University of Pittsburgh
February 20, 2012

Pitt Alumni Association Selects 2012 Distinguished Alumni Fellows

The honorees—Patricia D. Horoho, John M. Petersen, and David A. Tepper—will be recognized at Pitt’s Feb. 24 Honors Convocation, at which the University will launch its observance of the 225th anniversary of its founding
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association has selected Patricia D. Horoho (NURS ’92G), U.S. Army lieutenant general and U.S. Army surgeon general and commanding general; John M. Petersen (BUS ’51), retired president and CEO of Erie Insurance Group; and David A. Tepper (A&S ’78), president and founder of Appaloosa Management, as 2012 Distinguished Alumni Fellows. Given to Pitt graduates for outstanding professional achievement and community service, the recognition will be bestowed during the University’s 36th Annual Honors Convocation, at 3 p.m. Feb. 24 in Carnegie Music Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

Also at this year’s Honors Convocation, the University will launch the celebration of the 225th anniversary of its founding on Feb. 28, 1787. Mark A. Nordenberg, the University’s 17th chancellor, will deliver the keynote address at the convocation, which recognizes undergraduate, graduate, and professional student academic achievement; student leadership; and the accomplishments of faculty, staff, and alumni. Faculty and staff are recognized through the presentation of annual Chancellor’s awards, including the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award, Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award, and the Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in Service to the Community and in Service to the University.

Brief biographies of the alumni honorees follow.

On Dec. 5, 2011, Horoho assumed command of the U.S. Army Medical Command and was sworn in Dec. 7 as the 43rd Surgeon General of the Army, the first nurse and first woman to hold that post.

From the position of U.S. Army staff nurse in 1982, Horoho has risen to serve in many leadership roles, including commander of the Western Regional Medical Command in Fort Lewis, Wash; commander of the Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash.; commander of the Walter Reed Health Care System; and commander of the DeWitt Health Care Network at Fort Belvoir, Va. She also was deputy surgeon general in the Office of the Surgeon General and 23rd Chief of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, and she was deployed to Afghanistan as special assistant to the commander.

While holding the rank of colonel, Horoho became the first woman and first nurse to command the Walter Reed Health Care System. She coordinated the health care needs of approximately 150,000 service personnel, family members, and retirees in the national capital area and oversaw an integrated health system that included its hub, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and 10 military facilities in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

When two aircraft collided in midair at Pope Air Force Base in 1994, Horoho was one of the first medical personnel to respond and triage the wounded, leading the emergency responders who cared for the critically injured soldiers. She also took charge of the wounded when terrorists crashed a plane into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

Horoho, a native of Fayetteville, N.C., and now a resident of Virginia, enrolled in Pitt’s School of Nursing when she came to Pittsburgh to serve as nurse counselor of the 1st Recruiting Brigade. In addition to receiving her MS degree from Pitt, Horoho earned her BA degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a resident graduate of the Army’s Command and General Staff College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, where she earned a second MS degree in national resource strategy.

A Pitt 2007 Legacy Laureate, Horoho is a highly decorated officer of the armed services. She was named 2009 USO Woman of the Year in recognition of her distinguished service, and in 2010 she was awarded the Margaret Cochran Corbin Award by the Daughters of the American Revolution for her achievements and influence on women leaders.

Petersen, a native of Erie, Pa., spent 33 years with the Erie Insurance Group, joining the company in 1962 as an accountant and becoming the company’s first investment officer. Under Petersen’s leadership, the company’s property/casualty assets grew from $20 million in 1962 to more than $4.6 billion at the time of his retirement, in 1995. Prior to working for Erie Insurance Group, Petersen was an accountant with the General Electric Company for 11 years in Fairfield, Conn. Petersen also cofounded and was director of Spectrum Control Inc.

With his wife, Gertrude, Petersen helped to make Pitt’s John M. and Gertrude E. Petersen Events Center a reality. The athletics facility has enhanced student life on campus since its completion in 2002. Hailed as one of the finest basketball arenas in the country, the Petersen Events Center provides recreation and fitness facilities and hosts concerts as well as the University’s annual commencement. In 2008, the Petersens created an endowment supporting research in nanoscale science and technology at Pitt’s Institute of NanoScience and Engineering, now the Gertrude E. and John M. Petersen Institute of NanoScience and Engineering. Most recently, a 2009 gift from the Petersens supported the construction of the Petersen Sports Complex, built on 12 acres of Pitt’s upper campus. The complex provides state-of-the-art homes for the Panther baseball, softball, and men’s and women’s soccer teams. While a Pitt student, Petersen, a U.S. Army veteran who attended on the GI Bill, lettered as a member of Pitt’s swimming and diving team. He also was among the first students to live on campus during a time when most students commuted to Pitt. 

A member of Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning Society and a Pitt 2000 Legacy Laureate, Petersen has extended his philanthropy to other areas of the University, supporting scholarships and activities in the College of Business Administration and the Department of Athletics.  

In addition to making the University the beneficiary of their generosity, the Petersens have endowed 31 scholarships for students from the center-city area of Erie who are graduates of either Strong Vincent High School, Mrs. Petersen’s alma mater, or East High School, Mr. Petersen’s alma mater. The awards generate about $5,000 per student. Four of the scholarships are for students who have a B average or less; the others are for students who are accepted to college and successfully complete their first semester, allowing them to keep the scholarship. The East High School foyer wall displays Petersen’s name as well as the words “Leader, Philanthropist, and Student Advocate.”

Tepper—widely recognized as one of Wall Street’s leading investors and one of the nation’s most successful hedge-fund managers—is a native of Pittsburgh’s Stanton Heights neighborhood. In 1993, he cofounded Appaloosa Management, a $3 billion hedge fund investment firm in New Jersey, where he now lives. The firm invests in debt and equity securities on behalf of individuals, foundations, universities, and organizations.   

Tepper chose Pitt to earn his undergraduate degree, as did his mother, Roberta Tepper, who was a teacher, graduating from the University’s School of Education in 1953. In 1978, he graduated with honors with a Pitt BA degree in economics; he was a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society that recognizes students for outstanding leadership and service in extracurricular activities.

After earning his Pitt degree, Tepper took a position as a credit and securities analyst for Equibank. He enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University in 1980, earning an MBA degree there in 1982. He then joined the treasury department of Republic Steel in Ohio, where he worked for two years before being recruited to Keystone Mutual Funds, now a division of Evergreen Funds, in Boston. A year later, in 1985, Tepper joined Goldman Sachs’ newly formed high-yield group as a credit analyst. He spent eight years at the firm, quickly becoming the head trader on the high-yield desk.

Tepper’s generosity and commitment to Pitt is demonstrated through the establishment of the David A. Tepper Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship in the Department of Economics in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, the Tepper Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship Fund in the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, and the Tepper Endowed Fund in the Dietrich School. He also has supported student athletes through the Tepper Men’s Basketball Endowment as well as various community programs, including the Pitt Graduate School of Public Health’s College-After-School-Team at Peabody High School, his alma mater, and Student Volunteer Outreach and America Reads in Pitt’s Division of Student Affairs.   

Tepper and his wife, Marlene, were inducted into the Cathedral of Learning Society in 2008. In addition to providing philanthropic support for the University, Tepper has contributed generously to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, and the Robin Hood Foundation.

Tepper serves as a member of the Carnegie Mellon University Board of Trustees, the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business Board of Advisors, and various boards and committees for nonprofit organizations throughout the New York and New Jersey region.

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