Simon Business School

Simon 2020 Alumni Awards

Dean’s Medal

Established in 2008, the Dean’s Medal recognizes extraordinary service, philanthropy, and leadership to the School, and dedication and commitment that inspire others to take leadership roles at the University. Individuals, families, associations, corporations, or foundations may be recognized. It is among the highest honors given by the School.


Jay Benet_300x450pxDean's Medal 2020, Jay S. Benet ’76S (MBA)

Jay Benet is vice chairman for The Travelers Companies, Inc., a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home, and business and a component company of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. He previously served as chief financial officer of the company for 16 years. Before joining Travelers, he was worldwide head of financial planning, analysis, and reporting at Citigroup and chief financial officer for Citigroup’s Global Consumer business in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He also served in executive roles at Travelers Life & Annuity, and as a partner at Coopers & Lybrand, now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Jay received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Binghamton University in 1974 and his Master of Business Administration in accounting and finance from Simon Business School in 1976.

Closely connected to the Simon Business School as an advisor, speaker, recruiter, and student mentor, Jay delivered the address at the School’s first Convocation in 2007. As a charter member of the George Eastman Circle, the University’s leadership annual giving society, he has provided support to Simon’s greatest needs for more than 13 years. A member of the University’s Board of Trustees since 2017, Jay currently serves as the chair of the National Council, a group he has been a member of since its inception in 2008. Most recently, he joined the University’s Task Force on Volunteer Boards and Advisory Councils in 2019.

Deeply committed to students and their future success, Jay has actively recruited and been a mentor to Simon students during his time at The Travelers Companies. In 2014, he expressed his own gratitude for the many faculty members who supported him throughout his education, and for the financial assistance he received while a student at Simon, by establishing the Jay S. and Jeanne P. Benet Professorship of Finance with his wife, Jeanne. Four years later, they made a leadership gift to renovate and name the Career Management Center at Simon, further helping students with the resources necessary for them to thrive and succeed. Most recently, they created an endowed scholarship at Eastman School of Music to help lead momentum into the School’s centennial campaign and related scholarship initiative.

Jay is chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, and is a trustee of the Mystic Seaport Museum. Honored with numerous awards, he is a five-time recipient of Institutional Investor’s Best CFO Award for Insurance, was recognized in 2019 with the Annual Executive Leadership of the Year Award by the University of Hartford’s Barney School of Business, and is a member of Junior Achievement’s Hartford Business Hall of Fame. In 2010, Jay received the Simon Business School’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in recognition of his exceptional professional achievements and inspirational service as a leader and advisor to the School.

Jay and Jeanne have three children. They reside in West Hartford, Connecticut.


Distinguished Alumnus Award

Established in 1985, the Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizes alumni whose exceptional professional achievements, contributions to their chosen field, and service to the Simon Business School have brought honor to themselves and to the University of Rochester.

Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2020, Dorothy Coleman ’16S (MBA)

Dorothy Coleman HeadshotDorothy Coleman is the senior vice president and chief financial officer of the government business division at Anthem, Inc. In this role, she provides financial leadership, data analytics, and strategic support for more than $60 billion in annual revenue division–ensuring the most accurate assessment of financial performance and the ability to identify future opportunities for growth and competitive differentiation.

Dorothy has more than 30 years of experience in health plan leadership, sales, product development, acquisition integration, and customer relations experience. Prior to joining Anthem in 2019, she served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of The Lifetime Health Care Companies of Excellus BlueCross BlueShield in Rochester, New York. Other previous roles include various leadership positions at United Healthcare and the chief financial officer title at both CIGNA and FHP, Inc.

Dorothy earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix and completed her Executive MBA from the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School. She is a member of the George Eastman Circle, the Simon Advisory Council, and was instrumental in the creation of the Simon Women’s Alliance­–a group that provides education and support to the alumnae community–where she currently serves as board chair.

She and her husband Steve currently reside in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Distinguished Alumnus Award, 2020, Gerald Gitner ’68S (MBA)

Gerald Gitner HeadshotGerry Gitner is an  aviation executive with a long and distinguished career in the airline industry. Among his past positions  are: Chairman and CEO of Trans World Airlines, chief financial officer of Pan American World Airways, Chairman and CEO of Pan Am World Services, co-founder and president of People Express Airlines, and Chairman of Kitty Hawk Air Cargo. During his time at Trans World Airlines, he successfully increased fleet numbers, improved the organization’s debt structure, won two J.D. Power and Associates awards, and ultimately facilitated the sale of the company to American Airlines.

In addition to his work in aviation, Gerald has been part of many other companies and firms in various leadership capacities. He is currently a principal of Cross Continental Capital LLC, an investment company he co-founded. He also serves as chairman of Global Aero Holdings, LTD and D. G. Associates, Inc. In the past, he served as a director of companies including Factory Card Outlet of America, Tricom S. A., and CIFG Holdings.

Along with his professional accomplishments and accolades, Gerry is a generous supporter of higher education and outstanding faculty. He earned his bachelor’s degree with cum laude distinction from the Boston University College of Arts and Sciences and was elected to the Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society He served as a Trustee of Boston University where he served on the board’s executive committee. AT BU Gerry has endowed numerous Faculty awards along with other endeavors. He also established the Gerald and Deanne Family Prize for Faculty Excellence at the Pardee School, which is awarded annually to recognize excellence in teaching and mentorship. In addition to his service at Boston U, Gerry is a past trustee of R. I. T. and a past member of the University of Missouri (St. Louis) Chancellor’s Council as well as having served on various other educational institution councils. Gerry and his family have endowed scholarships and prizes at several institutions of higher education.

