Wharton Alumni Leadership Recognized

Wharton leadership. We see it among students and faculty, and our 93,000 alumni live its values every day around the world. With that leadership in mind, we are proud to spotlight a small cohort of alumni each year during Wharton MBA Reunion with the Distinguished Service Award. These are alumni who embody the values of Wharton leadership and service. In 2015, they were:

Wharton leadership get honored

John M. Bendheim (front) with family and Wharton Dean Geoffrey Garrett (third from left) at Reunion.

John M. Bendheim W40

Bendheim, vice president of the Leon Lowenstein Foundation, was in attendance at Wharton MBA Reunion to receive the Distinguished Service Award with a large family contingent, including son Tom G90 WG90 (member of the Lauder Institute Board of Governors) and granddaughter Alexandra C15. The Bendheim family has long supported individuals and programs at Wharton (e.g., The John M. Bendheim Loan Forgiveness Fund, which encourages MBA students to follow interests in the public sector by relieving financial constraints).

Wharton leadership Art Bilger

Arthur H. Bilger W75

When presenting “Art” Bilger the award, Dean Geoffrey Garrett recounted how the founder of Shelter Capital was one of the first alumni he met when he became dean last July. They had coffee in California, after which Bilger gave Garrett a lift to the airport. A member of the Wharton Board of Overseers for more than 10 years, Bilger has long supported undergraduate students and innovative educational and research programs across Penn.


Beth J. Kaplan W80 WG81Wharton leadership Beth Kaplan

Kaplan’s father encouraged her to attend Wharton at a time when, admittedly, fewer women participated on campus, and she heeded his advice—and became a “submatric” no less. Kaplan is now president and chief operating office of Rent the Runway. A member of the Wharton Board of Overseers, Kaplan established two funds in support of female undergraduate students, including the Yale J. Kaplan Memorial Endowed Scholarship in honor of her father.


Kenneth D. Moelis W80 WG81

Wharton leader Ken Moelis

Ken Moelis with wife Julie

Best known for launching Wall Street investment bank Moelis & Company, Moelis is also renown for his huge family presence in Penn’s history. (See our article, “Getting to the Root of Family Trees.”) Moelis, a member of the Wharton Board of Overseers and the Penn Board of Trustees, has earned a reputation for philanthropy; for instance, he established three student scholarships and named two rooms in Huntsman Hall.

George A. Weiss W65 HON14Wharton leadership George Weiss

Weiss chaired the Making History: The Campaign for Penn for its entirety. The results ($4.3 billion raised over seven years) speak for themselves. In talking at the award presentation, Dean Garrett shared the story of when he first heard that Weiss had competed in the 2004 Olympics in martial arts for the U.S. Garrett asked him if there was a masters’ division at the Olympics. No, was the response; there are no “master” Olympians. Only Olympians. (In 2003 at age 59, Weiss won two gold medals and a bronze in a World Cup tae kwon do event.)


The Distinguished Service Award was established in 1988 to recognize alumni who demonstrate leadership in their professional activities and extraordinary, ongoing service to the Wharton School. Recipients of the Distinguished Service Award exemplify the highest standards and achievements that the School teaches and to which the School hopes its graduates will aspire.



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