Posted August 2022

This year, seven of BU’s most influential alumni will receive the prestigious Distinguished Alumni Awards and Young Alumni Award. These awards recognize alumni who are working to change the world in their fields. In preparation for Alumni Weekend 2022’s 74th Best of BU Alumni Awards ceremony, we’re highlighting the impressive achievements of these accomplished Terriers.

Distinguished Alumni Awards

Malcolm Coles (CAS’66) recently retired from his post as the acting CEO of AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism. Nominated by President Biden, he served in this role until January 2022. His impressive career in public service has spanned 16 administrations under 11 presidents and has included senior-level positions with the Office of Economic Opportunity, the ACTION Agency, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. A native of Reading, Massachusetts, Coles earned his BA in biology from Boston University’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1966 before beginning his career in service in 1967, as a VISTA Volunteer and Leader assigned to the White Mountain Apache Tribal Council. His passion for volunteerism is not limited to public service—he has started two nonprofit organizations and served on the boards of more than a dozen others.

Dr. Cherae Farmer-Dixon (SDM’14) has served as dean of the Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry in Nashville, Tennessee, since 2013. She is the school’s third woman to hold that position. Born in Indianola, Mississippi, she earned her BS in biology from Mississippi Valley State University in 1986 and went on to earn her DDS and MS in public health from Meharry Medical College. In 2014, Dr. Dixon earned her Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in dental public health from BU’s Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.

Gina Ortiz Jones (GRS’03, Pardee’03) is the under secretary of the United States Air Force. A first-generation American and the daughter of a single mother from the Philippines, she was raised in San Antonio, Texas. After attending Boston University on a four-year ROTC scholarship, in 2003 Jones earned a BA in East Asian studies and a BA and MA in economics. As Air Force under secretary, Jones is responsible for organizing, training, and equipping US Air and Space Forces, and for the well-being of about 700,000 active-duty, guard, reserve, and civilian airmen and guardians around the world. She was confirmed as President Biden’s nominee in July 2021.

Howard Moore, Jr. (LAW’60) is a prominent civil rights attorney originally from Atlanta, Georgia. In the 1960s and 1970s, he handled a number of key cases that set vital precedents in freedom of speech and civil rights. After earning his BA in political science from Morehouse College in 1954, Moore served in the US Army for two years before earning his LLB from Boston University’s School of Law in 1960. His impressive legal career began with his role as clerk for US District Court Judge Charles Wyzanski before he returned to Atlanta to join the prominent Black law firm of Hollowell and Ward in 1962. Soon after, he established his own firm called Moore, Alexander, and Rindskopf. Moore’s legal cases include Georgia v. Peacock and Georgia v. Rachel, Supreme Court victories in 1966 that used federal civil action to counter unconstitutional attempts to use state law to prevent citizens from exercising their rights. In the 1970s, Moore represented political activist and academic Angela Davis. After moving to California, he spent the next decades in the Bay Area working on cases related to employment discrimination and other civil rights issues.

Drew Weissman (GRS’87, Chobanian & Avedisian’87), a Lexington, Massachusetts, native, earned his BA and MA in 1981 from Brandeis University, where he majored in biochemistry and enzymology. He earned his MD and PhD from the BU Aram V. Chobanian & Edward Avedisian School of Medicine and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences in 1987, while working in immunology and microbiology. Now a professor of medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Weissman is an international leader in RNA biology and serves as the Roberts Family Professor in Vaccine Research, the director of the Penn Institute for RNA Innovation, the director of vaccine research in the Infectious Diseases Division, and the co-director of the Penn Center for AIDS Research. His research helped lay the groundwork for the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Retired Lt. Col. Enoch Woodhouse (LAW’55), one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, grew up in the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston. He enlisted in the US Army in 1944 and was commissioned as a finance officer for the Tuskegee Airmen, the noted group that played a pivotal role in the early integration of the US Armed Forces. During World War II, Black soldiers trained as aviators under segregated conditions in Tuskegee, Alabama, and proved themselves among the most accomplished pilots in the US Army Air Forces. After leaving active duty in the Army Air Corps, Woodhouse joined the Air Force Reserve. While a reservist, he earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1952 and his degree from Boston University School of Law in 1955. He worked as a trial lawyer in private practice in Boston and as an attorney in the US State Department and for the city of Boston for more than 40 years.

Young Alumni Award

Lina González-Granados (CFA’20) made her conducting debut in 2008 with the Youth Orchestra of Bellas Artes. She has since earned a master’s degree in conducting with Charles Peltz, a graduate diploma in choral conducting from the New England Conservatory with Erica Washburn, and a Doctor of Musical Arts in orchestral conducting from Boston University’s College of Fine Arts. González-Granados is now resident conductor of the Los Angeles Opera, where she has earned international recognition, including the 2021 Sphinx Medal of Excellence. She also serves as the artistic director of Unitas Ensemble, a chamber orchestra she founded that performs the works of Latinx composers and provides access to free community performances for underserved communities.

Join us for the 74th Best of BU Alumni Awards on Saturday, October 1.

Register Here