Meet the Amazing Honorees of this Year's 49th Wharton Award Celebration

In a year when we needed heroes, all of this year's Honorees overcame more challenges, as they had for years: Marilyn E. Carlson, WG'81; David Fajgenbaum, M.D., M'15, WG'15; Betsy R. Glick, C'86; Anatol "Tony" Surak, WG'96

CLICK HERE to learn more or to Register for the Celebration!


  • Marilyn E. Carlson, WG'81, Leader in Housing Finance: Funding, Liquidations & Restructuring Totaling Billions of Dollars
    • Since earning her M.B.A from the Wharton School, Marilyn has held leadership roles driving programs in the federal government and quasi-governmental entities to successfully link the financial markets to public services. She served in the Senior Executive Service of the federal government for close to two decades. She successfully developed, implemented, and directed national business programs while strengthening positive relationships among financial entities, such as state, local, and federal governments, as well as non-profit institutions.
    • At the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Washington, D.C., Marilyn was appointed to the career Senior Executive Service (SES) in 1997 to serve at Ginnie Mae as Vice President for the Office of Policy, Planning, and Risk Management. As the first woman in the SES at Ginnie Mae, she directed all Ginnie Mae activities related to program business planning, policy, product development, and program business risks spanning a portfolio exceeding $6 billion.   Following this initial appointment, Marilyn served as Senior Vice President for Capital Markets and Policy, directing all capital markets activities and operations concerning Ginnie Mae’s Mortgage-Backed Securities programs, including the Real Estate Mortgage Investment Conduit (REMIC) program.  Marilyn collaborated with senior management of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to the eventual end of converting clearance of Ginnie Securities to the “Fed”. In addition, she collaborated with senior management of the Federal Home Loan Bank to become part of the origination channel for Ginnie Mae securities, which expanded benefits to low-income home buyers.  Her time as a Senior Advisor at the Office of Housing /Federal Housing Administration at HUD included advising Assistant Secretaries, Deputy Assistant Secretaries, and General Deputy Assistant Secretaries on high-level policies involving technical assistants grants, regulations and legislation concerning the Mark to Market Extension Act, which focused on restructuring complex financial structures to preserve the nation’s supply of low-income housing units.  During this time, Marilyn also served as a member on the U.S. Office of Personnel’s Standing Senior Executive Service Qualification Review Board. 
    • In the SES position of “Director of the National Sales Center” at the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC)/Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) in Washington, D.C. during the Savings and Loan Crisis, Marilyn oversaw large asset liquidations and restructurings across the country to complete prototype transactions ranging from $1 million to $1 billion per transaction.                                                                                                                                                                                       
    • As the Assistant Director, Negotiated Transactions, at Fannie Mae in Washington, D.C. during the late 80’s Marilyn worked on the development and successful negotiation of initial prototype transactions exceeding $500 million in multifamily mortgage-backed securities. Total volume under this program grew to $4 billion within eighteen months, and this program became a primary catalyst and template for the national standardization of lending documents for conventional multifamily mortgages. In addition, she worked as a pivotal manager on the implementation of over $2 billion within a two-year period of a new “credit enhancement” program for municipal securities to finance both single family and multifamily housing through coordinating directly with high level officials in state and local Housing Finance institutions, federal government, lenders, servicers, and private interest groupsthroughout the country.
    • During the early years of her career, Marilyn worked on initiatives that also bridged the financial markets to the services of federal and local governments. At Chemical Bank of New York, she was Certified by National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and covered Institutional Investors to execute sales and trades in the Municipal Securities Group. Marilyn also held positions at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. as an Economic Statistician; and, at the D.C. Department of Human Services in Washington, D.C., evaluating and developing strategy and procedures to improve public service and public assistance programs.
    • Marilyn earned her undergraduate degree at Howard University, Washington, D.C. in 1976, cum laude with a major in economics. Her continued professional enhancements include: Certificate for Executive Service Development (At the Western Management Development Center by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management); The Wharton Business School Executive Series - Income Property Real Estate Investment Strategies; and additional courses related to financial services in the secondary mortgage markets by the Mortgage Bankers Association. Marilyn has been a member, and Friend, of the Wharton Club of DC for over 30 years. She is also a member of the Howard University Economics Department Alumni Association.
    • As a very recent, 2020, retiree of the federal government, she plans to contribute her background towards initiatives geared to linking the financial markets to public
    • CLICK HERE to learn more or to Register for the Celebration!david-on-book
  • David Fajgenbaum, M’13, WG’15: Physician-Scientist | National Bestselling Author of Chasing My Cure | Disease Hunter | Speaker | Survivor |
    • He is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN) and one of the youngest individuals to be appointed to the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. 
    • He has been a leader in vital research to take existing drugs to repurpose them for so-called “off-label” uses in treating diseases beyond those for which they first received FDA approval. While about 1,500 drugs are approved to treat about 2,500 diseases. But that leaves about 7,500 diseases with no FDA-approved treatment.
    • After first using this method in the fight against Castleman Disease and other rare diseases, David played a key role in applying this process to the global fight against COVID-19 this year. PennMed’s COvid19 Registry of Off-label & New Agents (CORONA) examined the 115 repurposed drugs covered in medical literature that had been tried against COVID to assess whether any warranted further study in a proper clinical trial.
    • An NIH-funded physician-scientist, David has dedicated his life to discovering new treatments and cures for deadly disorders like idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease (iMCD), with which he was diagnosed during medical school. After spending months hospitalized in critical condition, having his last rites read, and having four deadly relapses, David is now in his longest remission ever thanks to a treatment that he identified in the lab. 
    • He is in the top one percent youngest grant awardees of an NIH R01, one of the most competitive and sought-after grants in all of biomedical research. As was his goal when diagnosed with iMCD, David is applying business-inspired solutions to drive forward iMCD research and working to turn this innovative model into a blueprint for accelerating rare disease research and drug repurposing.
    • David recently described his journey and lessons learned in his memoir, Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope Into Action (available everywhere books are sold, Copies of the ebook and hard copy will be provided to those to support the dinner, as specified in the purchase options. The Wharton Club of DC, which has given to the CDCN, a 501(c)(3), will also donate part of the proceeds of the dinner to this charity to continue aiding David’s heroic efforts for himself and others. 
    • CLICK HERE to learn more or to Register for the Celebration!


