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Alumni association presents distinguished graduates with awards

April 10, 2007

By Candice Gaukel Andrews

This year’s Distinguished Alumni Awards program will mark the 71st year that the Wisconsin Alumni Association has honored the university’s most prestigious graduates for their professional achievements, contributions to society, and support of the university.

The 2007 honorees include Jerome Chazen, chair of Chazen Capital Partners in New York; psychotherapist Simona Chazen; Ernest Darkoh, chair of BroadReach Healthcare in Washington, D.C.; Harry Spiegelberg, retired vice president of Kimberly-Clark Corp.; and Frances Shuter Taylor, a former executive vice president at Bank of America.

Susan Chapman, the global head of operations for Citigroup Realty Services in New York, will accept the Distinguished Young Alumni Award, which honors exemplary UW–Madison graduates under the age of 40.

The theme of this year’s program is “Forward. Living.” The 2007 honorees have all worked to move society onward to a better future.

Photo of Simona and Jerome Chazen

Simona and Jerome Chazen

Well-known philanthropists Jerome Chazen and Simona Chivian Chazen grew up surrounded by the arts. While Jerome’s passion for jazz began when he was a boy in New York City, it was an art history course at UW that first interested him in the visual arts. Simona’s love of the arts sprang from her childhood spent in a Victorian home, which her parents decorated with 19th- and early 20th-century antiques.

After earning a bachelor’s degree at UW–Madison in economics and an MBA at Columbia University, Jerome spent many years in the fashion industry. He was one of four founders of Liz Claiborne Inc. He is also the founder and chair of Chazen Capital Partners, a private equity firm in New York.

Simona studied journalism and philosophy at UW–Madison and is a practicing psychotherapist specializing in divorce and abuse issues. She is a board member of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, along with serving on several other arts and charitable boards.

The Chazens were initially attracted to UW–Madison because of the campus’s beauty and reputation for academic excellence, and met here through a mutual friend. Today, their passion for UW continues to grow, and their $20 million gift for the expansion of the Chazen Museum of Art will allow for the arts to have a larger presence on campus and in the community.

Photo of Ernest Darkoh

Ernest Darkoh

Born on the UW–Madison campus and raised in Tanzania and Kenya, Ernest Darkoh triple-majored in biochemistry, chemistry and molecular biology as a UW–Madison undergraduate. He went on to earn an MD and an MPH from Harvard and an MBA from Oxford, and is putting his knowledge to use by helping to address Africa’s major health care problems.

Darkoh is an internationally recognized expert in large-scale HIV/AIDS treatment program implementation. He oversaw the rollout of Africa’s first national ARV treatment plan for AIDS in Botswana. By the time he left the country in 2005, more than 50 percent of qualified patients were on ARVs and the maternal transmission rater was reduced significantly.

Today, Darkoh is co-founder and chair of BroadReach Healthcare, based in Washington, D.C. His expertise is frequently sought by international organizations, including the World Bank and UNICEF. In 2005, Time Magazine named Darkoh one of 18 Global Health Heroes. Twelve other countries are now using Botswana’s model for AIDS treatment.

Photo of Harry Spiegelberg

Harry Spiegelberg

Harry Spiegelberg grew up on a dairy farm west of Appleton, received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from UW in 1959, and went to work for Kimberly-Clark, long one of Wisconsin’s premier corporations, where he spent his entire working career.

Spiegelberg’s initial assignment at Kimberly-Clark was in the pulp-engineering department. In 1961, he was granted leave from the company to attend the Paper Chemistry Institute in Appleton, where he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees. He returned to Kimberly-Clark as a research scientist. In 1967, he was asked to head the New Concepts Laboratory, a small group at the forefront of consumer product research.

By 1985, Spiegelberg had become vice president for consumer tissue research. In 1992, he was named vice president for technology and patent strategy, and in 1993 he became vice president for technology transfer. He retired in 1996.

In his various roles at Kimberly-Clark, Spiegelberg considered recruitment of quality employees key to the growth and survival of the company. To this day, Kimberly-Clark is a major employer of UW graduates.

Photo of Fran Taylor

Fran Taylor

After graduating from UW–Madison with a degree in elementary education, Frances Shuter Taylor spent two years teaching sixth grade in the Indiana public-school system before embarking on a successful career in domestic and international investment banking. Her appointments include three years in Caracas, Venezuela, where she syndicated international jumbo loan transactions for entities throughout Latin America, and four years in Hong Kong as the executive vice president and CEO of Bank of America Asia Ltd. By the time she retired in 1998, Taylor had gone from a small town in Wisconsin to the top ranks of the corporate world.

Currently, Taylor gives her time to serving on numerous boards and supporting groundbreaking businesses. She is a founding member and was the first chair of the International Studies Advisory Board, established in 2003. A member of the Bascom Hill Society, Taylor is involved in a broad range of campus interests, including men’s rowing, business, education, and international studies. She is a former Wisconsin Alumni Association board member and currently a board member of the UW Foundation, where she serves on the governance committee.

Photo of Susan Chapman

Susan Chapman

After earning a bachelor’s in engineering at Vanderbilt and a master’s of regional planning at Amherst, Susan Chapman added a UW–Madison master’s degree in real estate and urban land economics.

Shortly after graduating from UW, Chapman joined Level 3 Communications, an international Internet services company headquartered in Colorado. There, she grew the firm’s real estate acquisitions to more than 13 million square feet. Now at Citigroup Realty Services in New York, she manages the day-to-day operations for 91 million square feet of space in 96 countries.

In 2003, Black Enterprise magazine named Chapman one of the “50 best and brightest” on its list of America’s Most Powerful Players Under 40. In addition to her professional work, Chapman volunteers with nonprofit organizations across the United States and is an active mentor to young people.

This year’s program will be held at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 10, in the Wisconsin Union Theater. For more information on the honorees and the program, or to register, visit

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