The Lehigh University Distinguished Alumni Awards recognize outstanding achievement among Lehigh University alumni, honoring those who have succeeded in and impacted their respective industries and communities. We honor their accomplishments and their contributions to elevating the reputation of Lehigh University.


Jennifer S. Gonzalez ’08 ’09G

2019 Young Alumni Award

The Young Alumni Award is presented to an individual who has graduated within the past 15 years and has achieved extraordinary success or recognition by colleagues and peers for outstanding leadership and professional accomplishments.

Jennifer S. Gonzalez ’08 ’09G is a leader in municipal sustainability. As director of environmental services and chief sustainability officer for the City of Hoboken, New Jersey, she advances sustainability and resiliency initiatives in priority areas including rainfall flooding, energy, drinking water infrastructure, natural resources, and waste management.


Dr. Frank L. Douglas ’66

Dr. Costel Denson ’56 Award

The Dr. Costal Denson '56 Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated leadership in increasing diversity in the American workplace and educational institutions.

Dr. Frank L. Douglas ’66 is an award-winning, longtime veteran in the fields of healthcare, pharmaceutical research, and entrepreneurial endeavors. During his career, he led the discovery, development, and market launch of more than 20 pharmaceuticals. He is the former CEO and a current board member of TheVax Genetics Vaccines and a co-founder of Douglas Ahmed Consulting.


Ben Gucciardi ’05 ’06G

2019 Public Service Award

The Public Service Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated either outstanding success in a career in the public sector or extraordinary contributions in the charitable, nonprofit, or civic arena.

Soccer is more vocation than game for Ben Gucciardi ’05 ’06G. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in international relations from Lehigh in 2005 and was pursuing a master’s degree in global educational leadership when he founded Soccer Without Borders (SWB), a nonprofit organization that aims to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change. SWB provides underserved youth a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success.


Patrice Banks ’02

2019 Outstanding Entrepreneur Award Recipient

The Outstanding Entrepreneur Award is presented to an individual or team who have demonstrated professional achievement of the highest caliber in the management of an enterprise.

Patrice Banks ’02 couldn’t find a female mechanic, so she decided to become one — and empower other women along the way. After working for 12 years as an engineer, she opened her own auto shop, Girls Auto Clinic, Inc., that is tailored for women with a staff of female mechanics. Aware of the way that women are taken advantage of too often by the automotive industry, she wanted to be part of the change in giving women the knowledge and tools to stand up for themselves.


Ann Lewnes ’83 ’22P

2019 Excellence in Industry Award Recipient

The Excellence in Industry Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated professional achievement of the highest caliber in the management of a for-profit organization.

Under the leadership of Ann Lewnes ’83 ’22P, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Adobe Inc., Adobe’s marketing organization has pioneered the shift to a completely digital platform. She has managed the expansion of Adobe’s brand and marketing initiatives as the company has become a leader in cloud-based solutions. As champion of Adobe’s brand, Lewnes also oversees the company’s corporate responsibility efforts, which fund philanthropic initiatives around the world.


James B. Swenson ’59 ’15GP ’17GP

2019 Lifetime Commitment to Lehigh Award Recipient

The Lifetime Commitment to Lehigh Award is presented to an individual whose integrity, dedication, and engagement demonstrates lifelong leadership and service to Lehigh University.

As an alumnus, James B. Swenson ’59 ’15GP ’17GP served in many volunteer roles, including as a Lehigh University Board of Trustees member. He was an alumni trustee from 1986 to 1989, was an appointed trustee from 1989 to 1994, and is currently an emeritus trustee. He also served the Lehigh University Alumni Association (LUAA) as board president and vice president; as class president, vice president, and treasurer; and as a member of LUAA’s Awards Committee and Alumni Admissions Outreach programs.