Top alumni in 2022
Graphic designed by Jess Collins June 02, 2022
Blue Hen alumni are honored by the UD Alumni Association
The University of Delaware Alumni Association (UDAA) announced the 2022 recipients of the Alumni Wall of Fame Awards and the Outstanding Alumni Awards. The recipients will be honored at a celebration on Friday, June 3, during Alumni Weekend.
Alumni Wall of Fame Awards
In recognition of the many notable achievements of its alumni, the UDAA, in partnership with the University, established the Alumni Wall of Fame in 1984. The Alumni Wall of Fame recognizes outstanding professional and public service achievements by UD graduates. This year’s recipients are Michael J. Carragher, Class of 1984; Robert L. Hilliard, Class of 1948; Cynthia Primo Martin, Classes of 1969 (undergraduate degree) and 1971 (graduate degree); David G. Raymond, Class of 1979; and Jacqueline Richter-Menge, Classes of 1979 (undergraduate degree) and 1981 (graduate degree).
Michael J. Carragher, Class of 1984, is chairman of the Board and chief executive officer and president of VHB, a multidisciplinary civil engineering consulting and design firm. He is the first non-founder president of the company in its 43-year history.
“Mike has led the company through one of its most transformational, successful and strategic periods of growth and technological advancement,” said Richard E. Hangen, Class of 1962, retired CEO and co-founder of VHB. “His leadership is propelling VHB’s diverse team of engineers, planners, designers and scientists forward to meet increasing challenges in the face of climate change, the pandemic and the need for social equity in our built environment.”
In 2021, Carragher was named CEO of the year by Environmental Financial Consulting Group, the leading adviser to architecture, engineering and construction firms.
At the University of Delaware, Carragher supports various diversity and first-generation student initiatives and has been a member of the Career Acceleration Network since 2017. He received an Outstanding Alumni Award from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) in 2016, recognizing his achievement in leadership, management, entrepreneurial efforts, mentoring and service. He also served as chairman of the University’s advisory council of the CEE department and was selected as the CEE 2021 Arnold Kerr lecture speaker.
“Mike’s presentation resonated with the audience and with me,” said Jack Puleo, professor and chair, Department of CEE. “He stated that we need to be passionate and focused on our world’s built environment, bending toward a sustainable, resilient and equitable future. His passion and focus are what we hope to instill in our graduates.”
Robert L. Hilliard, Class of 1948, a World War II Purple Heart veteran, transferred to the University of Delaware from the City University of New York in 1942 to take advantage of the one-on-one faculty mentoring.
Then, his studies took a hiatus as he served in World War II, during which he played a role in saving the lives of thousands of Holocaust survivors and earned a Purple Heart. Hilliard has shared his story about the Holocaust in both a PBS documentary called A Force for Freedom: The Robert Hilliard Story and in his memoir Surviving the Americans: The Continued Struggle of the Jews After Liberation.
Returning to UD in 1946, Hilliard took a course on script writing, which shifted his career aims from law to writing. He also participated in UD’s E-52 Student Theatre, which influenced his professional career in theatre and began a lifelong relationship and mentorship with Dr. Robert Kase. To date, he has published more than 40 books and written 25 plays. He had a successful career in theatre, radio and television and as a newspaper reporter and editor before becoming a communications professor. He was employed in public and private sectors full time until the age of 82 and has been active as a writer, playwright and journalist in the 14 years since.
From 1964 to 1980, Hilliard served as chief of educational/public broadcasting at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. He worked in Japan, Tanzania and the Soviet Union to develop educational television systems and new media laws.
“He contributed to the policies and activities of the U.S. Department of State by serving as a consultant to and lecturer in many foreign counties, raising the positive profile of the United States and solidifying its economic and cultural relations with those countries,” said his wife Joanne Reece Hilliard.
At Emerson College, where Hilliard is professor emeritus, he introduced courses that became international focal points, serving as models for replication in higher education. Hilliard has given lectures and speeches at UD and has maintained professional and personal relationships with Delaware alumni and participates in regional alumni events. He also gives at the leadership level as a Delaware Diamonds Society donor.
Cynthia Primo Martin, who received a bachelor’s in 1969 and a master’s in 1971, is a retired nonprofit executive specializing in agency management, fund development and marketing. Earlier in her career, she served as a corporate human resources officer for a major insurance company.
Martin founded Trustees of Color, an organization that works to ensure board diversity by expanding the pool of people of color to serve on Delaware’s nonprofit boards through recruitment, training and support to boards and candidates. At the University of Delaware, she served as a member of the Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2013. In 2021, she wrote and published The Handbook for Nonprofit Leadership: Recruiting, Training and Engaging Trustees of Color.
“Cynthia has been a trailblazer and champion of the rights of women and people of color in Delaware,” said Fatima Conley, vice president of the Office of Institutional Equity and chief diversity officer at the University of Delaware. “She believes that it is incumbent upon the older generation of civil rights activists to mentor younger professionals who are passionate about social justice issues.”
In 2017, Martin was awarded the University of Delaware’s Medal of Distinction for her leadership in local and global communities as a change agent for inclusion of women and people of color. She has also served with numerous nonprofit organizations.
“Cynthia’s commitment to insisting structural racism and implicit bias be confronted is vital to our institutions and our country living up to the ideals upon which democracy stands,” said Raye Jones Avery, Class of 1977, in her nomination of Martin for the award.
David G. Raymond, Class of 1979, best known for being the original Phillie Phanatic from 1978 to 1994, redefined the world of live character performance by creating a personality for what has become the most beloved mascot in sports history.
“During his 16 years performing as the Phanatic in 48 states and five countries, Dave’s charismatic showmanship carried the Philadelphia Phillies to World Series victories and unimagined levels of popularity, sparking a revolution in the mascot industry,” said Thomas Shumosic, Class of 2006.
