Launched in 2000, the Legacy Laureate program recognizes Pitt alumni who have excelled both professionally and personally and who exemplify the best in leadership qualities and commitment to the greater good for their professions, communities, and the world at large.
2014 Legacy Laureate
Debra D. King was honored as a University of Pittsburgh Legacy Laureate on October 23, 2014. Debra received her B. S. in Child Development/Child Care and Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1983 and a M. S. in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1985. She received her International Business Management diploma from Georgetown University in 2013.
Debra joined Exxon in 1985, initially working in Information Systems before she transitioned to Fuels Marketing five years later. She held various positions as a Systems Analyst, Corporate Planner, Financial Analyst, Project Leader and managed various operational segments of the Retail Fuels business.
In January 2000, Debra was named the Americas Product Optimization Manager for the ExxonMobil Refining and Supply Company responsible for western hemisphere product optimization. In September 2001, she was appointed the Midwest Business Unit Manager in the ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing Company responsible for the Dealer and Distributor classes of trade. In August 2003, she was named Caribbean Fuels Marketing Manager and Vice President of ExxonMobil Inter-Americas, Inc. responsible for providing functional guidance to the Retail, Industrial & Wholesales and Terminal Operations business segments. In August 2006, Debra returned to the US business and was assigned the Regional Sales Manager for the Industrial & Wholesale business. In June 2009, Debra was named the Global Retail Brand Manager for ExxonMobil’s Fuels & Lubricants Company, responsible for building brand value through marketing communications for the Esso, Exxon and Mobil brands. Effective September 2013, Debra was appointed Manager, Retail Fuels Marketing – Americas responsible for market strategy development, program development and implementation for Loyalty, Card Payment Offers, as well as integrated marketing communications for TV, Radio, Digital and on site advertising.
Regardless of where Debra has lived, she has found a way to be actively involved in the community. Debra is an active mentor with several protégés inside and outside of work. She served as an Advisor for the Miami-Dade United Way Community Investment Committee and Family Impact Council and was appointed a Trustee of the Miami-Dade United Way. She was active with their Women's Leadership organization. Debra served as a Board Member for the Girl Scout Council of Tropical Florida. Debra was the recipient of the 2007 Trumpet Award – High Heels in High Places Award. She has also served on the Board of Directors for the Northern Virginia Chapter of the Urban League, The AdCouncil and Girls, Incorporated. Debra is a lifetime member of the National Black MBA Association, The Urban League and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and The Links, Incorporated. In April 2013, Debra was the recipient of the Howard University John H Johnson School of Communications’ Global Visionary Leadership Award.
Debra attends Fairfax Community Church and in her spare time, she enjoys visiting new countries, trekking various mountainous regions (reached the highest peak of Kilimanjaro in December 2013), attending tennis tournaments, DMB concerts and listening to books. Debra was the School’s 2012 Commencement speaker and has generously established the “Barbara E. King Scholarship Award” to benefit iSchool students. She is single and resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her Egyptian Mau cat appropriately named Pharaoh. Soon, she and Pharaoh will be transferring to Houston, where Debra will remain with ExxonMobil.
2012 Legacy Laureate
Cynthia K. Richey presented her Laureate Lecture on October 11, 2012. Since 1996, Richey has been the Director of the Mt. Lebanon Public Library in Pittsburgh. Prior to becoming Director, Richey served as the library’s Head of Children’s Services and in positions at Pleasant Hills Public Library and the Squirrel Hill Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
Mrs. Richey has served as President of the Association for Library Service to Children, President of the Pennsylvania Library Association, on the Board of Director of the Allegheny County Library Association, on the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott Award committees, and on numerous other committees and boards. Currently, Richey serves as the Council Chair of the Pennsylvania Governor’s Advisory Council on Library Development.
Mrs. Richey is a frequent speaker at workshops, seminars, and conferences locally as well as throughout Pennsylvania and the United States and as a spokesperson for libraries in print and broadcast media. Richey received a B.A. in English and an MLS degree from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a member of Beta Phi Mu, was named an Honorary Life Member of the Pennsylvania PTA, and was honored in 2011 by Mt. Lebanon Village for her exceptional service to older adults in the community. Richey received a 2006 New York Times Librarian Award and received the School of Information Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007, among other numerous awards.
2010 Legacy Laureate
Tom Reinsel presented his Legacy Laureate lecture on October 28, 2010. Reinsel (BSIS ’90 and MST ’91), the founder and CEO of RippleRock (a technology company in the Application Lifecycle Management space), discussed “Entrepreneurial Adventures,” which he is uniquely suited to do having started two major IT corporations. In addition to creating RippleRock, Mr. Reinsel founded, organically grew, and sold a $30M technology consulting firm (Pepperweed) that achieved the top position with Hewlett-Packard as a software VAR in North America. Pepperweed is one of the founding members of the itSMF, a leading industry organization focusing on the promotion of IT Service Management.
Mr. Reinsel’s Legacy Laureate lecture can be seen here.
Previous Legacy Laureates
2009 Christine Borgman
2004 Hilda Pang Fu
2000 Margaret K. McElderry