Duane Carlson ’55, 2015 Leadership and Service Award
Duane Carlson, member of the Class of ’55, you are a pioneer in developing and promoting ways for all Americans to achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles.
Your career, along with the breadth of your Cornell education and its emphasis on lifelong learning, enabled you to play an important role in creating and initiating positive health strategies for Americans. For more than two decades you used your platform as vice president of national communications for Blue Cross and Blue Shield to focus Americans’ attention on the role of diet, exercise, stress management, the environment, and other personal behaviors on their health and fitness.
After graduating Phi Beta Kappa with degrees in English and sociology, your career trajectory took you from editor-in-chief of a suburban Chicago newspaper, to the national staff of Montgomery Ward, to a position as senior editor of Modern Hospital magazine. By 1966 you had joined the national office of Blue Cross, where you created a focus on the promotion of healthy lifestyles, a discipline that rarely, if ever, had been formalized by a healthcare organization.
You developed a series of books and multimedia programming aimed at helping millions of Americans achieve healthy lifestyles. To further the reach of your vision, you worked with national and international leaders in healthcare. You worked with the President’s Council on Fitness and Sports and the U.S. Olympic Committee, testified before House and Senate committees, served on the National Health Council and the Ad Council, and worked with television personality Fred Rogers.
Your service to Cornell is exemplary. With Ann Holcomb Carlson, your classmate and wife of 60 years, you have hosted many, many Cornell events for alumni and students in the John Hancock Building, as Ann revitalized the Cornell College Club of Chicago. You supported Ann in her national alumni activities and her role as president of the Alumni Board.
Duane Carlson—Milt, Cornellian editor, Oratorio singer, intramural player, Husk and KRNL participant, and holder of the Men’s Senate key—your Cornell career and your professional career set you apart. On behalf of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the entire Cornell community, we honor your exemplary career and commitment to Cornell with the Leadership and Service Award.