Nine honored at Alumni Award of Merit Gala

On Nov. 3, eight distinguished alumni will receive Awards of Merit, the Creative Spirit Award, and the inaugural Penn Alumni Social Impact Award, and Camille Z. Charles will receive the Faculty Award of Merit.

Top row, left to right: Camilla Z. Charles, Ali Shapiro Cudby, and Judith Browne Dianis. Bottom row, left to right: Richard David Feintuch, Stanley H. Greene, and Brett Andrew Perlmutter.
Top row: Camille Z. Charles, Ali Shapiro Cudby, and Judith Browne Dianis. Middle: Richard David Feintuch, Stanley H. Greene, and Brett Andrew Perlmutter. Bottom: Ann Nolan Reese, Katherine Sachs, and Victor Anthony Scotti Jr. 

The University of Pennsylvania will honor eight distinguished alumni and a faculty member at the 2023 Alumni Award of Merit Gala on Friday, Nov. 3.

Alumni sharing the spotlight will be Ali Shapiro Cudby, Richard David Feintuch, Stanley H. Greene, and Ann Nolan Reese, who will all receive the Alumni Award of Merit, and Brett Andrew Perlmutter and Victor Anthony Scotti, Jr., who will accept Young Alumni Awards. Katherine Sachs will accept the Creative Spirit Award and Judith Browne Dianis will receive the inaugural Penn Alumni Social Impact Award. In addition to the alumni awards, Camille Z. Charles will accept this year’s Faculty Award of Merit.

Ali Shapiro Cudby earned her undergraduate degree from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1991 and an MBA from Wharton in 1997. Cudby is the author of the bestselling book “Keep Your Customers.” She began her career in marketing at The New York Times, Animal Planet TV network, and Gold Digest Magazine Group before starting her own firm. Since 2014, she has been the CEO of Alignmint Growth Strategies. Cudby is recognized for advancing the women of Penn, her leadership and support of the Libraries, and her support and advocacy of the University. For over two decades Cudby has been an active member of the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women, providing leadership as a tri-chair of the Momentum 2021: The Power of Penn Women conference, with 2,300 participants from more than 50 countries representing people from class years 1955 to 2025. She also has been on the Penn Libraries Board of Advisors since 2016, providing philanthropic leadership aimed at innovation and access.

Judith Browne Dianis, Wharton School Class of 1987, is the recipient of the inaugural Penn Alumni Social Impact Award. She is recognized for her pioneering efforts as a civil rights lawyer, racial justice activist, and voting rights expert. Following Penn, she earned her J.D. from Columbia Law School, after which she worked as a managing attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and later as the executive director of the Advancement Project, a nonprofit she helped to found. Her career has focused in areas of criminal justice, education, voting, policing, and immigration—all with a mission to combat structural racism. She has used the legal system to restore voting rights for people with felony convictions in Florida, represent displaced Hurricane Katrina victims in Louisiana, to stop politicians from engaging in voter suppression tactics in Ohio, and to ensure equitable allocation of voting machines in Virginia. Browne Dianis has returned to Penn as a guest speaker on multiple occasions to share her message of hope and social justice. In a 2019 interview with The Pennsylvania Gazette, she said: “We’re in the business of hope. My hope is that we’re building the kind of country we want to see.”

With ties to the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts that go back more than half a century, Richard David Feintuch, Wharton Class of 1974, is recognized for his enduring commitment to Penn and his class, his commitment to the performing arts on campus, and his role in raising the bar in leadership and philanthropy at Penn Live Arts. After graduating from Penn, he earned a J.D. from New York University Law School, where he was executive editor of the Law Review. Feintuch had a distinguished legal career, joining the New York City law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz as an associate, eventually rising to partner. He became a recognized leader in the national practice of bankruptcy, restructuring, and financing, working on some of the most significant legal transactions of the era, until his retirement in 2004. His love of the theatre and Penn is shared by his wife, Merry Henig, also Wharton Class of 1974, with whom he made a gift supporting renovations of the Annenberg Center’s lobby. In 2021, Penn Live Arts dedicated the Feintuch Family Lobby in recognition of their philanthropy and service. Their philanthropy also includes support for Penn’s goals of inclusion and access through the Feintuch Family Endowed Scholarship.

Stanley H. Greene, College Class of 1978, is recognized for his steadfast commitment to Penn athletes past, present, and future, and for outstanding leadership of his class. He is President and CEO of PowerThinking Corp., providing resilience training to clients including major corporations like Aflac and Comcast Corp. His previous leadership positions include vice president at Verizon, director of Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Unclaimed Property, and as deputy state treasurer. His career on the men’s basketball team at Penn culminated in an epic run to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 in his fourth year. Greene continues to support Penn basketball, for nearly a decade on the Basketball Sport Board, and for almost five years as co-chair of the Basketball Alumni Relations Committee. Most recently, he has been on the Athletics Board of the James Brister Society, which helps the University engage alumni of diverse backgrounds as leaders, especially in supporting student athletes, and promoting anti-racism. During the past decade, he has been co-president of the Class of 1978, the reunion chair, and a member of the Alumni Class Leadership Council.

