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Five Alumni Honored at John Jay Awards Dinner

The College presented John Jay Awards for distinguished professional achievement to five accomplished alumni on March 10 at the 38th annual John Jay Awards Dinner. The awards have been presented to 200 honorees since 1978, and the dinner, held at Cipriani 42nd Street, raises money for the John Jay National Scholars Program. The 2016 honorees were:

Jonathan C. Abbott ’84, president and CEO, WGBH, public media for New England. Abbott has expanded the station’s media services, impact and reach locally and nationally and has championed its early adoption of digital technologies, new content creation models, best practices and new media that are furthering the station’s capacity to produce programming and content in the public interest.

Julius Genachowski ’85, managing director, The Carlyle Group, and former chairman, Federal Communications Commission. At Carlyle, Genachowski focuses on acquisitions and investments in global technology, media and telecom. While FCC chairman (2009– 13), he was credited with transforming the agency to focus on 21st-century opportunities and challenges, pursuing initiatives to free up spectrum for wireless communication, extend broadband connectivity, preserve an open Internet and promote competition.

Jeffrey L. Kessler ’75, LAW’77, co-chairman, Winston & Strawn; chair, antitrust and sports law practices; and member, Executive Committee. Kessler focuses on all aspects of antitrust/competition, sports law, intellectual property, complex litigation, and government criminal and civil investigations. He has been lead counsel in some of the country’s most complex antitrust, sports law and intellectual property law cases. He also is a lecturer at the Law School.

John Vaske ’88, co-chairman, global mergers and acquisitions, Goldman Sachs & Co. Vaske’s responsibilities include full-time client coverage and execution of significant strategic transactions globally. Previously, he was co-chair of the Global Natural Resources Group. Vaske sits on the boards of the nonprofits PeacePlayers International and Bottom Line New York and chairs Columbia’s Basketball Alumni Committee.

Sheena Wright ’90, LAW’94, president and CEO, United Way of New York City. Wright is the first woman to lead UWNYC in its 75-year history. Prior, she was president and CEO of the Abyssinian Development Corp., responsible for leading and managing one of the nation’s premier community and economic development organizations and overseeing its extensive development projects in Harlem, including residential housing and community and commercial spaces.