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GRAPHIC:  About AlumniIn the University’s service

When Alumni Service Medals, recognizing a lifetime of outstanding contributions to Chicago, were presented to Robert Feitler, X’50, and Joan Feitler, AM’55, during an Alumni Weekend convocation in Rockefeller Chapel, Bob Feitler responded by thanking the institution: “The true reward,” he said, “has been my seven-decade relationship with the University.”

IMAGE: Robert and Joan Feitler
Dan Dry

Robert and Joan Feitler

That relationship began in 1935, with first grade at the Laboratory Schools. Feitler, who entered the College after graduating from Lab in 1945—but left in 1948, earning a business degree at Penn’s Wharton School and a law degree from Harvard—has remained a loyal Lab grad, helping to design and build the new Kovler Gymnasium, recruiting students, and serving on the planning committee for his 50th high school reunion in 1996, also the Lab Schools’ centennial.

In 1991 he joined the University’s Board of Trustees; the next year he joined the board of the University Medical Service, and he is now a Life Trustee. As a University trustee, he cochaired the committee that developed the most recent campus master plan.

Joan Feitler, who earned her master’s degree in sociology in 1955, began her volunteer career soon after. A member of the Women’s Board Steering Committee since 1993, in 2000 she was elected the board’s chair. During her tenure the board raised a record-breaking $1.25 million to support student life, faculty research and teaching, and community outreach. She also has served on the Court Theatre board and the Social Sciences Visiting Committee.

In 1974 the couple was instrumental in establishing the Smart Museum of Art in memory of her uncles, David and Alfred Smart, founders of Esquire magazine. Thirty years later Robert Feitler continues to serve on the board. In 1997 the Feitlers endowed the Dana Feitler Smart Museum Directorship in memory of their daughter. The Feitlers also are members of the Visiting Committee on the Visual Arts, which Robert has chaired.

Six other graduates were also honored for their U of C dedication. The winner of the Young Alumni Service Citation, Julianne Sawyier Migely, AB’91, AM’02, cochaired the class of 1991’s fifth and tenth reunions, helped lead the Young Alumni Task Force, and volunteered for Career and Placement Services, helping select undergraduates for Metcalf Fellows Program internships.

One of five Alumni Service citation winners, Elaine Spiesberger Frank, AB’38, has belonged to the Visiting Committee for the School of Social Service Administration for 20-plus years and has been active on the Women’s Board since 1981. With her son, University trustee Jim Frank, she funds the Frank Scholars, a program that provides scholarships for students in the MD/PhD program.

A basketball standout as an undergrad, John Phelps Davey, AB’61, JD’62, was president of the Graduate Order of the C from 1996 to 2003. During his tenure he chaired the committee that selected the first inductees into Chicago’s Athletics Hall of Fame, inaugurated with the 2003 opening of the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center.

Leah Lehrer, PhD’68, has helped lead the New York alumni club for a quarter century; as club treasurer for more than two decades, she maintained an almost perfect record of attendance at the monthly club meetings. In addition to hosting local alumni events, she has attended the annual Phoenixphest, welcoming each new generation of alumni to New York.

A past president of the Chicago-area alumni club, Kenneth Levin, AB’68, MBA’74, has led reunion planning for the class of 1968, chairing his 20th program committee and cochairing his 30th and 35th committees. The GSB’s delegate to the University’s Executive Council (later the Alumni Board of Governors, on which he also served), Levin belonged to the Visiting Committee of the Social Sciences Division.

An honors student who made Order of the C in wrestling and football—and was a cheerleader for the women’s basketball team—J. Douglas Richards, AB’77, helped raise funds for the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center and cochaired his 25th reunion’s class gift campaign. The New York litigator has provided internships for undergraduates interested in law through the Metcalf Fellows Program and volunteers with the Alumni Careers Network.—M.R.Y.


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