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Four New Members Join Duquesne University’s Century Club

Four new members of the Century Club of Distinguished Duquesne University Alumni were inducted on Oct. 9 in Duquesne's Power Center Ballroom.

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 their communities. Of more than 100,000 alumni since 1878, only 327 have been admitted to its elite ranks.

The 2015 inductees are:

The Honorable Max Baer, Law 1975

Justice, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

After earning his law degree from Duquesne in 1975, Baer began his career as a deputy state attorney general and spent nine years in private practice before being elected to the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court in 1989. 

Seated on the Family Court, Baer became administrative judge of the Family Division in 1993 and enacted reforms to make domestic legal processes less traumatic for disputing couples and their children. He promoted the use of mediation before litigation, scheduled sessions at night to reduce disruption of employment and increased staffing to handle a growing docket of juvenile cases. Baer spearheaded the conversion of the old county jail into a home for the Family Court, including facilities for playrooms and child care.

His focus on children and families has expanded since his election to the state Supreme Court in 2003. Baer was a driving force behind the creation of the Office of Children and Families in the Courts, which has established a statewide structure for accelerating permanent adoptions for abused and neglected children. Under Baer's guidance, the office has developed training programs for judges, attorneys and social workers engaged in children's services and dependency law throughout Pennsylvania.

Baer's advocacy has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, federal Department of Health and Human Services, Pennsylvania Bar Association, Homeless Children's Education Fund and Pennsylvania Council of Mediators.

A member of the Duquesne Law School Dean's Advisory Board, Baer officiates at an annual ceremony swearing-in new graduates to the Pennsylvania Bar.

He and his wife, Beth, live in Mount Lebanon. The parents of two grown sons, they have two grandchildren.

Lois A. McGovern, Nursing 1968

Retired President and CEO, Harmony Health Care Inc.

A native of central Pennsylvania, McGovern completed her bachelor's degree in nursing at Duquesne in1968.

She later earned master's degrees in nursing and business during her career in hospital management in California, New Jersey and Maryland, and as assistant executive director for nursing administration at the Deaton Medical Center of the University of Maryland. As a consultant for the Maryland Department of Health, McGovern developed innovative patient assessment tools and analyses and action plans for underperforming hospitals.

McGovern transitioned into long-term care administration as a regional manager for Manor Health Care, then acquired struggling assisted living and nursing home facilities that would become Harmony Health Care. When she sold the firm in 1997, it had achieved full occupancy and a sterling reputation for efficiency, productivity and quality of care.

McGovern remains active as a volunteer with Partners in Care, a nonprofit providing transportation and advocacy for low-income Maryland residents, and has served on the boards of the Franciscan Ministries Foundation and the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, and as a member of the Anne Arundel County Commission for Women. On mission trips to Cuba and Costa Rica, she has delivered educational and medical supplies.

McGovern, who lives in Annapolis, Md., has established a scholarship fund to benefit Duquesne Nursing students and has arranged to endow a Fund for Nursing Innovation at the school.

Gilbert Zilner, Pharmacy 1960

Vice President, Diamond Drugs Inc.


Joan Zilner, Pharmacy 1960

President, Diamond Drugs Inc.

After receiving their bachelor's degrees from Duquesne's Pharmacy School in 1960s, the Zilners began separate careers in drug stores located in neighboring towns. In 1970, they purchased Diamond Drugs, a community pharmacy in Indiana, Pa.

While retail pharmacy became increasingly dominated by national chains, the Zilners insisted that Diamond maintain the values and customer service ethic of a traditional hometown drug store.

At the same time, they embraced innovation, becoming one of the first pharmacies to install a fax machine for faster ordering. They expanded their business by reaching out to emerging niche markets, first supplying local nursing homes, then securing contracts to fill prescriptions for state correctional facilities.

Diamond is now the leading supplier of patient-specific prescriptions to long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania, and by far the largest provider to correctional institutions, delivering medications to one of every five inmates in America. With nearly 1,000 employees, Diamond ships 35,000 prescriptions each day from a massive state-of-the-art distribution center and is Indiana County's third-largest employer.
The Zilners serve on several nonprofit boards, including an aging services agency and Red Cross chapter, and were recently among the first inductees into the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame. 

They remain active with Duquesne's Pharmacy School as preceptors for externships, judges for student competitions, employers of Duquesne graduates, advisors to the dean and benefactors of a scholarship fund. They received the School's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014.

The Zilners live in Indiana and are the parents of four grown children. Their son, Mark, is a pharmacist, co-owner and chief operating officer of the company.

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.