After graduating with his MBA from the University of Rochester, he went on to join the George Eastman Circle, the Simon Advisory Council, and establish the Gerald and Deanne Gitner Prize for Teaching Excellence at the Simon Business School to support exceptional, tenure-track faculty working with master’s or undergraduate students.

Gerry has two sons and currently resides in Florida.

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John N. Wilder Award

Honoring an individual, family, association, corporation, or foundation whose philanthropy inspires others in support of an “Ever Better” University of Rochester. The award is named for John Wilder, first president (chairman) of the University’s Board of Trustees.

John N. Wilder Award, 2020, Barnett R. Parker ’72S (MS), ’76S (PhD)

Barnett Parker HeadshotBarnett Parker is a (recently retired) professor and chair of the Department of Health Administration at Pfeiffer University, where he had worked for more than 20 years. He previously taught for two decades at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill School of Public Health. A pioneer in interdisciplinary studies, he also served 23 years as editor-in-chief of Elsevier’s Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, one of the earliest scholarly, interdisciplinary journals. His research interests focus on the application of marketing and strategic planning models to problems of service delivery, with an emphasis on marginalized populations in both the United States and developing nations. He also presents global seminars in emerging market and developed countries on publishing scholarly manuscripts in English language journals. His work has taken him to more than 50 countries on five continents, and been featured in a robust portfolio of academic publications.

Barnett earned his bachelor’s degree with magna cum laude distinction from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in chemical engineering, and both his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School. His dissertation was the first multidisciplinary study of its kind in that it academically linked the Graduate School of Management and Strong Memorial Hospital. The paper won first prize that year in the American Marketing Association’s national competition, and was recognized as the first interdisciplinary work that connected health and business.

In 2016, Barnett made a gift to establish the Barnett R. Parker Professorship in Multidisciplinary Studies at the Simon Business School to reflect his gratitude for the financial and moral support he received as a student. Inspired to create value in new and innovative ways, the professorship is designed to honor those who created the environment at the University of Rochester that made his work possible, and, in so doing, changed the course of his professional life.

In conjunction with his work, Barnett is an avid adventure traveler, and successfully summitted Japan’s Mt. Fuji in July 2019. He also practices distance swimming, and is a semi-professional photographer.

He and his partner Linda currently reside in Durham, North Carolina.


Alumni Service Award

Established in 2008, the Alumni Service Award recognizes outstanding and extraordinary service, leadership, loyalty, and commitment to the School. Recipients are leaders whose tireless efforts, devotion of time, and significant contributions to the School strengthen the community.

Alumni Service Award, 2020, Amanda Mari ’09S (MBA)

Amanda Mari HeadshotAmanda Mari is vice president at Benefit Street Partners, where she is responsible for cultivating and managing relationships with wealth managers and strategic partners, in addition to business development across the company’s investment offerings. She previously served as the director of strategic relations at Broadstone Real Estate, with similar responsibilities. Prior to Broadstone she was the financial planning and analysis manager for the digital medical solutions facet of Carestream Health. Before completing her MBA, she was an investor relations and marketing associate at Atlas Venture, an early-stage venture capital firm headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

Outside of work, Amanda is actively involved with both the community and her graduate alma mater. She is a board member, chair of the investment committee, and a member of the nominating committee for the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe Country. She is also a member of the George Eastman Circle, Simon Alumni Board, and a founding board member of the Simon Women’s Alliance at the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School, where she leads the fundraising committee in supporting the Alliance’s mission to provide scholarships for female students. In recognition of her achievements as an exceptional leader, she has been named a finalist for the 2020 ATHENA Young Professional Award, presented by the Women’s Council, a Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce affiliate.

Amanda earned her bachelor’s degree from Stonehill College and her MBA with concentrations in finance and strategy from the Simon Business School. She was a Simon Leadership Fellow, earning a full, merit-based scholarship.

She and her husband Sean currently reside in Pittsford, New York with their son Parker.  


Alumni Service Award, 2020, Ilmar Norvik ’13S (MBA)

Ilmar Norvik HeadshotIlmar Norvik is a market analyst at Owens Corning, where he is responsible for advising the enterprise on developments in global crude oil and ancillary commodities, with a focus on North American feedstocks and refined products. He also manages the roofing division’s petroleum products’ cost forecasting and serves as the business unit’s resident technologist. Ilmar is a passionate student of the energy business and regularly attends industry events throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Prior to joining Owens Corning, he worked for two early-stage software companies in Houston.

A proud alumnus of the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School, Ilmar became an active member of the Houston alumni network immediately after graduating. Today, he volunteers his time and expertise as a member of the Simon Alumni Board and is the Simon representative on the University’s Alumni Board, where he is a vocal advocate for the international student and alumni communities. As a member of the George Eastman Circle, he established a scholarship to support full-time MBA students. Ilmar frequently returns to Rochester to connect with students and the entire University of Rochester community.  

Ilmar is originally from Tallinn, Estonia and earned his bachelor’s degree in business management and international studies from Elmira College. He completed his MBA in organizational and competitive strategy from the Simon Business School in 2013.

Ilmar and his partner Daniela currently split their time between Ohio, South Carolina, and their native Europe whenever time permits.

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