Carnegie Mellon University
September 29, 2022

Dietrich Alums Honored by CMU

Carnegie Mellon University honored alumni, including three graduates from the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, for their professional achievements and generous service to the university. Their innovative work, commitment to their industries and passion for the university is an inspiration for all.

Founders Medal for Outstanding Service and Exceptional Achievement

bertucci.jpgClaire and John Bertucci
(MM 1965 | ENG 1963; TPR 1965)

Claire and John Bertucci have a passion for Carnegie Mellon University and for making the world a better place.

They met as CMU students in the 1960s. Claire graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business from Margaret Morrison Carnegie College while John completed a bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering and a master’s degree in industrial administration. After graduation and career experience in semiconductor manufacturing and management consulting, John joined MKS Instruments, a small process control instrumentation company in 1970. After purchasing MKS in 1974, John guided the growth and international expansion of the company as CEO and chairman. MKS became a public company in 1999 (MKSI). John retired as chairman in 2020 and now serves as chairman emeritus.

That success fueled the couple’s passion for giving back. Unassuming philanthropists, they focus their efforts on areas where they can make the greatest impact, specifically education, health care and the arts. At CMU, they funded the Claire and John Bertucci Nanotechnology Laboratory. Thanks to Claire and John’s vision, the “Nanofab” houses more than 100 of the most sophisticated processing and characterization tools, which are maintained by highly qualified technical staff members, and is responsible for more than $10 million each year in cutting-edge research. This gift was inspired in part by Claire’s father, Dr. Arthur C. Ruge, who was a 1925 Carnegie Institute of Technology graduate and a professor of civil engineering at MIT. He invented the bonded wire strain gauge that was instrumental in helping the United States win World War II and forever changed how objects are weighed, stress-tested and designed. The Arthur C. Ruge Atrium in Scott Hall is named in his honor.

In the College of Engineering, they established the Claire and John Bertucci Fellowship in Engineering, which has supported 184 fellows since 2008, and the John and Claire Bertucci Distinguished Professorship in Engineering. They also started the Claire Ruge Bertucci and John R. Bertucci Endowed Presidential Scholarship, a four-year scholarship received by three students since 2017. 

At Massachusetts General Hospital, they named the Claire and John Bertucci Center for Genitourinary Cancers, one of the largest, most renowned centers in New England for bladder, kidney, prostate and other genitourinary cancers. They also named an endowed chair in thyroid surgical oncology at Harvard Medical School and another in otolaryngology — head and neck surgery at Mass Eye and Ear. Their investment in health care will fuel research and enrich patients' lives for generations.

John is an emeritus trustee on the CMU Board of Trustees with more than 20 years of service, and he is volunteer leader in the College of Engineering. He currently serves on the College of Engineering Dean’s Advocacy Council. He has served on numerous advisory councils and boards, including the Mechanical Engineering Advisory Board, Materials Science and Engineering Advisory Board, Carnegie Institute of Technology Advisory Board, CIT Boston Advisory Council, and the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems Advisory Board. Claire has served as Boston clan secretary, a reunion volunteer, leading efforts to connect alumni in her class with the university and each other.

Outside of Carnegie Mellon, Claire and John support many organizations in their Massachusetts community. John serves on the boards of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Lexington Historical Society while Claire is actively involved in these and has served as treasurer of the Lexington Field and Garden Club and president of the Dartmouth Women's Club of Boston.

Alumni Achievement Award

haynes.jpgLeonard L. Haynes III
(DC 1969)

Leonard L. Haynes, III is passionate about education and its transformative power. He has dedicated five decades of his career as a leader, advocate and nationally recognized expert on historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU).

A graduate of Southern University in 1968, Leonard traded Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for Pittsburgh to continue his studies at Carnegie Mellon’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Upon completing his master’s degree in history in 1969, he went on to earn his doctorate in higher education administration from The Ohio State University.

During his academic career, Leonard has served as professor, acting president of Grambling State University and executive vice president of the Southern University System. His government service spanned many important roles. He was the first African-American appointed by a U.S. president to be assistant secretary of postsecondary education in 1989; he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. He was senior director with the U.S. Department of Education and former executive director of the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Leonard oversaw the Fulbright U.S. Student Program and was responsible for the discretionary grant programs appropriated by Congress for the Office of Postsecondary Education. As director of academic programs for the United States Information Agency, he led the delegation to the North American Higher Education Talks with Canada and Mexico. As the director of the Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, he played a key role in developing groundbreaking academic mobility programs involving the United States, Europe, Brazil, Mexico and Canada.

In 2018, he received the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities Distinguished Service Award, which is now known as the Leonard L. Haynes III Distinguished Service Award. In 2020, he was appointed by the president to sit on the initiative’s President’s Board of Advisors. Leonard was one of seven former HBCU presidents invited to join the Strada HBCU Advisory Council, which guided the use of a $25 million fund that supported students, their families and their communities across 28 HBCUs. He also is a renowned author.

The recipient of 14 honorary degrees and the Servant Leader Award from the United Methodist Church, Leonard is widely recognized for his dedicated work to ensure an excellent and equitable education for future generations. In 2022, the governor of Virginia appointed him to the Virginia State University Board of Visitors. 

Leonard continues his commitment to service through work with organizations such as New Orlean's Whitney Plantation Museum, where he serves on the Board of Directors, Southern University Alumni Association, United Methodist Church, Greater Washington Urban League, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Rotary International.

Outstanding Recent Alumni Award

pomerantz.jpgAlex Pomerantz
(MCS 2017, DC 2017)

Susheel Khetarpal
(MCS 2017)

Friends from their years at CMU, Alex Pomerantz and Susheel Khetarpal drew upon their common experiences as undergraduates navigating the uncertain, stressful waters of applying to medical school to create an alumni-based mentoring program for Carnegie Mellon students pursuing health professions.

A native of New Jersey, varsity golfer and member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, Dr. Alex Pomerantz graduated from Carnegie Mellon with a double major in biological sciences and international relations and politics. He went on to Harvard University where he earned his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and a master’s degree in public policy (MPP). His academic work is focused on increasing equity in and access to insurance design as well as improving firearm safety. He is currently a pediatric resident physician in the Boston Combined Residency Program at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center.

A native of Pittsburgh, founding member CMU’s classical Indian dance team CMU Payal and an Andrew Carnegie Scholar, Dr. Susheel Khetarpal graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in biological sciences. He earned his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Master of Science (M.S.) in clinical research from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine, where he developed a passion for working with underserved, adolescent populations who struggle with access to care and resources. He is currently a pediatric resident physician at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City. 

During their first year in medical school, Susheel and Alex were struck by an idea when their medical school programs reached out to ask for volunteer mentors for undergraduate students. It was then that the Carnegie Mellon Medical Student Alumni Mentorship Program (MSAMP) was born, offering the duo an impactful way to give back to the CMU community. With the support of the university's Health Professions Program, MSAMP pairs CMU students and alumni who are looking to pursue a medical career such as physician or dentist with a CMU alumnus in the field. The program provides mentorship and offers a framework to navigate the application, testing and selection process for medical school.

A valuable resource for students who now have a guide for questions, interview preparation and selection strategies, MSAMP also aims to reduce students’ anxieties throughout the process and allow alumni to give back to their alma mater through their lived experiences. Now in its fifth year, the program has more than 130 alumni and has been replicated by two other universities.