he Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 1978 to honor a graduate of PDS/USN who has made outstanding professional or civic achievements on a local, national, or international level. Recipients have included authors, educators, researchers, musicians, and volunteer leaders. In addition to honoring these individuals, the award brings them to the attention of the PDS/USN community and the city at large. Their accomplishments serve as an inspiration to students and graduates and as a reminder to the citizens of Nashville of the high-quality education that has long been a tradition at our school.
Recipients of the PDS/USN Distinguished Alumni Award: 1979 - Stanford Moore '31
Scientist and recipient of the 1972 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. (deceased) 1980 - Ethel Walker '27
Pediatrician from 1943-1993. Vanderbilt School of Medicine's first woman Founder's Medalist, 1936. (deceased) 1981 - Merrimon Cuninggim '27
Educator and former President of the Danforth Foundation. Former President of Salem College. Rhodes Scholar. (deceased) 1982 - Louis Rosenfeld '29
Surgeon. Clinical Professor of Surgery at Vanderbilt University. (deceased) 1983 - Robert K. Massie '46
Author. Recipient of the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Biography of Peter the Great. Author of Nicholas & Alexandra
. Rhodes Scholar. (deceased)1984 - Lucius Burch '30
Attorney. Civil rights activist and conservationist. (deceased) 1985 - Bruce Henderson '32
Business leader. Retired Founder and Chairman of the Board, Boston Consulting Group. (deceased) 1986 - J. Andrew Brown '31
Rear Admiral (Ret.), United States Navy. (deceased)1986 - Mary Phillips Edmonds Gray '31
Medical Educator. Experimental Pathologist, Vanderbilt School of Medicine. (deceased) 1987 - Willis D. Weatherford '33
Educator. Former Dean of Carleton College. Former President of Berea College. (deceased) 1988 - Peggy Weil Steine '37
Civic leader. Dedicated to community service and volunteerism. (deceased) 1989 - Vernon H. Sharp '24
Business leader, naturalist, and conservationist. (deceased) 1990 - John W. Taylor '24
Educator. Former President of the University of Louisville, and former Deputy Director General of UNESCO. (deceased) 1991 - Kay George Roberts '68
Violinist and conductor. First woman to receive a doctorate in orchestral conducting from Yale University. 1992 - David A. Vise '78
Journalist and author. Recipient of the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for excellence in business journalism. 1993 - Olaf Grobel '52
Senior Foreign Service Officer dedicated to European affairs and arms control, US Department of State. Rhodes Scholar. (deceased)1994 - Elden Gatwood, Jr. '44
Musician. First oboist in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Developed degree program in Bagpipe at Carnegie Mellon University. (deceased)1994 - Ann Festerwald Eisenstein '37
Volunteer. Dedicated to public education, children's health and welfare issues. (deceased) 1995 - Russ Freeman '78
Musician, songwriter, and producer. Founder and leader of contemporary jazz group, The Rippingtons, started his own record label, Peak Records. 1996 - Margaret Gooch Duffy '30
Retired. Red Cross volunteer. (deceased) 1997 - May Werthan Shayne '52
Research Associate for Public Policy Studies. Co-author of two books. Chairman of the Board of WPLN Educational Foundation. (deceased) 1998 - Henry S. Nelson '39
Global Physician, Missionary, Author who dedicated his life to humanitarian contributions to his community, both local and international. (deceased)1999 - Ned Davis
'63 Technical stock market analyst. Founder of Ned Davis Research, Inc.; author of several investment guides. 2000 - MacRae Fort Linton
'74 Physician and researcher. 2001 - Heather Anne Warren
'77 Nashville's first female Rhodes Scholar and Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. 2002 - Huell Howser
'63 Producer/Host of the Public Broadcasting System's California's Gold, featuring travel and local interest programming and shown nationwide on local PBS stations. (deceased)2003 - James Coddington '70
Agnes Gund Chief Conservator, Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, NY, NY. 2004 - Mary Lee McCharen DiSpirito '56
Lifelong Community Volunteer. 2005 - Amy Kurland '73
Owner of the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, pioneering contributor to the vitality of music in Nashville. 2006 - John Trice Nixon '51
Judge, US District Court since 1980, Chief Judge from 1991-1998, Senior Judge 1998-Present. (deceased)2007- John Medwedeff '80
Sculptor and metalsmith, Murphysboro, Illinois.2008 - Kate Ransom '75
, president of the Wilmington Music School/Delaware Music School and violinist with the Serafin String Quartet, and William Ransom '76
, Emerson Professor of Piano at Emory University and Artistic Director of the Emory Chamber Music Society. 2009 - Luther Harrell '68,
Chief Physician for the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Neighborhood Services Division.2010 - Greg Downs '89,
award-winning fiction writer and historian.2011- Gideon Yu '89, former CFO of Facebook and YouTube.
2012 - Michael Puett '82, Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University.
2013 - Jenny Boucek '92, WNBA pioneer and coach.
2014 - Del R. Bryant '66
, former President of BMI.2015 - Kimberly Steadman '93
, co-director of the Brooke Charter Schools2016 - Edward J. Masuoka '70
, Chief of Terrestrial Information Systems Laboratory at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.2017 - Lisa Gurevitch Cohen '84,
Senior Supervising Producer at CNN International.
2018 - Marshall Moutenot '09
, co-founder of Upstream Tech2019 - Kenneth Jost '65,
author and journalist, 3 decades compiling the CQ Supreme Court Yearbook.
2020 - Allison Fundis '99, Chief Operation Officer of Ocean Exploration Trust.
2021 - Ivanetta Davis Samuels '86, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for Meharry Medical College.
2022 - Michael D. Shmerling '73, Founder and Board Chair, Abe's Garden; Chairman of Clearbrook Holdings Corp; entrepreneur.
Nominations for future recognition are encouraged and should be addressed to Alumni Director Leigh Ivey Hicks '05
, 2000 Edgehill Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212.