On September 24, the Cincinnati Country Day School community celebrated three alumni for their dedication to the greater community.
Dr. Peter J. Stern '62 and Matthew A. Rosen ’72 were selected as this year's Virtue in Action Award recipients. Dr. Hema Magge ’97 was selected as the 2022 Distinguished Alumna.
“During her tenure at Country Day, Hema was a powerhouse, a shining star, a force of nature; she was one of a kind,” said Rob Zimmerman ’98, head of school. “Country Day’s mission compels us to create leaders who kindle the potential in others and better a dynamic world, and Hema’s leadership and commitment to global health is an inspiring example of this mission in action. She should serve as a north star for our students today and long into the future.”
Country Day’s Alumni Council elects the Distinguished Alumni to be honored in recognition of their contribution to the school, their contribution to the community, or their professional achievement.
Hema is a senior program officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and focuses on global newborn health. After graduating from Harvard, she immediately began her pursuit of a career in global health. She spent the last 10 years learning and immersing in global health and equity working with NGOs in Africa – five years in Rwanda with Partners in Heath, and then four years in Ethiopia before returning to the United States to work for the Gates Foundation.
“It is such an honor to be back here,” said Magge. “It has been really special for me to have two of my three children here and my parents here in this place that has really been a foundation of who I am as a person and set me on the path that I’ve been so privileged to be on.”
The Virtue in Action Award recognizes a member of the Virtue in Action Society – those alumni who are celebrating their 50th reunion year or more – for their dedication, attitude, and motivation expressed through volunteer service to the community.
Dr. Peter J. Stern dedicated his distinguished career as an orthopedic surgeon and professor at UC Health/UC College of Medicine to the progression of education in orthopedic and hand surgery. Dr. Stern and his wife, Sandra, are dedicated supporters of numerous organizations that work to advance health, education, and the arts in our community and beyond.
“Peter’s commitment to the community has shined beyond his profession,” said Zimmerman. “We are grateful for his tremendous example of service and his commitment to Country Day. And while Dr. Stern has received more awards than he can probably keep track of, I’d like to think that there is no higher honor for a Country Day alumnus than to be recognized as an exemplar of the school’s motto, Virtue in Action.”
As one of this year’s Virtue in Action award recipients, Matthew Rosen believes in the importance of working for something bigger than yourself. This tradition of service, something he feels was instilled in him during his time at Country Day, is what led him to his career in the non-profit space.
“Country Day is a family school. When Rob [Zimmerman] informed me that I got this award, I thought about Mr. [Chuck] Yeiser [former headmaster]. First, what a great friend he had been to me since graduation. I ran for office a couple of times, and he was literally the first person who called. My brother Richard [class of 1966] died suddenly and Mr. Yeiser was right there. My mother died, and Mr. Yeiser was the first person at my house. He was Virtue in Action – someone who does the right thing for the right reasons. I want to dedicate this award to Mr. Yeiser, class of 1939,” said Rosen. “I also want to thank my parents for having the insight to send me to a place as awesome as Country Day where I could learn to be something bigger than myself and to be a part of something bigger than myself.”
Matthew is currently the synagogue administrator at Congregation Beth Shalom, following service as executive director of United Methodist Cooperative Ministries and vice president of Lutheran Services Florida. He is a committed board member and past president of numerous organizations and volunteers at Country Day.
“Matt has dedicated his life to service; first in public service as Assistant Attorney General to the State of Ohio and Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy, Environment, Research, and Safety, and then he lent his talents to a variety of non-profit organizations,” said Zimmerman. “That Matt would find his life’s work in service is no surprise to those who know his history at Country Day. In his school recommendation, Matt was singled out by the administration for having been in 'just about every non-athletics extracurricular activity the school offers’ along with many outside activities and that ‘his natural enthusiasm is contagious.’ And since graduation, Matt has continued to demonstrate a love of Country Day and a deep understanding of its tradition of service.”
The award recipients were honored during the school’s annual Homecoming weekend Alumni Breakfast, with family, former classmates, current faculty and staff, and friends in attendance.
All three agreed that their experiences at Country Day helped shape the people they are today.
“I thank Country Day, Mr. [Herbert] Davison [former headmaster], my classmates, and my teachers for getting me on the right track,” said Stern. “Anyone who has had the privilege of having an education here is a lucky individual.”
Click here for more information about our alumni awards.