Using his experience as the Phanatic, Raymond stepped into the entrepreneurial world of mascot development, founding Raymond Entertainment Group. He has designed and rehabilitated hundreds of character brands for Fortune 500 companies, sports teams and colleges and universities. He even helped designed the second most-loved Philadelphia mascot, Gritty.
In 2005, Raymond founded the Mascot Hall of Fame. He also gives motivational speeches to Corporate America about The Power of Fun, which is a book he has written about how he overcame some of his own challenges in life and how others can harness fun to become happier, healthier and more productive at home and at work.
Raymond has remained active with Delaware Football — he was a successful punter himself as he played for his father, the Delaware legendary football coach Tubby Raymond — and makes frequent appearances on campus with the sports marketing major, economic classes as well as the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the Wilmington campus. You can read more about Dave Raymond here.
Jacqueline Richter-Menge, who received a bachelor’s degree in 1979 and a master’s degree in 1981, is a research civil engineer, focusing on the impact of a warming climate on the Arctic environment, with an emphasis on the sea ice cover.
She made her first trip to the Arctic in 1982. Her Arctic career as a research engineer launched in 1981 when she joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, where she worked for more than 35 years. She has produced more than 80 publications in scholarly journals and has shared her knowledge in the classroom.
“A particularly rewarding element of my work is educational outreach, teaching students and the general public about the polar environment and the particularly pronounced effects of global warming on this region,” Richter-Menge said.
From 2005 to 2020, she served as an editor for an annual state of the Arctic report and web-based Arctic Report Card for the NOAA Climate Program Office. She also chairs the Submarine Arctic Science Program (SCICEX) Science Advisory Committee, supporting a unique partnership between the operational Navy and civilian research community in the collection of environmental data. She has led or participated in more than 25 field programs in the Arctic.
Richter-Menge was appointed by Presidents Obama and Biden to serve on the U.S. Arctic Research Commission 2016–2020 and 2021–present, respectively. She is also a three-time recipient of the U.S. Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service.
“Jackie is an incredibly impactful research engineer and scientist working on issues that are so crucial to helping the world address one of the most pressing challenges of our time, climate change,” said Michael J. Chajes, dean of the University of Delaware Honors College and professor of civil and environmental engineering.
At the University of Delaware, she served on the Board of Trustees as a graduate student from 1979 to1981 and on the College of Engineering Advisory Board from 1997 to 2008. She is also a third-generation Blue Hen.
Outstanding Alumni Awards
The Outstanding Alumni Awards are presented annually to an alumnus and alumna in recognition of their exemplary work on behalf of the University of Delaware and/or the UDAA. This year’s recipients are Anne Giacoma Barretta, Class of 1983, and Steven C. Beattie, Class of 1987.
Anne Giacoma Barretta, Class of 1983, is an award-winning instructor and professor in the communications departments of William Paterson University and Ramapo College in New Jersey, teaching journalism, media, strategic writing and public relations. She has worked externally with commercial public relations firms to enhance student practical learning outside the class and has served as faculty liaison for many student organizations.
Growing up, Barretta attended football games with her Double Del parents, who were season ticket holders. Her love for the University continued first as a student and then as an alumna and a Double Del herself. She served on the UDAA Board of Directors in many roles, including as president from 2015 to 2017. She served many years with the Volunteer Admissions Support Team and actively participates in events hosted by the Northern New Jersey and New York City Blue Hen Networks.
“It was evident from her UD undergrad days that Anne has been committed, dedicated and supports the University, students and others involved at UD,” said Charles J. Hanna, Class of 1984. “She has continued this focus and energy since graduating through her leadership in UDAA and many other areas where she has demonstrated giving back to others in both her career and personal activities. She continues to be a great role model and leader in giving back and leading UD causes.”
Beyond UD, Barretta’s community service extends to membership and leadership roles for Friends of the Brandywine Creek State Park, Brandywine Conservancy, American Red Cross and Bergen County Horse Recue, about which she is particularly passionate.
Barretta is also an accomplished writer and has been published in journals such as New Jersey Journal of Communication, ecampusNews and Working Journalism.
Steven C. Beattie, Class of 1987, is partner and principal at Ernst & Young, with more than 30 years of financial services experience supporting global financial services firms as they deal with risk, control and regulatory challenges. In addition to being one of the original architects of Ernst & Young’s anti-money laundering and sanctions consulting practice, he is also the risk leader for the company’s market leading support related to digital assets and cryptocurrencies.
At the University of Delaware, he served on the UD Alumni Association Board of Directors for eight years including a term as its president. He remains a volunteer as a mentor and advocate for UD students. He is currently a member of the Audit Visiting Committee for the UD Board of Trustees.
"Steve was the key ambassador with UD administration and the Board of Trustees to get the UDAA Alumni Circle project approved and financed,” said Lauren Simione, associate vice president of alumni engagement at UD. “He visited campus and attended meetings and had phone calls with the landscape architect, contractors, other vendors and UD facilities for hours well beyond what is typical for a UDAA president.”
Even as a student at UD, Beattie went above and beyond, receiving the Alexander J. Taylor Award for Outstanding Senior that recognized him for his leadership, academic success and community service.
The ways in which he is involved at UD are seemingly limitless: He serves as a mentor to students, served as a reunion committee ambassador for his class’s 25th reunion and gives to UD at the leadership level in the Delaware Diamonds Society. As a former UD varsity swimmer, he also went on to fund an Athletics scholarship.
Beattie is also a Double Del with Kimberly Beattie, Class of 1987.
The Alumni Award recipients will be recognized along with the recipients of the 2022 Warner and Taylor Awards for Outstanding Seniors, whom you can read about here.