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Distinguished Alumni Awards 2018

Meet this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award winners—a truly global group of bold thinkers turning ideas into action.

Since 1971, the Distinguished Alumni Awards have honored leaders across industries who strive to make the world better by turning ideas into action. This year’s winners have applied their transformative insights to address the challenges of a rapidly changing world—from Singapore, to New England, to Nigeria. Their successes in industries as diverse as oil, biopharmaceuticals, education, and agriculture exemplify the resounding impact of Chicago Booth.

Swee Chen Goh

Chairman, Shell Companies in Singapore

Swee Chen Goh Swee Chen Goh

Swee Chen Goh, ’03 (AXP-2), is the chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore—the first woman to earn a role that high in the company. Goh wants Shell to continue to play a prominent role in Singapore’s future and contribute as an active member of the Singaporean community.

In 2003, Goh joined Shell as chief information officer, oil product, East. Just a year into her tenure, she was promoted to vice president of global IT services, a move that made her the first Asian woman to hold such a senior role. She took on a P&L role in 2011, running Shell’s lubricants and commercial fuels business for Asia Pacific/Middle East. Goh, with her family, relocated to Beijing before returning to Singapore, where in October 2014, she assumed the role of chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore, which currently has 3,200 employees.

“I am really proud that the recognition is given to me, being here in Asia,” Goh said of the Distinguished Alumni Award. “It puts Asia and Singapore on the Chicago Booth platform as well, where there are so many distinguished past honorees. It is a humbling experience.”

The Booth alumni network stretches to all parts of the world—it literally is a global village. When you need that expertise, when you need someone to challenge your thinking, there’s someone to have a dialogue with.

Swee Chen Goh

Leon (Lonnie) O. Moulder Jr.

Cofounder, Chief Executive Officer and Director, TESARO Inc.

Lonnie Moulder Leon (Lonnie) O. Moulder Jr.

Defying convention has given Leon (Lonnie) O. Moulder Jr., ’97 (XP-66), the potential to change how biotechnology companies do business and, in the process, to treat and improve the lives of patients living with cancer. As the CEO of TESARO Inc., an oncology-focused, Boston-area biopharma company he cofounded in 2010, Moulder made an unorthodox decision that distinguishes his venture from other biotechnology startups: the company not only researches and develops new and meaningful medications, but also markets and sells these products throughout the world.

TESARO has received regulatory approvals in more than 30 countries for its first two medicines and is currently launching these products in the United States and Europe. The company employs approximately 800 people globally who are committed to positively impacting the lives of people living with cancer. Moulder and TESARO cofounder Dr. Mary Lynne Hedley are co-recipients of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 National Overall Award. “This company is successful because of the many passionate, committed people who want to make a real difference and leave a legacy,” Moulder said. “At TESARO, we’re doing it in the field of cancer.”

I’m proud to be part of the alumni network associated with Booth. Wherever I go throughout the world, there’s great recognition of what Booth is, what Booth means, and the quality of people that have come from Booth.

Leon (Lonnie) O. Moulder Jr.

Elizabeth Howe Bradley

President, Vassar College

Elizabeth Bradley Howe Elizabeth Howe Bradley

After focusing throughout her career on enhancing healthcare globally, in 2017,  Elizabeth Howe Bradley, ’86, was elected unanimously as the 11th president of Vassar College, holding joint appointments as professor of political science and professor of science, technology, and society. “It’s an all-encompassing role,” Bradley said. “It takes using every skill I ever learned to be able to do this job.”

Before arriving at Vassar, Bradley spent more than 20 years at Yale University, first as a doctoral student—she earned a PhD in epidemiology and public health, graduating in 1996—and later as a professor in public health. She led revolutionary innovations in the delivery of cardiovascular, long-term, and end-of-life care, and in health-care management.

“The Chicago Approach, where you learn not what to think, but how to think, has fully influenced my career,” Bradley said. “It is the root of liberal arts. It’s exactly what Vassar College is all about as well. I am enjoying leading here with that same approach.”

Chicago Booth gives you a mind-set that is, ‘We could be visionary and bold, and achieve things that haven’t been achieved before.’

Elizabeth Howe Bradley

LaVandez (Van) T. Jones

Cofounder and Head of Strategy, Hello Tractor

Van Jones LaVandez (Van) T. Jones

LaVandez (Van) T. Jones, ’14, came to Chicago Booth with a clear goal in mind: to make an impact on a global scale. Jones cofounded Hello Tractor, an agritech startup that won first place in the 2014 John Edwardson, ’72, Social New Venture Challenge. Hello Tractor uses smart technologies to connect farmers to productivity-enhancing technologies across the emerging and frontier markets. 

By 2015, Hello Tractor had completed its first sales cycle for Nigeria, with approximately $6.5 million in the pipeline. It has since expanded into Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Senegal. Through a $2 million partnership with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Hello Tractor has been able to build the most networked fleet of tractors across the continent and provide job opportunities to hundreds of young people in rural Nigeria.

“Chicago Booth was where I needed to be; that’s why I keep in contact with the people I met there,” Jones said. “We’re all going down a path of curiosity, of trying to create something new for ourselves, for our families, for our communities, for our countries, for the world.”

My time at Chicago Booth was incredibly formative and incredibly shaping. It’s made me—over the last several years—the person that I am.

LaVandez (Van) T. Jones

—By Sam Jemielity