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Anchor Awards

Black and White Anchor photoThe ship's anchor, located on the University of Hartford campus, has a rich history. Originally positioned on the USS Hartford, the flagship of Admiral David G. Farragut, the Anchor now represents a longstanding tradition of the University of Hartford.

The Anchor Award is the most prestigious award presented by the University of Hartford Alumni Association. The awards were established to recognize alumni who have distinguished themselves by achieving the highest level of professional and community accomplishments and who possess absolute standards of integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of The University of Hartford.

Congratulations to our 2014 Anchor Award Recipients

Alisa B. Coleman ’83
Judith G. McElhone ’88, M ’94
Edward F. Peltier ’68
Erik Wexler AA’83, ’85, MBA ’87


Alisa B. Coleman ’83

Alisa Coleman is senior executive vice president of ABKCO Music & Records, Inc., one of the world’s leading independent entertainment companies. It is home to a diverse catalog of iconic assets that include the compositions and master recordings by The Rolling Stones, Sam Cooke, Bobby Womack, and Eric Burdon as well as the original recordings by such artists as The Animals, Herman’s Hermits, and Chubby Checker. 

An innovative thought leader and acknowledged expert in the field of music publishing, intellectual property management, legacy content development, new media innovation, and transformative digital strategy, Coleman oversees global operations of ABKCO’s major business divisions as well as the development and implementation of the company’s long-term strategic initiatives.

A 1983 graduate of the University of Hartford’s The Hartt School with a degree in music business management, Coleman began her career in the music industry at The Harry Fox Agency, the premier rights management company in the United States, where she managed the synchronization licensing department. Coleman is also an accomplished art director and in 2006 was named one of the 20 people to watch by Graphic Design USA magazine. Her work has been recognized by the Clio Awards, New York Art Directors Club, and AIGA, the professional association for design. She has won the Graphic Design USA Award of Excellence for many packages, including Martin Scorsese’s Boardwalk Empire Vol. 2 soundtrack and The Rolling Stones "Sympathy for the Devil Remix" lenticular package.

Coleman is on the board of directors for the New York chapter of the Association of Independent Music Publishers; is active within the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, New York Women in Film and Television, Country Music Association, Copyright Society of the USA, and National Music Publishers Association; and is a lifetime member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. She is a frequent lecturer at academic institutions, including NYU and Cordozo and Fordham Law Schools, and participates on various panels and roundtables focused on the music industry.

Judith G. McElhone ’88, M’94

Judith McElhone ’88, M’94 is the executive director of Torrington, Connecticut’s Five Points Gallery (FPG), a nonprofit contemporary art gallery showcasing professional regional and national visual artists. FPG actively collaborates with the area’s commercial, political, and cultural entities to promote downtown Torrington as an arts destination.

Under McElhone’s leadership, FPG has grown from a small storefront gallery in 2012 to a 3800 square-foot facility with three exhibition spaces. FPG has exhibited 80 outstanding professional artists and maintains a database of scores of other qualified artists.

Passionate about education and community outreach, McElhone established a consortium agreement with Hartford Art School, University of Connecticut Torrington Regional Campus, and Northwestern Connecticut Community College. The consortium connects the colleges with the communities they serve, provides the gallery invaluable educational resources, and serves as a gateway for college students pursuing professional art careers. College interns learn gallery management and function as docents, interacting with visitors and fostering an appreciation of contemporary visual art.

In 2013, McElhone launched the FPG Lecture Series, which featured art world luminaries Ann Temkin, chief curator of painting and sculpture at MOMA, and Milton Esterow, former publisher and editor of Art News. The 2014 lecturers include nationally recognized artists Maureen Gallace ’81 Hartford Art School, Eric Fischl, and Robert Berlind.

McElhone received an AS degree from Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC) and a BFA and MFA from the Hartford Art School. She received a Connecticut Visual Arts Fellowship and her work has been exhibited in many venues, including The Painting Center in NYC, The Attleboro Museum, Brigham Young University, and Real Art Ways.

