2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards Announced

The UMass Amherst Alumni Association has announced the 2014 recipients of its most prestigious recognition for alumni, faculty and friends: the Distinguished Alumni Awards. Alumni Association president Andrew MacDougall will present the awards at noon on Wednesday, April 2 in the Great Hall at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. 

Audie Cornish '01: Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

As a co-host of NPR’s All Things Considered, Cornish has interviewed dozens of newsmakers and pop culture icons. As a general assignment reporter for the Associated Press and a news writer for Boston’s award-winning public radio station WBUR, Cornish covered major national and regional news, including the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks, legalization of same-sex marriage, the Democratic National Convention, Hurricane Katrina and fallout from the sexual abuse scandal in the Boston Roman Catholic Archdiocese.


Jody J. Daniels '93 M.S., '97 Ph.D.: Distinguished Alumni Services Award Recipient

An active duty Brigadier General with the U.S. Africa Command, Daniels is the deputy director responsible for the intelligence and counterintelligence facilitating situational awareness and threat warning and assessment across 54 countries. In her civilian career, Daniels served as the first director of advanced programs for Lockheed Martin's Advanced Technology Laboratories and as strategic level representative for multiple technology areas including cyberspace, human terrain and mobile computing. Daniels holds a B.S. in applied mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University, a M.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from UMass Amherst, and M.S. in strategic studies from the U. S. Army War College.


John T. Saunders lll '06: Distinguished Young Alumni Award Recipient

Saunders manages marketing and operations efforts for Accenture’s nonprofit practice, and serves on the board of advisors for the Institute for the Study of Early Childhood Education. Formerly, Saunders served as the chief program officer for the Institute for Responsible Citizenship and as a consultant for the Office of Financial Empowerment, the non-profit Neighborhood Housing Services of Jamaica, helping devise strategies to educate homebuyers and provide services to homeowners facing foreclosure, and with the Mississippi Center for Justice where he and his teammates assessed Hurricane Katrina damages and made recommendations to local stakeholders on how to redevelop two historic African American communities.


Sheldon Goldman: Distinguished Faculty Award Recipient

One of the nation's leading experts on the politics of judicial selection and confirmation, Goldman is a widely published, award-winning author and beloved teacher. He was recognized with a 2004 Chancellor’s Medal, received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Political Science Association's Law and Courts Section in 2006, and in 2012 was named Distinguished Professor of Political Science. To recognize Goldman's many years of groundbreaking research and teaching, the Political Science Department launched the Goldman Scholarship in his honor, awarded annually to a junior or senior who has excelled in the study of constitutional law, civil liberties and judicial politics.


House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo: Distinguished Honorary Alumni Award Recipient

DeLeo has represented the 19th Suffolk District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives since 1991, becoming speaker of the House in 2009. Last year, DeLeo led the House in passing two major finance bills designed to stimulate economic growth and bolster funding for the University of Massachusetts, state universities and community colleges. The legislation created the innovation investment fund, which provides matching grants to research and development projects sponsored by the state’s universities.