  • Betsy R. Glick, C'86, Media Liaison, Government & Nonprofit Sectors
  • Currently, Betsy is a media liaison for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, where she coordinates long form and specialty media projects such as documentaries, books, television dramas and motion pictures. Five recent pro-bono television spots alerting the public to crime and fraud reached over 140 million viewers.
  • PR Daily named her one of the "Top Women in Communications" in 2019.
  • Her career was largely built in the nonprofit sector. As communications director for the National World War II Memorial, Betsy was responsible for the fundraising campaign awareness. Her tenure there culminated with the dedication ceremony in 2004, attracting more than 315,000 attendees and more than 750 news organizations to Washington, D.C.  The monument’s primary spokeswoman, Glick placed or appeared in hundreds of news stories across the country featuring former Senator Bob Dole and spokesman Tom Hanks. Her efforts were critical to the award-winning campaign reaching its $140 million fundraising goal more than three years ahead of schedule.
  • Previously, Betsy was VP Marketing/Communications at Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America/Drug-Free Kids Campaign, a national organization representing 5,000 members.  At CADCA, she developed and enhanced the organization’s brand and image among partners such as the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. She oversaw all publications, advertising, collateral materials and the Web site. Additionally, she helped local anti-drug coalitions develop media relations programs while garnering national media attention on varied and controversial topics in outlets such as USA Today, CNN and Fox News.  Her aggressive marketing campaign increased online subscribers from 2,000 to 10,000 and increased annual meeting attendance by 50 percent.
  • Before joining CADCA, Betsy was managing director at the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education.   There, she helped establish the organization and developed its national communications program.  Elements of the multi-faceted public education campaign include a national TV, radio and print advertising campaign that received an ADDY award; a high school educational video/text book regarding risks and financial responsibility that won seven national awards; award-winning Internet and Intranet Web sites; an adult education module; a seminar for journalists in coordination with the National Press Club, and a well-funded company partnership program. 
  • Her first assignment upon relocating to Washington, DC was as Associate Director for Public Affairs at the National Association of Life Underwriters, where she spearheaded a national grassroots media advocacy campaign on the health care debate. In addition to training local volunteers in public relations practices, she developed, implemented and publicized consumer opinion poll date that garnered record media coverage, organized radio tours and satellite media tours, and arranged for a local member to appear on Tom Brokaw’s nationally televised Town Hall Meeting with Hillary Clinton.
  • Her earliest experience includes work in public affairs at the American Automobile Association.  Prior to that, she was an advertising copywriter developing ads and collateral materials on various subjects. Betsy graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania, carrying major course work at Wharton and Annenberg, while interning as a production assistant at KYW television in Philadelphia.
  • Betsy currently serves on the Board of The Cartwheel Initiative, a team of professional artists who believe in the power of art to heal and empower children who have experienced trauma and help them find their creative voice, enabling them to use art to build bridges within their communities and across ethnic and social divisions.  In years prior, she served on the United Jewish Appeal Young Leadership Division, coordinated volunteers for their Super Sunday campaign, and was a Board member for the Ben Gurion Society.
  • Betsy is also a visual communications artist. Her custom pet portraits have been featured at the Barrel Oak Winery and the Super Pet Expo. In her spare time, she uses her personal and social media to inspire compassion and celebrate pets.

CLICK HERE to learn more or to Register for the Celebration!


  • Tony Surak WG '96
    • Tony currently is an early stage technology investor and company builder within cyber and data science with startup foundry DataTribe.   Previous startup experiences include cofounder of first commercial enterprise grade internet based phone company operating nationally, GM of Global R&D software firm with operations in 7 countries, Chief Sales Officer for a startup providing outsourced product services, scaling revenue from 0 to $100m annually, management team member/investor of startups with exits to public companies; and M&A advisor. 
    • Several successful exits include - FoundationDB (acquired by Apple) , GlobalLogic (acquired by Apax Partners), SocialSpring (acquired by United Web), & Synaptyx (acquired by Telco Systems). 
    • Several recognitions include:
    • Alumni of Mindshare - An invite-only organization for CEOs in the Mid-Atlantic Region
    • Independent Film Investor - Grand Jury Prize Nominee film debuted at 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
    • Board of Directors – Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Corporation
    • Winner - Northern Virginia Tech Council Hot Management Team
    • Network World/InterOp Annual Global Conference Most Innovative Communications Provider of the Year
    • Eagle Scout
    • Tony is a true Washington DC native, having been born and raised in southeast DC.  He continues to support local groups, including Nationals Baseball Youth Academy, Father McKenna Center, SOME, Gonzaga College High School, Bishop McNamara and Georgetown Visitation.
    • Tony has an M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Southern California, , and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech.
      CLICK HERE to learn more or to Register for the Celebration!