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Alumni Association Awards Program

The Heinz College Alumni Association Board (HCAAB) believes that it is important to recognize the outstanding contributions that our alumni make to their chosen professions and in service to Heinz College. To that end, the HCAAB initiated the Heinz College Alumni Awards in 2012 to recognize outstanding alumni with four awards: Distinguished Alumni, Outstanding Recent Alumni, and Alumni Meritorious Service, and the Dean's Recognition Award.

2023 Alumni Association Award Honorees

Distinguished Alumni Award

Keara Klinepeter headshot

Keara Klinepeter (MSHCPM 2013)
Keara is a results-driven, mission-oriented healthcare leader. She currently works at Deloitte Consulting as a Senior Manager advising state decision-makers at the intersection of public health and healthcare delivery. Throughout her career, Klinepeter has sought positions that leverage her skills to make an impact for the greater good, work with dynamic teams, and build bridges to achieve strategic goals.

As Acting Secretary of Health in Pennsylvania, Keara led the state through the largest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under her leadership, the Department of Health implemented unprecedented solutions to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed and ensured Pennsylvanians had access to care. During the vaccine roll-out, Keara served as the Executive Deputy Secretary, running the Department while also overseeing the COVID-19 response. And, as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Health, she led the COVID-19 response in long-term care for the first wave of the pandemic. She developed a passion for rural health care while working in the PA Rural Health Model, an alternative payment model that moves rural hospitals onto a global budget model and requires them to transform care delivery.

Keara started her career at the MITRE Corporation supporting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid implement the Affordable Care Act and spent time working in national security for the U.S. Air Force on strategy and policy issues.

Miguel Mier headshot

Miguel Mier (MSIT 2011)
Miguel is the Chief Operating Officer at Cinepolis, the largest cinema chain operator in Latin America and the third largest in the world with 6,812 screens in 18 countries across America, Europe & Asia.

Miguel started his career in Cinepolis in 1994 as head of IT developing and implementing the first software for operating theatres. Since 2003 in his current position as COO he manages Operations, Marketing, IT, HR, Sales, and International Operations. During Miguel's tenure as COO, Cinépolis has evolved from a company running 310 screens in Mexico to a company with 6,812 screens in four continents.

Miguel launched the international operations in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Panama before going to study an MS at Stanford in 2006. Miguel is also a movie producer; he bought the rights and produced the Mexican remake of the Indian Blockbuster “3 Idiots,” followed by the remake of the Italian “Perfectos Desconuti” and in 2024 the Mexican Blockbuster “Casi el Paraíso.”

Since May 2012 he has been a Mentor at Endeavor México. Miguel is an active lecturer in the Master of Entertainment Industry Management program at Carnegie Mellon University, Los Angeles campus since 2016. In 2022, Miguel was named ShowEast International Exhibitor of the Year.

Miguel graduated from Economics at the Tec de Monterrey; has a Master of Science in Management degree from Stanford; a double master’s degree in technology management from Heinz College, CMU and Tec de Monterrey, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University in Charlotte, NC.

OutsTanding Recent Alumni Award

Danny Diaz headshot

Dany Diaz Mejia (MSPPM 2013)
Dany Díaz Mejía graduated from John Carroll University in 2011 with a BA in political science. He also holds a MSc in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. From 2017 to 2020 he led the field operations of the Academy for Security Analysis. In the Academy he used his passion for evidence-based public policies to improve citizen security in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

He now works as an independent consultant for international development projects in Central America. He is a volunteer for the Latin American Leadership Academy based in Colombia, where does workshops on public speaking and storytelling. In addition to his policy work, he is the author of the short story collection La Quebrada, and a frequent writer on current affairs in outlets such as Gato Encerrado of El Salvador. He has also published in America Magazine in the US.

Meritorious Service Award

Dan Hassell headshot

Dan Hassell (MSPPM 1981)
After C. Daniel Hassell earned a Master of Science in Public Policy and Management from Heinz College in 1981, he followed Professor Daniel Nagin to a position in the state Department of Revenue. From there he served in a variety of roles in both the legislative and executive branches of Pennsylvania government in a career spanning 41 years and six Governors.

