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Three receive Northwestern Alumni Association’s highest honor

Alumni Medal honors innovation, community engagement, learning and global impact
2019 Alumni Medal recipients
(Left to right): Lisa Franchetti, Bridgette Proctor Heller and Yie-Hsin Hung

The Northwestern Alumni Medal — the highest honor given by the Northwestern Alumni Association (NAA) — will honor three alumnae this fall for their professional achievements and commitment to the University’s values.

The 2019 recipients join a select group of 103 alumni honored since 1932. U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Lisa M. Franchetti ’85 is being acknowledged for her service and impact in her field. Bridgette Proctor Heller ’83, ’85 MBA is a global business leader being recognized for her innovation and advocacy. Global asset management CEO, Yie-Hsin Hung ’84, is being honored for her leadership and philanthropy.

The recipients hold degrees from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications; Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences; Kellogg School of Management; and McCormick School of Engineering.  

The three leaders are part of a legacy of trailblazing women at Northwestern that dates back to the 1800s. This fall marks the start of a yearlong commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the first women students at Northwestern. 

The University will celebrate this year’s Alumni Medal recipients during Northwestern’s Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, October 24–27.

The Northwestern Alumni Medal is the highest honor given by the NAA and recognizes alumni whose achievements exemplify the ideals and are aligned with the strategic direction of Northwestern University through their life, work and service. The award recognizes superior professional distinction, exemplary volunteer service to society and an outstanding record of service and support to the University.

Visit the NAA website to read more about the Alumni Medal.

Lisa Franchetti

Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti is an expert military tactician and strategist. One of about 20 female admirals in the U.S. Navy, she assumed command of the U.S. Navy’s 6th Fleet, based in Naples, Italy, in 2018. She also serves as commander of Striking and Support Forces NATO and the deputy commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa.

Previously, Franchetti served as chief of staff of the strategy, plans and policy directorate of the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C. She was the first woman to serve as commander of U.S. Naval Forces Korea, strengthening collective security efforts in the region from 2013 to 2015. Her many assignments ashore and at sea have included commanding the U.S.S. Ross — a guided missile destroyer — as well as Destroyer Squadron 21 and Carrier Strike Group 9, and leading Pacific Partnership 2010, a humanitarian mission to Southeast Asia.

Franchetti joined the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program during her first year at Northwestern. She was also active on the University’s crew team.

Today, Franchetti is a member of Northwestern’s Council of One Hundred. She has also participated in the NU Club of Washington, DC. The Alumnae of Northwestern University presented her with the 2016 Alumnae Award, which recognizes an outstanding alumna who has made a significant impact in her field. She also has earned numerous awards for her military service, including the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit.

Franchetti received a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. She attended the Naval War College and holds an M.A. in organizational management from the University of Phoenix.

She and her husband, James Sievert, have a daughter, Isabel.

Bridgette Proctor Heller

Bridgette Heller has more than 30 years of experience as a senior executive with Fortune 500 companies, with an exceptional track record of growing consumer businesses and building highly effective teams. Most recently, she served as executive vice president and president of Nutricia, the specialized nutrition division of Danone, an international food company.

From 2010 to 2015, Heller held senior executive roles at Merck & Co. Previously, she was president of Johnson & Johnson’s global baby business unit and chief executive officer of Chung’s Gourmet Foods. She also was the founder and managing partner of Heller Associates, a consulting firm providing consumer-centric growth strategies. Heller spent the first 18 years of her career at Kraft Foods Inc. in various marketing and general management positions including executive vice president and president of the coffee division. 

A member of the board of directors for the TechData Corporation, Heller also has served on the board of directors for Girls, Inc., a national nonprofit that encourages the development of girls through direct service and advocacy. In her hometown of St. Petersburg, Florida, she directs the Shirley Proctor Puller Foundation, dedicated to eradicating illiteracy among underserved local children.

Heller serves on Northwestern Kellogg School of Management’s Global Advisory Board. She is also a member of the Kellogg Black Alumni Network, the Northwestern University Black Alumni Association, and the Women’s Initiative of Northwestern. 

She received a B.A. in economics and computer studies from Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and an MBA from Kellogg.

Heller met her husband, Eliot Heller ’84, when they were in the Jiujitsu Club as undergraduates. They have two daughters, Mariah and Sara. 

Yie-Hsin Hung

Yie-Hsin Hung is chief executive officer of New York Life Investment Management, a global asset-management business. Since joining the company in 2010, Hung has led the strategy to broaden the company’s products and expand internationally, resulting in more than a three-fold increase in third party assets under management.

As the top-ranking female operating executive at New York Life, Hung also serves on the company’s executive management committee.   

Before joining New York Life, she was the management committee adviser at Bridgewater Associates. For nearly two decades, she was a managing director at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

In 2018 and 2017, Hung was named one of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance by American Banker. She also received the 2018 North American Industry Leadership Award from 100 Women in Finance. This year, she was awarded “Person of the Year” by Markets Media. Hung also is a member of the board of governors of the Investment Company Institute and a member of the U.S. Institute Asset Management CEO Roundtable. 

In addition to her professional roles, Hung is a member of several groups that champion women and Asian-Americans in asset management. She serves on the boards of Next for Autism and the New England Center for Children, nonprofit organizations focused on innovative services and education for families touched by autism.

A member of the advisory council for Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, Hung is a member of the Northwestern University Marching and Band Alumni and the Women’s Initiative of Northwestern. 

Hung holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Northwestern Engineering and an MBA from Harvard University.

She is married to Stephen Farinelli ’84, whom she met during her first year at Northwestern. They have three children — Mia, Cole and Michael. Hung’s late father, Yuan-Chung Hung ’65 PhD, earned his doctoral degree in civil engineering from the University.