Four College of Arts and Sciences graduates were recognized for their professional and public
service achievements as the newest members of the UD Alumni Wall of
Grace Thompson Leong (Class of 1988), Tara Beckerer Manal (Class of
1991, who also received a master’s degree in 1993), Leo E. Strine Jr.
(Class of 1985) and Marna Cupp Whittington (Class of 1968), all
graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences, were honored at the 2016
Alumni Wall of Fame induction ceremony hosted by the UD Alumni
Association (UDAA) on June 4.
Established in 1984, the Wall of Fame features the names of more than 250 accomplished alumni.
“The Wall of Fame serves as a legacy for our exceptional alumni,”
Nancy Targett, then president of the University, said when the 2016
inductees were announced. “It’s an absolute honor to have the
opportunity to add more names to it each and every year.
“The honorees we’re celebrating have established indelible legacies
in their communities, with their colleagues and at this University.
We’re very proud of their accomplishments and equally proud that they’re
carrying on the Blue Hen tradition of excellence.”
Grace T. Leong
Leong, who earned her bachelor’s degree in communication at UD in
1988, is CEO and partner in Hunter Public Relations, which she founded
in 1989 with Barbara Hunter.
The New York City-based firm provides strategic marketing
communications counsel to national consumer brands and chief marketing
officers for such Fortune 100 companies as Kraft and Johnson and
Johnson. Hunter Public Relations, which began with three employees, now
operates across North America and in Toronto and the United Kingdom and
is regularly ranked among the top 20 consumer-focused public relations
firms in the U.S.
Leong has won numerous industry awards including, just two days
before the UD Wall of Fame ceremony, the John W. Hill Award for lifetime
achievement from the Public Relations Society of America’s New York
chapter. She regularly provides guidance and internship opportunities to
Leong has been a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s
Advisory Council since 2009, the last two years as its chair, and also
serves on the advisory board for the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship in
the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. In 2013, she
received the UDAA Outstanding Alumni Award.
“Thanks to UD’s outstanding learning environment, I discovered my
passion for communication,” Leong said. “There is no doubt that my years
at UD were my most formative, and I am grateful for the love, learning
and pride of place this University has shared with me.”
Tara B. Manal
Manal earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1991 and a master’s
degree in physical therapy (PT) in 1993, both from UD, and now is
director of clinical services and residency training and an associate
professor in the University’s Department of Physical Therapy.
The department’s graduate physical therapy program recently was ranked No. 1 in the nation in the 2017 edition of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Graduate Schools.
Most of Manal’s career has been spent as a primary instructor for PT
with a focus on spine management, emergency response and psychosocial
aspects of health care. In addition to her dedication to students, she
has published 15 monographs and chapters, 22 peer and non-peer reviewed
articles and has presented at more than 150 national and international
conferences and meetings.
She has won numerous professional honors, including the Signe
Brunnstrom Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching and the Lucy Blair
Service Award from the American Physical Therapy Association, as well as
the UD physical therapy alumni award, and has been invited by Arcadia
University to be the ninth annual Charles M. Magistro Lecturer.
“My undergraduate training in psychology and Spanish provided a
well-rounded academic foundation to build my career as a physical
therapist clinician educator,” Manal said. “I would never have achieved
so much in my career without the excellent education I received from UD
and the mentorship from this institution and its dedicated faculty and
Leo E. Strine Jr.
Strine, who is chief justice of the Delaware Supreme Court, earned
his bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations
Before being named chief justice in 2014, he was chancellor of the
Delaware Court of Chancery beginning in 2011, after serving as a vice
chancellor since 1998.
Strine speaks at law conferences and institutes across the country,
including the Tulane Corporate Law Institute, New York University Center
for Law and Business and Duke University. He has authored many articles
on business law in such publications as Harvard Law Review, Stanford Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review and University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
He holds long-standing adjunct teaching positions at Harvard and the
University of Pennsylvania, where he continues to teach corporate law.
He has been awarded the Order of the First State and UD’s
Presidential Citation for Outstanding Achievement. Since 2005, Strine
has been named one of the nation’s top lawyers and judges by Lawdragon magazine, and in 2006 he was selected as a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute.
“Luckily for me, I came to a university, and in particular a
department of political science, where faculty connected the most
important intellectual traditions to the way our society operates,”
Strine said. “The fact that they took an interest in me, helped me gain
confidence and opened doors for me was critical to any success I have
had in my long career in public service.”
Marna C. Whittington
Whittington, who graduated from UD in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree
in mathematics and later earned master’s and doctoral degrees in
quantitative methods from the University of Pittsburgh, was CEO of
Allianz Global Investors Capital from 2001 until her retirement in 2012.
Early in her career, she served as budget director and secretary of
finance for the state of Delaware and later as vice president of finance
and executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania.
As managing partner of Miller, Anderson and Sherrerd in the
mid-1990s, she directed the sale of the business to Morgan Stanley Asset
Management, where she successfully integrated the two firms and later
became a managing director and chief operating officer.
Whittington is a member of UD’s President’s Leadership Council and
the Salk Institute for Biological Studies Board of Trustees and is the
Middlebury College board chair. She also sits on the board of directors
of Macy’s, Phillips 66, Oaktree Capital Group, Afghan Women’s Council,
Cloudnexa, Strategic Partnerships LLC and the Philadelphia
“I was attracted to the University because of the beautiful campus,
its reputation combined with its affordability and a very charming and
persuasive dean of admissions, Edward Ott,” Whittington said of her
first visit in 1964. “The University proved to be so much more than my
initial impressions. It prepared me well for graduate school and
provided a foundation for a very interesting and satisfying professional
and personal life.”