He was twice nominated to the leadership of the Department of Revenue, by Governor Ed Rendell in 2009 and by Governor Tom Wolf in 2017, and in both cases was unanimously confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate. In that role he led an agency of 1,500 employees who collect the revenue that funds vital programs and services for all Pennsylvanians.

Dan’s leadership and expertise has been recognized among his peers in national organizations as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Federation of Tax Administrators, and the Senior Executive Board of the Identity Theft and Tax Refund Fraud Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC).

Throughout his tenure, Dan worked to strengthen the Department’s customer service functions and internal systems. He emphasized the importance of public service as a worthy calling, requiring dedication to fairness, integrity and the rule of law in the public interest.

Past Alumni Association Award Honorees

  • 2022


    Dr. Howard B. Slaughter

    Dr. Howard B. Slaughter (MPM 1995)
    Howard is President & Chief Executive Officer of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh.  He was Vice President of Community Development at Dollar Bank. He also served as the Regional Director of Fannie Mae’s Pittsburgh Business Center, managing a $2 Billion housing investment plan and his office assisted Twenty-Four thousand families in becoming homeowners. Howard was the first President & CEO of Landmarks Community Capital Corporation.  He was an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Ph.D. Doctoral (Community Engagement) program and in the school of Business teaching Strategic Management, Introduction to Business and Essentials of Organizational Leadership at Point Park University.

    Howard is on the boards of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, the Mount Ararat Community Activity Center, Chairman of the Board of the Howard Hanna Free Care Fund Foundation and the Board of the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority.  He holds an Associate in Science degree in Financial Services, a Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication from Carlow University, an MBA from Point Park University, a Master’s degree in Public Management from Carnegie Mellon University and a Doctor of Science in Information Systems and Communications from Robert Morris University.

    OutsTanding Recent Alumni Award

    Flag - in place of headshot for Ramer P alumni award

    Ramer P (MSISPM 2015)
    Ramer is a leading computer security specialist and foreign affairs expert. His interests focus on the topics of cyber threat intelligence, incident response, and block chain analysis. He is committed to finding innovative ways to combat malicious campaigns from advanced persistent threats (APTs), disrupt
    ransomware events, and protecting the privacy of would-be victims online.

    Through his experiences, Ramer has had success in unmasking hackers and finding missing persons. Ramer has lectured on cyber tools and capabilities from both a defensive and offensive perspective. He is sought after for his technical advice and innovative spirit. He can be found attending the major cybersecurity conferences such as DEFCON and Black Hat or participating in Capture-the-Flag (CTF) competitions.

    Ramer is an advocate for STEM education and welcomes the opportunity to assist students who are looking to break into the cybersecurity realm, especially for those with a limited technical background. Ramer has been active in the Heinz College Mentor Program.

    Meritorious Service Award

    Lamar Lovelace

    Lamar Lovelace (MAM 2004)

    As Executive Director for Step Afrika!, Lamar Lovelace is responsible for the organization’s strategy and operations, leading its staff, programs and the execution of its mission. Working closely with Step Afrika!’s board of directors, he spearheads fundraising, marketing, operations and long-range planning for the organization. He brings deep expertise from academia and has managed the organization’s humanities-based partnerships.

    In July 2017, Lamar joined Step Afrika! as Deputy Executive Director, where he oversaw the dance company’s communications and marketing strategy, fundraising efforts and financial operations. Previously, Lamar spent 8 years at Columbia University as Assistant Director in the Office of Community Outreach and Education and Director of Public Programs and Events. At the New York City-based campus, he managed community-based partnerships and special events and produced large-scale, humanities-based programming opportunities to engage students, faculty and staff.  

    At Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Lamar was Director of Cultural Affairs and Student Engagement, where he created arts-based social justice programs and exhibitions. He holds Master’s degrees in Arts Management and Oral History from Carnegie Mellon and Columbia, respectively, and a BA in Speech and Hearing Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Lovelace is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Do you know a Heinz alum who you feel is deserving of an Alumni Award?

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