Alumni Awarded for Achievements in Public Health, Chemistry and Service

Created: October 25, 2014
Last Updated: December 17, 2019

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WASHINGTON, PA (Oct. 25, 2014) – When Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) students graduate, they leave W&J not only with knowledge of equations, scientific theories, and art, music and history – they leave prepared to make an impact on the world.

The 2014 Alumni Award recipients have done just that, each in their respective fields. Three were honored Oct. 24 in a ceremony held during W&J Homecoming festivities.

Ronald O. Valdiserri, M.D. ’73 received the Alumni Award for Achievement for his contributions to the field of public health; Walter Flamenbaum, M.D. ’62 received the Distinguished Service Award for his unparalleled loyalty and service to the College; and Kelly Dzumela George ’00, received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award for the dedication and passion with which she approaches her field of chemistry.

Valdiserri was appointed as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, Infectious Diseases, in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2010. Working closely with the White House, his office oversees national strategies to improve health outcomes for Americans living with HIV, viral hepatitis and other infectious diseases of public health significance.

Valdiserri began his post-residency career with an appointment Director of the Falk Clinic Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh, and held academic appointments within the School of Medicine and Graduate School of Public Health. In this role, he served as Co-Investigator on the National Institute of Health’s prospective study of the natural history of AIDS (Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study) and as Principal Investigator of an HIV prevention research grant funded by the CDC.

He first entered federal service as the Director of the Division of Public Health Laboratory Systems at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He served as the Deputy Director of the National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention from 1996 to 2006, playing a key role in the development of national policies and programs to prevent and control HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis.

Prior to his appointment to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Valdiserri held the position of Chief Consultant for Public Health in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Valdiserri has served on the boards of the Pittsburgh Free Clinic, Pittsburgh Community Health Services, and the Family Health Council of Western Pennsylvania and on the AIDS/STD Task Force of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association. He has written numerous scholarly articles on the scientific, policy and public health aspects of HIV/AIDS, sexually transmissible diseases and viral hepatitis and has authored/edited four academic texts.

Flamenbaum credits his experiences at W&J for making him the person he is today. A dedicated volunteer and Board of Trustees member, his work on campus has impacted the lives of dozens of students and alumni.

Flamenbaum is a generous supporter of the Give It Forward Together Fund, a scholarship fund that helps cover tuition and room and board costs for deserving students in need of financial assistance. He also provides students with career guidance, networking connections, and often is, most importantly, a supportive friend.

He and his wife, Judith, share their W&J camaraderie to New York-area alumni and friends by regularly hosting events in their home. He also served on his 50th reunion committee, helping plan the weekend’s events, encouraging attendance and assisting in raising nearly $1 million for the Class of 1963 Endowed Scholarship Fund.

Flamenbaum is a Managing Director of The Channel Group and Chairman of Griffintown Capital Patners, providing strategic advice to several healthcare companies. He is former founding partner and current partner emeritus of Paul Capital Healthcare Funds, which has invested more than $1 billion in forty investments. He also founded a contract research organization, started a biomedical company, and had senior management responsibilities in a biotechnology company.

He is board certified in internal medicine, nephrology and clinical pharmacology and was a professor of medicine at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine. Flamenbaum served in the U.S. Army at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He earned his medical degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians & Surgeons

George, a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude W&J graduate who earned bachelor of arts degrees in chemistry and English, went on to earn her doctor of philosophy in organic chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 2005. Her doctoral thesis focused on the synthesis of two natural products, and her work was published in the Journal of Organic Chemistry.

George was a Scientist and Project Leader for Procter & Gamble, then at Hoffmann-La Roche, where she managed teams and Discovery Chemistry projects as a Section Head and Lead Chemist. She joined L’Oreal in December 2012, and is currently an Associate Principal Chemist at L’Oreal USA’s Research & Innovation Skin Care Development Laboratories in Clark, New Jersey, where she leads Innovation and Development projects for the Clarisonic brand.

She was awarded a Bristol-Myers Squibb Graduate Fellowship in Synthetic Organic Chemistry and was recognized as a L’Oreal USA For Women in Science Fellow in 2004, one of five doctoral students nationwide to receive that honor.

An accomplished scientific leader with a proven track record for championing innovative collaborations, advancing projects and delivering winning products to the marketplace, George was recognized by the American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Organic Chemistry as a 2014 Young Investigator. She currently serves as the Professional Development Chair of the ACS Board of Directors to the National Executive Women Chemists Committee.

Full profiles of each Alumni Award winner are available online at Jay Connected.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work.

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