Bellarmine University to honor
distinguished alumni Sept. 16

Bellarmine University will honor eight individuals at its 59th annual Alumni Association Awards dinner Sept. 16.

The honorees have “distinguished themselves through professional accomplishments, community service and demonstration of attitudes consistent with Bellarmine’s values, according to a press release from the university.

Dr. Marian Swope, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, will be named Alumna of the Year. Swope graduated from Bellarmine in 1969. She has been a member of the university’s board of trustees since 1995 and chairs the Student Life & Mission Committee. She was inducted into Bellarmine’s gallery of distinguished graduates in 1994 and received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in 2015.

The Monsignor Alfred F. Horrigan Distinguished Service Award will be presented to Bob Zimlich, who has served as an administrator at Bellarmine for 44 years, including 23 as the university’s chief financial officer. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting at Bellarmine in 1981 and an MBA in 1987. Zimlich “played an important strategic role over the last 39 years in Bellarmine’s progress from small liberal arts college to comprehensive doctoral university,” said the press release.

The Scarlet & Silver Society inductee will be Michael Cowherd, a senior manager of environmental performance-global production at Brown-Forman Corporation, where he has worked for close to 25 years. Cowherd graduated from Bellarmine in 1982 and earned a master’s in business administration from the university in 2001.

The Accounting Alumna of the Year will be Susan Diamond, a certified public accountant who serves as Humana’s chief financial officer. She is a graduate of the class of 1995. She serves on the university’s board of trustees.

Four others will be named to the Gallery of Distinguished graduates:

  • Jennifer Bielstein, executive director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, Cali., and president of the League of Resident Theatres. She is the former managing director for Actors Theatre of Louisville. She is a 2011 graduate of Bellarmine’s executive master’s of business administration program and recipient of the MBA faculty merit award.
  • Marshall Bradley Jr., is president of the Lincoln Foundation, which provides academic support to students from under-resourced neighborhoods. Bradley is a graduate of the class of 1981 and earned a master’s degree in business administration from Bellarmine in 1986.
  • Dr. Steven Hester is division president and system chief medical officer at Norton Healthcare. He graduated from Bellarmine in 2007 with a master’s degree in business administration and was a recipient of the business faculty merit award.
  • Dr. David Smith, a graduate of Bellarmine’s class of 1971, is a retired associate professor for the U.S. Naval Academy. He taught in the Naval Academy’s oceanography department for 27 years.

The awards dinner will take place at the George G. Brown Center on the university’s campus. Tickets are $50. To register or purchase a table call 272-8333 or visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *