On Friday, September 22, five alumni returned to Mount Saint James to receive the 2017 Sanctae Crucis Award. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the award, which is the College’s highest non-degree recognition. Thomas R. Beecher, Jr. ‘59 P90, Deborah L. Fuller, D.M.D., M.S. ‘91, Katherine M. Gallagher ‘92, Stephen P. Harbeck, Esq. ‘68, and Col. Malcolm N. Joseph, III, M.D. USAF (Ret.) ‘71 were all recognized for distinguishing themselves professionally and in the service of justice.
Members of the College of the Holy Cross community were invited to attend two of Friday’s events with the honorees. First, Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., President, moderated a panel with all five honorees, then the event was divided into individual campus conversations in which each honoree spoke about their work and answered questions from students, faculty, and staff.
Thomas Beecher is an attorney and director of multiple national and global corporations in Buffalo, N.Y. He co-founded and directs the BISON Children’s Scholarship Fund, a foundation providing more than 1,900 scholarships annually to poor families in Western New York, and was a founder and chairman of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, a supporting organization for the major institutions delivering healthcare and medical education in Buffalo. Beecher credits his Holy Cross education for teaching him to “do well so that you can do good.”
Deborah Fuller, D.M.D., M.S., is a public health dentist in Rhode Island. She currently serves as director of network development for MetLife where she is responsible for the operations of the Dental Network Development Team. She also provides Medicaid peer review and policy assessment for the RI Executive Office of Health and Human Services. When working as a dentist at St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island, Dr. Fuller founded First Smiles, an infant and toddler oral health program for underprivileged children through age three. At the panel, she discussed how she changed her career path from pre-medicine to pre-dental while at Holy Cross because of her desire to have a profession with more room for creativity, describing dentistry as the “arts” of medicine.
Katherine Gallagher, a human rights attorney, specializes in international criminal law cases related to war crimes. She is a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, where she works on universal jurisdiction and international criminal law cases involving U.S. and foreign officials and torture and other war crimes, as well as cases involving private military corporations and torture at Abu Ghraib. She has also served as vice president on the International Board of the International Federation for Human Rights for the past seven years. While speaking on the panel, Gallagher discussed her time studying abroad in Cairo and how that led to her learning true solidarity with others. She became a human rights attorney, advocate, and activist because of her belief that justice in one place could help stop injustice elsewhere.
Stephen Harbeck is president and CEO of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, a nonprofit corporation established by Congress to restore customer securities and cash in cases of securities brokerage bankruptcies. He has helped restore billions of dollars in assets to small investors over his 42 years at SIPC. As president since 2003, he has led SIPC in managing some of the most notorious brokerage failures in U.S. history, including Lehman Brothers Inc., Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, and MF Global. Harbeck was a student-athlete during his time at Holy Cross, where he learned the value of discipline balancing academics and athletics. He also talked about how much he values the liberal arts approach of Holy Cross because it taught him to always ask what the right thing to do is.
Col. Malcolm Joseph, M.D., is the medical director at the CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield in Baltimore, MD where he has worked since retiring from active duty after 20 years in the U.S. Air Force as a chief flight surgeon. As an advocate for healthcare accessibility, he leads public and private care initiatives for individuals without health insurance at CareFirst. Dr. Joseph was one of the first African American graduates of Holy Cross and the first African American alumnus to graduate from medical school. He spoke about the obstacles he faced during his college years but asserted that for every challenge and barrier he was faced with, there was always someone willing to help. One individual he singled out for helping him and inspiring him was Father John Brooks, president of the College when it first began admitting African Americans and women.
Following the panel and the individual discussions, the five honorees were presented with the Sanctae Crucis Awards at a reception on Friday evening. As Father Boroughs put it when introducing the recipients at the panel, they exemplify “the highest values of Holy Cross.”