Brett Andrew Perlmutter, College Class of 2009, is recognized as a Young Alumni of Merit for his enduring dedication to Penn and his class, for his advocacy for Penn traditions, and for his commitment to giving back to Penn. After graduating from Penn, he earned a M.Phil. from the University of Cambridge. Following stints as a consultant at McKinsey & Company’s New York office, and a job with Google Cuba, he is now an advisor to Schmidt Futures, which focuses on venture capital, project financing, and pre-IPO deals. At Penn, Perlmutter was class president his sophomore year; was instrumental in building Penn Traditions, a student philanthropy and engagement program; and collaborated with Alumni Relations to establish The Final Toast, when fourth-years rise to alumni status and toast the rising third-years. As an alum Perlmutter co-chaired both the 5th and 10th reunions, and has served on The Penn Fund Executive Board, the Young Alumni Steering Committee, and the Liberal and Professional Studies Employer Advisory Board. He also joined forces with a close friend from Penn to establish the William B. Heyer and Brett A. Perlmutter Scholarship to support undergraduate financial aid.

Ann Nolan Reese, Class of 1974 in what is now the College, is recognized for her service, leadership, and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. After graduating from Penn, Reese went on to earn an MBA and have a successful 25-year career as a finance executive. After stepping away from finance, she stepped up for vulnerable children as co-founder of the Center for Adoption Policy, which aims to remove legal and policy barriers to domestic and intercountry adoption. In her commitment to Penn, Reese has been in many leadership roles over the years, including as Penn Alumni President, service on the Board of Board of Trustees with a term as vice chair, and service on the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women, and the Board of Advisors at the School of Social Policy & Practice. She has also has been a member of James Brister Society, and played a role in the founding of Penn Leadership Q: The LGBTQ+ Pipeline. Informed by her social justice work and experience as a first-generation student, Reese has been committed to engage with diverse alumni groups, foster anti-racist education, and promote broader representation in alumni leadership roles. Her philanthropy across Penn runs the gamut from student aid and program funds to faculty and research support.

Katherine Sachs is the recipient of the 2023 Creative Spirit Award. A member of the Class of 1969 in what is now the College, Sachs is recognized for her unwavering commitment to and support of the arts at Penn and the Philadelphia region, and for her vision and leadership. After graduating with a degree in art history from Penn, she had a successful career as an adjunct curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA). Together with her late husband, Wharton alum Keith Sachs, the couple donated 97 works from their private collection of contemporary art to the PMA in 2014, named the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Collection in their honor. Her leadership at Penn includes service on the Board of Trustees and as chair of the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Board of Advisors. In 2016, Keith and Katherine made a landmark gift establishing The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation which to date has funded over 250 projects, distributed about $1.5 million in artistic and creative support, and supported renovations to the Annenberg Center’s public spaces, including creation of the Arts Lounge in the Feintuch Family Lobby. Previous support of the arts at Penn includes the establishment of the Sachs Professorship in Contemporary Art in the School of Arts & Sciences, the Sachs Guest Curator Program at the ICA, as well as a fund for contemporary art programming, and establishment of a visiting professorship at the Weitzman School of Design.

Victor Anthony Scotti Jr., College Class of 2013, is recognized as a Young Alumni of Merit for his commitment to cultivating diverse, thriving communities, and his philanthropic support ensuring that even more opportunities are available for each successive generation of Penn students. His leadership at Penn began as a student engaging with the LGBT Center; Maaku, the Black Cultural Center; the Civic Scholars Program; and Alpha Phi Alpha. Since graduating from Penn, Scotti has worked at tech companies including Google and Netflix, specializing in the intersection of technology, human resources, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. He also established Moving Mountains, LLC, which provides support, mentorship, and professional experience for young Black men, helping equip them for both their professional and personal lives. Scotti continues to serve Penn, working with the Alumni Interview Program, the Black Alumni Society, Penn Leadership Q, and on the External Advisory Board of the College of Arts and Sciences. He is among the youngest alumni to endow a scholarship, establishing the Scotti Legacy Scholarship Fund in honor of his 10th reunion to promote student body diversity and support students who would otherwise be unable to meet the costs of a Penn education.

This year’s Faculty Award of Merit goes to Camille Zubrinsky Charles, the Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Social Sciences in the Department of Sociology, Graduate School of Education, and the Center for Africana Studies. Charles is being recognized for her passionate advocacy and academic rigor and efforts to improve the lives of Penn’s diverse alumni communities. Her research focuses in the areas of urban inequality, racial attitudes and intergroup relations, racial residential segregation, minorities in higher education, and racial identity, topics explored in the book “Young, Gifted, and Diverse: Origins of the New Black Elite,” which she co-authored. In 2011, she was awarded the James Brister Society’s Dr. Gloria Twine Chisum Award for Distinguished Faculty for her leadership in promoting scholarship and inclusion. She was named the inaugural faculty co-director of Penn First Plus in 2018, working to enhance the academic experiences of Penn students from first-generation, modest-income backgrounds. For over 13 years, Charles has partnered with Alumni Relations as a sought-after panelist at Red and Blue events like Penn Spectrum Weekend, the Penn Alumni Reading Club, Penn Spectrum on the Road, and the annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Symposium.

In addition to the individual awards, the Class of 1993 will receive the Class Award of Merit, and the Class of 1968 will receive the David N. Tyre Award for Excellence in Class Communications. The Regional Club Awards include the Club Award of Merit to the PennNYC, the Innovation Award to the Penn Club of Seattle, The Engagement Award to the Penn & Wharton Club of Panama, and the Community Service Award to the Penn Club of Hong Kong.