At the 59th Annual Alumni Association Awards Dinner, Bellarmine University will honor eight individuals who have distinguished themselves through professional accomplishments, community service and demonstration of attitudes consistent with Bellarmine’s values.
The dinner will take place Thursday, September 16, 2021, in the George G. Brown Center in Frazier Hall on Bellarmine University's campus. Tickets are $50 per person. To register or purchase a table, call 502-272-8333 or visit the Alumni Awards website
The honorees are:
Alumna of the Year: Dr. Marian Swope ’69, ’15 Hon.
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry for the University of Kentucky College of Medicine
Dr. Marian Swope graduated from Bellarmine in 1969 with a degree in medical technology before pursuing a medical degree from the University of Kentucky. A member of the Bellarmine Board of Trustees since July 1995; she has chaired the Student Life & Mission Committee since 2017. Swope was inducted into Bellarmine’s Gallery of Distinguished Graduates in 1994 and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the university in 2015. Dr. Swope’s leadership is evident in her service as Catholic Services Board Chair, Diocese of Lexington, for two terms. She is actively engaged in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and serving as a Kentucky delegate to the Assembly of Regional Organizations of AACAP.
Scarlet & Silver Society Inductee: Michael E. Cowherd ’82, ’01 MBA
Senior Manager of Environmental Performance-Global Production at Brown-Forman Corporation
Michael Cowherd is the Senior Manager of Environmental Performance-Global Production at the Brown-Forman Corporation where he has worked for nearly 25 years. Cowherd received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Chemistry from Bellarmine College, and his Master of Business Administration Degree from Bellarmine University. He served four terms on the Bellarmine Board of Overseers and was part of the board’s Executive Committee. Cowherd is an Eagle Scout, a two-time YMCA Adult Black Achiever, and a NCAA Division II All-American.
Msgr. Alfred F. Horrigan Distinguished Service Award: Bob Zimlich ’81, ’87 MBA
Former Vice President of Administration and Finance at Bellarmine University
Bob Zimlich has served as a Bellarmine administrator for 44 years, 23 as the university’s third chief financial officer. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1981 and MBA in 1987. Zimlich played an important strategic role over the last 39 years in Bellarmine’s progress from small liberal arts college to comprehensive doctoral university. Zimlich has been active in the community, coaching youth soccer at the YMCA and St. Pius X and serving on the Trinity High School board. He also served as member and chair of the St. Pius X Finance Committee, member of the Presentation Academy school board, and member and past president of Highland’s Court board of directors.
Accounting Alumna of the Year: Susan Diamond ’95
Chief Financial Officer, Humana
Susan Diamond is the chief financial officer of Louisville-based healthcare company Humana, and previously served as segment president of Humana’s Home Business. Diamond earned a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Bellarmine College and is a licensed certified public accountant. Prior to Humana, she served as CFO for Smoothstone IP Communications and Prosperitas Investment Partners and was vice president and corporate controller for Darwin Networks, Inc. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Bellarmine and will chair the Finance & Facilities Committee in 2021-22.
Gallery of Distinguished Graduates:
Jennifer Bielstein ’11 MBA
Executive Director of American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco & President of the League of Resident Theatres
Jennifer Bielstein is a 2011 graduate of Bellarmine’s Executive MBA program and recipient of the MBA Faculty Merit Award. Bielstein is the Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) in San Francisco; previously managing director for Actors Theatre of Louisville, Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, and Writers Theatre in Chicago. She is a board member of Theatre Forward, member of International Women’s Forum, and immediate past-president of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT).
Marshall Bradley, Jr. ’81, ’86 MBA
President, Lincoln Foundation of Louisville
Marshall Bradley, Jr. is a two-time Bellarmine graduate, having earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration. He is the president of the Lincoln Foundation, an organization that provides academic support and experiential programs for promising young students from under-resourced neighborhoods. Community engagement has always been important to Bradley. In addition to his position with the Lincoln Foundation, he has served on the boards of Meredith-Dunn School, Walden Theatre and Neighborhood House, and served as board chair of the Community Foundation of Louisville.
Dr. Steven T. Hester ’07 MBA
Norton Healthcare, Division President and System Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Steven T. Hester has served in multiple leadership roles at Norton Healthcare, currently as division president, provider operations and system chief medical officer. Hester holds undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Louisville and Master of Business Administration from Bellarmine where he received the Business Faculty Merit Award. Dr. Hester has served on Bellarmine’s Board of Overseers, as well as the boards of multiple other organizations, including the American Heart Association, Leadership Louisville, the Louisville Sports Commission and Christian Academy School System.
Dr. David R. Smith ’71
Retired Associate Professor at US Naval Academy, former Chair of the Oceanography Department
Dr. David R. Smith graduated summa cum laude from Bellarmine with a degree in Mathematics. He was a member of the Cardinal section and ROTC program. He earned a master’s degree in Meteorology at Texas A&M University in 1973 and completed his Ph.D. in Meteorology in 1979. He taught in the Oceanography Department at the United States Naval Academy for 27 years and served as chair for 7 years. Smith collaborated with the American Meteorological Society Education Program, served as a member of the instructional staff for Project Atmosphere, and was co-director of the AMS Maury Project for 26 years.