Award of Merit
The Award of Merit is the highest civic honor that Jefferson bestows. It recognizes and celebrates transformative leaders who exemplify Jefferson’s values of putting people first, thinking differently, and doing the right thing.
Established in 2003, the Award of Merit highlights the power of philanthropy to change medicine and to inspire others to support our mission. Previous recipients represent our most transformational supporters and some of Philadelphia’s, and the nation’s most generous philanthropists.
Award of Merit Honorees, 2022 Nancy and Jim Baxter
What started as a glance on the PATCO High Speedline in 1971 grew into a long, happy marriage—and a shared dedication to philanthropy. Jim and Nancy Baxter have optimistic philosophies of life. The couple has been kind and has given much to improve lives in their community, generously supporting Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health.
Award of Merit Honorees, 2021 James D. and Mary Jo Danella
In 1972, with the help and guidance of his father, Carmen, James Danella began his professional journey when he purchased a utility construction company in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Over nearly half a century, Jim grew that local business with 38 employees into a national company with more than 1,800 full-time employees, 26 offices, and 33 equipment and material yards across the United States. Today, Mr. Danella is Chairman and CEO of the Danella Companies, which specializes in offering utility construction and engineering services in the communication, fiber, gas, electric, water, and steam industries, and is a leader in equipment rentals to Class A railroads and transit authorities throughout the United States. Danella most recently added a nationwide storm Recovery Services Division and Railroad Construction Division, as well as a Vegetation Management Division working in Florida, Virginia, and California.
Award of Merit Honoree, 2020 Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna
Lavinia Biagiotti Cigna is president and CEO of the Biagiotti Group. She is an Italian fashion designer and head of a family business that has elevated fashion to an art form and a global message for building bridges and advancing values that make the world better for all.
The Biagiotti Group is known worldwide for its clothing collections, fragrances, patronages, and sustainable approach to fashion. The group’s Made in Italy brand is notable for its pioneering relationships with other countries, China and Russia chief among them, while keeping its close connections to Italian art and culture.
Born in Rome, Ms. Biagiotti Cigna is the third generation of a family dynasty founded in 1965 by Delia Biagiotti. She completed classical studies and joined the Biagiotti Group at age 18.
Award of Merit Honorees, 2019 Andréa W. and Kenneth C. Frazier
Andréa Frazier founded Frazier Designs, an interior design firm and drapery workroom, where she designed residential and commercial projects.
Kenneth C. Frazier has served as the chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Merck & Co., Inc. since 2011.
Award of Merit Honoree, 2018 Doug Pederson
Doug Pederson was named head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles on January 18, 2016, following a three-year run as the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs from 2013-15.
In just his second season as an NFL head coach, Pederson led the Eagles to a 13-3 regular-season record, an NFC East title, the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs and the first Super Bowl title in franchise history with a 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
Award of Merit Honoree, 2017 Alex Gorsky
Alex Gorsky is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson & Johnson. Alex is the seventh person to serve as Chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson since it became a publicly traded company in 1944.
Alex began his Johnson & Johnson career as a sales representative with Janssen Pharmaceutica in 1988. Over the next 15 years, he advanced through positions of increasing responsibility in sales, marketing, and management.
Award of Merit Honoree, 2016 Bill McDermott
Bill McDermott is the CEO of SAP, the world’s business software market leader. He leads the company’s more than 78,000 employees and 2+ million‐person ecosystem in executing SAP’s vision to help the world run better and improve people’s lives.
Under Bill’s leadership, in 2014 SAP unveiled a strategy to help businesses of all sizes Run Simple in the digital economy.
Award of Merit Honorees, 2015 Bernie & Billi Marcus
Bernie and Billi Marcus have made a lasting impact as philanthropists and public servants. Mr. Marcus is co-founder of The Home Depot, Inc., the world’s largest home improvement retailer. Since his retirement as chairman in 2002, he has redirected his entrepreneurial spirit toward a variety of charitable endeavors.
Award of Merit Honoree, 2014 Sidney Kimmel
Sidney Kimmel was born and raised in Philadelphia, and the philanthropic footprint he has created here evidences an unparalleled devotion to his hometown. From his very humble roots, first in South then West Philadelphia, Mr. Kimmel went on to found the Jones Apparel Group, developing it into a New York Stock Exchange company and one of the world’s leading designers and marketers of branded apparel, footwear and accessories.
