HKS Alumni to be Honored with Awards at Reunion Weekend

May 11, 2012

Cambridge, MA—Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) will be honoring three alumni for their outstanding contributions during Reunion Weekend (May 11-13).

James R. McCorkell MPA 1999 will receive the Alumni Achievement Award, which recognizes HKS alumni who, after more than six years in their careers, have made a significant contribution to improving the human condition on a local, state/provincial, national, or international stage. McCorkell has made exceptional strides to improve access to higher education. Research has shown that a college degree is the surest path to ending the cycle of poverty—yet the people who would benefit most from higher education are often the least likely to enroll. McCorkell, who founded and directs College Possible (previously named Admission Possible), was the first to recognize that Americorps’ national service members would be perfect mentors, able to provide intensive tutoring and support for low-income students to help them overcome barriers to college admission. College Possible, which provides comprehensive college preparatory services to low-income youth, has seen unprecedented results: 98 percent of the nearly 8,700 students who have participated in College Possible have earned college admittance, with 94 percent going on to enroll. McCorkell exemplifies the HKS values of commitment to public service, innovative leadership, inspirational behavior, integrity, and courage in making the world a better place.

Melodie J. Potts Rosevear MPP 2008
, who founded and operates Teach For Australia, will receive the Rising Star Award, which recognizes HKS alumni who, within six years of beginning their careers, have “hit the ground running” as leaders. Potts Rosevear, who wrote the nonprofit’s business plan while still a student at HKS, had a vision of an Australia where all children, regardless of background or social circumstances, are given the best chance to succeed in the classroom and achieve their full potential. Teach For Australia experienced early success in 2010, when Potts Rosevear placed 45 associates as teachers in 13 disadvantaged schools across the state of Victoria.

The Julius E. Babbitt Memorial Alumni Volunteer Award—given to an alumnus/a who has demonstrated uncommon commitment and service to the School and the alumni community—will be given to Joseph A. Rieser Jr. MPP 1974. As a member of HKS’ first Executive Council, Rieser helped expand the Council by opening up elections to all alumni. He has made significant contributions to rewrite the bylaws and identify nominees, and chartered initiatives to expand alumni giving, create local chapters, connect alumni, grow the alumni board, and bridge the professional gap between students and alumni. His actions, which were foundational to building the HKS Alumni Association, represent a significant contribution to the HKS alumni community worldwide.

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