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Duquesne Welcomes New Members to Century Club

Five new members have been inducted into the Century Club of Distinguished Duquesne University Alumni.

The Century Club was established during Duquesne’s 100th anniversary in 1978 to recognize graduates with exemplary records of professional achievement and service to the University and community. Fewer than 300 men and women have been admitted to its elite ranks. The 29th annual class of Century Club inductees includes:

Sr. Donna Marie Beck, Music 1962, Graduate Music 1966, Grad. Arts 1990 and 1995
Professor and Chair of Music Therapy, Duquesne University

Beck holds four Duquesne degrees—a bachelor’s and mater’s in music, a master of arts, and a Ph.D. in formative spirituality. She was a music teacher in area Catholic elementary and high schools before pursuing music therapy studies in the 1970s.

One of the first students to earn certification from Duquesne’s music therapy program in 1976, Beck succeeded her mentor Richard Gray as chair of the department in 1982. Her scholarship in such areas as spirituality and guided imagery has been widely published and acclaimed for expanding the frontiers of a relatively young discipline, and her advocacy has resulted in the expansion of music therapy services throughout the Pittsburgh area’s health care facilities, from children’s hospitals to homes for the aged.

Beck has served the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and its predecessor, the National Association for Music Therapy, as an executive board member, affiliate relations chair and delegate to numerous meetings and conferences. She received the AMTA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 and was named as Music Education Professional of the Year by Cambridge Who’s Who in 2007. Beck is a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, headquartered in Baden. She resides in Oakland.

James N. Crutchfield, Arts 1992
Professor of Journalism and Director of Student Media, Arizona State University

Crutchfield began his studies at Duquesne in 1965. Offered an internship, then a full-time position with The Pittsburgh Press, he became one of the city’s first African-American reporters, covering the civil rights movement. He went on to serve as a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, a reporter and editor for the Detroit Free Press, and press secretary to United States Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.). While managing editor of the Akron (OH) Beacon Journal, he completed his bachelor’s degree in 1992.

After executive positions with newspapers in Long Beach, Calif., and Philadelphia, Crutchfield returned to Akron as general manager, publisher and president of the Beacon Journal. Under his leadership, the newspaper won several national awards for reporting, editing, design and public service. He joined the Arizona State University faculty in 2007.

Crutchfield led The Fire Truck Fund, a national effort raising funds to replace emergency vehicles destroyed by the Sept. 11 attacks, the Pacific tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. He is currently a member of Duquesne University’s Board of Directors.

Crutchfield and his wife, Cynthia, reside in Akron, Ohio, and Tempe, Ariz.

Deborah A. Cunningham, Arts 1981
Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, Federated Investors

Cunningham joined Federated Investors as a performance analyst immediately after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1981. She has remained with the company for nearly 27 years as an investment analyst and senior portfolio manager, and was named senior vice president and chief investment officer in 2004.

Cunningham is recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in short-term money market instruments and investments. She is a founding member of the Asset Securitization Forum and the London-based International Money Market Funds Association. She has worked with a Securities and Exchange Commission panel revising antiquated rules to better protect investors and served as president of the Pittsburgh Society of Financial Analysts. Her articles have appeared in Global Investor, Standard and Poor’s Structured Finance, Asset Sales Report and Bottom Line Retirement.

Cunningham has served on the alumni advisory boards for Duquesne’s College of Liberal Arts and Schools of Business, and is active with St. Richard’s Catholic Church, the Girl Scouts Trillium Council, North Hills Women’s Crisis Center and Goodwill Industries.

Cunningham and her husband, Paul, reside in Gibsonia.

Terrence S. Jacobs, Business 1965
President and Chief Executive Officer, Penneco Oil Co.

After graduating from Duquesne in 1965, Jacobs was a member of the Army Reserve, developed real estate in Pennsylvania and Florida, worked in accounting with Price Waterhouse and Schneider Downs and was controller of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since 1972, he has been instrumental in the growth of his family’s business ventures, including Penneco, an independent firm with oil, gas and coal interests throughout western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He has been Penneco’s president and CEO since 1995.

Jacobs is also a board member of Linn Energy, another independent firm involved in energy exploration, production and transmission in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Utah and California. He has served as president of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of Pennsylvania and as a director of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. He has presented testimony to the United States Congress on issues related to energy availability and affordability.

Jacobs has served on the finance committee for the municipality of Murrysville and is a member of the Amen Corner and Duquesne’s Advancing Our Legacy Committee.

Jacobs and his wife, Sandra, reside in Murrysville.

Maurice V. Peconi, Business 1971, Graduate Business 1978
Vice President for Corporate Development and Services, PPG Industries

A native of New Kensington, Peconi joined PPG Industries as a program analyst in 1972, shortly after earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration. He completed his master’s degree in 1978. Over a 35-year career with PPG, he has served as corporate economist, corporate planning manager and corporate investment director. He spent five years in Huntsville, Ala., managing PPG’s aircraft special products division before returning to Pittsburgh in 1994 as manager of flat glass products.

Peconi was elected vice president of the firm’s architectural coatings division in 1997, and later served as vice president for electronic commerce. In his current position, he is responsible for PPG’s worldwide purchasing, distribution, marketing, communications and quality initiatives.

Peconi was a member of the Huntsville Vision 2000 Task Force and has served on the Fox Chapel School Board and the boards of Junior Achievement and the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum. He was a member of Duquesne’s Board of Directors from 1996 through 2005 and retains emeritus member status on the University’s board.

Peconi and his wife, Shelley, reside in Fox Chapel.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.