North Allegheny Foundation names recipients of 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award
Thursday, November 14, 2019 | 2:19 PM
The North Allegheny Foundation has announced the recipients of its 2020 Distinguished Alumni Award recognizing NA graduates who have made significant contributions to society.
The Foundation will hold a gala Jan. 23 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh in Cranberry to honor the winners. Tickets to the gala cost $65 and are available online.
The following are the nine award winners for 2020:
The Arts — Dan Smyers, Class of 2006, country music singer, Dan + Shay
Dan + Shay is an American country music duo composed of vocalists and songwriters Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney. They are signed to Warner Bros. Records Nashville and have released three albums: Where It All Began, Obsessed, and Dan + Shay.
In Jan. 2018, the duo released the song “Tequila,” the lead single from their self-titled third studio album. “Tequila” has since become their highest-charting effort on the US Billboard Hot 100, with it reaching the Top 40.
Most recently, the duo released the song “10,000 Hours” with singer Justin Bieber. Dan + Shay were also recognized as Vocal Duo of the Year at the 2019 Country Music Association Awards.
Business — Dave Robbins, Class of 1978, former chairman, president, and CEO of BigFix
Robbins has more than 20 years of senior management experience. He is the former chairman, president, and CEO of BigFix, a company acquired by IBM in 2010 for $400 million.
Robbins has extensive executive leadership experience in the enterprise software industry and has led operations and business development efforts at both public and private technology companies over the course of his career.
In 2018, Robbins established the NA/Westminster Scholarship Fund, which offers $5,000 scholarships to NA seniors to attend Westminster College.
Community Service — Steven D’Achille, Class of 2001, philanthropist and founder, Alexis Joy Foundation
D’Achille is on a mission to help new moms battling postpartum depression. D’Achille started a nonprofit, the Alexis Joy Foundation, and began working with Allegheny Health Network and Highmark Health in Pittsburgh to create a new kind of facility, the Alexis Joy D’Achille Center for Perinatal Mental Health.
The Center takes a different approach to perinatal and postpartum mental health by providing two levels of care.
Education — Mark Dollhopf, Class of 1973, president, Dollhopf Associates
Dollhopf is an innovator and pioneer in the field of resource development and alumni relations, working with more than 100 institutions of higher education in the United States and abroad.
He founded and led the highly prestigious International Alliance of Research University Alumni, an initiative formed to coordinate the alumni efforts of Yale, Oxford, Cambridge, Copenhagen, Zurich ETH, Singapore, Tokyo, and Beijing universities.
Government — Melissa Hart, J.D., Class of 1980, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives
Hart is the first Republican woman in history to represent Pennsylvania at the federal level. As a member of the U.S. House, she served on the high-profile House Ways and Means Committee, which has oversight of taxes, trade, welfare programs, health issues and Social Security.
She also served on the Financial Services, Judiciary, Science and Ethics Committees, and served her conference as a Deputy Whip.
Law — Mark Allen, J.D., Class of 1973, director of international and domestic legal, security and government affairs, FedEx
Allen is responsible for directing the international and domestic legal, security and government affairs for FedEx Corporation and its subsidiaries, which includes ensuring that global business activities are conducted in compliance with international, federal, state and local government regulations.
He is also a member of the five-person executive committee that plans and executes the corporation’s strategic initiatives.
Medicine — Mark Lanasa, Ph.D., M.D., Class of 1991, vice president and global development lead, AstraZeneca
Dr. Lanasa earned his medical degree from The University of Pittsburgh and completed residency and fellowship at Duke University in North Carolina specializing in hematology/oncology.
He became an assistant professor of medicine at Duke as both a researcher and a physician in the fight against cancer.
Dr. Lanasa is now the vice president and global development lead for the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. In this role, he travels internationally working with research hospitals and universities in the development of clinical trials to find cures for cancer.
Science — Thomas Braun, DMD, Ph.D., Class of 1965, retired dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine
Dr. Braun has been an active and distinguished researcher throughout his career, with a particular focus on temporomandibular joint diseases and the reconstruction of facial deformities.
His many accomplishments include pioneering scientific work on the ways in which blood vessels regenerate after major facial surgery. Dr. Braun developed a ground-breaking procedure for the reconstruction of temporomandibular joints after trauma or arthritis by utilizing adjacent muscle transfer, an advance tied directly to his scientific research.
While at Pitt, he created the Center for Patients with Special Needs within the School of Dental Medicine. It was the first center of its kind to be created and remains the most active center of care for special needs dental patients across a region that includes not only Pennsylvania but also Ohio, West Virginia, and Western New York.
40 & Under — Kirsten Lin, M.D., Class of 1998, Family Matters Direct Primary Care
As a young physician/entrepreneur, Dr. Kirsten Lin is thinking outside the box to improve health-care delivery to people in the Pittsburgh area.
She has pioneered the concept of direct primary care in this region with her own medical practice, and she is leading the charge to help other disenfranchised physicians do the same.
All of her efforts are performed with one goal in mind: making health care safer, more effective, more affordable and a better experience for patients.