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    Four Distinguished Alumni to Be Honored at 2016 Arents Ceremony

    August 4, 2016

    The recipients of this year’s Arents Award are Jim Brown ’57, All-American athlete and social activist (top left); James Cunningham ’74, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Israel (top right); Dr. Robert Jarvik ’68, H’83, inventor of the first successful artificial heart (bottom left); and Arielle Tepper Madover ’94, a Tony Award-winning producer (bottom right).The Syracuse University Alumni Association will recognize four outstanding alumni for excellence and innovation in their fields at this year’s Arents Award Ceremony during Orange Central.

    The recipients of this year’s Arents Award are Jim Brown ’57, All-American athlete and social activist; James Cunningham ’74, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and Israel; Dr. Robert Jarvik ’68, H’83, inventor of the first successful artificial heart; and Arielle Tepper Madover ’94, a Tony Award-winning producer.

    The Arents Award is Syracuse University’s highest alumni honor. It is named after George Arents, a successful manufacturer who served on the University Board of Trustees from 1930 until his death in 1960.

    Orange Central is a once-a-year celebration for the entire Syracuse University community. Student-focused programming starts on Sept. 12, with homecoming and reunion weekend happening Sept. 15-18.

    The Arents Award celebration on Friday, Sept. 16, will begin with a cocktail party from 5-6 p.m. in the Panasci Lounge, Schine Student Center, followed by a dinner and awards presentation from 6-8:30 p.m. in Goldstein Auditorium, Schine Student Center.

    For more information about the Arents event or any of the Orange Central activities, visit

    Jim Brown ’57

    Jim Brown ’57

    Brown wore No. 44 for the Orange football team for three seasons (1954-56) and is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes in history. He was a four-sport star at Syracuse University (football, lacrosse, basketball and track), and a 1956 All-American in football. In 1982, Brown was presented with the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.

    During his nine-year NFL career with the Cleveland Browns, Brown led the league in rushing eight times and was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection. In 2002, he was named the “Greatest NFL Player” by Sporting News and is on the All-Time NFL Team, 1960s All-Decade Team, the NFL’s 50th Anniversary Team and the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team. Brown was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971, the Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1983 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995. His No. 32 uniform was retired by the Cleveland Browns.

    At age 30, at the peak of his playing career, Brown retired from professional football to concentrate on acting. He has more than 40 film credits to his name, including “The Dirty Dozen” and “Any Given Sunday.” In 2002, Spike Lee released the film “Jim Brown: All-American,” documenting Brown’s life.

    In June 2016, Brown was inducted into the inaugural class of the U.S. Army ROTC National Hall of Fame. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant through Army ROTC following his graduation from Syracuse University, then continued his military training commitment while playing in the NFL. He was honorably discharged from the Army Reserve with the rank of captain.

    As a social activist, Brown supported African American causes by helping to create the Negro Industrial Economic Union in the 1960s, and in the 1980s, founding the Amer-I-Can program, which strives to turn around the lives of young gang members.

    Brown earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Syracuse University.

    Ambassador James Cunningham ’74

    James B. Cunningham ’74

    Cunningham joined the Atlantic Council in May 2015 as a senior fellow in the South Asia Center and the Khalilzad Chair, and in May 2016 became a non-resident senior fellow. He served as ambassador to Afghanistan from August 2012 to December 2014, and as deputy ambassador from 2011 to 2012. He had also served as ambassador to Israel, consul general for Hong Kong and Macau, ambassador and deputy permanent representative to the United Nations in New York, and acting permanent representative to the United Nations for the first nine months of 2001, including on 9/11.

    After early tours in Stockholm, Washington, Rome and the U.S. Mission to NATO, Cunningham was selected by NATO Secretary-General Manfred Woerner as his chief of staff from 1988 to 1990. He advised the secretary-general on all NATO issues in the context of nuclear disarmament in Europe, the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, and the impending dissolution of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union.

    Just after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Cunningham became deputy political counselor at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. In 1992, he became the deputy director of the State Department Office of European Security and Political Affairs and then director. He served as deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Rome.

    Cunningham was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University with degrees in political science and psychology. He is married to Leslie Genier of Mineville, New York. They have two daughters.

    Cunningham is the recipient of multiple awards from the U.S. State Department, the National Performance Review's Hammer Award for Innovation in Management and the President’s Meritorious Service Award (twice). He has received prestigious awards from the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the secretary of defense and the Afghan president. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and The Asia Society.

    Cunningham retired from government service in December 2014 with the rank of career minister.

    Robert Jarvik, M.D. ’68

    Dr. Robert Jarvik ’68, H’83

    Jarvik is chairman and CEO of Jarvik Heart Inc., the manufacturer of the Jarvik 2000 artificial heart. Jarvik has been active in artificial heart development for more than 40 years; his work has included invention, engineering, manufacturing development, laboratory and clinical research, regulatory affairs and business management.

    Throughout his career, he has emphasized the invention and simplification of artificial heart technology, with the goal of providing a practical artificial heart for widespread application. He developed the human anatomic configuration and surgical placement of the Jarvik 7, which led to the first human application of a permanent total artificial heart in recipient Barney Clark in 1982.

    Jarvik holds more than 30 U.S. and foreign patents, covering permanent artificial hearts, temporary blood pumps for use in less invasive heart surgery, methods of improving cardiomyoplasty and other inventions, such as virtual reality exercise devices. The recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, he has served as principal investigator on several National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants and contracts. He has collaborated in various research programs at medical centers throughout the United States and abroad and is now conducting research under a major NIH contract to develop artificial hearts for children and infants.

    In 2006-07, Jarvik served as national spokesperson for Lipitor, the leading treatment for high cholesterol, serving both as an advocate for preventive measures to reduce patients’ risk of heart disease and a developer of leading technology to treat severe heart failure.

    Jarvik earned a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Syracuse University, a master’s degree in occupational biomechanics at New York University and a medical degree from the Division of Artificial Organs at the University of Utah. He is married to Marilyn vos Savant, who writes the “Parade” magazine column “Ask Marilyn,” and works with him in the development and administration of Jarvik Heart Inc.

    Arielle Tepper Madover ’94

    Arielle Tepper Madover ’94

    Madover ’94 is founder and CEO of the new technology company,, the board chair at The Public Theater in New York City, and a film and Tony Award-winning theater producer for more than 20 years. Madover has had a longstanding relationship with The Donmar Warehouse since 2005. She worked from 2005 to 2012 with artistic director Michael Grandage, and has worked with Josie Rourke since 2012. Madover is executive producer of the film “Genius” by John Logan, directed by Michael Grandage, starring Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Jude Law and Laura Linney.

    Madover’s theatrical credits on Broadway include “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” starring Liev Schreiber and Janet McTeer, directed by Josie Rourke (upcoming); “The Elephant Man”; “The Cripple of Inishmaan”; “Annie”; “Lucky Guy”; “I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers”; “Red”; “Hamlet”; “Hair”; “Mary Stuart”; “Equus”; “Monty Python’s Spamalot”; “Frost/Nixon”; “The Pillowman”; “A Raisin in the Sun”; and John Leguizamo’s “Freak.” West End credits include “My Night with Reg,” “Piaf,” “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” “Frost/Nixon,” “Guys and Dolls” and “Mary Stuart.” Her Off-Broadway productions are “De La Guarda” and “The Last Five Years.”

    Madover is on the board of governors for The Broadway League. She is an emerita member of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees and a past board member of The Dalton School. She founded the Summer Play Festival and the Tepper Center for Careers in Theatre. She is also a member of the Juilliard Drama Council, has been listed in Crain’s 40 under 40 and was one of Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Females.