstanding comments from this year’s honorees.  This was truly another great class and we were delighted to see so many past award recipients on hand to welcome our latest inductees.

The evening kicked off with cocktails at 5 p.m. and featured a jazz trio sponsored by internationally known performer and recently retired faculty member Jamey Aebersold. Patrick Harbison, this year’s School of Music Alumni Fellow, played the Call to the Post to announce the start of dinner.

Learn more about Conn and the 2009 Alumni Fellows below.

Hank Conn, 2009 Alumnus of the Year

Hank Conn is a senior executive adviser for corporations worldwide, guiding chief executive officers and executive teams in leading their organizations through complex changes. He is former vice president of the global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney Inc.

He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering and business administration from UofL. The 2002 Alumni Fellow for the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, he also received a Distinguished Alumnus award from Speed in 2006.

He co-wrote Maximum Performance Management, a best-selling guide to innovative management and compensation practices and is now writing a book on global business strategies needed for the new century.

He and his wife, Becky, pledged more than $20 million to create the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research and Environmental Stewardship at Speed School. The Conns’ gift is the largest individual donation ever to a public university in Kentucky.

2009 Alumni Fellows

Mitzi B. Friedlander, College of Arts and Sciences

A well-known figure in Louisville’s theatrical world, Friedlander has performed with Actor’s Theatre Louisville, the Kentucky Opera Association, the Louisville Children’s Theatre and the Louisville Ballet. She has taught theater arts at UofL and Indiana University Southeast.

She is perhaps best known for her outstanding work as a talking book narrator at the American Printing House for the Blind, where she has worked for over 45 years. She has narrated more than 1,500 titles for the program, which serves the visually impaired worldwide.

Friedlander received her bachelor’s degree in English in 1952 from UofL and became the first person to earn a master’s degree in theater arts at UofL in 1971.

Charles Chuck Denny, College of Business

Denny was named regional president of Kentucky, Tennessee and Southern Indiana banking during the recent acquisition of National City by PNC. Before this, he served as president of National City for Kentucky Banking. In his 29 years at the bank, Denny held numerous positions, including executive vice president and chief credit officer.

He has been chair of the board of Greater Louisville Inc., UofL’s Board of Overseers and the Every1Reads and 2007 Metro United Way capital campaigns. He has served on the board of directors of the College of Business and Baptist Hospital East.

Denny earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and MBA from UofL.  He is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Delaware.

John N. Williams, School of Dentistry

Williams has been dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry since 2005. Before that, he was dean of UofL’s School of Dentistry from 1999 to 2005 and also was a faculty member in its department of community dentistry.

He has worked in private practice and part-time at the Louisville Memorial Primary Care Center and the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women, and was a co-principal investigator for Kentucky’s first statewide study on oral health.

Williams is a 1974 graduate of Transylvania University and a 1980 graduate of the UofL School of Dentistry. In 1987 he earned an MBA from UofL. He is a lifetime member of the School of Dentistry’s Second Century Society and is a recipient of UofL’s Distinguished Alumni award.

Constance Unseld-College of Education and Human Development

Unseld founded, owns and directs Unseld’s School, a private school in Baltimore for children from nine months through eighth grade. An acclaimed school of excellence, it has made a considerable impact on education in the Baltimore community.

Unseld’s professional affiliations include Maryland Society for Sight, McDaniel College, Coppin State Foundation Board, Independent School’s Association, Maryland Childcare Association and Children’s Home Advisory Council. She is a former member of the University of Maryland Medical System’s board and the University of Maryland’s board of regents.

She received a bachelor’s degree in education from UofL and a master’s degree in early childhood education from Towson State University.

Benjamin Streepey, J.B. Speed School of Engineering

Streepey is vice president and general manager of Business Products at Lexmark International. He is responsible for worldwide research, development and general management of the monochrome and color laser business. He has been with Lexmark since it began in 1991.

He serves on the finance committee of St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Speed School Dean’s Industrial Board of Advisors, the University of Kentucky’s Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council and the Lexington Catholic High School board of directors.

Streepey received his bachelor’s degree in 1978 and master’s degree in 1979, both in electrical engineering, from Speed School. In 2005, the school honored him with its Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Jay P. Davidson, Kent School of Social Work

Davidson joined the staff of the Healing Place in 1991 as its executive director and chief clinical officer, becoming president and chief executive officer in 2004. The Healing Place, a nationally recognized program, helps people break free from homelessness, alcoholism and drug addiction.

The 436-bed shelter provides a sobering-up center, emergency shelter and recovery program for homeless men, women and children. Davidson oversees finance and administration, fund development, public relations, facilities management, program administration of the recovery programs and supervision of the free healthcare clinic.

He was selected from more than 1,000 nominees to receive the Civic Ventures’ 2008 Purpose Prize for innovation and extraordinary social contribution in an encore career.

Lisabeth Hughes Abramson, Louis D. Brandeis School Of Law

Abramson was sworn in as a Supreme Court of Kentucky justice in 2007, filling a vacancy created by the retirement of the late Justice William E. McAnulty Jr. Last year, the voters of Jefferson County elected her to the 4th Supreme Court District.

Abramson served as a Kentucky Court of Appeals judge, a circuit judge for the 30th Judicial Circuit in Division Three of Jefferson Circuit Court.

She was named outstanding graduate of her 1980 law school class. Before serving as a judge, she practiced law for 15 years, concentrating on business and commercial litigation. She is past president of the UofL School of Law Alumni Council and is a master of the Louis D. Brandeis American Inns of Court.

Lawrence E. Gibson, School of Medicine

Gibson is on the staff at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he is a professor of dermatology in the College of Medicine. He graduated from the UofL School of Medicine in 1980 cum laude and from Mayo Graduate School of Medicine Internal Medicine Internship Program, followed by residencies in dermatology and dermatopathology.

Gibson is board certified in dermatology, dermatopathology and immunodermatology. He has written more than 100 peer reviewed articles, 25 book chapters and many articles on dermatological topics.

He is on the board of medical examiners in four states and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Dermatology.

Patrick L. Harbison, School of Music

Harbison is professor of jazz studies at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. He previously taught at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

He has been on the faculty of Jamey Aebersold’s Summer Jazz Workshops since 1976 and has presented hundreds of jazz clinics and workshops around the world. Harbison has released four CDs as leader or co-leader and has appeared as jazz soloist on numerous recordings. He is a well-known jazz clinician and his books are used by trumpeters around the world.

Harbison received his bachelor’s in music education from UofL in 1977 and his master’s in jazz studies from Indiana University in 1987.

 Patricia B. Howard, School of Nursing

Howard is a faculty member of the University of Kentucky’s College of Nursing, where she serves as an associate dean for the master’s and doctor of nursing practice programs.

She is the 1991 American Nurses Foundation Scholar, a fellow at UK and founding board member of the International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses.

Her awards include the International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses Jeanette Chamberlain Award for contributions to the advancement of psychiatric nursing. She has also received publications awards from the Council of Science and Archives of Psychiatric Nursing.

She earned her bachelor’s in nursing from UofL in 1979, followed by her master’s and Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Kentucky.