Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon To Honor 12 with Alumni Awards for Achievements and Service


A physicist who ensures the United States has a safe, secure nuclear weapons stockpile. An emergency medicine physician who donates her free time to helping the next generation of CMU students. Dedicated volunteer leaders, filmmakers and venture capitalists who make the next big idea a reality. These distinguished individuals are among the 12 alumni and faculty being honored as Carnegie Mellon University’s 2018 Alumni Award recipients. Their professional achievements and service to the university will be celebrated on May 18 during Commencement Weekend.

CMU Presents Inaugural Founders Medal

Jim Swartz

Jim Swartz (TPR 1966, H 2016), founder of the global venture capital firm Accel Partners and chairman of the Swartz Foundation, will be recognized with the Founders Medal, which recognizes alumni who have demonstrated outstanding dedication and service to CMU and whose extraordinary, sustained achievements have brought prestige to themselves and the university.

“One of the most successful venture capitalists in the world, Jim has dedicated himself to nurturing innovators and creative thinkers,” said Scott Mory, vice president for University Advancement. “His generous support of CMU has had — and will continue to have — a far-reaching impact on generations of young entrepreneurs at CMU.”

Swartz is a founding partner of California-based Accel Partners, which  counts many of the most revolutionary technology businesses among its investments, including Facebook, Veritas Software, Etsy and Dropbox. In 2007, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Venture Capital Association. In 2015, Swartz and his wife, Susan, established CMU’s Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship with a generous gift. The Swartz Center serves as a hub for university-wide entrepreneurial activities and provides growth and financial resources, which have helped hundreds of students, faculty and alumni create companies that positively affect the way people live.

Swartz serves as a trustee of the Sundance Institute and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. From 1999 to 2002, he served on the management committee of the Salt Lake Organizing Group for the 2002 Winter Olympics. In 2007, he co-founded Impact Partners, a major provider of funding to a long line of notable documentary films. Swartz is a founding member of the Global Advisory Council at CMU and is a member of the Tepper School's Business Board of Advisers. In 2013, the Tepper School honored Swartz with a Lifetime Alumni Achievement Award in recognition of both his professional accomplishments and his commitment to education. In 2016, Carnegie Mellon honored Swartz with an honorary Doctor of Business Practice degree.

2018 Alumni Awardee Honorees

In addition to Swartz, 11 others will be honored at the 68th annual Alumni Awards Ceremony.

“This year’s Alumni Award honorees embody the dedication and work ethic nurtured at Carnegie Mellon,” said Nancy Merritt, assistant vice president for Alumni Relations. “Their achievements and contributions have changed countless lives for the better. They show us the impact that CMU alumni have on their alma mater, their vocations and on the world.”

Given to alumni for exceptional accomplishment and leadership in their fields or vocations, this year’s Alumni Achievement Award recipients are:

  • Njema Frazier, Ph.D. (S 1992), a theoretical nuclear physicist in the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration;
  • Mark Gelfand (S 1973), founder of the Boston-area based Intex Solutions, Inc. and non-governmental organization STEM Synergy;
  • Tommy Oliver (DC 2006), founder of the L.A.-based production company Confluential Films and producer of several films and series, including “Black Love” and “Kinyarwanda”; and
  • William Strecker (E 1966, 1967, 1971), a former venture capital partner at Flagship Ventures and former CTO and executive vice president of In-Q-Tel.

The 2018 receipient of the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award, given for exemplary professional or vocational success and/or service to the university in the first decade as an alumnus, is:

  • Ashley Kilp Godisart (CMU 2010), an emergency medicine physician at Heritage Valley Health systems and a member of the Task Force for the Carnegie Mellon Experience.

Five will be honored this year with Alumni Service Awards, which recognize alumni for their dedicated and impactful service to the university and its alumni:

  • Antoinette Sapet Ungaretti (MM 1970), director of the Master of Education in the Health Professions program at Johns Hopkins University and long-time member and past president of the CMU Alumni Association Board;
  • Robert Ungaretti (E 1970), founder of a public cloud hosting company and founding president of the Greater Maryland Alumni Network;
  • Andrés Webster-Henestrosa (HNZ/A 1997, HNZ 1997), cultural attaché at the Consulate of Mexico in Los Angeles and student mentor and ambassador for CMU’s Heinz College and the Master of Entertainment Management program in Los Angeles;
  • Andrew Widdowson (CS 2005), staff software engineer in Site Reliability Engineering at Google and chair of the School of Computer Science’s Alumni Advisory Board; and
  • Thomas Yeung (TPR 1998), founder of a Hong Kong-based environmental products and services company and co-founder of the CMU Hong Kong Alumni Network.

This year, the Faculty & Staff Impact Award, which is bestowed on CMU community members who have consistently gone above and beyond their roles as administrators and educators to show extraordinary dedication and service to CMU alumni and students, goes to: 

  • Jay Devine (DC 1984), associate dean for undergraduate studies at the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, adjunct professor of history and fellow in the Institute for Politics & Strategy.

First presented in 1950, the Alumni Awards pay tribute to individuals distinguished by their service to the university and outstanding accomplishments in the arts, humanities, sciences, technology and business. To date, nearly 900 alumni, faculty and students have been honored with these awards.

The CMU Alumni Awards ceremony takes place on Friday, May 18. Registration will open in mid-March. Learn more about the Alumni Awards.