52nd Annual Distinguished Alumni Awards

Amazing Achievement on Display at 52nd Annual Distinguished Alumni Awards

A Georgia State degree has the power to prepare graduates for success and achievement beyond what they ever thought possible. It’s easy to talk about that as an abstract concept, but Georgia State’s annual Distinguished Alumni Awards provide living proof.

The 52nd awards ceremony, to be held Friday, Oct. 2 in the Student Center Ballroom, is yet another outstanding example. Representing a wide variety of fields, this year’s four honorees show just how far a Georgia State degree can go when combined with hard work and an instinct for public service.

“There are nearly 200,000 Georgia State alumni all over the world, so picking four of the best means they have to be truly special people,” says Christina Million, associate vice president for alumni relations. “We’re proud to have played a part in these graduates’ life stories, and honored that they continue to support and promote this university.”

The four alumni being honored this year are:

  • David Adelman (MPA ’95), a partner at the multinational corporate law firm Reed Smith LLP, where he focuses on trans-Pacific trade and investment. Adelman gained considerable experience in those areas after three years as the U.S. ambassador to Singapore, a distinguished and productive tenure that earned him the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award, the U.S. Navy’s highest award granted to non-military personnel.
  • Jeff (MCIS ’86) and Sherry Hwang (MCIS ’87), co-founders of Pyramid Systems Inc., a northern Virginia-based software and information technology firm. The Hwangs met at Georgia State, where they were members of the university’s large and close-knit community of students from Taiwan. In 2011, they created a scholarship fund for Taiwanese CIS students following in their footsteps.

Adelman, who earned his master’s degree at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies while practicing law in Atlanta, says his studies “prepared me well” for service in both the Georgia Senate and the U.S. State Department. “Even then, my fellow students were a diverse group in every way,” he remembers. “Some of them were from government and some of them were from private-sector backgrounds, and some of them were just getting started in their careers while others were mid-career professionals. But they were all motivated people who came to the program as serious students, and we learned a lot from each other in addition to what we learned from our professors.

“With all the fond memories I have of Georgia State, it’s an honor to be recognized by the university,” Adelman says. “And it’s exciting to think that its best years are still ahead.”

To that end, Million hopes that experiences like his will serve as inspiration not only to fellow alumni but also to current students.

“This ceremony is about looking back at the amazing lives and careers these alumni have led, but it’s also about looking forward,” she says. “These alumni are fantastic role models in every way, and it’s truly a gift for us at Georgia State to be able to point to them and tell today’s students, ‘This is what we can help you accomplish.’”