McElhone was honored as NCCC Alumna of the Year in 2003, and currently teaches as adjunct faculty member in the NCCC art department. 

Edward F. Peltier ’68

Edward F. Peltier served as executive director of the American School for the Deaf (ASD) from 2006 to his retirement in July 2014. He served as CEO of the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing from 2003 to 2006, and before that was assistant executive director of ASD from 1982 to 2003. Peltier has more than 40 years of experience in deaf education and has held positions as teacher, coach, athletic director, and administrator. He has been a board member of the Council of Educators and Administrators Serving the Deaf (CEASD) for two terms and Chair of the Residential Life Committee for eight years. In June 2014, Peltier received the Robert Davilla Award, the highest honor conferred by CEASD. Peltier has been involved with the Connecticut Coalition for the Deaf and has been an active proponent of the Child First Initiative and the Deaf Child Bill of Rights. He has served as cochair of the Private Schools for the Deaf Coalition for 10 years.

Peltier grew up in Massachusetts and attended the University of Hartford on a sports scholarship for basketball and baseball. While in the U.S. Army, Peltier served in Vietnam and returned home to pursue a master’s degree in deaf education at Western Maryland College. He continued his postgraduate work in administration and educational leadership at Eastern Kentucky University, Gallaudet University, and the University of Hartford.

Peltier is active in West Hartford Rotary and is an Honorary Paul Harris Fellow. He coaches a deaf special needs group of young adults in basketball and was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in the Scholar-Athlete category in 2013.

He and his wife, Carol, who is also a deaf education professional, reside in West Hartford, Conn.  They have four grown children and four grandchildren. Peltier enjoys gardening, reading American history, sports, and spending time with his family. 

Erik G. Wexler AA’83, ’85, MBA’87

Erik G. Wexler serves as chief executive officer of the Northeast Region for Tenet Healthcare Corporation, overseeing the company’s nine hospitals, population health services, and outpatient centers in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, representing $2.5 billion in net revenue and more than 12,000 associates in the company. Dallas-based Tenet is the second-largest publicly traded healthcare organization in the United States, operating 80 hospitals and more than 180 outpatient centers in ten states.

Wexler started his career in 1985 at the University of Hartford in fundraising and community outreach, ascending to director of development in 1989. He was recruited to the healthcare profession in 1992 as vice president for development and community relations at Waterbury Hospital, Waterbury, Conn., taking on additional responsibilities in 1996 for leading the business development activities for the corporation. He then joined MidState Medical Center, Meriden, Conn., as the executive vice president and COO in 2000. LifeBridge Health, Baltimore, Md., appointed Wexler its system senior vice president and president of Northwest Hospital in 2004, where he remained until joining investor-owned Vanguard Health’s Saint Vincent Hospital in 2011 as president and CEO. While retaining his role at Saint Vincent Hospital, in 2012 Wexler assumed responsibility for Vanguard’s hospitals in the New England market and then took on the additional responsibility of the Chicago market in 2013 before Vanguard merged with Tenet Healthcare Corporation.

Wexler has a bachelor of arts in sociology and a master of business administration from University of Hartford. In 2013 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Sciences from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He serves as a Trustee for Anna Maria College and the Massachusetts Hospital Association.

Wexler resides with his wife, Stephanie, in Boston, Mass.


2013 Anchor Award Recipients

Pedro Bermudez ‘07
Morris Jackson '73, M '73
Salvatore Lopes ‘71
Robert Petcove A’89, ‘91
Daniel Purushotham M ‘74

2012 Anchor Award Recipients

Victoria J. Cerami BSME ’81
Annie Garcia Kaplan BA ’79, MBA ’81, Ed.D. ’97
Deborah Kline BFA ’90
Ayn S. LaPlant BA ’76, MSOB ’85
Douglas V. Riahi AA ’86 BSBA ’88