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2020 and 2021 Hall of Distinguished Alumni honorees will include leaders in business, law, advocacy, medicine, and biomedical research

On Oct. 21, Rutgers University will bestow its highest honor—membership in the Rutgers Hall of Distinguished Alumni—on five outstanding recipients. This year, two separate groups will be honored. Since the pandemic prevented a 2020 induction ceremony from taking place, both the 2020 and 2021 honorees will be recognized at the October celebration.

Like the many Hall of Distinguished Alumni inductees who came before them, these five individuals embody the best qualities of the university. Through their immense talent and drive, each has broken barriers to make a real and lasting difference for the Rutgers community and for the world. They are in every sense Scarlet Forever.

“Highlighting the achievements of our alumni is a vital part of advancing Rutgers’ positive presence in the world,” said Rutgers University president Jonathan Holloway. “Whether their work has focused on business, law, medicine, or academia, these new members of the Hall of Distinguished Alumni exemplify the brand of leadership Rutgers strives to instill.”

The 2020 inductees:

Ronald Garutti RC’67

Ron Garutti

A physician and pharmaceutical executive, Garutti served as assistant professor of pediatrics at Cornell University Medical College and chief of pediatrics, with the rank of lieutenant commander, at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Philadelphia. During a nearly three-decade career in the international pharmaceutical industry at Pharmacia and Schering-Plough, he successfully led clinical research and regulatory efforts that brought numerous drugs in a wide range of therapeutic areas to market, improving the lives of patients all over the world. He and his wife Joanna have given generously to the university in support of scholarships and facilities—most recently the Ron and Joanna Garutti Strength and Conditioning Center in the Hale Center—as well as the “VICTORY” statue outside SHI Stadium.

Oliver Quinn NLAW’75

Oliver Quinn

Throughout Quinn’s professional career he advised clients in labor and employment law, compliance, ethics, risk and conflict management, and dispute resolution. As vice president and chief business ethics officer at Prudential, he helped facilitate support for the Center for Business Ethics (now the Institute for Ethical Leadership) at Rutgers Business School.

Before joining the corporate world, he had a distinguished public-sector career, working in roles at the state and federal levels. He was assistant dean and director of the Minority Student Program at Rutgers Law School in Newark and has served on many state and national boards, including the Rutgers University–Newark Advisory Board, where he was the inaugural chair.

Barbara Rodkin DC’76

Barbara Rodkin

Rodkin is one of Douglass College’s most visionary alumnae, having spent her career working to better the lives of cancer patients and to ensure that students have educational opportunities that broaden their perspectives and life options.  She is vice chair of the Douglass Advisory Board, former chair of the Power of 100 Years Campaign for Douglass Residential College, and a key player in helping Douglass forge a new model for women’s education. With her husband, Gary Rodkin RC’74, she funded the Gary and Barbara Rodkin Academic Success Center for student-athletes, endowed the Rodkin-Weintraub Chair in Engineering, helped launch the Honors College in New Brunswick, and has supported many other important Rutgers causes.

The 2021 inductees:

John Herma RC’70

John Herma

A track star in his student years, Herma helped create the modern department store by reinventing, along with two other partners, the Milwaukee-based Kohl’s retail chain. In today’s age of online shopping, Kohl’s remains one of the most stable and robust brick-and-mortar businesses of its kind. In 1987, Herma responded to a family tragedy by establishing the Herma Heart Institute of Children’s Wisconsin Hospital, which ranks among the top pediatric heart centers in North America. He has given generously to the Rutgers University Class of 1970 and Rutgers Athletics, making the largest gift in the history of Rutgers football to upgrade the Hale Athletic Center and build the Brown Football Recruiting Lounge and Welcome Center.

Sandy Stewart CCAS’81, GSC’87

Sandy Stewart
Nick Romanenko

A respected biotech industry entrepreneur and scientist, Stewart has been responsible for major advances in biochemical profiling and played a key role in the creation of a new scientific field called metabolomics. Starting his career at the pharmaceutical company Novartis, he co-founded several biotechnology companies, including Immunovation and Paradigm Genetics (now Cogenics Incoria). In recognition of Rutgers’ transformative role in his life, Stewart has given back to the university through both volunteerism and financial generosity toward scholarships and endowments. He is passionate about empowering students to fulfill their academic and career goals, as well as engaging with young entrepreneurs to help them build companies that have the potential to change lives.

Members of the Rutgers community and their friends and families are welcome to attend the induction ceremony on October 21, which will be hosted by the Rutgers University Alumni Association at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. The evening’s festivities will include dinner, inspiring stories, and scarlet pride.

“There is no better demonstration of Rutgers’ positive impact than what these five honorees have accomplished,” said Josh Harraman, vice president for alumni engagement, annual giving, and advancement communications. “They have achieved far more than personal success, because their work has always addressed human needs and their priority has always been the greater good.”

More information about the event and the inductees can be found on the event website.