Nancy Aossey

University of Northern Iowa to award honorary degrees to Greenawald, Aossey May 10, 2008

An honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.), will be awarded to two distinguished alumnae of the University of Northern Iowa during its Commencement exercises Saturday, May 10, 2008, in the UNI-Dome.

Sheri Greenawald, director of the San Francisco Opera Center, whose career as a professional singer has involved major leading operatic roles under the world's most famous conductors, and Nancy Aossey, who has gained national and international recognition for her success as president and CEO of International Medical Corps, will receive the degrees.

They were recommended to UNI President Benjamin Allen and the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, earlier this year, with the approval of UNI's Honorary Degree Committee and the Faculty Senate, and approved this spring by the Regents.  Also approved, and receiving his honorary degree in December, is Robert Yager, a graduate of UNI with a biology teaching degree, known as a leader in science education both nationally and internationally for more than fifty years.

Greenawald, an alumna of UNI's School of Music, will receive her honorary degree during the 10 a.m. commencement exercises.  She has performed in the most prestigious international opera houses and concert halls around the globe, according to her nominator, John Vallentine, professor and director of the UNI School of Music.  She is considered a star in both the opera and classical music fields, as evidenced by her invitations to perform and teach at prominent venues and institutions.  Her professional singing has been met with rave reviews and resulted in invitations by leading conductors such as Seiji Ozawa, Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta, and the late Leonard Bernstein.

"Sheri is extremely proud to be a UNI alumna and is a positive and engaging professional, educator, musician, person, and role model," wrote Vallentine.  "After graduating from UNI, she was accepted into the Professional Studies Program at the famed Juilliard School in New York.

"As an international musician, she has been one of the School of Music's most successful professional alumni to date, and she always mentions UNI in her professional biographies.  Ms. Greenawald has returned to campus as a visiting artist, performer, and teacher of master classes for students.  She has also performed with the Northern Iowa Symphony Orchestra at UNI Scholarship Benefit Concerts to raise funds for students."

Greenawald has sung featured roles in some of the most prestigious opera venues in the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Venice's La Fenice, the Munich State Opera, Paris' Chatelet Theater, Welsh National Opera, Seattle Opera Company, Houston Grand Opera, the Netherlands Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Naples' Teatro San Carlos, Washington Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Dallas Opera, and many others.  She previously taught at the Boston Conservatory for several years

Aossey, who will receive her honorary degree during the 2:30 p.m. Commencement exercises, earned a marketing degree in 1982 and an M.B.A. in 1984, both from UNI.  She joined the International Medical Corps (IMC) in 1986, and has guided the organization from its three-employee beginnings to a $100-million-plus relief organization with more than four thousand volunteers and staff working in twenty-one countries.

"Her success as an executive has been widely recognized by the business community, that has cited her success in applying an entrepreneurial perspective to reach humanitarian goals," wrote her nominator, Leslie K. Wilson, associate dean of the UNI College of Business Administration.

"A humanitarian organization that provides health care training and relief and development programs worldwide, IMC is often the first responder in disaster situations around the world. By offering training and health care to local populations and medical assistance to people at highest risk, IMC rehabilitates devastated health care and economic systems and helps bring them back to self-reliance."

In 2006, Aossey received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Center for Creative Leadership and was named Non-Profit CEO of the Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal.  She earned the 2007 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), an award given to a select few individuals, some at the level of Nobel Laureate.

Under her leadership, IMC has earned a sterling reputation as a charitable organization, receiving commendations worldwide for its programs, staff, and fiscal responsibility.  IMC has been awarded Charity Navigator's highest Four Star Charity rating and is rated "A+" by the American Institute of Philanthropy.  The Better Business Bureau has determined that IMC meets or exceeds its Wise Giving Alliance Standards, a further indication of IMC's respect for its stakeholders and the public, Wilson said.

IMC has been featured in Forbes Magazine as one of "America's 200 Largest Charities," where it was most recently rated as having 99 percent fundraising efficiency.  Worth magazine chose IMC as one of "America's 100 Best Charities" in 2002 and 2003, the two years the magazine conducted this survey.

Wilson said Aossey has also forged a reputation among international policy makers, becoming increasingly influential as an advisor around the globe on issues of humanitarian assistance.  She has been a frequent guest at the White House where she has briefed the President, Vice President and First Lady on humanitarian issues.

She has testified before the U. S. Congress, served as Chairman of the Board of InterAction, America's largest coalition of international relief organizations, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Pacific Council on International Policy, and the United States Agency for International Development's Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid.  She is a commissioner for the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children and a member of the Young President's Organization.


Edited by University Archivist Gerald L. Peterson from a University of Northern Iowa News Release, May 2, 2008.


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