Award of Merit Honorees, 2013 Jane & Leonard Korman
The Jane and Leonard Korman family has long supported the efforts of Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals. Leonard Korman has been a Thomas Jefferson University trustee since 1998. He is chairman and chief executive officer of the Trevose, Pennsylvania-based real estate development and management company, Korman Commercial Properties, Inc., and a partner in the Korman Company.
Award of Merit Honoree, 2012 Robert V. Nicoletti
Robert Nicoletti said that Jefferson gave him “a new lease on life.” And to show his appreciation, Mr. Nicoletti, along with his family, went above and beyond to provide unparalleled support to the Jefferson community. In 2006, Mr. Nicoletti learned that he needed a kidney transplant. A number of relatives volunteered to serve as donors, but only one was compatible: his daughter, Lori Peruto, Esq.
Award of Merit Honoree, 2011 Ira M. Lubert
A University trustee since 2005, Mr. Lubert is a driving force behind the growth and success of Jefferson’s advanced heart failure research program. His ongoing support of the Division of Cardiology faculty’s work to improve treatment for patients with congestive heart failure has enabled significant advances in the field.
Through his profound generosity, Ira Lubert has shaped the Jefferson community in ways you can’t see – and in ways you can.
Award of Merit Honorees, 2010 Dr. Herbert Kean & Hon. Joyce Kean
A new hospital, a new routine, a new specialty. Herbert Kean, MD, started his residency at Jefferson feeling slightly out of sync. But the kindness of those around him made an impression. By the end of the first year, Dr. Kean thought to himself, “I have found my home; I have found my place.”
Award of Merit Honorees, 2009 Marie & Joseph Field
It was in gratitude for such care, and particularly for Dr. Robert Rosenwasser’s leading role, that the Fields endowed the Joseph and Marie Field Laboratory for Cerebrovascular Research in hopes of contributing to medical breakthroughs of the future, and they are thrilled that under Dr. Rosenwasser’s direction the Laboratory has made giant strides forward in pursuit of a cure for strokes.
Award of Merit Honorees, 2008 Christina Weiss Lurie & Jeffrey Lurie
Christina Weiss Lurie and Jeffrey Lurie have shaped the Philadelphia Eagles into one of the most competitive organizations in professional sports on and off the field. Under the Luries’ ownership, the Eagles have a greater overall winning percentage, appeared in more playoff games, and won more than any other ownership group in team history.
Award of Merit Honorees, 2007 Lynne & Harold Honickman
A self-made success, Harold A. Honickman is passionate about his business, his industry, and the brands he sells. He began his career in 1957 with the purchase of a 300,000-case Pepsi plant in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Over the next 40 years, he earned his reputation purchasing unprofitable bottling companies and transforming them into profitable operations.
Award of Merit Honoree, 2006 James W. Stratton
James W. Stratton has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Thomas Jefferson University since 1970. Invited by then-President William Bodine, Jr., Mr. Stratton at the age of 34 was the youngest term trustee to be elected in over a century at Jefferson. He chaired the Board from 1990-1995, and in December 2005, he earned emeritus trustee status.
Award of Merit Honoree, 2005 Dorrance H. Hamilton
Dorrance H. Hamilton is a longtime Jefferson University Trustee. Among her remarkable achievements, “Dodo” chaired the successful Jefferson 2000 Fund Capital Campaign, a comprehensive fundraising effort on behalf of the university and hospital which exceeded its $200 million goal benefiting countless patients.
A member of the university’s Board of Trustees since 1972 and a member of the hospital’s Women’s Board since 1957, Dodo Hamilton has generously supported a wide variety of programs and has earned a reputation for exceptional philanthropic leadership and service to Jefferson.
Award of Merit Honorees, 2004 Vickie & Jack Farber
Jack and Vickie Farber are longtime Jeffersonians and benefactors of the Farber Institute for Neurosciences at Jefferson in Philadelphia. Jack is a member of the Board of Trustees of Thomas Jefferson University (Chairman 1995-2000), Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals and the Jefferson Health System.
Award of Merit Honorees, 2003 Myrna & Ira Brind
The magnanimous patronage and tireless fundraising of Myrna and Ira Brind have resulted in the Jefferson – Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine, a vibrant, comprehensive facility that seamlessly brings together the best of western and complementary medicine.