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Three New Members Join Duquesne University’s Century Club

Three new members of the Century Club of Distinguished Duquesne University Alumni were inducted on Sept. 28.

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. Of the more than 98,000 alumni, only 317 have been admitted to its elite ranks.

The 2012 class of Century Club inductees includes:

Martin J. Ashby, Graduate Music 1991, executive producer, MCG Jazz
Manchester Craftsmen's Guild

Ashby began performing professionally at age 8 with his family in Baldwinsville, N.Y. He completed high school in three years and earned a scholarship to Ithaca College at age 16. After completing his degree, he worked in New York City selling subscriptions to the New York Philharmonic. The business structure of the orchestra fascinated Ashby, who was intrigued by the disparity in operations between classical and jazz arts organizations.

While working for the Cleveland Orchestra, Ohio Ballet, National Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO), Ashby experimented with applying their marketing and management techniques to small-scale jazz events and festivals.

In 1987, Ashby left the PSO to start a jazz subscription series at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild. Twenty-five years later, Ashby is now the executive producer of MCG Jazz. He has produced some 2,000 concerts and 40 recordings, including five Grammy Award winners.

Ashby has served as artistic advisor and producer for festivals including Animal Crackers in Racine, Wis., Jazz on the Circle in Cleveland and Jazz at Seven Springs in Champion, Pa. He has consulted with the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Japan Society, the Museum of African American Music, and the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. He is the EPP Goldman-Sachs Fellow at the National Museum of American History.

A motivational speaker, Ashby teaches teamwork and empowers communities through jazz principals of innovation, improvisation, creativity and collaboration.  He is also an adjunct professor at Oberlin Conservatory of Music and at the Mary Pappert School of Music.

As a guitarist, Ashby has performed and recorded with Slide Hampton, Claudio Roditi, Nancy Wilson, Paquito D'Rivera, Herbie Mann, Phil Woods, The Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band and others. He is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

The Honorable Kate Ford Elliott, Graduate Education 1973, Law 1978, president judge emeritus, Superior Court of Pennsylvania

Ford Elliott began her career as a teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. She earned a master's degree from the School of Education in 1973 and graduated from the School of Law in 1978. She clerked for Superior Court Judge Harry Montgomery, then served as administrative assistant to fellow alumnus and Superior Court President Judge William Cercone, and, later, as the court's chief staff attorney. 

After spending a year in the litigation group with the firm of Kirkpatrick and Lockhart, Ford Elliott was drawn back to Superior Court, winning the election as a judge in 1989-only the second woman to attain a seat on the Commonwealth's busiest appellate court. As the court observed its 110th anniversary in 2006, she was elected to the position once held by her mentor Judge Cercone, becoming the first woman to serve as president judge of any of Pennsylvania's appellate courts.

Ford Elliott served on Duquesne's board of directors for 10 years and is a member of the dean's advisory board for the School of Law. As an executive committee member of the Council of Chief Judges of State Courts of Appeal, Ford Elliott served as the national organization's president in 2011 and was vice chair of the Pennsylvania Futures Commission on Justice in the 2lst Century.

She has held leadership positions in the American and Pennsylvania Bar Associations and served on the boards of WQED Pittsburgh, Arsenal Children and Family Services, Successful Women and Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers.

Ford Elliott received the Carlow College Woman of Spirit Award in 1997, the St. Thomas More Award in 2007 and the Amen Corner Award in 2010. She has also been honored as the Duquesne Law Alumni Association Distinguished Alumna and Duquesne Women's Law Association Woman of the Year in 2006.

Thaddeus J. Senko, Business 1978, Global Partner in Charge, KPMG

Senko joined KPMG after receiving his bachelor's degree from Duquesne in 1978. He was assigned to the firm's Denver office and earned the Elijah Watt Sells Award for attaining the highest score in Colorado on the November 1978 CPA exam. Senko served as a computer audit specialist, national instructor, college recruiter and primary office recruiter, was assigned to KPMG's New York City office in 1985 and elected to the partnership in 1989.

Senko launched the firm's internal audit services practice in 1998 and served as national partner in charge and global leader of KPMG's Internal Audit, Regulatory & Compliance Services practice. He conducted the firm's initial Enterprise Risk Assessment in 2005 and was project leader for the design and implementation of the firm's Enterprise Risk Management process.

In 2006, Senko became the firm's first chief audit executive and in 2009, he was named KPMG's first global chief executive for climate change and sustainability. In this role, he was responsible for sustainability strategy, services and investments across a wide range of audit, tax and advisory functions. KPMG is the world's fourth largest accounting and consulting firm, with 145,000 professionals in 152 countries. 

For the past year, Senko has been global coordination partner for KPMG's Rio Tinto account, working with one of the world's largest multinational mining companies. 

Senko has been involved with community initiatives including the Pioneer Junior Hockey Association, Artreach of Denver and the Arapahoe County Court Appointed Special Advocates. He supports Catholic schools both in his home community and in Ghana.

Senko currently serves on Duquesne's board of directors and established the KPMG/Joseph T. Senko Scholarship. Named for his firm and his father, the endowed fund provides financial aid to needy accounting students in the Palumbo-Donahue School of Business.

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.