The 1975 Awardees
Joseph D. DiSesa
Attorney, Alumni Volunteer
AB 1937, LLB 1940
Joseph DiSesa, a Connecticut attorney and former president of the Georgetown University Alumni Association, received the John Carroll Award in ceremonies held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, CA on September 20, 1975.
Born and raised in West Haven, CT, DiSesa practiced law for nearly 40 years in the New Haven area. He served on the Board of Governors of the Georgetown University Alumni Association from 1961 to 1964 and returned to the board as its president from 1980 to 1982.
Joseph DiSesa died in 1983 at the age of 67.
Paul Mehren, a Southern California business executive, received the John Carroll Award in ceremonies held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, CA on September 20, 1975.
Born in 1917, Mehren was raised in Phoenix and received his degree from Georgetown in 1938. Following service in World War II, Mehren settled in the Los Angeles area and became an accountant at the Western Gear Corporation, rising to its comptroller in 1954, treasurer in 1960, and vice president in 1966. He later served as treasurer of the Golden State Food Company. he was a member of the Financial Executives Institute, Allied Products Institute, and the National Association of Accountants.
Mehren was an active member of the Georgetown Club of Los Angeles. he served on the Board of Governors for the Georgetown University Alumni Association from 1969 to 1972.
Paul Mehren died in 1991 at the age of 74.
Arturo G. Ortega
BSFS 1947 LLB 1950, Honorary degree 1980
Arturo Ortega, an Albuquerque-based attorney, received the John Carroll Award in ceremonies held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, CA on September 20, 1975.
Born in 1920 in Las Vegas, NV, Ortega attended Regis College for three years until the outbreak of World War II, where he joined the Army Air Corps. A member of the 8th Air Force, he was shot down over Germany, and was held as a prisoner of war for 19 months until his escape in April 1945. Relying on his knowledge of French, Spanish and German, Ortega and a fellow prisoner traveled for two weeks posing as migrant farm workers until they could reach U.S. forces. He completed his education with honors at the School of Foreign Service in 1947 and went on to earn a law degree from Georgetown in 1950.
Over a distinguished 40 year career as an attorney, Ortega served on numerous local and national commissions, including the American Bar Association, American College of Trial Lawyers, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and the National Hispanic Bar Association. The founder of the Hispanic Culture Foundation, Mr. Ortega was also named to the Board of Bar Examiners for the State of New Mexico; the Albuquerque Fair Housing Board; The National Conference of Christmas and Jews, and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. He served as a trustee at Colorado College and was President of the University of New Mexico Board of Regents from 1967 through 1973. At Georgetown, he served on the Board of Regents from 1973 to 1981 and its Board of Directors from 1984 to 1990. In 1980, he joined Arkansas governor Bill Clinton in receiving an honorary degree from the University at its commencement.
Arturo Ortega died in 1999 at the age of 78.
Dr. Vincent R. Pennisi
San Francisco, CA
Vincent Pennisi, a San Francisco physician, received the John Carroll Award in ceremonies held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, CA on September 20, 1975.
Born in New York in 1923, Dr. Pennisi received a bachelor's degree from Long Island University in 1943 before military service in World War II; he returned to LIU and received a DDS in 1946 before enrolling at the Georgetown University School of Medicine, earning his MD in 1950. Following residency, he served in the Army Medical Corps and retired at the rank of captain in 1957.
Dr. Pennisi served for 31 years as a physician at St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, serving on its board of trustees. The author of over 60 medical journal articles, he served as the hospital's chief of plastic surgery from 1968 to 1974, and was a clinical professor of plastic surgery at the University of California-San Francisco Medical School. Pennisi also served on the Georgetown University Medical Alumni Board.
Vincent Pennisi died in 1994 at the age of 71.
Dr. Sarah E. Stewart
New Smyrna Beach, FL
Dr. Sarah Stewart, a pioneer in the field of oncology research, received the John Carroll Award in ceremonies held at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, CA on September 20, 1975.
Born in Tecalitlan, Mexico in 1905, Stewart earned degrees from New Mexico State, Massachusetts-Amherst, and a Ph. D. from the University of Chicago. Following a term at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), she joined the faculty at Georgetown and was then allowed to enroll as a student, becoming the first woman to receive a medical degree from the University.
Dr. Stewart's research into oncoviruses led to her discovery of the polyomavirus in 1953, which identified that certain viruses could cause tumors in mammals. In 1958, Dr. Stewart and Dr. Bernice Eddy of the NIH demonstrated the ability of these viruses to spread cancer among animals.
Following her retirement from the NIH, Dr. Stewart returned to Georgetown as an emeritus professor. She died in 1976 at the age of 71.