exterior of Alumni House

Five Case Western Reserve University alumni to receive 2017 Alumni Association Awards

The Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University will honor five accomplished alumni for their notable achievements and commitment to the university during this year’s Homecoming Luncheon at noon on Friday, Oct. 6, in the Tinkham Veale University Center. (Visit case.edu/homecoming for more details.)

Contributions by this year’s recipients cover a wide range of professional and community endeavors, from a trailblazing judge to a successful architect and city planner to an international and corporate lawyer who helps clients bridge cultural differences.

“We have five outstanding recipients of this year’s awards,” said Bradford Crews, the association’s senior executive director. “They each have such stellar accomplishments and have made lasting impressions, not only in their chosen field, but in their community as well. They are a testament to the caliber of alumni we have at Case Western Reserve.”

This year’s recipients are:

Distinguished Alumni Award

Recognizes alumni who have made distinguished and outstanding contributions to their profession or field of interest and brought benefit to their community, humanity and honor to the university. This is the highest honor bestowed by The Alumni Association.

Photo of Jean Murrell Capers
Jean Murrell Capers
Credit: Phillip Morris / The Plain Dealer

Jean Murrell Capers (EDU ’32), who died in July at age 104, fostered an unprecedented commitment to education, politics and law. She was the first African-American woman elected to Cleveland’s City Council in 1949, served as special counsel to the Ohio Attorney General and was an original member of the Women’s Advisory Council of Employment Services. At age 62, Capers was appointed and then elected Cleveland Municipal Judge. Her service to the community, including work with the Central Welfare Association Association and the National Council of Negro Women, exemplified her focus on social justice and a commitment to the Cleveland area.

Capers has been inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame and the Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame and honored by the National Bar Association, as well as the Ohio and Cleveland bar associations, the National Council of Negro Women, the City Club of Cleveland, YMCA and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. As part of the award presentation, Cleveland Municipal Judge Michelle Earley (LAW ’99) will address the attendees with her personal reflections on Judge Capers.

Professional Achievement Award

Recognizes outstanding alumni who have achieved exceptional accomplishment in their career and brought distinction to themselves and the university through their work and leadership in their professional community.

Photo of John Claypool
John Claypool

John P. Claypool (ADL ’70) built a successful career in architecture and city planning.

While working in the administrations of two Philadelphia mayors, he led efforts to reform management and balance budgets. As executive director of the American Institute of Architects’ Philadelphia chapter, Claypool created the independent Center for Architecture, which is responsible for the annual DesignPhiladelphia Festival, highlighting the work of local designers, architects and creative professionals. He also led efforts to raise funds for the Philadelphia public schools and the Charter High School for Architecture + Design, where students can begin to pursue a career in architecture.

Newton D. Baker Award

Photo of David Johnson
David Johnson Jr. Credit: Daniel Milner

Honors the legacy Newton D. Baker, who urged people to volunteer their time, talent and service to those in need. Baker was Cleveland’s 37th mayor, served as Secretary of War under President Woodrow Wilson and was a major supporter of Cleveland College.

David A. G. Johnson Jr. (WRC ’73) serves on The Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve’s board of directors. Johnson also served on several CWRU visiting committees, including as co-chair of the Visiting Committee of University Libraries. He served CWRU’s New York Alumni Association (NYAA) as president, secretary and archivist, and was awarded the Adrian Freeman Award by the NYAA in 1999. He also is involved in Columbia University’s alumni groups. Beyond alumni leadership and service, Johnson has worked for several education and service-oriented nonprofits; as a high school teacher in New York City’s public schools; as a mentor for student teachers/graduate students at Queens College, The City University of New York and St. John’s University; as president and trustee of the Schomburg Corp.; board chairman for the Cinque Gallery; and on advisory committees for Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute and the Romare Bearden Foundation.

Daniel T. Clancy Award

Photo of Jim Treleaven
James Treleaven

Honoring the contributions of Dan Clancy (LAW ’62), The Alumni Association’s executive director emeritus, the award recognizes outstanding alumni who have been active in alumni affairs for at least 15 years and have made significant contributions to The Alumni Association and its programs.

James B. Treleaven (CIT ’69, GRS ’90, management), president and CEO of Via Strategy Group, has been involved with Case Western Reserve since his leadership as a student. For the past 47 years, the Chicago resident has been involved with the Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve, including serving as president; the Case Alumni Association; Spartan Club; and several visiting and planning committees across the university.

Young Alumni Award

Photo of Jiajia Veronica Xu 
Jiajia Veronica Xu

Recognizes outstanding alumni who, at age 35 years old or younger, have demonstrated excellence in their professional field and/or service to their community, the public or humanity.

Jiajia Veronica Xu (LAW ’08) works in international and corporate law, helping clients bridge cultural differences. She is an instructor with the Law and Leadership Institute, sponsored by the Ohio Supreme Court; organizes free legal seminars for minorities in Northeast Ohio; mentors CWRU law students and alumni; teaches Chinese to children and adults; and serves as diversity committee vice-chair of the American Bar Association and board member of the Cleveland Student Housing Association.