Heights Schools Foundation Inducts Nine into the 43rd Cleveland Heights High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame Ceremony


Recently, the Heights Schools Foundation hosted the 43rd annual Cleveland Heights High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame Ceremony.

Nine extraordinary individuals joined the ranks of nearly 450 members inducted since the CH-UH District held the first ceremony in 1981. Created by Dr. Patricia A. Ackerman, former CH-UH School Administrator and Principal, the Hall of Fame recognizes individuals of all fields at varying stages of success in career, philanthropy and humanitarian efforts. The more than 200 in attendance welcomed the following into the Hall of Fame:

  • Eric “E.J.” Bailey, Class of 1990: Designer, Vice President of User Experience at Zillow Group, Founder of Properganda
  • Ken Barcus, Class of 1973: NPR Midwest Bureau Chief/Editor (given posthumously)
  • Phyllis “Seven” Harris, Class of 1983: Executive Director, LBGTQ Center Cleveland and Founder, Sage & Maven Consulting
  • Dr. Susan M. Kleiner, Class of 1975: PhD, RD, CNS-E, FACN, FISSN, High Performance Nutritionist and Owner, High Performance Nutrition, LLC
  • Ruth Link-Gelles, Class of 2002: Senior Epidemiologist, Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Commander, United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps
  • Heather Clayton Terry, Class of 1994: Director of Corporate Giving, Dominion Energy, Executive Coach, DEI Advocate
  • David Thomas, Class of 1991: Advanced System Specialist, Audio Engineer and Production Specialist
  • Dr. Howard Tucker, Class of 1940: MD, JD, Retired Veteran, Neurologist, Guinness Book of World Records Oldest Practicing Physician
  • Dr. Armin Weinberg, Class of 1964: Clinical Professor; Baylor College of Medicine. Adjunct Professor; Rice University. Faculty Affiliate; Texas A&M Center for Population Health and Aging

The evening began with an unveiling of a new mural honoring 50 years of Holocaust Education in the CH-UH district. Guests were greeted by the Heights Strings Quartet followed by the Heights High Barbershop Singers. The ceremony was held in the beautifully restored 1926 Heights High Auditorium, known as the Dina Rees Evans Center for Performing Arts. Guest speakers included; Dr. Brandon Towns (Principal of Heights High School), Dr. Susan Carver (Class of 1978, President of Heights Schools Foundation), Dan Heintz (Class of 1985, CH-UH School Board Member and HSF Board of Trustees), Krissy Dietrich Gallagher (Class of 1991, HSF Board of Trustees) and Alaysia Brooks (Class of 2020). Through a video montage, the individuals who nominated the inductees spoke passionately about their reasons for doing so and why they felt such an honor was due.

One of the highlights of the evening that continues to generate a lot of attention on social media was part of the speech delivered by Dr. Howard Tucker, class of 1940. At 101, he did not miss a beat.

“It took me 83 years.” said Tucker, of how long it took him to be inducted, “while it only took Travis Kelce ten. And, I am hoping now that he and I are in the same fraternity, he will manage to get me the autograph of his lady, Taylor Swift.”

The clip from the event has been featured on the Kelce brothers’ weekly podcast New Heights and has been seen by millions.

Presenting the 2023 inductees was a talented group of Heights students known as The Image Makers, who are an integral part of the entire Alumni Hall of Fame experience from selection to induction. The highpoint of the ceremony, as always, are the speeches from the distinguished alumni. With varying careers, ages, and stories, the common thread echoed through the auditorium was the impact of the Heights experience. From philanthropy and activism to ground breaking medicine, journalistic excellence to state of the art design/sound, the 43rd Class of the Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame holds its place in our history. To view the entire program, you can visit the Heights Schools Foundation website and click on the Alumni tab.
Heights Schools Foundation brings together alumni of Cleveland Heights-University Heights schools with community members to support current students and staff through student scholarships, grants to teachers and innovative programming.

For more information on the Heights Schools Foundation, contact Laura Loebl, Executive Director at [email protected].