In celebrating the Year of ’13, we are posting a story or list that pertains to our lucky number on the 13th of each month. This month, we’ve compiled a list of alumni you might not know, but who made (or continue to make) a difference. With so many to choose from, we offer just 13 (in no particular order).

13. Thomas J. Pilgrim, 1828, founded the first school in Texas
A graduate of what was then known as Hamilton Divinity School, Pilgrim went to Texas in 1829 and thereafter founded the Austin Academy, an all-boys school.

12. Oswald Theodore Avery, 1900, co-discovered genetic properties of DNA
Avery was one of the first molecular biologists and a pioneer in immunochemistry, but he is best known for his co-discovery in 1944 that DNA is the material of which genes and chromosomes are made.

11. Karon Konner, 1997, Social Worker of the Year for 2012
Konner, a social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital, has provided crisis intervention and support in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 Haitian earthquake.

10. Armand Zildjian, 1944, influencing the sound of live music
Former CEO of the Avedis Zildjian Company, the maker of cymbals, started in 1623 in Istanbul. Like many people on this list, the cymbal doesn’t sit center stage, but it has tremendous influence.

9. George Burwell Utley, 1897, first librarian of the first public library in Florida
In 1907 Utley said the Jacksonville Public Library was “fast becoming securely established as a part of the municipal fabric, and is considered more and more a necessity and less and less a luxury by the citizens of Jacksonville.”

8. Bernie Siegel, MD, 1953, founder of Exceptional Cancer Patients
Exceptional Cancer Patients is a nonprofit organization designed to provide resources, professional training programs, and interdisciplinary retreats that help people facing the challenges of cancer and other chronic illnesses.

7. Monique Mehta, 1995, humanitarian, advocate for the rights of women
Recognized in 2013 by the National Women’s History project, Mehta became the first development director of Sakhi for South Asian Women in 2000,  where she worked in New York City with battered and abused women from South Asia.

6. Guyford Stever, 1938, early contributor to the space program
Stever chaired the Special Committee on Space Technology for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in 1958. The committee was formed to coordinate the federal government, private companies, and universities to harness their expertise in development of a U.S. space program.

5. Craig Hatkoff, 1976, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival
The Tribeca Film Festival was founded in 2002 by Hatkoff, his wife, Jane Rosenthal, and Robert De Niro in a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks.

4. Mwisa Chisunka 2000, New York State’s first business ombudsman
In this role, Chisunka will work with chambers of commerce, small business development centers, major trade associations, and nonprofit organizations to promote business development in New York.

3. Michael Hiltzik, 1973, uncovered payola in the music industry
Along with Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Chuck Philips, Hiltzik won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for the articles they wrote on corruption and payola in the music industry.

2. Emil Frei III, MD, 1947, cancer research revolutionary
Frei revolutionized the treatment of cancer by demonstrating that multi-drug chemotherapy could be effective for previously incurable cancers

1. Rudolph Leibel, 1963, discovered the hormone leptin
Leibel’s co-discovery at Rockefeller University of the hormone leptin, and cloning of the leptin and leptin receptor genes, has had a major role in the area of understanding human obesity.

Who did we miss? Add your suggestions in comments.

Share