Mt. Lebanon High School
2012 GREAT ALUMNI AWARDS
The Great Alumni Award is a project of the Mt. Lebanon High School Student Council. Administrators, faculty, students, and alumni serve on the selection committee. The recipients of the Great Alumni Award are selected based on exceptional work in at least one of the following areas: improvement in the lives of others, involvement in community service or achievement in a professional field.
The awardees will be honored at a luncheon in the High School on September 14, 2012 and at the football game that evening.
CHARLES R. BRODBECK CLASS OF 1967
Nominated by: fellow Mt. Lebanon alumnus Larry Lebowitz
Chuck Brodbeck has enjoyed a distinguished legal career while being actively involved in the Mt. Lebanon and Pittsburgh communities. A partner in the law firm of Cohen & Grigsby specializing in finance and real estate, he was named "Pittsburgh Public Finance Lawyer of the Year" for 2011 by The Best Lawyers in America. Despite the demands of his legal career, Chuck currently serves as immediate past Chairman and board member of Phipps Conservatory and as Treasurer and board member of the Eye & Ear Foundation. He previously served as President and board member of Outreach Teen and Family Services and as a board member of the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children. Chuck received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his law degree from Northwestern University. One of his fondest high school memories occurred during his senior year when he was the starting center on Mt. Lebanon's first WPIAL championship football team. Nominator Larry Lebowitz's stated that "Chuck is one of those rare people, who, through intelligence, an incredible work ethic, integrity, impeccable character and commitment to his community, is able to succeed not only professionally but also to give back to his community."
TODD DePASTINO CLASS OF 1984
Nominated by: M.A. Jackson and Gwyn Cready, fellow board members and alumni
Todd DePastino is co-founder and executive director of the Veterans Breakfast Club, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to gathering veterans to share their stories of service. Nominator Gwyn Cready noted that “Todd is an inspiring leader who draws people to his vision.” The VBC has hosted almost 2,000 people at its events over the past three years and recently launched Veteran Voices of Pittsburgh, a transmedia oral history project. Todd is the author of several books, including the award-winning Bill Mauldin: A Life Up Front and Citizen Hobo: How A Century Of Homelessness Shaped America. He has a Ph.D. in American History from Yale University and teaches at Waynesburg University where he received the Lucas-Hathaway Award for Teaching Excellence. He lives in Mt. Lebanon with his wife and two daughters and serves on the board of the Mt. Lebanon Historical Society.
JOHN ECKENRODE CLASS OF 1946
Nominated by his Mt. Lebanon grandchildren: Katelyn, Sarah, Jack and Nick Rendulic and Reese, Steele, Bryce and Grant Eckenrode
A lieutenant of the United States Air Force from 1950 to 1955, John Eckenrode served on active duty during the Korean War. His achievements include receiving the Soldier's Medal of Valor from the Air Force for saving a young boy’s life in 1954, and placing in the 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 National Senior Olympics for cycling. He has donated over 100 pints of blood in his lifetime. For “Jack” Eckenrode, family is the top priority. His many volunteer activities today include Meals on Wheels, St. Anne’s Soup Kitchen, St. Patrick’s Church, Military Officers Association (awarding medals to Junior ROTC recipients) and assisting with numerous sporting events in the Pittsburgh area including the Pittsburgh Marathon and various Triathlons. To his wife Margaret of 60 years, 12 children, 55 grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren, he is a role model who demonstrates that being happy everyday is possible with love and family. His positive attitude and friendly smile are an inspiration to all who meet him.
JAMES J. KULESZ, JR. CLASS OF 1957
Nominated by: Classmate Dale Herrington
James J. Kulesz, Jr. Captain, United States Navy, Retired, Deceased, graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1961. He then embarked on a thirty year career of achievement and heroism. Captain Kulesz was credited by his shipmates, when, as Captain of a ship of the fleet, he saved the ship and crew by his performance fighting a Pacific storm of epic proportions. Later, he was a recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Award from the U.S. Naval War College. He also was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal and the second highest peacetime medal the Navy can confer, the Legion of Merit. Captain Kulesz was recognized not only for his skills as an officer and a sailor, but also for his basic human decency and wonderful sense of humor. Captain Kulesz was a gifted and admired Naval officer throughout his career. Sadly, shortly after his retirement after thirty years of dedicated service, he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in 1991. He left behind a grieving widow, two children and thousands of former shipmates whose lives he touched.
STEWART C. PUTNAM CLASS OF 1967
Nominated by: Caroline Struebing Lascek, stepdaughter and Mt. Lebanon resident
Stewart C. Putnam has dedicated his life to improving the lives of others. As President of St. Mary’s Hospital, Putnam made a commitment to provide quality healthcare for people in the poorest and most underserved parts of Rochester, New York, for which St. Mary’s won the coveted Foster G. McGaw Prize for Excellence in Community Service. In 1997, Putnam successfully merged St. Mary’s and Park Ridge Hospitals to form Unity Health System, which is upheld by state officials as a model for hospital mergers. For his excellence in the healthcare field, Putnam has received numerous awards and was the recipient of the Horace Blood Award for outstanding service for the YMCA at Camp Belknap in 2010. He has served on the boards of many non-profit and charitable organizations including, currently, the national board of the Alzheimer’s Association.
WARNER V. SLACK CLASS of 1951
Nominated by: his wife Carolyn P. Slack
Warner Slack has served his community and his country as a researcher, teacher and physician, as a volunteer serving children and the disadvantaged, and as physician and Captain in the U.S. Air Force in the Philippines during the early days of the Vietnam War. A professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Slack is recognized as a pioneer in the field of Medical Informatics and in the development of programs to empower both doctors and patients to improve the quality of health care for all. He is a founding member of Princeton Project 55, which trains undergraduates for service jobs. He has made two trips to Honduras to provide medical care for residents of a remote mountain village. He was a member of the board of directors of the Committee of Responsibility, which provided care for children wounded in the Vietnam War. During the 1960s he co-founded “Faculty and Students for Equality” at the University of Wisconsin, where he worked extensively on civil rights issues, culminating in his participation in the march in Montgomery, Alabama in support of Martin Luther King.