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AU honors U.S. Rep Jim McGovern, Others  at 2008 Alumni Weekend

By Maralee Csellar

American University honored U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Fair Trade Federation executive director Carmen Iezzi, and businessman and entrepreneur Ronald Boots Nissenbaum at the university’s Alumni and Family Weekend on Saturday, Oct. 25. 

The Alumni Recognition Award, Alumni Achievement Award, and Rising Star Award are the three highest honors given to AU alumni.

McGovern, who earned a bachelor’s degree in AU’s College of Arts and Sciences and a master’s degree from the School of Public Affairs, received the Alumni Achievement Award.  The award honors AU graduates who have inspired the world around them through service to the community or a philanthropic mission.  

A native of Worcester, Massachusetts, McGovern was sworn in as U.S. representative for Massachusetts’ 3rd Congressional District in 1997.   Drawn to AU because of his interest in politics and government, McGovern has had a distinguished career of public service and dedication to human rights issues. The cocreator of the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program, he has worked tirelessly to end hunger, traveling to Colombia and Kenya to monitor the program.

Iezzi, who received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the School of International Service in 2001, was presented with the 2008 Rising Star Award.  The Rising Star Award recognizes alumni who have received their undergraduate degree within the past 10 years and who are already making significant contributions to society through professional or philanthropic work.  

On top of her work as the executive director of the Fair Trade Federation, Iezzi—a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—serves as the vice chair of the board of directors for Ten Thousand Villages of Alexandria in Virginia and chairs the Millennium Development Goals Task Force for the UN Association of the National Capital Area.

Ronald Boots Nissenbaum received the Alumni Recognition Award, which is given each year to alumni who inspire the world around them through service to the community or a philanthropic mission.  

One of AU’s greatest supporters in the past 40 years, Nissenbaum regularly travels from Philadelphia to cheer for the AU men’s basketball team and was instrumental in drumming up alumni support for the Eagles’ Patriot League Championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament.  A former student member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, Nissenbaum continues to be a central figure in the ZBT alumni community, which gathers regularly and founded the ZBT/Donald Brenner Scholarship to recognize Professor Donald Brenner, their longtime advisor. Nissenbaum, a resident of Haverford, Pennsylvania, is the CEO and owner of Humphry’s and Cover Sports USA, the leading manufacturer of industrial tarps and sports fabric covers in the United States.